2012 Honda CRF250L First Look

April 17, 2012
Byron Wilson
Byron Wilson
Associate Editor|Articles|Articles RSS

Byron's sure to be hunched over a laptop after the checkers are flown, caught in his own little version of heaven. Whether on dirt, street or a combination of both, MotoUSA's newest addition knows the only thing better than actually riding is telling the story of how things went down.

CRF250L in Hondas Extreme Red.
The CRF250L touts a lightweight chassis and stability suited to riders of all levels.
The CRF250L will be available in Japan and Europe, but there is no date set for a release in America yet.

This May Honda will begin sales of the new CRF250L it teased at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show. The CRF250L marks Honda’s first new small-bore dual sport since its 2009 CRF230L model. Americans will have to hop a jet to Japan to get their hands on this new 250 though, since Big Red doesn’t indicate when it plans to bring the bike to America. Europe will get the new CRF later this summer.

A liquid-cooled 250cc 4-stroke DOHC (double overhead cam) Single powers the CRF250L. The new bike sources engine architecture identical to the CBR250R entry-level sportbike, including its 76mm bore and 55mm stroke. The 250L press material touts engine features introduced on the CBR250, including low-friction technology and an off-set cylinder. Specs also indicate the 250L puts out close to 23 horsepower with a maximum torque of 16.23 pounds of force per foot.

The new bike features Honda’s standard Programmed Fuel Injection System (PGM-FI) which nets a claimed 100 mpg (albeit measured at a constant 38 mph on a level road). Given its two gallon tank, that’s an impressive 200-mile potential range.

 The CRF250L rolls on a steel twin-tube frame and aluminum swingarm. The rolling chassis incorporates an inverted fork and Honda’s Pro-Link rear suspension. Honda promises the new ride’s chassis will be lightweight and rigid enough to ensure the stability. The company claims a curb weight of just over 315 pounds, about 50 pounds more than the 230L but still lighter than the CBR250.

Hondas liquid-cooled 250cc 4-stroke DOHC single-cylinder engine.
The liquid-cooled 250cc engine retains features of Honda’s CBR250 model.

 Sourcing a street-bike engine, the new Honda gets fashion sense from its CRF kin. The enduro/motocross styling traits are evident in the tank shrouds, side covers and the rear fender. With seat clearance at 34.4 inches, the CRF250L perch rests almost four inches higher than both the CBR250 and CRF230L.

Honda states the CRF250L is targeted toward beginners and experienced riders alike. Honda pitches its new mount under the slogan “New On and Off Gear, your right buddy on the road to make ‘On’ (daily life) more convenient and ‘Off’(weekends) more enjoyable.” A bit of a mouthful, maybe, but a laudable entry-level mount for an industry desperate for new, younger riders.

No pricing is listed, but the CRF250L will be manufactured in its Thai facilities. The same location produces the $3999 CBR250R.

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