2006 CRF250R Project Bike

January 16, 2006
JC Hilderbrand
JC Hilderbrand
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Hilde is holding down the fort at MotoUSA's Southern Oregon HQ. With world-class dirt bike and ATV trails just minutes away, the hardest part is getting him to focus on the keyboard. Two wheels or four, it doesn't matter to our Off-Road Editor so long as it goes like hell in the dirt.

The 2006 Honda CRF250R.
We didn’t want to give the CRF back after our shootout, so we hijacked it and high-tailed back to Oregon for some off-road testing.

When we tested four of the ’06 crop of 250 4-strokes during our recent 250F MX Shootout, we were particularly thrilled to get our grubby mitts on the new CRF250R with its distinctive twin pipe exhaust. The CRF didn’t disappoint us once we took it out onto the track and garnered rave reviews from our test riders who ranked it second in the ultra-competitive shootout. While we were having a blast ripping around sunny SoCal during testing, we knew that our moto dreams would come to an end once it came time to head on back to a thoroughly saturated Southern Oregon. Even still, we didn’t want our fun to end so we called up Honda’s Ray Conway and sweet talked him into letting us keep the little red thumper a while longer for a good workout on the rainy trails around our HQ.

The tight handling characteristics and light chassis were some of the features that first tempted us try taking this baby off-road. Not to mention the ridiculously good time we had testing the 2005 CRF250X enduro version last year. We know lots of people who have motocrossers that see plenty of time in the woods, ourselves included, and considering the recent growing popularity of the WORCS series, it’s extremely common and practical to have a machine that can do both moto and off-road.

As a result of the extremely busy nature of the holiday season, shipping out free stuff for us to test on our 2006 CRF250R off-road project bike has been the least of our industry contacts’ worries. That being the case we’ve done what we could as far as prepping the bike for the tight, slimy condition of our favorite riding areas. The first thing to do was bolt on a pair of Renthal Fat Bars equipped with ASV levers and a set of Acerbis Multiplo Enduro hand guards. All three made a huge improvement immediately in the controls department.

At 216 pounds  the CRF is the lightest of the group  and the difference is nowhere more evident than in the air.
Sure, it can fly, but can it handle slippery ruts, slimy roots, snow-covered logs and water bars? We’re going to find out once we hit the woods on our 2006 CRF.

Our set of custom decals from TSS Graphics arrived on my desk today, so as long as we don’t botch the installation, our red racer will be getting a makeover very soon. Adding to that will be a fresh set of meats, some new jetting and revised suspension settings. The goal will be to create a warrior that can suit the needs of everyday riding. Something that can take to the MX track while simultaneously acting as a worthy off-roader for the days when tracks are closed or you simply want to shred some trails.

Not only do we have high expectations for the CRF project but we’d like to see what is possible on a low-scale budget. Average riders can’t necessarily afford extensive modifications, so the MCUSA project bike will play off the strengths of the stock bike. Knowing that aftermarket pipes are usually one of the first thing to get bolted on, we’re anxiously waiting for a twin-pipe Leo Vince full system X3 exhaust that should come knocking any day.

So far we’ve only ridden the CRF in stock condition and with the minor changes, so we won’t go into any detail about how the bike performs at this point. However, I can say that we’ve been loading it up week after week, mostly in the rain and snow, and keep returning with poo-eating grins. The grins even last through torturous cleanup and smear our faces throughout the work week until the next chance comes along to go riding.

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