Honda crf 250 reviews

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Honda CRF Rally () Real World Review


Honda CRF Rally

&#;Once the roads opened up I was surprised by how much grunt the wee engine put out. If you're looking for a bike to commute on that you could also have fun on in more rural areas then I'd recommend it.&#;

- Rating: 10 / 10

&#;Genuine on and off road capability, really light, suspension

×No gear position indicator, tail light isn't LED

Deals, specs and pics

What Is It?

The Honda CRF Rally is a premium A2 friendly adventure bike that's ideal for green laning.

Engine: cc Single Cylinder, 24 bhp

Economy: 70 mpg

Range: miles

Seat Height: mm

What Is It Like?

Honda CRF Rally

First Impressions

My Africa Twin was going in to Two Wheels in Edinburgh for some warranty work and while it was there I was given the new CRF Rally to have a shot on. My initial thoughts on this bike were that it looked okay, but it would be a fashion over function "adventure" styled commuter bike.


I figured a modern four stoke would be pretty flat and boring, I've found a couple of the larger four stroke singles to be pretty uninspiring so surely a wee strangled by emission standards would be the same?

Leaving the shop the bike was fine, cutting through the city traffic easily. The bike's capacity might be wee but it's got a nice tall seat height, so you can see over cars and plan your filtering without any dramas.

Once the roads opened up I was surprised by how much grunt the wee engine put out. I could easily stay with traffic and the bike sat at 70 mph without shaking me or the bike to bits.

Honda CRF Rally


The tyres were a bit vague, but all these road based knobbly tyres seem to have similar feedback. The CRF's 24 bhp wasn't exactly going to light the back end up and its relatively light weight helped too.


On the subject of weight I had thought that the CRF Rally weighed in at around kg, but its actually kg fully fuelled up. This is still on the heavy side for a dirt bike, apparently it's down to the frame and the heavy, non race spec engine.

The upside of this anchor weight motor is that service intervals are nice and long (8, miles I think) and it only needs a tiny sip of fuel to produce its 24 horses.

Honda CRF Rally

On The Road

Getting out on to the more rural roads exposed some of the weakness of the wee cc motor. My 16 stone bulk combined with a hill proved a bit of an effort and you need to plan your overtaking if there's dithering drivers around.

Honda CRF Rally

Off Road

On the rural back roads the bike was great fun, but the CRF is a proper trail bike, so I headed to the dirt roads and green lanes in the hills. This is where the bike really shines.

The soft, nonadjustable suspension lets the bike fly over lumps and bumps while the brakes do a grand job keeping you in control. You can turn the rear ABS off to do skids and the bike's lightish weight means you can dab your foot down without fear of snapping your leg off.

To get to the cairn there's not really a track, just a boggy bit which I got the CRF stuck in, finding the limits of road tyres and kg. It was easy enough to push the bike out of the slop though.

Honda CRF Rally


I carried on down to the coast for a bag of chips before battering up some A roads to Greaser's. The extra £ on the cost of the Rally compared to the standard CRFL gets you a bigger fuel tank, longer suspension, upgraded brakes, a better headlight and the fairing, which works pretty well. The temperature had dropped and I appreciated the protection the wee fairing offers.

Honda CRF Rally

To Sum Up

I really enjoyed the wee Honda. If you're looking for a bike to commute on that you could have fun on in more rural areas then I'd recommend it. It's no crosser or Dakar bike, but still great fun to chuck about the back roads and trails.

It's quite expensive for what it is too, at £5, I wonder how much second hand ones will start going for?

- Mike T (,

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Similar Bikes

Related Bikes

Honda CRFL - The bike the Rally builds on and improves.

Honda CRFM - A Supermoto version of the CRFL with smaller road going wheels / tyres and less suspension travel.

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Check out this video review from TheMissendenFlyer.


Honda CRF Rally review (on): A great lightweight adventure bike

Building on the growing appetite for adventure, Honda have launched the funky CRF Rally. Capitalising on the overwhelming success of the Africa Twin and the kudos gained from becoming front runners, once again, in the prestigious Dakar Rally, the Honda CRF Rally is designed to be a small-capacity adventure bike for the masses. 

And it certainly looks the part, taking its styling inspiration from the factory Rally bike with clear screen, engine shrouded in bodywork and even a left-hand side tool kit that mimics the secondary fuel tanks of the race bike.

Under the shiny and stylish plastic is essentially the CRFL, which is a good fun, last-for-ever, trail bike. But the protection the extra bodywork gives the Rally model is significant, giving the rider much improved wind protection which in turn makes it much more capable of bigger mileage.

The cc single cylinder, four-stroke engine is adequate when it comes to road use, with enough power to sit between 60 and 70mph. Off road it is ample, with soft, but progressive power that makes it ideal for a day green laning; just don’t expect to cover ground like a Dakar rider.

While most of the bike, including the engine, is identical to the CRFL, the Rally gets a larger l fuel tank that Honda say will get you over miles from full before it splutters to a halt, thanks to managing mpg.

Extra long-travel suspension and high ground clearance enhance its long-distance off-road ability, but do mean a clamber up to mm to park your posterior. The L’s fork is replaced with a 43mm Showa unit boasting longer legs and rally-tweaked settings, and black Alumite aluminium rims replace plain for the Rally, while they’ve grown to a inch front and 18” rear combination, allowing for more focused off-road tyre choices.

The front-end gets a larger floating front disc – while ABS is present, but can be switched off for the rear wheel. A skid plate protects the machine’s underside and the gear lever features a folding tip to give it a little more chance of surviving tumbles, or tangles with the scenery. Whether you’re in Peru or Putney, it’s a great looking beast to be seen on.


The Rally is a great addition to the Honda range that fills a niche by providing a lightweight adventure bike that's happy on road or off. It's just a shame it doesn’t go as well as it looks.

Price: £
Engine: cc single-cylinder four-stroke DOHC
Power: [email protected]
Torque: ftlb
Weight: kg

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Review: Honda CRFL vs Kawasaki KLXS

Page 1 of 2

gallery1With dual-sport continuing to be the fastest growing segment of motorcycling, Honda has finally given us a modern motorcycle for this market. With their XRL dating back to the time of the dinosaurs, and their illfated attempt at turning the popular CRFF trail bike into a dual-sport for ’’09, it was time for Honda to step up to the plate, and the CRFL might just be a home run. As a note, the CRFL was not a bad motorcycle, but at $4, it was unable to compete against the competitively priced but more refined Yamaha XT, and the more trail-focused Kawasaki KLXs. With the introduction of the all new CRFL Honda now undercuts both the XT and the KLXs, putting the CRF in the lead as the new price class leader (only the Suzuki $4, DRSE is cheaper, but is greatly outclassed in this crowd).

Unlike European dual-sports, which are typically hardedged dirt bikes with turn signals and a headlight, Honda constructed the new CRFL from scratch as a purpose-built small displacement dual-sport. This means that you won’t find ground-breaking single-track performance in the new CRF, but you will find a motor that is well balanced with a smooth counterbalanced single cylinder. The CRF was designed with the one-bike-in-the-garage approach making it as good a lightweight commuter as it is a weekend play bike.

Looking at the CRFL we immediately paired it up against the KLXs. Both have six-speed transmissions, four-stroke liquid-cooled motors, inverted forks, digital dashes, nearinch seat heights and two-gallon gas tanks. The difference is that the KLXs has a dirt heritage (and technology) dating back to the ’90s, and it’s still carbureted, whereas the CRFL is a new design for with fuel injection. The potential for the new budget-priced CRFL to crush the KLXs made us salivate at the opportunity to ride them back-to-back and see for ourselves.


On the Street

gallery5We spent a little time on the street, riding from trailhead to trailhead on lazy country roads, so we cannot attest to the CRF’s highway manners, but on the backroads it carved the corners as well as any dualsport with a smooth and refined manner. For a first-year model, the fuel injection was surprisingly well sorted out. The cc motor was plucked straight from the CBR and tuned for DS duty; this power plant has a good history already, so maybe we should have had more faith… after all it is a Honda.

