This neat little bike has been released for sale in the USA already by all accounts – unless President Trump has banned it. That wouldn’t surprise me for there was a time in motorcycle racing over there that machines manufactured other than in the United States were handicapped or banned altogether in order to give their own foremost make – Harley Davidson a chance to win races. The backward HD certainly needed it as this same protectionism was the reason the development of the bike hadn’t kept pace with the rest of the world and was still running inefficient side valve motors when the rest of us had moved onto overhead cam valve gear.
OK – enough of the politics – we can’t even reach agreement on Independance here in Scotland – let’s have more info on this cute lil number instead —
Honda CRF250 Rally 2017 in Detail
The CRF250 RALLY is ready for weekend adventure, long distance tour or the daily commute, with long travel suspension, large-disk ABS brakes, excellent weather protection from the CRF450 RALLY-inspired bodywork and an impressive cruising range. Engine performance combines solid bottom-end torque with substantial top-end power.
The CRF250 RALLY uses the CRF250L as its base, and adds a wide range of changes that make it a unique proposition in the market. Styling inspiration draws fully on the HRC CRF450 RALLY race machine. At the front, the ‘floating’ screen, fairing and radiator shrouds provide wind protection, with the rest of the machine showing off minimal MX style. The asymmetric headlights are LED, as are the indicators.
A large fuel tank allows extensive range, and the new digital dash includes a fuel gauge and tachometer. Long travel suspension and high ground clearance enhance its long-distance off-road ability and a larger floating front disc – plus ABS that can be switched off for the rear brake – delivers the stopping power. The EURO4-compliant engine boasts solid bottom-end torque coupled with substantial top end power thanks to changes compared to the original CRF250L, which include revised PGM-FI and throttle body, a new air box connecter tube and lightweight exhaust.
STYLING & EQUIPMENT
The CRF250 RALLY is designed to cover distance and its styling reflects this. Derived from the parts used by the CRF450 RALLY, the ‘floating’ screen, upper/lower fairing and side shrouds effectively shield the rider to offer excellent defence against the elements. Hand guards offer further protection, both for the hands and the brake and clutch levers.
From the machine’s mid-section back, the style is MX-sharp, with side panels and a seat/tank interface that help the rider move freely. A skid plate protects the machine’s underside and the gear lever features a folding tip. Seat height is 895mm, 20mm taller than the CRF250L.
The headlight is a compact, asymmetric dual LED unit while the rear light, LED indicators and number plate bracket tuck discreetly away. Cohesively laid-out, the digital dash features a speedometer, tachometer plus fuel gauge and clock.
The 10.1L (including 1.6L reserve) fuel tank delivers a range of over 320km thanks to fuel consumption of 33.3km/l (WMTC mode). The flat filler cap is hinged for convenience.
The CRF250 RALLY comes finished in Honda’s Extreme Red racing colour as a base, with black and white accents inspired by the HRC factory
The CRF250 RALLY’s frame is constructed from steel, with twin oval-section main spars and a semi-double cradle. A wheelbase of 1,455mm is matched to a 28.1° rake with 114mm trail and ground clearance of 270mm (15mm more than the CRF250L). Wet weight is 157kg.
A new 43mm Showa inverted fork shares the same 250mm stroke as its sibling, but with 50mm extra overall length. Light weight and rigid, one side houses the spring while the other provides damping control. Both spring rate and damping have been optimised to suit the CRF250 RALLY’s adventurous long-distance aspirations. A 17mm front wheel spindle (2mm larger in diameter) improves strength and handling feel.
Pro-Link rear suspension features a 265mm axle stroke, 25mm more than the CRF250L plus a leverage ratio revised for ride comfort. The Showa shock absorber is a single tube design with 40mm diameter cylinder.
The tapered aluminium swingarm incorporates a monoblock casting that provides the correct rigidity balance and reduces un-sprung mass. Extruded aluminium is used for the chain adjustment collar.
For extra braking power a 296mm floating wave-style disc is worked by a two-piston caliper. Two-channel ABS is fitted as standard and gives the rider the option to switch it off for the rear caliper.
Stylish black Alumite aluminium rims (21-inch front/18 rear) mark the CRF250 RALLY out and wear block pattern enduro-style tyres (front: 3.00-21 51P, rear: 120/80-18M/C 62P).
The CRF250 RALLY’s 250cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder DOHC engine’s performance is focused on bottom-end torque and high rpm power, plus a linear delivery. Peak power of 18.2kW is delivered @ 8,500rpm with peak torque of 22.6Nm arriving @ 6,750rpm.
The PGM-FI feeds the fuel/air mixture through a 38mm throttle body and draws air from the airbox via a direct connecting tube. The exhaust muffler has a diameter of 115mm, houses the catalyzer and uses two chambers. A large-bore downpipe helps the engine breathe and make more power.
The engine uses a compact roller/rocker arm valve train and cylinder head, with bore and stroke of 76x55mm. An offset cylinder reduces frictional losses while the piston itself incorporates a special surface material, plus a molybdenum coating. The oil pump features an internal relief structure that prevents aeration of relieved oil.
The crank journal employs a half-split, press-fit metal bearing while the crank bearing uses a cast-iron bush, reducing weight, smoothing the engine and strengthening the rigidity of the case housing, minimizing the internal diameter change due to thermal expansion.
A primary balance shaft further reduces vibration and the six-speed gearbox and clutch are manufactured to cope with the extra stress of riding off-road. The 10.7 kW heat-release radiator features a thin guide-ring cooling fan to maintain even temperatures at low speeds.
The CRF250 RALLY engine is EURO4 compliant.
Well – what can I say that hasn’t already been said by learned others in the last few paragraphs? Will this be my next bike? She certainly ticks many boxes and if she does what it says on the tin Mr Honda could be onto a winner here. This sector of the off-road market has been sadly neglected in recent years by the Jap manufactures which is why many of us have struggled on with big trailies. Fine when we were strong and fit but with the motorcycling community average age moving upwards mainly due to insurance pressures on younger riders it’s about time the manufacturers gave us something we can ride in reasonable comfort into our dotage.
M-mmm – let’s see – sell the Pan – trade in the MX125 – hell the Rally comes in just south of five and half grand – that’s her almost paid for already and if I do find that the sweet lil CRF covers all my future requirements in biking — through gritted teeth — ‘perhaps the Tall Ten can join the exodus’.
Throw in some creative accountancy and our June wedding would be paid for as well – thank you Mr Honda 🙂