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A 250cc dual-purpose motorcycle covers many bases: it slips easily through congested city streets thanks to lightweight and slim proportions matched with superb maneuverability, while its suspension, ground reach and seat height deliver a fun and comfortable ride on rough tarmac and trails. It opens up a whole new range of two-wheeled opportunities, whatever the rider’s experience level.
The Honda CRF250L, launched worldwide in Europe in 2012, is just such a machine. It’s found popularity with older riders – who often keep it as a second bike – while also connecting a younger demographic to Honda, many of whom use it as a cool, stylish alternative to a scooter. And for every owner, it offers the chance to head off the tarmac and on to the dirt. It was joined in 2014 by the supermoto-style CRF250M. For 2017 the CRF250L has been revised, while a new model, the CRF250 RALLY, adds an adventure-sport dynamic to the range.
With styling cues taken directly from Honda’s CRF250R and CRF450R MX machines, the new CRF250L is ready for anything a rider can throw at it: it’s tough, practical and equally at home around a city block or out on the trail.
The CRF250L’s 249cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder DOHC engine has more bottom-end torque and high rpm power, with a linear delivery. Peak power of 18.2kW is delivered @ 8,500rpm with peak torque of 22.6Nm arriving @ 6,750rpm.
Revised PGM-FI feeds fuel/air mixture through a 38mm throttle body (up from 36mm) and draws air from the airbox via a direct connecting tube. The exhaust muffler has a diameter of 115mm, houses the catalyser and uses two chambers: it’s 450g lighter than the previous design and a larger bore downpipe helps the engine breathe and make more power.
The engine uses a compact roller/rocker arm valve train and cylinder head, with bore and stroke of 76 x 55mm. An offset cylinder reduces frictional losses while the piston itself incorporates a special surface material, plus a molybdenum coating. The oil pump features an internal relief structure that prevents aeration of relieved oil.
The crank journal employs a half-split, press-fit metal bearing while the crank bearing uses a cast-iron bush, reducing weight, smoothing the engine and strengthening the rigidity of the case housing, minimizing the internal diameter change due to thermal expansion.
A primary balance shaft further reduces vibration and the six-speed gearbox and clutch are manufactured to cope with the extra stress of riding off-road. The 10.7 kW heat-release radiator features a thin guide-ring cooling fan to maintain even temperatures at low speeds.
The CRF250L is a true small capacity all-rounder, and as such is built so form and function seamlessly intertwine. Its slim width not only helps it in traffic, but also off-road where the smooth seat/tank interface also allows the rider to transfer their weight freely.
Cohesively laid out, the new digital dash features a speedometer, tachometer plus fuel gauge and clock. Much more compact than the previous design, the rear light, indicators and number plate bracket tuck neatly out of harm’s way.
The CRF250L’s frame is constructed from steel, with twin oval-section main spars and a semi-double cradle. A wheelbase of 1,445mm is matched to a 27.6°’ rake with 113mm trail and ground clearance of 255mm. Seat height is 875mm with wet weight of 146kg.
A 43mm Showa inverted fork has 250mm of stroke: light weight and rigid, one side houses the spring while the other provides damping control. A 17mm front wheel spindle (2mm larger in diameter) improves rigidity and handling feel. Pro-Link rear suspension features a 240mm axle stroke; the Showa shock absorber is a single tube design with 40mm diameter cylinder.
The tapered aluminium swingarm incorporates a monoblock casting that provides the correct rigidity balance and reduces un-sprung mass. Extruded aluminium is used for the chain adjustment collar. Up front, a 256mm floating wave-style disc is worked by a two-piston caliper. Two channel ABS is fitted as standard and gives the rider the option to switch it off for the rear caliper. Aluminium rims (21-inch front/18 rear) wear block pattern tyres (front: 3.00-21 51P, rear: 120/80-18M/C 62P). A small detail – but a useful one off-road – is that the gear lever now features a folding tip.
To ride a CRF250L, you will need a minimum of an A2 licence.
The minimum age to hold an A2 licence is 19. With an A2 licence you can ride a standard motorcycle up to 35 kW (and a power-to-weight ratio not more than 0.2 kW per kg), the bike must not be derived from vehicle more than twice its power.
To acquire an A2 licence you can take the direct access route where you take a theory and practical test. The other option is to take the progressive route. If you decide to take the progressive route, you must have 2 years experience on an A1 motorbike and take a further practical test.
All information on the licence required to ride the bikes are correct at time of publication but may be subject to change. We endeavour to maintain accurate information, however cannot guarantee the details to be accurate all the time due to legislation changes. Cox Motor Group and North West Honda accepts no liability for any misrepresentation and recommends that the individual dealer be contacted to confirm the licence required to ride the bike.
|Bore × Stroke (mm)||76.0 x 55.0|
|C02 Emissions||70 g/km|
|Engine Displacement (cc)||250cc|
|Engine Type (cm³)||Liquid-cooled, Single, DOHC|
|Max. Power Output||18.2kW/8500rpm|
|Oil Capacity (Litres)||1.8L|
|Clutch||Wet multiplate hydraulic|
|Battery Capacity (VAh)||12V-7AH|
|Dimensions (L×W×H) (mm)||2195 x 815 x 1195mm|
|Frame type||Steel Twin Tube|
|Fuel Tank Capacity (Litres)||7.8L|
|Ground Clearance (mm)||255mm|
|Kerb Weight (kg)||146kg|
|Seat Height (mm)||875mm|
|Suspension Front||43mm Telescopic Upsidedown|
|Tyre Size Front||3.00-21 51P|
|Tyre Size Rear||120/80-18M/C 62P|
|Wheels Front||21 inch|
|Wheels Rear||18 inch|