On the Trails

gallery4The first time I lifted the CRFL off its side stand it was obvious this is not a light bike by standards. Honda claims a curb weight of pounds, which is three pounds heavier than a DRZs, and nearly 23 pounds heavier than the Kawasaki! But like so many Hondas that weight melts away as soon as the wheels begin to turn, letting you forget all about it until you have to pick it up on the side of the trail. The only time we noticed the extra heft was riding over rough surfaces where the budget suspension became obvious while the back end jumped from side-to-side and bottomed out while scratching for traction. Maybe if there had been an XT with us we wouldn’t have noticed this as much, but against the well suspended KLXs it was the CRF’s greatest and most obvious weakness. Where we could ride the KLXs over whoops, climb hills and jump over small obstacles, at nearly dirt bike speeds, the Honda had to be ridden much slower.

The rear suspension is noticeably under-sprung and under-dampened at even a modest pace. At six feet and pounds I noticed this more than our 5'10" pound tester did, but even he found the CRFL unsettled when the pace was turned up. If your idea of a day of dualsporting includes sitting down while riding backroads, forest roads and a connecting trail once in a while, the CRFL may be the perfect bike for you, and for many it will be. If your days are spent in search of new single track, you’ll soon discover the budget suspension on the CRFL and may want to ride the competition before laying your money on the table. The Kawasaki has been the suspension class leader since its introduction in , and is challenged only by the $6, WRR. Suspension is undeniably the CRF’s greatest weakness.

The motor on the CRFL feels modern, with a crisp quick start regardless of weather or temperature and requires almost no warm-up. No fuss, fancy routines, or patents required. The carbureted KLXs motor often requires patience, a starting “routine” and some time to let things warm up to get it going. Power between the CRFL and the KLXs felt similar with only the delivery of momentum differing. The CRF has a smooth linear delivery, whereas the KLXs has a snappy rev-happy delivery which requires more shifting to keep it in the happy spot. One is not better than the other, only different, as both me and the other tester had our favorites. As a dirt rider, I preferred the “snap,” of the KLXs, whereas the other tester often preferred the CRFL. What the Honda lacks in “snap” it makes up for in a confidence-inspiring linear delivery of power in any gear, at any time. This is not the bike if your idea of a fun day is jumping or powering over obstacles, but riders new to the trail will find it a comfortable, familiar friend in no time at all.

We both preferred the Kawasaki when standing up on the trails, noting the handlebar-to-peg height felt more natural, and the KLX also felt narrower between the legs. However, when sitting, the Honda received the thumbs up with a far more comfortable seated position on the broad comfortable seat—certainly an advantage if used for commuting or travel. The weight distribution on the Honda is neutral and as we mentioned, the extra heft is forgotten when the bike goes into motion. If you spend much time picking your bike up it’s a little more noticeable, and I’d like to see Honda find a way to put the CRF on a diet.

Fit n' Finish

gallery93The CRFL is typical Honda with bodywork that integrates cleanly, hiding unsightly fasteners and seams, in a level of refinement generally reserved for street machines. The controls are well designed, easy to use and blend into the rest of the bike. First glance confirms the CRFF is no parts-bin bike or a “slap some signals on it and call it a dual-sport” bike. The CRFL is Honda’s salvo shot across the bow of its competition, letting the world know that this Honda is a serious contender. The CRF even has a locking tool box on the left side of the bike that blends perfectly into the body panels and can be easily removed. When removed the tool box leaves clean lines with hardly any evidence it was ever there… nice touch Honda! The seat is broad and well finished, and indicates it will become the class leader in comfort when riding on the street. The foot pegs are also best-in-class, being wide and cleated for traction with large open spaces to easily clear mud.

*For a list of other great small displacement adventure bikes, check out our Best Used cc Adventure/Dual-Sport Bikes article.

(continued on page 2.)

Honda CRF250F / @MotoGeo Review

A few weeks ago James left a comment on YouTube asking about everything I’ve done to the CRFL since I bought it. In the back of my mind, I’d already been debating doing a long-term review of the L; after upgrading some video equipment and software I decided to finally give it a go.

Considering that the average watch time on my YouTube videos is less than two minutes, a lot of content lands on the cutting room floor. For folks that are looking for “the long story” I also wanted to publish a long-form blog for a more in-depth look at life on a CRFL.

Bike Modifications

First, to answer James’s question, what have I done to the bike versus stock? When I bought the bike it had a little over 2, miles on it. The previous owner(s) had installed various items (listed below).

  • Two-Brother’s Exhaust
  • Zeta Hand Guards
  • Seat Concepts Seat
  • Pro Moto Billet Cargo Rack
  • Flying Tiger Graphics

CRFL Train Trestle MotoADVR

I, unfortunately, did not get the stock seat or the stock exhaust. The Seat Concepts seat is probably % of what I expect from a seat, especially on a bike like this. I do however wish I had the stock seat so I could use that if I plan on racing, blasting local trails, or just commuting to work, that way I can save the “upgraded” seat for long days in the saddle. The Two-Brothers muffler sounds excellent. That’s, of course, a matter of taste; I like to hear the “Braaap” of the engine when I’m flogging the L around the backroads, but that’s not for everyone. Off the street and the race track however, I wish I still had the factory exhaust. There are a number of “trails” on the outskirts of the city I want to explore for photo opportunities, but I want to avoid any “Imperial Entanglements”. The aftermarket “silencer” is anything but.
Modifications I’ve done:

  • GoCruise Throttle Lock
  • Tusk Folding shift lever (Fits CRFR)
  • Honda steel folding Shift Lever (from CRFL Rally)
  • Oxford Heaterz (Heated grips)
  • ROX bar risers (2” only use for ADV riding, remove for racing)
  • RAM Mount 1” ball handlebar mounts x2
  • Pro-Taper 7/8” bars (CR High Bend)
  • Flatland Racing Skid Plate
  • Flatland Racing Radiator Guard
  • Double-take mirror (still need a second one)
  • Giant Loop Exhaust Heat Shield
  • Kriega Luggage OS Base (“back-bone”)
  • 13 tooth front sprocket
  • 42 tooth rear sprocket (still use stock chain length)

The CRFL came with a traditional steel shift lever. I guess Honda assumed the majority of L owners weren’t venturing too deep in the woods, that was mission two after heated grips.

CRFL Clifton Road MotoADVR

Oxford Heaterz have been game-changers on the Scrambler, so to extend the “dirt season” I bought a second set for the L straightaway. Evolving from adventure riding a Scrambler to riding a (more) proper dirt machine took time. At first, I felt like my hands were totally in the wrong place for standing up while riding the L, so I installed a set of 2” ROX bar risers. ROX risers add a lot of flexibility, you can bring bars closer or further away from you depending on the bike. After getting more acclimated to the skinnier bike, I found the risers were problematic for riding the bike hard off-road, especially on the hill climbs. Swapping risers out is a cinch, so I remove them to race and put them back on for “adventure” duty. I ran the stock Honda bars until my little mishap back in February. The Honda bars bent like tinfoil in the crash, so I bought a set of Pro-Taper bars at a local store so I could go out and ride that weekend. The Pro-tapers are lighter and a direct bolt-on replacement. That said, they have the crossbar that looks cool, but is somewhat problematic considering the busy “dashboard” I have. I expect I will swap the 7/8 bars for a newer set of /8” to 7/8” “fat bars” in the future; which unfortunately means the expense of new adapters/risers and so on.

Street Bike Pros

The L is only one year newer than my Scrambler, and yet comes with a handful of creature comforts that are not included on a bike almost twice the price:

  • Digital dash
  • Fuel gauge
  • Helmet lock
  • Locking tool compartment
  • Locking gas cap

Service Intervals on the L are every 8, miles; which is actually longer than the intervals on the Scrambler.

