- Editor Rating
- Rated 4.5 stars
- 2017 Honda CRF250L
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I had my first try with Honda’s CRF250L street-legal motocross motorcycle last May when the Malaysian franchise holder, Boon Siew Honda held a media track day at Sepang Circuit for its line-up of 2017 motorcycles to be evaluated. The other 2017 models included on that day were the Honda CB500-series trio, the CB650F/CBR650F, the NSS300 scooter and the CRF250L Rally. And finally, with bike already in my custody, I am able to share my experience with the 2017 Honda CRF250L review.
I didn’t get to try the Rally version as the allocated time of 2 hours were all over by the time I had completed my final model for the day. Still, with both bikes fitted with off-road tyres, I don’t think there’s any difference of both CRF models to react opposite one another on a track designed for MotoGP and Formula One racing.
As such, the CRF250L vibrates each time I had subjected it low leaning angle during cornering at Sepang. That’s not to say the bike would skid or lose grip while doing those corners but the confidence to push it aggressively just wasn’t there. After all, the bike nor the tyres are designed for conquering the race track.
2017 Honda CRF250L: The Question
Why would even Honda made both CRF250 bikes for that track day test anyway?
That’s more to do with the event management company hired to do that day’s event on behalf of Honda having no idea what differentiates a motocross over the sports variety, but I took the CRF250L to the track on my own choice and free will to have a feel of what’s it like to ride it there. That kind of moment does not come often, even if it did, you won’t get to see a motocross being provided as part of the line-up.
Now that has been explained, let’s get to where the CRF250L really shines – at off-road and estate roads, where it is designed for. Of course, there’s also the jungle and mountainous terrain but all that are just too far from the city/towns to experience the CRF250L’s prowess in them.The bike has a small fuel tank, a capacity of only 7.8-litre, and I don’t have a 4×4 pick-up truck to drive the CRF250L to those locations to experience its capability on the off-road terrain.I had to make do with accessible plain off-road terrains such as palm oil estate paths, sandy- or pebbles-laden segments and red earth dirt track.Plus, those occasional speed humps on normal tarmac and road shoulder pavements on city roads to test the inverted front forks and rear shock absorber of their ability in absorbing the bumps.First, the CRF250L outperforms conventional bikes’ ability in absorbing the bumps associated with riding up from conventional tarmac to some 6-inch high shoulder pavements as I don’t feel the bumps at all. The same applies to going over those speed humps without the need of slowing the CRF250L down. Next, I could ride the bike easily over minor potholes on conventional tarmac without the bike feeling jerky or threatening to go sideways. Best of all, cornering with the CRF250L at sharp bends including multiple S-Curves on old twisty roads are accomplished with ease.As long as I do not subject the CRF250L to a MotoGP-style, 50° lean-angle cornering, the whole process is as easy as riding any normal motorcycle. Both the bike and default tyres are designed to accept conventional angle cornering, up to a maximum of 45° either way, and as long as the CRF250L is ridden within this limit, there’s no fear of binning the bike at all. One could also push the bike to a 50° lean-angle but the dirt-track style of the leg dangling out at the corners is highly recommended in case the idea goes awry.
The CRF250L used the same DOHC single cylinder 249cc engine from the Honda CBR250R, with a 6-speed gearbox. While the CBR250R is heavier, which limits its ability to go faster than 170km/h, the lighter CRF250L couldn’t do any better than that either as its engine has been tuned to give it more grunt in acceleration than top speed, which is more useful for riding thru the jungle roads and uneven terrains off-road. However, it did inherit the CBR250R’s superb capability in getting the most out of the fuel consumption, at 27km per litre despite its 7.8-litre capacity!
This gives the CRF250L a reasonable mileage of 195km distance with just 7-litre of fuel, with the remaining 0.8 giving the rider another 20km extra for a total of approximately 215km! That’s a very good consumption ability, which is always been part and parcel of Honda’s four-stroke line-up.
Being a street-legal motocross motorcycle, the CRF250L’s seat height is higher than any of the Honda bikes I have tested so far in 2017. It has almost a similar seat height as its 1,000cc sibling, the CRF1000L aka the Africa Twin, which is an adventure motorcycle, not an off-road machine. Of course, the Africa Twin is also designed to tackle both tarmac and off-road but that’s a review for another article. Check out our list of reviews.
2017 Honda CRF250L
Summary: The Honda CRF250L is a lightweight motorcycle to ride. It is also quick and agile despite its single cylinder 249cc engine. You will find it interesting to ride this bike.