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Thread: Honda CRF250L owners: your opinions, please

  1. #1
    Super Moderator Honda CRF250L owners: your opinions, please 670cc's Avatar
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    Honda CRF250L owners: your opinions, please

    I’ve noted that several NC700 owners also own a Honda CRF250L. I don’t see the perfect dual sport for my “needs” but I’m trying to sort out the choices. Can those 250 owners share their likes and dislikes, such as seat OK or horrible, fuel capacity OK or pathetically small, engine like a sewing machine or a paint mixer, suspension too soft or too hard, etc? Would you buy it again, or get a different brand?

    If I had a choice, I’d want basically a “CB400X” with Rally Raid kit that weighed under 400 pounds, or else maybe a 500cc Africa Twin. The upcoming new 2019 CRF450L looks nice but lacks fuel capacity, any luggage space, and seat comfort. It seems the choices are either too dirt biased or too street biased. Nothing just right.
    Last edited by 670cc; 1st June 2018 at 04:57.
    Greg
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  2. #2
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    I had ridden an XR75 for a few years when I was a kid, but then nothing until middle age when I bought a used CRL250L with 375 miles on it and I got my license. That will be four years ago in July. The first year I had it I mainly commuted with it on pavement. 10 miles each way through the suburbs. Speed limits of 30-40mph. At the end of my second summer with it I bought a used NC700XD because I wanted something I could take on the highway. End of last year I also purchased an Africa Twin. I now have almost 5,000 miles on the 250L. I tell you all of this so get at least get a partial sense of how long I have been riding and what I do with the bike. Your skill level, expectations and what you want to do with it could be something completely different.

    Personally I don't like riding the 250 much over 60mph or on the highway. Its too light and working too hard for me to be comfortable on it. If you go on Thumper Talk you will see people saying they commute 30 miles one way on the freeway and it "will do 75 all day long". I don't think mine will do that, but mine is all stock except for the addition of a tachometer. Maybe a modified 250 would do better. I wouldn't go far on the freeway with it. I have done a couple of groups rides (20-40 people) on a mix of highway and gravel road with folks who were mostly on larger adventure bikes or 650 singles and I couldn't keep up much of the time.

    Last year I had the 250 on some off-highway trails for a few days and I really had a lot of fun with it. I am guessing maybe that was 100 miles of riding. My off road riding skills are what I would call novice. I would love to do more of that with it but its hard to find the time.

    My biggest disappointment with the 250 is the power. I know I could do a bunch of tweaks with exhaust, a fuel controller, sprockets and airbox mods to get a few more HP but I don't think it would be worth it to me. I don't want to me modding and wrenching all the time. I just want to ride. In my opinion the bike is what it is. If that isn't enough for me then I would just as soon get something else than try to turn it into something different. The other thing I wish it had was more fuel capacity. Other than the HP I often hear of others complain about the seat being too firm and the suspension too soft for serious off road riding. I would agree that the seat is firm but it doesn't bother me much. Not for rides of a few hours or less. In my opinion the bike is easy to maintain and I feel it handles well for me on and off road. Overall I am pretty happy with it.

    Would I but the CRF250L again? I'm not sure. When I heard the CRF450L was coming later this year I got all excited and had to check it out right away. I had been hoping for something like that for quite a while like many others. I guess I want to know more about the service intervals its going to have. If they are vastly different than the 250L then it may not be what I want. This bike might be more dirt biased as you say than I need. Also the point about the fuel tank being the same size as the 250L or just slightly smaller is actually kind of a big deal to me. I will wait and see what people have to say about it after its out. The other bike I might look at in place of the CRF250L would be the DR-Z400S from Suzuki. After rambling on with all that, I suspect I will have the 250L for quite a long time yet.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Honda CRF250L owners: your opinions, please 670cc's Avatar
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    Thank you, Mike. That’s an excellent and very helpful write up.
    Greg
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Griff's Avatar
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    I have one and I intend to keep it despite the imminent arrival of the CRF450L on the market. It is owned solely for trail riding and it holds its own very well in more powerful company. It is very user friendly. Its motor has a very good reliability record. It is low powered but the available power is very usable. It is also very economical. My cruising road speed is about 60mph or 100kph. It maintains that speed adequately, but I am aware that others ride the little bike a lot harder and it copes.