CRFL broken asphalt MotoADR

The Honda&#;s quarter-liter mill also sips the gas when you stay off the highway. I&#;ve not sat down to do the numbers, but I&#;ve heard high sixties and seventies tossed out on various forums. The stock suspension is also pretty plush for street duty. I cross the heart of the city during my morning commute; while not Detroit, Dayton does a pretty lousy job of patching potholes so that dual-sport suspension makes for a much smoother ride.
I find the steering on the Scrambler to be a bit lazy, whereas the L&#;s 21&#; front makes for very &#;precise&#; steering through the twisties. Now, this is also a matter of taste, some folks will find the 21&#; front wheel &#;twitchy&#;, and that &#;precision&#; does fade away once you get the bike up to interstate speeds, at which point it wants to &#;stand up&#; pretty much all the time.
The L&#;s engine came out of the CBRR. While I&#;ve not had the pleasure of riding the CBR, I assume it&#;s as predictable as the L with smooth throttle response and linear power delivery. The L has about 18HP (22 on paper), so it&#;s very forgiving for new and returning riders. In a similar vein, as a dual-sport, the L is built to withstand some punishment. Like a dirt bike, it&#;s expected owners will drop this bike on the trail, so it&#;s not a big deal if you forget to put the kickstand down in the parking lot or have a low-speed spill at a stop sign.
CRFL Jackstand MotoADVR

While not exactly built with dirt bike DNA, the L is still really easy to work on. The wheels are designed to be changed easily, which would be expected from an off-road race bike, and oil changes are a breeze (despite cartridge oil filters). I usually get services done on the Honda in about half the time I spend working on the Triumph (sans pounds doesn&#;t hurt either). Parts are also cheap. Brake pads and oil changes are both half what I pay for the Scrambler. Being a Honda, I have access to something like four dealerships within a minute drive, and OEM parts are cheap and easy to get online.

Street Bike Cons

The L&#;s max speed is about 80~85 mph. I have no beef with riding the highway to work through some 65 mph zones, but I don&#;t feel comfortable with sustained speeds above 70 mph for more than about an hour. I suppose the engine can handle it, but ultimately I just don&#;t think it&#;s good to run the bike that high in the rev range for that long.
CRFL Dayton Commute MotoADVR

I&#;m ambiguous about the rev range because the L doesn&#;t come with a tachometer. I guess I&#;m old school, I like dual analog clocks. The digital dash is nice, it&#;s easy to see how fast I&#;m going, but I really wish I knew how hard I was pushing the engine. Especially because it&#;s not uncommon for me to spend an entire day on the bike.
That locking tool compartment is really awesome. You know what would be more awesome? If there was a factory Honda tool kit in it. For every other country on earth, Honda ships the L with a tool kit to do basic maintenance tasks. US built L&#;s have a slightly lower MSRP, but no tool kit. I&#;d really like to have a conversation with the decision-maker over at Honda USA so I could understand what that&#;s all about.
While I have no qualms about riding the L just about anywhere, I admit it could use a little more poke. The L is down a few ponies compared to the other bikes in its class, like the WR It gets the job done, but I&#;d give up such long service intervals for just a little more juice.
Speaking of juice, the Honda will sip the gas when you&#;re putting around the backroads and trails, but if I&#;m running 60+ from home to Kentucky I need to make sure I find a gas station every miles or less. Admittedly, I&#;m typically ready to take a break every miles, but there are certainly places in rural America where it&#;s tough to find a gas station and I wish I had just a little more reserve.

Dirt Bike Pros

At inches, the Honda has reasonably low seat height (DR and XT are lower). Now, some folks are still going to say the 34 inches is still really tall, I&#;m 5&#;10&#; with a inch seat height, once I sit down on the L and the suspension settles, I can flat foot the bike no problem.
With an MSRP of $5,, the L is the cheapest bike in its class. While five-grand isn&#;t exactly cheap, that&#;s really affordable compared to a dedicated dirt bike.

The L is also fuel injected. In the street bike world that&#;s nothing revolutionary, but off-road, there are still a lot of bikes rocking carburetors. On the same note, I know some folks want the simplicity of carburetors, but I have a hard time complaining about the ease of starting the L on cold winter mornings.
Per my comments above, the service manual says to change the oil every 8, miles. That&#;s eons by dirt bike standards, many of which hover around 8 hours. The &#;s sister bike, the L requires a lube job every miles.
With the seat concepts seat, the L is long-distance comfortable. In the last year, I&#;ve done multiple + mile days on the saddle, and at least one mile day.

CRFL Great Miami River MotoADVR
Per my comments about being forgiving, the Ls linear power delivery really shines off-road. I love power sliding the rear wheel and riding on-the-pipe as much as the next guy, but there&#;s something to be said for reliable, predictable power to the ground when there&#;s no trailer waiting on you back in the parking lot.

Dirt Cons

Tanner from the Attention Deficit calls the CRFL the &#;Too Fatty&#;. That nickname is pretty apt considering the L is the heaviest bike in its class at pounds.
The &#;low&#; seat height I just mentioned also comes at a price; the L has about 10 inches of ground clearance. That&#;s plenty for dual-sport and adventure riding, but when I&#;m chasing my buddies with orange bikes around the woods it takes a lot more finesse to get over those logs.
Honda CRFL Clay Single Track MotoADVR

As just about any other L review will tell you, that plush suspension I love on the street starts showing its weaknesses when ridden hard off-road. With 9-inches of travel, thus far the Honda suspenders have been well suited for my flavor adventure riding, but I admit I&#;ve started to notice their limitations at John Vincent. The stock travel is plenty for recreational riding, but when competing against real dirt bike adjustable forks with inches of travel, the Too Fatty is clearly outgunned.
Speaking of those logs, lofting the front wheel with the stock gearing (14T front, 40T rear) takes more effort than I think it should. That linear power delivery is great, but much like my Scrambler, it&#;s mid-range power, so the L doesn&#;t have the meaty low-end grunt or outright horsepower to be pulling dank whoolies without a little help.

Living with the CRFL

Like I said in the video, I wish this bike was lighter. I wish it had an extra gallon of gas. I wish I didn’t have a reservation about riding three hours on the highway (I’ve towed it… then I’m in the car for 3 hours which is worse).

CRFL Gravel Pit MotoADVR

I wish this bike would loft the front wheel with less effort. And I wish this bike’s suspension spec was a couple notches higher. Unfortunately, that bike really doesn’t exist. You can find a used CRFL as low as $ For that price, you can buy a KLR or a reasonable dirt bike. The KLR, DRZ, and XRL all bring a lot to the table, less weight is not one of them. I’ve been eyeballing a few XR’s on the market, but that does mean I’ll have to live without EFI and the “magic button”. Already owning a Honda, my first thought was upgrading to the L. I’ve seen quite a few barely used ones listed for a couple grand under MSRP. That bike would probably do exactly what I want it to do; it’s also about 35 pounds lighter than the , but as I mentioned above, I’ll be changing oil every other weekend. That in itself isn’t that big a deal, but what about valve maintenance? I’ve heard a few comments from folks talking about “adventurizing” the KTM EXC (in lieu of the Enduro), which is arguably a competitor to the CRFL, but in both cases, I’m mostly concerned about the frequency of valve maintenance (I’d love to hear comments about this topic). The trouble is, the L is just about smack dab in the middle between adventure, big-bore singles, and pound un-plated dirt bikes. It’s hard to find a bike that dabbles in all of these disciplines that costs less, requires less maintenance, and can still cruise the highway without drawing attention from the constabulary.


I will also say the WRR (at least on paper) is everything the L is, and more. However, “better” does come with a price; from the listings I’ve seen, the WR commands about a $~ premium over a comparable year L. I was seriously considering that switch until I finished the Race at John Vincent. $ more could get me on a bike with fewer el-bees and a little more poke, but it would still be 45 pounds heavier than a lot of other bikes on the starting line. That combined with the hassle of trying to sell/trade the L, I’ve started window shopping for a dedicated dirt bike.

