- Major upgrades for CRF250R and CRF250RX target peak cornering performance, ease of handling and gate-to-flag consistency in lap time
- Both models inherit the multi MXGP championship-winning frame of the 21YM CRF450R
- Extensive cylinder head revisions and improved intake and exhaust efficiency substantially improve low to mid rpm drive and increase top end power by 10%
- Suspension receives brand new valving to improve bump absorption, traction and control
- New 9 plate clutch for improved performance and endurance
- New lighter bodywork
- 3kg weight saving compared to previous design
- Off-road CRF family all now available in striking new all red colour scheme
The new 22YM CRF250R and CRF250RX headline the latest tranche of updates to Honda’s multi championship winning off-road family.
Following updates to the 22YM CRF450R and CRF450RX that saw both bikes receive suspension refinements to further build on their 21YM ground-up ‘Razor Sharp Cornering’ redesign, the 22YM CRF250R and CRF250RX inherit several of their bigger siblings’ recent technical advancements to make it easier for riders of all levels to go consistently faster for longer, lap after lap.
The 22YM CRF250R now uses the multi MXGP championship-winning frame and swing arm from the 21YM CRF450R, receives extensive engine upgrades, a new 9 plate clutch, revised suspension and benefits from a 3kg weight saving.
The 22YM models’ engines benefit from extensive revisions to both intake and exhaust efficiency, including a larger airbox, re-angled fuel injectors, revised valve timings, ‘straight down’ exhaust port and new lighter single exhaust. Drive is delivered via a new 9 plate clutch developed to improve both endurance and feel (with a lighter lever action) and the power is transmitted through revised gear ratios. The overall effect of the engine changes are a 10% improvement in top power and 15% more mid-range torque, enhancing both top speeds and low to mid range drive.
The new frame and swingarm as found on the current CRF450R, which has taken Tim Gajser to back-to-back MXGP Championships in 2019 and 2020, has its rigidity balance and geometry optimised and is supported by new re-valved Showa suspension to enhance cornering ability and handling.
All the bodywork is new. Designed with Computational Flow Dynamics, the radiator shrouds are now made from a single piece of plastic and feature a new lower vent to improve airflow to the radiator. The new seat is shorter, lighter and 10mm lower at the rear to improve rider freedom and movement.
The 22YM CRF250RX benefits from all the same updates as its motocross sibling, but features a unique ECU fuel injection mapping for improved enduro performance, an 8L plastic fuel tank, instead of the CRF250R’s 6.3L titanium tank, a forged aluminium sidestand and the inclusion of new knuckle guards as standard.
The goal for the 2022 CRF250R design team was ambitious, and to achieve the latest racing evolution, Honda’s engineers focused their efforts on making the model quicker, stronger and lighter, by boosting engine performance, increasing toughness and cutting weight.
Specifically, the redesigned engine produces more low-rpm torque without sacrificing usable top-end power, resulting in a broader powerband.
Significant weight savings was achieved through updates to the chassis, which also boasts improved ergonomics while preserving the handling prowess of its predecessor. That, along with the redesigned exhaust system and additional weight savings on numerous individual components, results in a substantial reduction of 8 pounds for the 2022 CRF250R to 229 pounds.
Finally, improved durability was accomplished by thoroughly reexamining the engine, its cooling system and the drive components, while notable enhancements were also made to the clutch.
ENGINE / DRIVETRAIN | 2022 HONDA CRF250
Improvements to the CRF250’s 249cc liquid-cooled, single-cylinder, double-overhead camshaft four-valve engine design achieve even greater performance and durability. Significantly, low rpm torque is improved through modification of the air intake, revisions to the valve timing and a straightened exhaust port. The changes result in a 20% increase in power at 6500 rpm, while strong top-end power is retained.
Changing the shape of the airbox has increased its capacity by 78%, primarily on the clean side of the air filter. The fuel injector’s lean angle is increased from 30 to 60 degrees, enabling the spray to reach all the way to the back of the butterfly, and the throttle bore is 44mm. Together these changes better cool the intake charge, improving air-intake efficiency and torque at low revs. An added benefit of the airbox redesign is improved serviceability of the air filter, with a spring-loaded clip replacing the previous threaded design.
Changes to the four-valve cylinder head are numerous. Titanium 33 mm intake and 26 mm exhaust valves are once again utilized, but now the intake valves feature dual springs (one inside the other) to ensure precise movement at higher revs. The intake camshaft sprocket is now press-fit, which improves valve-timing accuracy while reducing weight.
The camshaft holder has a more rigid design that maintains camshaft-journal roundness, contributing to timing accuracy and reduced friction at higher rpm. Valve action at higher revs has been further improved through redesign of the rocker-arm shaft’s alignment. Also, durability at higher engine speeds was enhanced by revising the camshaft’s oil supply journal, increasing flow by 80%. Oil volume to the cylinder head has also been increased, through a change to the ratio of the oil pump’s driven gear.
Carrying over from 2021, the bore and stroke are 79.0mm and 50.9mm, respectively, and the compression ratio is 13.9:1 To take advantage of the numerous cylinder-head improvements, the shapes of the piston and connecting rod have been modified to improve durability at high revs. Also, the water pump gear is thicker to increase strength.
The exhaust system now utilizes a single straight exhaust port, which improves torque and low-rpm drivability. The single muffler has internal baffling that is optimized for torque delivery, and it contributes to a weight reduction from the previous dual-muffler design. The single exhaust header is now routed 74mm closer to the engine on the right side, while the left header and muffler have been eliminated, resulting in a narrower cross-section and improved rider mobility.
In order to fully realize the engine’s performance potential, the ECU provides all-new mapping to supply the optimum air/fuel mixture and ignition timing at all throttle positions and engine speeds. HRC-inspired launch control facilitates consistent holeshots.
