It looks a bit 1980s, but the new Honda CRF250L might actually be quite suitable for those who're looking for a light, easy to ride, non-intimidating dual-purpose motorcycle
Honda had unveiled the CRF250L at the Tokyo Motor Show in November last year and had later announced that the bike would go on sale in Europe in 2012. The company has now released more details of its new dual-purpose bike, a machine which they claim combines the on-road usability and off-road performance that was pioneered by the Honda XL250S in the 1970s.
‘The entire XL range proved that bolting an economical and easy-to-use single-cylinder four-stroke engine into a competent chassis created a bike that was useful, versatile and, as riders the world over found, fun,’ claim Honda. ‘The company’s long history – in terms of off-road competition and dual-purpose machinery – was a useful touchstone when development of the CRF250L first began, and inspired the team that worked on it from the outset,’ they add.
According to Honda, the CRF250L is an affordable dual-purpose motorcycle that has a powerful yet frugal powerplant, an oval-section steel tube chassis that is capable of handling the rigours of riding on rough, broken terrain and suspension that provides go-anywhere capability. The bike is fitted with 43mm long-travel Showa USD forks, preload adjustable Pro-link rear suspension and a liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, single-cylinder 249cc DOHC short-stroke (76x55mm) engine, which has been tuned for usable power delivery and yet retains excellent high-rpm performance. Honda have not released any power/torque figures but we estimate the output would be around 25-26bhp.
Braking duties on the CRF250L, which weighs 144 kilos (wet weight), is handled by a single 256mm disc with twin-piston caliper at the front and single 220mm disc with single-piston caliper at the rear. The bike rides on 21-inch (front) and 18-inch (rear) wheels, shod with block pattern enduro-style tyres. The wheel sizes make the fitment of more off-road-oriented tyres possible, if the rider wishes to indulge in some serious dune bashing.
Other interesting bits on the 2013 Honda CRF250L include a digital instrument cluster, 7.7-litre fuel tank, a braced handlebar that provides an upright and relaxed riding position, with plenty of leverage, and a 45° turning angle, which makes for a tight turning circle – useful for dealing with urban traffic or tight trails.
As a lightweight and easy-to-ride motorcycle, the Honda CRF250L should definitely be interesting for young riders who’re looking for a dual-purpose machine.