CRFL Beta Xtrainer Shawnee MotoADVR

Assuming my body will keep putting up with it, I want to keep racing. I really enjoy gnarly woods riding, so I’ve been flirting with the idea of bringing home a 2-stroke as a third bike; assuming I can successfully negotiate with the Minister of War & Finance. If I brought a third bike home, I would then have an “extra” bike so I could take one of my buddies riding in the woods that doesn’t have their own off-road machine. Having the L around also means I have a very capable bike that doubles as a teaching tool for friends that want to learn how to ride on or off-road, or buddies that want to sharpen their off-road skills before jumping on their pound adventure bike.

KTM Enduro MotoADVR

If I had a dedicated dirt bike in the shed, I could potentially see trading the L for a KTM Enduro or something of that ilk. The new engine (also in the ) is counterbalanced, so it won’t be as buzzy on the pavement. The only weighs about 20 pounds more, which is a small concession to pay for a bike that’s arguably better in every category except price and weight. Right now the price delta is high enough that I’m not interested in pursuing it; combined with the fact the last thing I need during a race is 20 extra pounds to pick up.

Despite wanting more performance out of the CRFL, the bike has done everything I’ve asked it to do. Any trouble I’ve had with the bike in the woods up to this point has been my lack of skill and my lack of conditioning. I admit, similar to wrestling and adventure bike in the woods as your first off-road experience, the L is probably retarding my learning curve a little bit, but for the most part, both of us are fat and my conditioning as of late is laughable (motocross is the most physically demanding sport, I’m just saying).

For the money, it’s really hard to find a more appropriate bike (for me) to replace the L. As I said, it’s a great bike to commute, adventure ride, explore a little deeper in the woods, and teach someone else to ride. The L has done mile days without complaint, and I’ve still ridden the next day. If “jack of all trades master of none” is a trait you appreciate in motorcycles, the L has you covered… and thus I shamelessly have two swiss army knives parked in the shed.

CRFL Twin Creek MotoADVR

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Reviews honda crf 250

Honda CRFL: Beginner Bike Profile + Owner Reviews

The Swiss Army knife of motorcycles

Dual Sport motorcycles are fantastic choices for new riders. Having a bike that is comfortable on the street, and will go off onto the dirt trails without hesitation, is such a perfect mix.

The CRFL has been a sales success for Honda since its introduction. Few bikes instill such a feeling of correctness from the moment you first park your butt in the saddle. Just as a swiss army knife is great because it can do so many things, that’s the CRFL.

Our Take: Why You Should Buy a CRFL

 Honda CRFL Side View In Red

The CRFL has long been a popular choice. Renowned for comfort, smoothness, reliability, and value, this bike does it all “good.” It is not the most powerful in its segment, but it has really good power over a wide rpm range. It isn’t the “best” on pavement, or ”best” on dirt, it is not a bike that takes any single “top” place in individual performance rankings, yet it is consistently near the top. It is balanced in all areas, at a great price.

Being that good, and being Honda reliable, helps this bike hold value year after year, and a bike you should strongly consider.

I love how this bike looks! In the Rally package, you can fully see the Africa Twin heritage coming through. It looks much more expensive than it actually is. You never feel like you are on a budget ride when you show up beside more expensive machines.

Bottom line: The CRFL is a good-looking and affordable bike that is hard to find on the used market. Owners either never sell, or when listed they sell very quickly. The massive respect this bike has in the dual-sport community is well earned.

Reasons to buy the CRFL:

  • Honda comfort and reliability
  • The suspension is a great balance both on and off-road
  • The cc engine is great on gas
  • The lower seat height promotes flat-footed stops. Great confidence builder for new riders
  • Parts are easy to find, making repairs quick and affordable
  • Endless aftermarket upgrades to keep you happy for years

Reasons not to buy the CRFL:

  • Some feel the slightly heavier than the competition aspect is a downfall
  • It has good power, not the most power in its class

Production Run & Notable Model-Year Changes

Production Run & Model Generations

Honda introduced the CRFL was first released in , using a detuned version of the engine from the CBRR sportbike. The sharing of parts from many corners of the Honda lineup provided significant cost savings without cutting corners on performance and durability.

The CRFL is a dual-sport bike engineered for the widest range of riders.

First Generation ()

Honda CRFL Front Side View

  • With a cc single-cylinder four-stroke, making hp, the first-gen CRFL was offered excellent value for money. Fuel-injected, with Showa suspension, Honda built a well-balanced package.
  • With the gallon fuel tank and lower seat height ( in) compared to competitor bikes, the CRFL shined as a commuter bike. The long-travel suspension made this a perfect companion for weekend trips off-road.
  • Known to be extremely smooth and vibration-free, with an easy shifting transmission.

Second Generation ()

 Honda CRFL Rally Side View

  • For the model year, the CRFL expanded the options with the addition of ABS and the Rally model.
  • Revisions to the engine included a new throttle body, exhaust header, muffler, and revised fuel injection mapping. Horsepower improved by 2 at the peak
  • The CRFL Rally gets the same updated engine as the standard L, but it also gets a larger fuel tank, new Dakar-style bodywork, handguards, a windscreen, skid plate, and more suspension travel.

Third Generation ()

 Honda CRFL Side View

  • The Honda lineup included the introduction of the CRFL and CRFL Rally
  • A new cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke bumped the power output to hp&#;a hp gain. Now Euro 5 compliant.
  • The CRFL sheds lbs from the previous CRFL

Owner Reviews of the Honda CRFL / CRFL Rally

CRFL in the woods Photo Credit:

Press & Magazines

Honda CRFL and CRFL Rally first ride review

“Get a Honda CRFL (or a Rally if you want that ADV look and feel without the massive powerplant). It’s economical (starting at $5,). It won’t win any bike night awards, but it will turn anyone (except, perhaps, those who are short) into a confident and comfortable rider, whether that’s a first-time bike owner or someone returning after a long time away from two wheels.”

– Revzilla

Review: Honda CRFL vs Kawasaki KLXS

“First glance confirms the CRFF is no parts-bin bike or a “slap some signals on it and call it a dual-sport” bike. The CRFL is Honda’s salvo shot across the bow of its competition, letting the world know that this Honda is a serious contender.”

– Bret Tkas, (Feb )

Reddit &#; r/CRFL

“My ‘18 CRFL, I’m in love with this bike”

– u/PerformanceHot

What Owners Like

  • The WR is way higher off the ground, so if you&#;re shorter like me (5&#;7&#;) it&#;s nice to be able to almost flat foot the CRF.
  • Pros &#; Comfortable ergonomics, good smooth usable power, low seat height
  • The price – You can easily find a good condition CRFL for around $3,, and at that price, it’s a no-brainer.

What Owners Complain About

  • Suspension just not as good as Yamaha WRR
  • Heavy. On the road, it is not such an issue but you feel it off-road.

The Bottom Line

The CRFL and CRFL Rally sit solidly in the middle of the Dual-Sport group. You will find this Honda to be a great overall bike, especially for a new rider or someone coming back after a long stint away from two-wheel fun.

Careful searching the used market will likely yield examples that have benefitted from some aftermarket upgrades, such as suspension improvements and power adders.

If you are thinking new, the CRFL addresses many of the complaints of the older ’s. Check out the Honda CRFL here.

CRFL wheelie Photo Credit:

Honda CRFL Competitors

If you’re looking at a CRFL, you may also want to check out

Honda CRFL Specifications

The important specs are listed below. See the Wikipedia page for more detailed specifications.

