Should the mood strike you to go trail riding off the beaten path where there are no roads, or tool around surface streets of the urban jungle, the venerable Honda CRF 250L is not a bad way to go. In fact, the CRF 250L is an ideal bike that serves up versatility as the ideal dual purpose bike ? but you might want to switch to more modest knobby tires than those found on my test bike that?s more suitable for smooth hard surfaces, with more stability and lateral grip. The Honda CRF 250L has seen duty for several years and has gone virtually unchanged, remaining a fun and dependable ride.
Featuring a reliable 249.6cc engine and steel chassis, the CRF 250L?s design delivers sufficient power and a broad enough torque range for both smooth on and off-road service.. The chassis features a low center of gravity, while providing plenty of ground clearance, making for a bike that is easy to flick around, with pleasing agility. It is not really a Motocross bike at all, despite its resemblance to the non-street legal CRF 250R Motocross race bike, but it?s capable of covering a modest, amateur Motocross-type course with satisfactory results.
The engine is a 249.6cc DOHC four-valve, liquid-cooled, four- stroke single-cylinder engine with a PGM-FI fuel injection system and 36mm throttle body and single right side exhaust The engine gets the power to the rear wheel via a close-ratio five-speed sequential manual gearbox and a #520 chain; 14T/40T sprocket final drive.
Along with the durable steel frame, the suspension componentry consists of 43mm inverted forks up front with 8.7 inches of travel, and a Pro-Link single shock with spring, and 9.4 inches of travel out back.
The Honda CRF 250L rolls on 3.00-21 M/C in front and 120/80-18 M/C aft, both mounted on lace spoke wheels.
Braking duty is handled by a single 256mm wave-style disc with twin-piston caliper up front and a single 220mm wave-style disc in the rear.
The Honda CRF 250L has a wheelbase of 56.9 inches and an overall length of 85.9 inches. The ground clearance is a healthy 12.7 inches and the bike tips the scale at a highly manageable 320 pounds wet. The seat is a tall 34.7 inches, but once onboard or standing on the pegs, this is not an issue for those with short inseams.
The footpeg mount features a patented debris-shielding design, and the low mounted radiator aids in lowering the bike’s CG. Fuel capacity is 2.0 gallons.
My test Honda CRF250L came with a base price of $4,999. With an out the door sticker of $5,309 (Dealer handling and prep can vary). The bike was finished in Red and White with Gold anodized front forks and Silver painted mechanical elements.
SUMMARY: I didn’t have access to a modest motocross style course or ideal trails to put the Honda CRF 250L through its paces, just a large open dirt field with some modest elevation changes, but this 250 class dual purpose bike delivers capable, stable handling attributes and is highly maneuverable with little effort, which makes for a confidence-building riding experience for virtually any rider. It turns easily and travels in a straight line equally well. Instrumentation includes a digital, dual trip meter, odometer, clock, fuel gauge and speedometer, with idiot warning lights for low fuel, temp and oil pressure.
The durable composite or plastic elements such as the front and rear fenders, mini-flyscreen, minimal body shrouding chain and exhaust guards lend a certain indestructible quality to the CRF 250L ? a good thing for a bike that?s designed for trekking through the ?boonies? or through the urban jungle. In worst case scenarios, replacement of the plastic parts is certainly less expensive than metal or carbon fiber.
There are really no Honda Genuine Accessories available, while the aftermarket offers sevral, but it?s a pretty cool Dual Purpose ride just as it is.
Note: If you?re feeling your Cheerios after conquering the CRF 250L and would like to try your hand at serious Motocross activity, next year the non-street legal CRF250R (Honda?s official 250 class Motocross bike) will put on a few pounds (4) and increase the fuel capacity another .4 of a gallon. It will also get new adjustable air forks, selectable throttle maps via an Engine Mode Select button for choosing appropriate power levels, and exhaust modifications.
In the meantime, the Honda CRF 250L is more versatile and can be ridden on the street.
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?[wptabtitle] SPECIFICATIONS: 2013/2014 Honda CRF 250L [/wptabtitle]
|Price as Tested:||$5,309. (Dealer handling and prep can vary).|
|Engine Type and Size:||249.6cc, four-valve, liquid-cooled. Four- stroke single-cylinder with PGM-FI, 36mm throttle body and right side exhaust.|
|Horsepower (bhp):||Not given.|
|Torque (ft./ lbs.):||Not given.|
|Transmission:||Close-ratio five-speed sequential manual.|
|Drive Train:||Final drive – #520 chain; 14T/40T|
Front – 43mm inverted forks with 8.7 inches of travel.
Rear – Pro-Link single shock with spring and 9.4 inches of travel.
|Brakes:||Single 256mm wave-style disc with twin-piston caliper up front / Single 220mm wave-style disc in the rear.|
|Tires:||3.00-21 M/C front / 120/ 80-18 M/C 65R in the rear, mounted on lace-spoke wheels.|
|Length Overall:||85.9 inches|
|Curb Weight:||320.0 lbs.(wet)|
|Fuel Capacity:||2.0 gallons.|
|EPA Mileage Estimates:||73 mpg|
|Seat Height:||34.7 inches|
|0 – 60 mph:||Not tested|
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles as well.