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How one man built a Mugen ME380

It’s a bike that never actually existed back in the day – a 1980 twin-shock Mugen Honda ME480. Back in those days, the final throw of air-cooled, twin-shock bikes, Honda made a production CR125 and CR250 but no open-classer. To get a big-bore bike, you had to pay a huge amount of cash for a super-rare ME260R, which was a 353cc two-stroke single based on the CR250R.

The Japanese Mugen company bumped up the displacement and increased power by 20% to 34bhp. The bike cost a staggering $5600, triple the price of a stock CR250. Mugen also offered a kit for $500 which had a cylinder, head, piston, pipe, manifold, strengthened gear components and all the gaskets you needed.

It took until 1981 for Honda to offer a production 450cc bike, then in 1982 came the air-cooled, four-speed CR480 motor which only lasted one year of production. In 1983, it was modified to have a five-speed gearbox and power was claimed to be 52bhp. By 1985, watercooling was in and the aircooled CR480 a piece of history.

By using a 480cc motor from a single-shock 1983 Honda CR and shoehorning it into a twin-shock 1980 CR250 frame, then adding a full Mugen engine kit, the bike that never existed now lives! It’s a five-speed, Mugen twin-shock Honda CR480. Its owner Ben Braddock talks through the details of his bike, from its exotic hand-made parts to the bolt-on bits and more.