Enginecc liquid-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke
Power hp ( kW) @ 8, rpm
Torque lb-ft ( N⋅m) @ 6, rpm
TransmissionWet multi-plate hydraulic, constant-mesh 6-speed, chain 14T/40T

F: Showa telescopic upside down 43mm

R: Showa mono-shock Pro-Link with preload adjustability


F: Disc, twin-piston caliper

R: Disc, single-piston caliper


Front : 51P

Rear : / 62P


L : 2, mm ( in)

W : mm ( in)

H : 1, mm ( in)

Seat height mm ( in)

L &#; kg ( lb)

Rally &#; kg ( lb)

Fuel capacity

L &#; l ( imp gal; US gal)

Rally &#; l ( imp gal; US gal)

Fuel consumption77 mpg ( L/ km)

CRFL Communities & Resources

Facebook Groups


Blogs & Wikis

YouTube Reviews




Honda CRFL / CRFL Rally / CRF L Photo Gallery

HONDA CRF Motorcycle Review - (සිංහලෙන්)

Honda CRFRX MC Commute Review

\n \n ENGINE\n cc, DOHC, liquid-cooled single; 4-valve\n \n \n BORE x STROKE\n x mm\n \n \n COMPRESSION RATIO\n \n \n \n FUEL DELIVERY\n Fuel injection w/ 44mm throttle body\n \n \n CLUTCH\n Wet, multiplate clutch; cable actuated\n \n \n TRANSMISSION/FINAL DRIVE\n 5-speed/chain\n \n \n FRAME\n Aluminum\n \n \n FRONT SUSPENSION\n 49mm inverted fork, compression and rebound damping adjustable; in. travel\n \n \n REAR SUSPENSION\n Gas-charged shock, spring preload, compression and rebound damping adjustable; in. travel\n \n \n FRONT BRAKE\n Axial-mount 2-piston caliper, mm disc\n \n \n REAR BRAKE\n 1-piston caliper, mm disc\n \n \n WHEELS, FRONT/REAR\n Die-cast aluminum; 21 x in. / 18 x in.\n \n \n TIRES, FRONT/REAR\n Dunlop Geomax AT81; 80/ / /\n \n \n RAKE/TRAIL\n °/ in.\n \n \n WHEELBASE\n in.\n \n \n SEAT HEIGHT\n in.\n \n \n FUEL CAPACITY\n gal.\n \n \n CLAIMED WET WEIGHT\n lb.\n \n \n WARRANTY\n 6-month\n \n \n AVAILABLE\n Now\n \n \n CONTACT\n\n \n

You will also be interested:

HONDA CRFL ( - ) Review

MCN rating4 out of 5(4/5)

Owners' rating out of 5(/5)

SpecsOwners' reviewsBikes for saleFor sale

The Honda CRFL is a relatively lightweight single off-roader


  • Highly capable off-road ready trailie
  • Represents decent value for money
  • Should prove reliable and entertaining

At a glance


Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes

4 out of 5(4/5)

Author: Michael Guy

Published: 14 January

Updated: 29 July

If you want a lightweight dual sport trail bike that can handle a short commute in the week and then head into the countryside on green lanes at the weekend – the Honda CRFL is it.

The CRF is a friendly trail bike, ideally suited to novice riders or occasional off roader, but lacks the focus of its relatives. The ride inspires confidence with stable handling and a neutral feel. The engine is friendly and won’t intimidate you, even on loose surfaces.

The bike was given a slight makeover in , and then in a more major update was announced for the whole CRF range, and the CRFL was among the models included. Finally, in it was announced that the CRFL and CRF Rally would be replaced by the CRFL and CRF Rally respectively. 

It’s not often that a sub 25hp motorbike gets us excited, but this is a real world machine, that will give anyone with the slightest inclination for off-road a bike that will deliver performance and classic days out for years.

After you've read this review and our owners' reviews, you could head over to the Honda CRF owners' club on Facebook or the CRFsonly message board.

Honda CRFL vs CRF Rally

And for those who are after something a little more hardcore, the Honda CRF Rally might be worth a look. The protection the extra bodywork gives the Rally model is significant, giving the rider improved wind protection which makes it much more capable of high mileage.

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine

4 out of 5(4/5)

Good ergonomics, suspension and chassis means that the CRF is well balanced either on road when you’re sat down or off-road stood up. It weaves slightly at speeds over 65mph, but this could be just down to tyres.

The CRFL certainly looks the part but despite its motocross styling is incredibly easy to ride making it a great novice-friendly machine.

It has relatively low bars, which is harder on the wrists than some of its rivals. 


Next up: Reliability

4 out of 5(4/5)

The CRF uses a de-tuned Honda CBRR engine with the benefit of more low and mid range power. Soft, user friendly delivery will help you make good ground without getting you into trouble. It’s also very quiet, ideal for trail riding.

Derived from that of the CBRR, the liquid-cooled single has been tweaked to produce slightly more torque and bottom end power. As a result its delivery is progressive and predictable. There’s nothing wild, lairy or particularly exciting about it. Instead it’s a solid, reliable bike that gets you pretty much wherever you need to go. It’s a road bike first and a trail bike second but that said, after an hour my arse began to ache. Even so, the CRF easily raised a smile and I was more than happy to just potter along.

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value

4 out of 5(4/5)

Our Honda CRFL owners' reviews show a very strong score indeed. There don't appear to be any common faults to report. There are comments about the lack of damping on the standard suspension, but that's not unique to this bike by any stretch of the imagination. 

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment

4 out of 5(4/5)

We've done a few group tests over the years with the Honda CRFL and its rivals. You can find our verdicts below

Honda CRFL vs CCM GP vs Yamaha XT

Honda CRFL vs CCM GP vs Yamaha XT

If you’re not going to ride off-road a lot the GP isn’t the bike for you. CCM is offering customers a machine capable of long distance travel yet one that has serious off-road credibility. And that potential to go off the beaten track - and do it exceptionally well - is the CCM’s biggest selling point. While both the Honda and Yamaha are perfectly competent, they’re not in the same league. Both are primarily road bikes with off-road abilities while the CCM strikes a closer 50/50 balance. That’s why the CCM wins this test – it truly is the best of both worlds. For long road miles with the odd fire track, take a Ténéré. It’s versatile, robust, and works well on road. If you’re going to be commuting and want a weekend escape bike, buy the CRF. It’s light, easy and will do everything you ask of it for half the price of the CCM (but for half the excitement). If you’re serious about taking on the world and plan to be riding off-road as much as on asphalt then it’s the CCM that sets pulses racing.

Honda CRFL vs Kawasaki KLX vs Yamaha WRR

In comparison to the glory years of lightweight trailies where all the major manufacturers produced comparable bikes (see panel) the current trail bike sector is a limited one.

Kawasaki produce the proven KLX which is on our test. Yamaha’s WRR is a great bike but is more off road focussed than its rivals and the £+ RRP has actually meant that Yamaha have stopped importing the bike into the UK. With no Suzuki model in production we added the Reiju Tango into the mix.

Honda CRFL, £ new

The CRF uses the same engine as the CBR but is detuned with better bottom end power and more torque. And in the real world of off-road riding it works. The power delivery is smooth and predictable.

There is no power band, just smooth linear power and torque which enhances the easy to use character of the CRF. To an experienced off road rider used to competition Enduro bikes the CRF would be considered gutless.

It’s slower revving engine doesn’t have anything like the power of Honda’s CRFX Enduro bike. But this is a trail bike aimed at green-lining so the balance of power and handling fits the bill perfectly.

Kawasaki KLX, £ new 
Off road the Kawasaki is a bike you could ride all day. The suspension is soft enough to absorb bumps whilst maintaining good support and a look at the rear shock and large external gas cartridge highlights its off road credentials.

A lot of thought has clearly gone into how this bike performs off-road and there are some nice touches in terms of features and protection.

There is no aftermarket bash plate needed as there are loops added to the bottom of the frame itself to protect crucial engine components. The rear brake calliper also receives protection as standard. The KLX also comes with a good tool kit located in a neat pouch attached to the rear mudguard.

Reiju Tango, £ new
In many ways this bike is the odd one out in the test. Whilst it has some off-road pretence it is clearly lacking the dirt focus of the Honda or Kawasaki which is apparent from the styling, overly soft suspension and low front mudguard.

