The Honda CRF250 Rally is here

Honda introduces new lightweight dual-sports bike and updates CRF250L

THE CRF250 RALLY, the newest member of Honda’s adventure family, is finally here after being introduced at Eicma.

If it feels like you’ve been waiting a long time for this, it’s because Honda first teased it as a concept in March 2015, before showing us a prototype, then announcing that it’s heading for production around this time last year.

The recipe for the CRF250 Rally is essentially: take a CRF250L, clothe in bodywork inspired by Honda’s CRF450 Rally, and introduce a few changes to make it adept at covering distance over tricky terrain.

To that end, there’s additional wind protection from a screen and radiator shrouds and a new asymmetric LED headlight, with a shape that reminds us of an old gas mask. It’s finished in red white and black and Honda says the colours are inspired by its HRC rally machines

The fuel tank is larger – 10.1 litres instead of the CRF250L’s 7.8.

The CRF250 Rally also gets a substantial looking skid plate and a gear lever with folding tip, for when the front folds, or you tip… over.

Power comes from the CRF250L’s revised 250cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder four-valve DOHC engine, which makes 24.4hp at 8,500rpm and 16.66lb/ft torque 6,750rpm thanks to a revised airbox, throttle body and new, lighter exhaust system.

The bike’s wet weight is 157kg.

Chassis changes include a new 43mm Showa USD fork. It still gives the same 250mm travel as the CRF250L’s but is 50mm longer and has altered spring and damping rates to suit the Rally’s off-road mile munching ambition. The front wheel spindle is also 2mm wider in diameter. At the rear of the bike, there’s 25mm additional travel.

The brake setup is the same as the CRF250L’s, with the front end braking taken care of by a two-piston caliper and 256mm floating disc. ABS can be switched off at the rear wheel

To provide a more comfortable riding position with a better view of the land, the CRF250 Rally 895mm seat height is 20mm higher than the CRF250L’s.

CRF250L

The all-round, adventure loving CRF250L also gets updated for 2017 with a restyle and revised Euro 4 compliant engine with more bottom end power – the same as the Rally. Other changes include a new digital dash that includes a fuel gauge. It’s also got a 2mm larger diameter front wheel spindle, ABS as standard and reworked rear lights which are tucked out of harm’s way.

Comments

13kg of extra weight on top of an already slightly porky package? 2kg of that is the extra fuel, but that's still a lot of plastic.

The aftermarket already does suspension tweaks (including extra length in the stock forks, which are also 43mm), and probably does it much better, so it's only really the (road-legal) larger tank that's new. Depending on the price difference it might be better to fettle an L.

Still prefer the black frame and swinger off the discontinued M, and that new spindle complicates wheel swapping now. But the other improvements are welcome. I have to admit the googly-goggly headlight is actually kinda cool...

16.6ftlbs to pull 157KG?
I've got an old aircooled single here, weighs the same as that and makes 41ftlbs - is this supposed to be progress? Where are the 400's / 500's /650's?

16.6 lfb.ft / 22.5 Nm is ever so slightly meagre for a water-cooled 250; perhaps it indicates a broader spread instead of chasing a peak. But the old mantra holds: ain't nuthin doin' if you ain't got them cubic inches, baby.

And yeah, we need a new slew of 400 odd cc trailies. I was hoping KTM would offer something at least, since they have the engines and frames already.

The 450 "race" motors are a bit pokey / peaky and finicky for everyday use, I think.

But 41 lbf.ft and air cooled? That's well over 600 cc, surely?!

Yes, 650CC air cooled - but, given that it weighs the same as this 250CC, why not? Surely the point of buying a little 250CC is that it's supposed to weigh like a 250CC, it wants being under 125KG this CRF!

The weight is a real turn off, especially with my slender frame!

I saw an XT660R for sale yesterday and was shocked how much effort was required to get it off the side-stand. 180 kg wet, apparently. Holy hell - what's the point?

CCM GP 450 weighs the same with 20 litres of fuel and 42.80 torque

The CCM's bonded aluminium frame is a bit pricier than some welded-up steel, but that's a good portion of the weight saving. The engine is also almost twice the displacement, but nothing like twice the weight. (And that torque figure is in Nm - it's 31.6 in old money; the correlation with displacement should be obvious).

Of course, all of that can be had for at least 2 grand more.

I'm thinking there's some middle ground somewhere :)

Lets see what that bonded frame is like after 10 british winters, when the corrosion has wicked up between the frame spars. I note that the frame also has a number of (albeit small) conventional fasteners holding it together. I asked them about it at a show and the bolts were "for safety" apparently.
I'll not be riding anything with a frame that's held together with a bit of glue......

You won't be flying much, as it's a common technique in airplane frame construction.

Gave the CRF250L and Rally a good coat of looking at. The grips are positively awful. Hard, slippery and mottled in colour. What did they do, slip fit a Coco-cola bottle over the handle bars? Felt and looked cheap as!

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