Getting all the power to the rear wheel reliably required a redesign of the clutch assembly. The clutch pack now has nine discs instead of eight, which increases the amount of disc friction material and lowers the load on the individual discs. The clutch basket is made more rigid for added durability, an additional friction spring reduces spring load, and lubrication is optimized to reduce wear. The primary ratio is now lower (3.047 vs. 3.473), and lubrication is optimized, improving clutch endurance by 21%. In addition, clutch-engagement feel is enhanced, and lever pull is 4% lighter.
Inside the five-speed gearbox, changes were made to reduce friction and improve feel when making up- and downshifts between second and third gears—a very common operation on a 250 motocrosser. Only one shift fork is operated to execute this gear-change (rather than two, as before), the countershaft has improved rigidity, and the shift drum is now 17 percent lighter thanks to a larger through hole and reduction of the number of lead grooves, from three to two.
The improvement results in better gear-shifting feel for the rider, and gear ratios are changed to better utilize the newfound engine power in the low and middle rpm ranges, with first and third being useable across broader speed ranges.
CHASSIS / SUSPENSION | 2022 HONDA CRF250
For Honda’s engineers, improving upon the previous CRF250R generation’s exemplary handling was a significant task, as the frame was already known for delivering reliable tracking, precise turning, exemplary straight-line stability and overall rideability. The goals were to ensure that the engine’s newfound power would not upset these traits, and to reduce the overall weight of the machine to facilitate increased maneuverability.
FRAME / SUBFRAME
The aluminum frame is 1.5 pounds lighter for 2022, drawing heavily from the CRF450R. Updates include widely curved main spars with smaller cross-sections, plus optimized rib placement in the backs of the pivot plates. Longitudinal rigidity is maintained for straight-line stability, while lateral rigidity is reduced by 20 percent to enhance handling feel when cornering.
The subframe features a simplified design that enabled the elimination of a separate seat support, achieving a weight reduction of 0.7 pounds.
The coil-spring Showa fork is a 49mm fully adjustable leading-axle, inverted telescopic design with 12.2 inches of stroke. The upper and lower triple clamps have been redesigned, with rigidity rebalanced via updated reinforcement ribs, delivering increased flex for improved handling and feel through a corner. Traction and bump-impact performance are better as well, and the bike has an agile corner approach, with sharp handling characteristics.
The Pro-Link rear-suspension system has a revised ratio and uses a Showa shock absorber whose shape has been adapted to work with the new frame, with adjusters moved from the left side to the right. Rear travel is 12.3 inches. An ultra-light steel shock spring contributes to the shock being .24 pounds lighter than last year’s component. The swingarm is also narrower, providing increased clearance in ruts, with rebalanced rigidity tuned to match the frame and improve rear traction and cornering.
The black D.I.D rims (21-inch front, 19-inch rear) deliver durable performance and good looks. Petal-style brake rotors (260 mm front, 240 mm rear) disperse heat.
The 2022 CRF250R comes with Pirelli Scorpion MX32 tires, which are ideal for soft and intermediate terrain, and which offer an appropriate amount of sidewall flex for a 250 motocrosser.
Rider-active design is a key feature of the 2022 CRF250, which inherits many of the design features of the CRF450. The right and left side panels are 20mm and 50mm more inboard, respectively, for a 70mm narrower cross section at the rear, and the rear portion of the seat is 10mm lower for a flatter layout. The radiator shroud-side panel junction is smoother as well. These user-friendly ergonomic changes permit the rider to more easily adjust body position when cornering, accelerating, jumping and braking.
The radiator shrouds are new, and each is produced in a single piece instead of two separate parts. Cooling the 2022 CRF250R engine is crucial to maintaining its increased performance and overall durability. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) were used to design air-outlet vents in the shrouds, and the radiator grills were redesigned, optimizing the number of fins, as well as their angle. The radiators’ area of heat radiation was also increased by 6%.
Whereas the seat was previously installed by sliding it forward onto the subframe and then securing it at the rear, the new seat base has rearward-facing tongues and front-located mounting tabs. This arrangement eases installation, and acceleration forces keep the seat securely in place. The 1.7-gallon fuel tank is once again made of lightweight titanium but has a new design, and the plastic tank cover has been eliminated.
Engineers looked for and capitalized on every opportunity to cut weight for improved handling. For example, only eight fasteners are used to secure all of the main bodywork components—both radiator shrouds, both side plates and the seat—instead of 12 as before. In addition, all of the bolts for the main bodywork parts now have 8 mm heads, simplifying maintenance.
As before, the Renthal Fatbar handlebar is held by a clamp that can be turned 180º; because the clamp itself has two mounting locations, there are four possible mounting positions for the handlebar, through a range of 26mm.
2022 HONDA CRF250 SPECS
|249.43cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke; 9º inclined from vertical
|DOHC, four-valve; 33 mm intake, titanium; 26 mm exhaust, titanium
|Bore x Stroke
|79.0mm x 50. mm
|Programmed fuel-injection system (PGM-FI); 44 mm throttle bore
|Push-button electric starter
|Constant-mesh 5-speed return; manual
|Multiplate wet; 9 plates, 5 springs
|#520 chain; 13T/50T
|49 mm fully adjustable leading-axle inverted telescopic Showa coil-spring fork; 10.8 in. travel, 12.2 in. stroke
|Pro-Link system; fully adjustable Showa single shock; 12.3 in. travel
|2-piston caliper (30mm, 27mm) hydraulic; single 260mm disc
|1-piston caliper hydraulic; single 240 mm disc
|Pirelli Scorpion MX32 80/100-21 w/ tube
|Pirelli Scorpion MX32 100/90-19 w/ tube
|Rake (Caster Angle)
|115mm (4.5 in.)