Physically it’s smaller than its rivals. It feels seriously light and manoeuvrable and the low seat height means that even short riders will easily be able to place both feet on the ground. 

Honda CRFL, £

 Kawasaki KLX, £ Reiju Tango, £
EngineLiquid-cooled four-stroke DOHC singleLiquid-cooled, four-stroke singleAir-cooled four stroke SOHC single
Max power23bhp22bhp18bhp
Max torque16ftlb15ftlbN/A
Front suspension43mm diameter upside down forks43mm diameter upside down forks, rebound adjustPaioli 37mm forks, no adjust
Rear suspensionPro-Link single shock, preload adjustUni-track single shock, preload and rebound damping adjustMonoshock, preload adjust

Kerb weight


Watch: Honda CRFL vs Kawaski KLX vs Reiju Tango on video


4 out of 5(4/5)

It’s an off road bike, so not masses available, but it has a neat digital dashboard with speed, tripometers and fuel gauge.

HONDA CRFL for sale with MCN

View more bikes for sale


Engine sizecc
Engine typeLiquid cooled, single cylinder, four stroke, DOHC, 6 gears
Frame typeSteel semi double cradle
Fuel capacity litres
Seat heightmm
Bike weightkg
Front suspension43mm upside down forks
Rear suspension40mm diameter shock with Honda pro link system
Front brakemm disk, twin piston caliper
Rear brakemm single piston caliper
Front tyre size21 x
Rear tyre size18 x

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption90 mpg
Annual road tax£45
Annual service cost£
New price-
Used price £3, - £4,
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty termTwo year unlimited mileage

Top speed & performance

Max power23 bhp
Max torque16 ft-lb
Top speed86 mph
1/4 mile acceleration-
Tank range miles

Model history & versions

Model history

model introduced

Other versions

CRFM, supermoto version introduced in

Owners' reviews for the HONDA CRFL ( - )

16 owners have reviewed their HONDA CRFL ( - ) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your HONDA CRFL ( - )

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: out of 5(/5)
Ride quality & brakes: out of 5(/5)
Engine: out of 5(/5)
Reliability & build quality: out of 5(/5)
Value vs rivals: out of 5(/5)
Equipment: out of 5(/5)
Annual servicing cost: £
4 out of 5The perfect trail bike

05 September by MJF65

Version: CRFLA (ABS)


Annual servicing cost: £

An extremely good trail bike and very good value. I'll probably upgrade to a at some stage but not for a while as my we'll set up for me. It's a very easy and enjoyable bike to ride on tarmac but needs money spent for trail riding to improve things like folding brake leavers, alloy bashplate, brushguards etc. The suspension is soft if you want to take on some of the more seriously challenging green lanes but more of that later.

Ride quality & brakes4 out of 5

Only a four on this as the rear shock is just too soft with no adjustability definitely the worst bit about the CRF but I knew that anyway. This is the Achilles heel of the CRF when upping the pace on more challenging green lanes, however a new Hagon shock adjusted to my weight and riding style has sorted that out. Fork action is soft but the damping action is good and a spring upgrade to suit your weight is a cheap and easy fix. Brakes are fine for the style of bike, ebc HH pads have improved their performance just remember to deactivate the abs when going down steep trails, I sometimes forget!

Engine5 out of 5

Probably the best feature of the CRF. It's never going to win any traffic light grand Prix but it's so smooth and willing great on both the road and the trail. The positive gearbox and smooth engine can be worked hard on twisty minor back roads which is fun, just avoid motorways.

Reliability & build quality5 out of 5

Excellent given it's a budget bike, very low maintenance. Honda's know how to build tough reliable trail/enduro bikes. Think of it as a softer more road friendly version of the old XR

Value vs rivals5 out of 5

Very easy to service yourself. Mine is used solely for green laning so tyres, wheel bearings, chain and sprockets and brake pads are replaced regularly. If ridden on the road these would last much longer. Shim valve adjustment and irridum spark plug means long service intervals. Regular air, oil and filter changes are all that's required if you do low mileages like me.

Equipment5 out of 5

Pretty good for a trail bike with ABS, fuel gauge and hazard warning lights, very modern compared to the DR it replaced. Maxxis IT Pro tyres work well on my local green lanes and although noisy on tarmac they grip well considering their aggressive pattern.

Buying experience: Bought privately in for a bargain price. I think I could sell it for more now!

4 out of 5Jack of all trades

12 April by Sir Gaddabout


Annual servicing cost: £20

Jack of all trades A bit heavy for really serious green lanes, but light enough to pick up when the inevitable happens. Whilst some have taken theirs around the world, the small fuel tank and hard seat make a long day in the saddle a chore. So ideal for short hops and around town. After a couple of years, however, I feel it's time to move on to something with a little more grunt, for not a lot of extra weight.

Ride quality & brakes4 out of 5

Can take easy green lanes in it's stride, and capable of easily holding 60 mph on the open road in between them. I find the suspension good enough for me (ten stone) and the brakes are more than adequate. Would handle a pillion for short distances.

Engine4 out of 5

Plenty of torque for a small engine, and very little vibration for a single, even when making progress.

Reliability & build quality4 out of 5

One or two bolt heads have gone rusty, and spokes have tarnished, despite never seeing a salty road. Otherwise, still comes up shiny when all the mud and grime is cleaned off.

Value vs rivals5 out of 5

Easy enough to work on yourself, although haven't done enough miles to need a valve check yet. Every thing else is straightforward.

Equipment3 out of 5

model doesn't have ABS, but I haven't missed it. No whizzy electronics or rider aids fitted, or needed, so less to go wrong.

Buying experience: Bought from main Honda dealer in Chiswick, and found them really helpful.

3 out of 5

09 March by scotty


Annual servicing cost: £

bad at most things but a usable commuter

Ride quality & brakes1 out of 5

probably the most uncomfortable bike on the market, you will last no more than an hour in the saddle

Engine1 out of 5

very unreliable engine. prone to oil / coolant leaks. issues noted with cam chain tensioner as well

Reliability & build quality1 out of 5

had 3 of these bikes, all 3 have developed engine related issues despite regular cleaning and main dealer servicing

Value vs rivals3 out of 5

prone to punctures so budget for ultra heavy duty tubes & slime

Equipment3 out of 5

basic lcd display but functional info on it

Buying experience: main honda dealer. paid full price

5 out of 5Great small capacity dual sport

18 February by Dave


Very versatile bike. Will happily sit at 60 on the road and will get to just about 80 if you ring it's neck. Very easy to live with. Easy to move around the garage! Is limited off road because of its weight. Pulling kgs out of a bog is a serious task.

Ride quality & brakes4 out of 5

Jack of all trades master of none. I'd describe the bike as a farm bike with 6 gears. It's great on single track roads. (Round the island of mull for example, it'll do small jumps over the bridges etc) is great on Forrest roads. I put a pair of Michelin trackers on it for a while but it was like putting expensive football boots on your gran.

Engine4 out of 5

For green Laning 23bhp feels like plenty. First gear feels really short and second needs the clutch half in for slow/technical off road. A happy little work horse. Just don't expect a n actual supermoto.

Reliability & build quality5 out of 5

Can't go wrong for the money. Had mine just over 2 years and all fixings are rust free. Header pipe is starting to show the odd early signs of rust at the welds. Otherwise great.

Value vs rivals5 out of 5

Runs on a thimble of fuel. Can have a lot of fun for a tenner. First service at miles done by honda garage for £49 (was discounted as part of the purchase deal).

Equipment4 out of 5

Get what you pay for. Does what you need it to.

Buying experience: Bought from Victor devines in Glasgow. Ex demonstrator with miles on the clock for £

4 out of 5Great little bike to help develop confidence and skills on greenlanes.

17 October by Leon B


Annual servicing cost: £

Frugal, fun and likes to be revved. Makes 20hp fun as an introduction to riding on greenlanes.

