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Historic Footage: Honda’s Commercial For The 1981 ATC 250R Three Wheeler

Historic Footage: Honda’s Commercial For The 1981 ATC 250R Three Wheeler

Three wheelers are some of the biggest fun you can have when it comes to all-terrain vehicles, and of all of the ones sold, Honda’s ATC 250R was the one to have. Not knocking the Big Red or the other four-strokes out there, but there was only one right answer to which trike you wanted to ride. The two-stroke bomber would scream. All you had to do was hit the throttle, make sure you had the steering in the right direction, and hold the hell on. ATC 250Rs had more than enough power to spare, a good suspension setup and lots of development that was taken from Honda’s earlier three-wheeled ATV models. Debuting for 1981, the ATC 250R would undergo two revisions before the model considered the pinnacle example: the 1985-86 ATC 250R. In 1987, after tons of legal battles, the Consumer Products Safety Commission placed a moratorium on production and sale of three-wheeled ATVs. But thirty years on and several Honda ATC200s later, I still want one of these like none other. I don’t care if I’m just power sliding in a dirt field somewhere.

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7 thoughts on “Historic Footage: Honda’s Commercial For The 1981 ATC 250R Three Wheeler

  1. Singapore Hot Rod

    A friend of mine had the later water cooled model with the narrow front tire. He would let me rip around on it. That was one of those machines that just made you giggle because of how much power it had. Pure fun.

  2. Gary

    Back in the ’70’s, there was an amusment park out in the Ft. Walton Beach/Destin FL area, just sitting right on the dunes. One of the rides was that you could buy a ticket, and ride these 3 wheeled Hondas all over the place out there on the dunes. In today’s world, clueless pussies would sue them out of existance mere moments after they found they couldn’t ride one without injuring themselves…

  3. Oldvo

    I had a 1981, it was as awesome as that video depicts. Sooo fast and would powerslide like a mother. I do wish I still had it, traded it and cash for a 4 cyl fiero.

  4. BigDogSS

    Game-changer, for sure! These things are great! I bought the competing 1985 Yamaha Tri-Z250 in August 1984. And I still have it! It has been a couple of years since I’ve had it out, but I love it!
    Make America 2-Stoke Again!

  5. CyberRanger

    My cousin had a 3w Honda. Being a trail bike rider, he had some habits that proved to be bad when riding 3 wheels. Said he drove over his feet so many times, he lost count. ;-D Eventually he learned… just in time to switch 4 wheels.

  6. Craig Crippen

    I am the rider pictured above wheelying in the bowl and negotiating the “ice plant trails” at Pismo Beach Ca. in 1980. Besides the Pismo segment I also rode in the forest and snow of Mt Hood Ore for the Movie. There is a lot of misinformation about the ATC250R out on the web. This video is actually a portion of the movie “Honda from Coast to Coast” that was shown at the American Honda Motor Co. dealer convention in Las Vegas introducing the 1981 models. It was never an official commercial. Although the Coast to Coast movie itself was shown to the pubic at Honda public events the ATC portion was cut out because AHM legal staff deemed the riding to be too provocative.
    I was an AHM employee from 1969 to 2003 when I retired.
    PS Bangshifts above description contains none of the misinformation I mentioned.


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