Honda CRF250R 102.3kg 36.9bhp
This first year of a new decade is an important one for the Japanese manufacturers in the MX2 class, and Honda is no exception. The mighty Honda has modified the CRF250R for the third season in a row, with new head, piston, camshafts and porting, new exhaust rand bigger left-side radiator with a beefed-up clutch. And of course a major change is that the bike gets the chassis inherited from the CRF450R.
At the front, the 49mm Showa spring forks immediately feel better to the ones on the 2019 model. Everyone liked them without any adjustments being asked for.
The rear Showa shock does feel a bit wooden, especially at high speeds. By reducing the sag by opening the pre-load collar by one turn, everything was improved. It reduced the from 115 to 108mm. Overall, the chassis set-up is better than on the older model.
Motor oil: 1.12 litres.
Oil and filter replacement: after break-in and then every 15 hours
Air filter cleaning: every 2.5 hours.
Piston Replacement: every 15 hours pro racing use; every 50-70 amateur use
Valves: Check every 15 hours.
Starter motor: No maintenance required
Front: Dunlop Geomax MX3SF 80 / 100-21=
Rear: Dunlop Geomax MX3S 100 / 90-19
What the testers said:
You immediately get a familiar feeling on the Honda. It’s quick and you feel comfortable with the whole set-up. Being so manageable makes it incredible to hit jumps and push it hard into tight corners. The handling is well-sorted and the suspension is good once you fine tune it.
The engine gets a little better every year, even if it’s not quite at the level of the very best. There’s not much end and the throttle response is not instant. The mid-range is decent and it stretches out well at the top end. But the clutch isn’t the best and under extreme use started to slip a little.
The Honda feels right straight away. It’s easy to ride and it makes you feel right at home. The engine has a linear delivery and gets loads of traction, so all the power translates into forward motion. It has a smooth gear change and has an improved top end.
But the CRF250R still lacks a bit of boost at the bottom end. If the track is smooth and does have lots of stop-start sections, you can keep the bike revving and slide it around.
Although the mid and top end power has improved, the stand-out remains the bike’s nimble handling.
The Honda CRF250R has had three motor changes in three years, and the bike gets better every time – even if it’s still not the best in class.
The engineers have managed to keep the Honda’s charms of wonderful ergonomics, a chassis that handles well and is stable as well as lots of traction. The clutch still needs attention, though.
Unfortunately, this year the suspensions seemed less well dialled in, in particular the Showa 49mm forks. However, overall the Honda continues to improve every year.