    The saddle would be better with a firmer foam. It is ok for short journeys and trail riding where one will be standing for periods but not for long journeys to trail heads. For long road journeys I use an Airhawk also and put that in my rucksack when I reach the trails.

    The forks are adequate to the point that I have left them alone. The shock has been replaced with a YSS item and it works well. For luggage on weekends away from home I use a 35Liter roll bag strapped lengthwise on the saddle and carrier to avoid it sticking out and catching the wind. I use a small tankbag for carrying spare tubes and other tools and personal stuff is carried in my rucksack.

    I really like this little bike and I even have a lot of fun on it on the road if it is twisty enough. Any other questions, please just ask.

    PS. Previous trail bikes owned were the Suzuki DRZ400S, (a good bike badly in need of a 6th gear), and a KTM690 Enduro R. The KTM was a fun bike on the road but its motor was more road than offroad oriented. I would have the Suzuki back but not the KTM .
    Last edited by Griff; 1st June 2018 at 12:52.
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  5. #5
    Super Moderator Honda CRF250L owners: your opinions, please 670cc's Avatar
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    So, I'm following up on this thread to disclose the outcome.

    I always chuckle when people have just purchased a vehicle, and the inevitable comment from them is, "I got a good deal!" Yep. it's always a good deal. I guess if it wasn't, you wouldn't have bought it, right? But the thing is that dealers are professionals when it come to selling the vehicle and making money, all the while making you think that your deal was special and really tilted in your favor. "A deal you couldn't refuse . . . "

    Anyhow, I found a deal I couldn't refuse.

    I've been scouring the Honda dealer sites within 400 miles of me for pricing on leftover 2016 and 2017 models. A dealer that usually beats all others hands down is Honda of Russellville (Arkansas). Anyhow, I spotted a too-good-be-true price on another dealer's 2017 CRF250L Rally. I called to see what other fees they were tacking on, as usually the fees kill the deal, but the out the door price was still really good. I put down a deposit. Meanwhile I was riding in Arkansas, stopped in at Russellville, and talked pricing with them. Now I like Russellville because when they advertise a price, that's the price. Give them a check for that amount and ride out with the bike - no fees, no games. But I show Russellville the price at the "other" dealer, and he says no way, can't be right, it's below cost. I said, no, it's true. He tells me I better go buy it at that price, and quick!

    So off I go to the good-deal dealer and I get the bike and bring it home. In the course of the communications, however, it was revealed that their internet team mistakenly listed the Rally with a new-old-stock discounted price for a basic 2017 CRF250L. Having already gotten a deposit on it from me, the dealer stood behind their advertising and sold me the bike for the advertised price. So, without going through all the math, I got a 10 month old 2017 CRF250L Rally with 2 miles on it for 25% off list price. So, I think I can say I got a good deal!

    As for opinions on the Rally itself, it's really pretty, has good wind protection, and should be stone reliable. The Rally has a 2.66 gallon tank vs the 2 gallon on the base model. Fuel capacity (in stock form) is a real problem on most dual sports. The downsides to the Rally are low horsepower and lot's of weight. Still, for me it's going to work out well.

    The 2019 CRF450L looks like a real winner, but it's twice the price of the 250L. A potential Rally version of the 450L will likely put it's price up in Africa Twin territory. Leftover models of a 450 Rally, if it becomes a product, probably would not be found for another 3 years. So for now, the 250 will do just fine.

    Pics or it didn't happen, right? So here's a pic.
    Attached Images Attached Images Honda CRF250L owners: your opinions, please-100_1486-jpg 
    Last edited by 670cc; 20th June 2018 at 08:34.
    Greg
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  6. #6
    Member Honda CRF250L owners: your opinions, please
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    I sold a stock Yamaha WR250X (supermoto version) and bought a new 2017 CRF250L. If I could do it over I would have kept the Yamaha. It had way more power than the Honda and would easily cruise highway speeds. The Honda will get to highway speeds but takes a lot more throttle and struggles if you run into headwinds. In stock form the Honda seat is more comfortable and offers an easy reach to the ground. The Yamaha is more dirt bike oriented and is very tall. Both bikes vibrate some at highway speed. The reason I bought the CRF was primarily to get ABS brakes. My NC has ABS and I didn't want to have to try and remember which bike I was on if someone pulls out in front of me. I can just hammer the brakes without worrying about locking the front wheel up.

