With its styling DNA drawn directly from the HRC CRF450 Rally Dakar racer, the new Honda CRF250 Rally brings something new to the Malaysian market. It not only looks ready to compete in a desert stage, but also delivers a real taste of adventure to riders who prefer a light, easy-to-manage machine.
There are 2 aspects that we didn’t like of the CRF250L variant; they are the fumbling cables that are dangling in front of the rider, and just above where the LCD digital speedometer is located. The other is the lack of an LED headlight, both of which have been rectified or gone from the CRF250 Rally version.
What is the 2018 CRF250 Rally version anyway? Since it is based on the updated CRF250L; the CRF250 Rally adds a wide range of changes that make it a unique dual-purpose motorcycle in the market, with the styling inspiration came directly from Team HRC’s CRF450 Rally race machine.
At the front, the rally-type “floating” screen, fairing and radiator shrouds provide wind protection, with the rest of the machine showing off minimal MX style. The asymmetric headlights are LED, as are the turn signals. A large fuel tank allows extensive range, and the new digital dash includes a fuel gauge and tachometer.
Other worthy features available on the CRF250 Rally are the long-travel suspension and high ground clearance that are designed to enhance its long-distance, off-road ability, and a larger floating front disc plus ABS that can be switched off for the rear brake.
The engine boasts solid bottom-end torque coupled with substantial top-end power, thanks to updates from the original CRF250L including a revised PGM-FI and throttle body, a new airbox and a lightweight exhaust, making riding in the off-road conditions a breeze!
A larger fuel tank – 10.1, up from the 8.2-liter on the CRF250L, allows extensive range, which in our review, was able to get us close to 286km per full load, and the digital LCD speedometer dash includes a fuel gauge and a tachometer. When the gauge started to blink, there’s still 1.6L left as reserve fuel for the rider to find the next station!
The EURO4-compliant engine boasts solid bottom-end torque coupled with substantial top end power thanks to changes compared to the original CRF250L, which include revised PGM-FI and throttle body, a new air box connecter tube and lightweight exhaust.
The CRF250 Rally is designed to cover distance and its styling reflects this. Derived from the parts used by the CRF450 Rally, the ‘floating’ screen, upper/lower fairing and side shrouds effectively shield the rider to offer excellent defence against the elements. Hand guards offer further protection, both for the hands and the brake and clutch levers.
We rode the bike to for a taste of mild of off-road riding, near Selangor’s Sungai Tengi Dam and its surrounding areas, which are located between the Dam and Bukit Beruntung Golf and Country Club. The lone access road is a combination of red earth, gravel and sands. For maximum adrenaline touch, the ABS was switched off to increase the effectiveness of the brakes in stopping immediately. The CRF250 Rally was able to slow down and stopped when sharper bends on the gravel road was detected.
The front forks were able to absorb all the uneven surfaces encountered comfortably during the off-road adventure ride, while the IRC tyres were able to grip the varying degree of surfaces quite well.
From the machine’s mid-section back, the style is MX-sharp, with side panels and a seat/tank interface that help the rider move freely. A skid plate protects the machine’s underside and the gear lever features a folding tip. Seat height is 870mm compared to 830mm on the CRF250L.
The headlight is a compact, asymmetric dual LED unit while the rear light, LED indicators and number plate bracket tuck discreetly away. Cohesively laid-out, the digital dash features a speedometer, tachometer plus fuel gauge and clock. The CRF250 Rally comes finished in Honda’s Extreme Red racing colour as a base, with black and white accents inspired by the HRC factory machines.