Ride quality & brakes4 out of 5

Brakes are sharp but progressive. Only let down by the suspension which lacks rebound damping making the ride a little vague when pushed on the road. Front end dive is alarming on the brake until you learn to trust it. Bought for learning how to ride off road so perfect for that. Comfort good for about miles but then I'm looking for a break and fuel. No experience of a pillion.

Engine5 out of 5

Perky, rather than powerful, but just what I need on greenlanes. Likes to be revved and you have to use the gearbox to keep momentum up on the road. Just as well that the gearbox is typical honda slick.

Reliability & build quality5 out of 5

So far so good but only covered around miles in 2 months.

Value vs rivals5 out of 5

Will be doing only around miles per year so a set of tyres and an oil change only the expected servicing requirements.

Equipment2 out of 5

It has a clock. No frills as this isn't what it is designed for.

Buying experience: Great service from On Yer Bike near Oxford.

5 out of 5Love honda bikes

03 July by Crfmax


Annual servicing cost: £75

Full yoshimura exhaust fitted from new ! Sounds fantastic does 80mph when wanted ! Really great fun to ride ! Can thrash it all day without hurting yourself or getting into any trouble !! done without any problems cannot recommend it enough !!

Ride quality & brakes5 out of 5

Engine4 out of 5

You always want a bit more bhp

Reliability & build quality5 out of 5

Value vs rivals5 out of 5

Equipment5 out of 5

Love the crf red colour

Buying experience: A dealer from leeds del free and they fitted yoshimura for free as well i paid about £

4 out of 5swapped CBx for CRFL quality is better on the X but this bike is better to use

11 June by Robbie

Version: CRFl


Annual servicing cost: £99

Swapped CBx for this bike quality is ok but not as good as the CBx. Fuel tank could be the bigger tank as the rally has fitted found the ignition key fiddly with other keys on the fob, im " tall and struggle to get on with bike gear on. Fuel cap is also an issue with the better hinged cap on the rally. Tyres take a bit of getting used to and will be changed out for better dual use tyres. The bike itself is great to ride and easy to use, clutch and controls are smooth and easy to use plenty of power for what im doing daily commute and some a road trips

Ride quality & brakes4 out of 5

Tyres could be more road focussed as this is where the bike is mainly used don't inspire confidence

Engine5 out of 5

good enough for what im doing mainly commute 14 miles per day £6- £10 per week in fuel

Reliability & build quality4 out of 5

Not up to the same level as the CBx but still to Honda high standard

Value vs rivals5 out of 5

first dealer service done by Eccose Motorcycles Aberdeen last week £99 great job throttle adjusted chain etc lubed and adjusted

Equipment4 out of 5

switch gear is similar to CBx but fuel cap etc could be better

Buying experience: Bought from Eccose motorcycles in Aberdeen this is the second bike I have bought from them sales guys are good and service dept is also good to deal with all minor issues resolved quickly they are always happy to chat when in for a coffee

5 out of 5What a cracking little bike!

23 May by Morphy


Annual servicing cost: £

I would recommend this bike % just remember it is a but it is no slouch. Best features smiles per miles per cost is fantastic value. I managed to get it for £ on the road. Ride it on any roads, but it really shines on single track country lanes I cant get enough. I rode it for seven hours no problem couple of comfort stops.

Ride quality & brakes5 out of 5

Again I've given the bike a 5 due to the cost of the vehicle. You are not getting showa suspension or brembo top notch brakes. It isn't the fastest, it isn't the most comfortable nor are the tyres the best. But what it is just a fantastic little machine. Pillion passenger is a non starter unless you weigh about six stone each it ain't going to happen.

Engine5 out of 5

Another 5 from me as said above remember what you are buying it is a accept that and ride it for that. Then you will not be disappointed its not going to be slow, slow, slow, by any means but it wont break the speed limit either. You will see 70 on the clock and it will gladly cruise 60/65 no problem. The little engine is a gem keep it in the right gear and you will be rewarded with lots of fun.

Reliability & build quality5 out of 5

The bike has been no bother whatsoever faultless runs bob on. Word of warning I put on Oxford heated grips and cracked the throttle body and had to buy a new one at £ Reason being the plastic on the throttle body towards the end where switch gear is very thin. This is due to the plastic being drawn up from this area in production to make a disk sort of. This stops the grip sliding along the throttle body onto switch gear. If your not confident and want them get dealer to do it. But serously easy enough just wish someone had warned me!

Value vs rivals5 out of 5

The first service was £ as said above but from now on I will do my own. Its going to be very cheap/reasonable not going to break the bank. The bike is very frugile on fuel I did 80 mile at a cost of £5 when fuel was £ litre. Tyres are wearing well, when I take my bikes out least mileage will be around 80 miles. When I get home always clean and re-wax chain. Doing that makes them last a very long time. I use dry lube for the purpose of not flinging it every where.

Equipment5 out of 5

For the money rear abs switchable, clock, fuel guage, rev counter and thats about it. I put on barkbuster storm hand guards, oxford heated grips and I have run usb power to the handle bars. I have put on phone holder and the usb feeds power to this, handy for sat nav. Now the tyres well what can be said about the stock tyres all I can say is Mmmmmmmmmmm! They add fun to the ride they are 50/50 road off road supposed to be. Fast road riding is very entertaining and because it adds fun I will be very, very tempted to fit them again. I get little if no feedback when fast riding on tarmac. I have not yet been off road with the bike having to much fun on the road at the moment.

5 out of 5A bike to travel the world on, by road and otherwise.

11 July by Lew 35



Annual servicing cost: £

I've done it all on this bike - taken it off road, climbed hills, ridden mountain passes in the highlands, tried long distance, and plenty of busy city riding. I've even tried a bit of green lane riding with a pillion (exciting, but not something I will be doing too often). It has performed flawlessly in everything. I've had it only for 4 months, but have done miles on it, and would buy this bike again in a moment. I traded in a bhp super bike for this, and I've had more fun on this already than any other bike I've owned. Having only 24bhp on tap will mean you'll have to change your riding style somewhat, but in this frame and set-up, it's perfect.

Ride quality & brakes5 out of 5

Stick to fields, dirt tracks, back lanes, and A and B roads, and this bike will give you as much fun as any other. It will get to 60mph in about 7 seconds, which when done down a narrow lane on something with the dimensions of a large bicycle, is plenty thrilling enough! Flying up through the gears with that single cylinder sound is endlessly fun. After about miles, my behind usually needs a break. Pillions tend to start complaining after about 25 miles. But this bike isn't really for carrying extra people.

Engine5 out of 5

This is really what makes the bike. Up to 5k rpm, it's quite restrained. from k rpm you notice a definite pick up. Then from k + the sound changes entirely, as well as the pace, and you'll find yourself looking for every opportunity you can to give it some. I swapped a litre sports bike for this, expecting it to keep me from being naughty, but it can still easily tempt a person to do otherwise. The engine became noticeably smoother (it was already very much so to begin with), and seemed more powerful after miles, so it's worth bearing that in mind if buying from new.

Reliability & build quality5 out of 5

It's early days, but so far perfect. Adjusted the chain once, when new, and had to do it again miles later. The tires were not the best when new, but after about miles improved considerably. The shock preload was set a little low from new, so I turned that up too. The adjustment was a little tricky to reach in-situ, so I removed the shock (which took all of 15 minutes), and did it like that, then popped it back on. It improved the handling on and off road immediately.

Value vs rivals5 out of 5

£7 will fill a tank, and even with spirited riding, I'll get miles out of that. The first service cost £, but doing it yourself would be simple. The engine and bike are very simple to work on, everything is easily accessible.

Equipment5 out of 5

It doesn't have anything it doesn't need, and is pretty well set up from stock. I tried changing the sprocket gearing from a 14/40 stock set up to a 13/42 set up. It is a common modification to gain extra acceleration. However, I wasn't impressed. Fuel economy went down, the speedo was completely out of whack, and it lost more practicality than it gained. The modification would make more sense if your riding was majority off road. Stock gearing is absolutely fine for a combination of terrains however, and I went back to the original set up.