  7. #7
    Super Moderator Honda CRF250L owners: your opinions, please 670cc's Avatar
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    Good info, Lee. I’m sure the WR is a higher performance machine, but I sat on one and couldn’t reach the ground, so it was out of the question. The CRF Rally is an inch taller than the CRF, and I may even have to lower it a tad. For me where I’d ride it, I’d rarely have any reason to go much over 60 mph, so I’m hoping the Honda will do that comfortably. I bought the Rally because no other small dual sports seemed to have the fuel range or the wind protection that it has. The penalty is that it’s pretty heavy. Glad to hear the Honda seat isn’t too bad.

    Thanks for your comments.
    Greg
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    NanCyX . . . . . . . . . . The 250

  8. #8
    Super Moderator Honda CRF250L owners: your opinions, please 670cc's Avatar
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    So I’ve put nearly 500 miles on the Rally this past week (poor NC gathered dust). Initial impressions are very favorable. The wind management is good in stock form. I thought I might need to lower the bike but now I think it might be fine as is. I’ve done a little ripping on gravel and dirt with a few ruts here and there and she handled that better than the NC, as would be expected. Highway speeds are comfortable up to 65 mph, then it starts to get a little busy, but not obnoxious. Gas consumption is running around 84 mpg and range is up to 200 miles. All in all, it’s exactly what I wanted for my purposes. I just need a luggage rack and a GPS mount, and off I go. Heated grips might come before winter.

    No other manufacturer at this time has a low priced 250 dirt oriented dual sport with windshield, fairing, good LED headlights, and reasonable fuel capacity. The Kawasaki Versys X could fall into this category, but it is a street bike with trail attributes, whereas the Rally is a trail bike with street manners. My beef with Kawasaki is that their accessory and parts prices are way more than Honda’s.

    I’m a picky guy when it comes to workmanship. I can’t necessarily build things right myself, hard as I try, but I could spot a flaw in nearly everything manufactured. The Rally was built in Thailand. I have to say the build quality is flawless. The welds and hardware look great. The assembly was done meticulously. Every decal is perfectly aligned. I am really impressed. That’s not to say Japan doesn’t do good work either. But the U.S., well they’re not so good. My new made-in-USA lawn mower had parts installed crooked; my made in Alabama truck had to go back because the doors were misaligned.

    In summary, I’m very happy with the 250.
    Last edited by 670cc; 26th June 2018 at 17:42. Reason: Typo
    Greg
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  9. #9
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    Still liking that bike?

    I bought a used CRF250L and sold it 6 weeks later. Just wasn't the bike I was hoping for.

    Ended up buying a KLR650 in the meantime until 500cc Africa Twin DCT drops.

  10. #10
    Super Moderator Honda CRF250L owners: your opinions, please 670cc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jarrett View Post
    Still liking that bike?

    I bought a used CRF250L and sold it 6 weeks later. Just wasn't the bike I was hoping for.

    Ended up buying a KLR650 in the meantime until 500cc Africa Twin DCT drops.
    I’m liking my 250 Rally very much. I’ll be keeping it a long time, along with the NC and the Goldwing. It has 1900 miles on it now. I’m still modifying and prepping it for some upcoming dual sport rides in Arkansas and North Carolina.

    The Rally fairings, higher mounted instrument panel, larger fuel tank, windscreen, and LED headlights make it a much, much better bike than the base 250L, in my opinion.

    I think anything resembling a 500cc Africa Twin might be a future CRF450L Rally, but given the current price of the 2019 450L, a 450 Rally would cost nearly as much as a 1000 AT, and I doubt it would have a DCT.
    Last edited by 670cc; 13th September 2018 at 12:31.
    Greg
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