Honda CRF250 Rally prototype revealed

Now it’s a prototype rather than just a concept. Production comes next.

IT'S BEEN a year since Honda first showed us the CRF250 Rally as a concept bike at the Osaka Motorcycle Show in 2015 and now it’s progressed to ‘prototype’ stage as it makes the slow transition to production.

In fact, it hasn’t changed much at all. That’s a good thing, as all too often concept bikes are watered down and emasculated by the time they reach production. Not that the Rally was ever a concept in the wild, flight-of-fancy sense of the term; it’s a CRF250L with a bunch of rally raid-style extras bolted on to make it resemble the firm’s works CRF450 Rally machines.

The new ‘prototype’ version retains the CRF250L basis, although it’s worth bearing in mind that the engine could just as easily be the 286cc version used in the CBR250R, which would provide a useful boost in power and torque. No specs have been revealed yet, so it’s impossible to tell which variation of the engine is being used.

The frame, brakes and suspension are unaltered, by the look of it, and the bodywork looks much the same as last year’s concept. There are minor changes – various seams and shut-lines have been altered, presumably making production and maintenance easier – and some of the race parts of the original concept have been replaced with tamer components. The original race-only Mugen exhaust has been swapped for a Termignoni-branded system that looks big enough to be road-legal, and parts like the hard-guards have been tweaked. The screen, instruments and headlights are also toned-down from last year’s concept – keeping the Dakar-esque style but replacing the concept’s real rally dash with a smartphone/GPS bracket.

We’re expecting the final production version, looking much like this prototype, to be revealed at one of the major bike shows towards the end of this year and to go on sale in 2017.

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