Buying experience: I bought it from a main dealer. It was advertised at , and I got off, brand new.

5 out of 5Great little all round trail bike

28 November by Nick Williams


I bought mine as a winter all rounder and an ex dealer Demonstrator with miles. I wasn't expecting too much from it but have been really impressed. My intention was for a winter bike that can commute and green lane with ease. The CRF was the best choice I could've made. Light, agile with enough low down grunt to keep it interesting, this bike is truly a little gem. Many riders appear to modify them relentlessly but mine will remain stock as it's fine as it is. Very easy to maintain with 8k mile service intervals, running costs are minimal and i'm getting around 80 mpg. A super little bike, it does exactly what it says on the tin with a heap of fun thrown in for good measure. The new rally version looks fantastic too and will no doubt benefit commuters with that useful screen, ABS, slightly taller height and larger tank range.Honda have nailed it with the CRF continue to produce the goods with this brilliant little bike.

Ride quality & brakes4 out of 5

My only gripeStock tyres are passable but not fantastic

Engine5 out of 5

Reliability & build quality5 out of 5

It's a Honda 👍

Value vs rivals5 out of 5

Cheap to run and insure first service as part of my purchase Servicing every 8k Parts easily available.

Equipment4 out of 5

Handguards as part of standard equipment would be a nice touch.

Buying experience: Dealer purchased £ for mile reg machine.

5 out of 5

07 April by Trail Rider


Annual servicing cost: £

Easy to ride and very agile on the trail. Very well put together and never misses a beat.

Ride quality & brakes5 out of 5

Engine5 out of 5

Reliability & build quality5 out of 5

A quality bike.

Value vs rivals5 out of 5

Equipment5 out of 5

Enough for what it is.

5 out of 5

22 August by eatmorepies

Version: CRFL


Annual servicing cost: £

As a modern economy commuter bike with some off road ability the only change I'd make is to make the front brake lever adjustable. As a dedicated trail bike it's a bit heavy and the radiator looks vulnerable. I suggest it's a trail bike for the dry, flat tracks in the USA rather than the mud and stones in Derbyshire ( I use a CRF for that). I've done miles on it in 3 months - mostly rural A, B and tiny lanes - I've used it on dual carriageways and adopt a zen like calm as I ride at a relaxed 60mph. I'd like it to have a more road orientated seat - mile rides get a bit uncomfortable towards the end - I'm looking to have the seat remade by a custom guy. If Honda put their cc engine in it I'll be straight down the Honda shop with a bag of money, it's one of the nicest bikes I've ridden in the past 48 years.

Ride quality & brakes4 out of 5

The 4 is for the brakes not the ride quality. The rear is wooden, the front is good but the lever operates too far out. One day I'll get a spare lever and modify it to bring the actuation point closer to the bars. The clutch is smooth as silk and the gearbox is a joy - unless you decide to stop in a high gear for some reason. It doesn't like to click through gears whilst stationary so get down the box as you come up to a junction (as you should). As above, the seat is a bit thin for long days in the saddle - but I don't think the bike has been designed to be sat on for hours. I look for fuel at about 90 miles so I get a rest at least once a day. The riding position is superb: relaxed, upright and roomy. I haven't carried a pillion - I imagine it would be a bad experience for us both.

Engine5 out of 5

For a it's fine - excellent economy. As you would expect you need to rev the bike to make it come alive. Riding in a spirited way is very engaging and requires decent rider concentration - excellent fun. As above, put the engine into this chassis and I'd be straight down the Honda shop. I think going from 23 bhp to 28 bhp with the commensurate torque increase would make this a very fine all rounder. I'd like a smaller (and hence lighter) silencer. The one Honda fit to meet Californian emission rules is lumpen and sticks out too much.

Reliability & build quality5 out of 5

So far so good, I'll let you know about the finish after some winter rides - not in salt though.

Value vs rivals5 out of 5

First service was £98 - without a valve clearance check. As the service consists of an oil and filter change and a poke round it isn't going back to the shop. I checked the valve clearances at miles - they were spot on, the next check is now due at miles. The mile oil and filter change interval seems a bit long for a revving single so I did one last week at miles. I'll be doing one every miles. I was getting 82 mpg on the original trail tyres, at miles the original rear was worn out so I put a pair of Avon Trailriders on it. I have a smoother ride and now get 85mpg. this is excellent economy as I like to keep the engine buzzing. I expect the rear Trailrider to last at least miles.

Equipment5 out of 5

The equipment is what I would expect, i.e. very little. I like having the clock and two trips. The mirrors are excellent. I'd love a centre stand but I know that manufacturers won't make provision for them on a putative trail bike. I'd also like to see heated grips as standard on all new bikes. I've added a 12V socket for the phone/sat nav and a rack and top box to make the bike suit my purpose. I shall put muffs on it for the cold weather.

Buying experience: You don't need to pay full retail for the bike. £ for a new one is possible from many dealers.

5 out of 5the cheapest but most capable adventure bike

17 June by xrxlcrfan


Ride quality & brakes5 out of 5

Engine4 out of 5

Reliability & build quality5 out of 5

Value vs rivals5 out of 5

Equipment5 out of 5

Buying experience: Bought privately @ miles €

5 out of 5Unbelievably good for what it is

14 September by

I'd fancied a supermoto styled bike for a while. A DRZSM was on the cards, but they were going for silly money. I'd discounted the CRFM a year ago as I'd never owned a bike with such a small engine capacity and knew that it wouldn't be for me, so I was back to looking at sensible but predictable ER-6Fs, SVs, Fazers etc. Then an 11 month old CRFM with only miles came in to my local dealership. I'd dropped in for a can of chain-lube and it had literally just come in, hadn't been washed or prep'd or anything. I was told to take it out for an hour to see what I thought of it. Well, what a surprise a smooth, easy to ride, very economical baby-moto. Best of all, it was far more fun than I'd ever imagined a small capacity bike could be. Other than the reasonably wide bars, this bike is made for city work (and is good on the country roads as well). It will even hold it's own on the 70mph dual carriageways. I returned to the dealer, did the deal for £, and 2 months on am not regretting it one bit. Having done some basic maintenance & adjustment on it last weekend, I took the opportunity for a spin with friends this morning to check everything was ok. They were all on middleweight and sports s and could leave me on the faster A roads, but everywhere else I was up there - country roads, city streets, congestion, I left then for dust. It's the perfect bike for darting in and out of traffic jams, squeezing through gaps like a London bicycle courier, and for a it has an impressive turn of speed in the city. The sportsbike boys were stuck sitting in the jams whilst I just left them. Hilarious that a cheap to run had such an advantage on them in so many situations. You've probably gathered that I quite like this bike. Peanuts to insure, tax, fuel and maintain, but great fun and a little different to the run-of-the-mill bikes you usually see. I thought it might be a stop-gap bike to see me through the Winter, however as things stand at present I'm very tempted to keep it for the longer term :)

Ride quality & brakes5 out of 5

Engine5 out of 5

Reliability & build quality5 out of 5

Value vs rivals4 out of 5

Equipment4 out of 5

4 out of 5CRFL

16 February by joeyrule

Had the bike a week, great bike I brought for £ with 70 miles on the clock as a demo bike. Comftable riding position, nice and quick low down. You can ride steady at around mph for long periods. You could prolly get it for mph downhill. For the money it seems reliable, fun. Fun enough to keep me entatained! I really like it :)

Ride quality & brakes5 out of 5

Engine4 out of 5

Reliability & build quality5 out of 5

Value vs rivals4 out of 5

Equipment4 out of 5

5 out of 5wow !!

30 September by badou24

fantastic bike to ride on road and off .. iv had offroad bikes all my life and this is one of the best for trail riding

Ride quality & brakes4 out of 5

Engine5 out of 5

Reliability & build quality5 out of 5

Value vs rivals5 out of 5

Equipment5 out of 5

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