Ma­jor changes to new CRF250 as Honda bids to win off-road power strug­gle O All-new en­gine O Higher red­line O Elec­tric start as stan­dard O 48mm Showa USD fork

Motorcycle News (UK) - - THIS WEEK -

Mo­tocross is a fast-mov­ing sport, and com­pe­ti­tion is tight at the top – so Honda are hop­ing they can move things on in a big way with the re­lease of the new CRF250R. In fact, things have changed so much, all it shares with the old model is the name.

The big­gest change comes from the en­gine, which pro­duces 9% more power than the old one – but you’ve got to go look­ing for it. A new cam pro­file, big­ger valves and a re­vised in­take set-up mean the red­line has in­creased by 900rpm, but this power up high is at the ex­pense of bot­tom end. If you’re a hard­core racer that big charge from 8500rpm will be wel­come, while if you’re an en­thu­si­ast the smoother bot­tom end might be a safety net. Either way, the se­lectable en­gine modes re­main, so you can eas­ily switch be­tween Stan­dard, Smooth and Ag­gres­sive.

The other big change to the en­gine is the in­clu­sion of an elec­tric start as stan­dard, com­bined with the elim­i­na­tion of the kick­starter. Honda had shied away from this pre­vi­ously due to the in­creased weight, but the new set-up adds just 1kg, which is negated else­where by var­i­ous weight losses. All in, the whole bike now weighs just 108kg fully fu­elled.

The chas­sis, too, has un­der­gone a makeover, es­sen­tially em­ploy­ing the same set-up as the CRF450R. It saves 350g over the pre­vi­ous de­sign, but the new frame ge­om­e­try is also dif­fer­ent, with a lower cen­tre of grav­ity and shorter wheel­base. Honda say th­ese changes have given a rear­ward shift in weight bias, which they claim has re­sulted in more grip at the back wheel. In a move that’s pure Fire­blade, the new petrol tank is ti­ta­nium, sav­ing 500g on the plastic one it has re­placed.

Honda is yet to con­firm either pric­ing or avail­abil­ity, but the bike is ex­pected to ar­rive in deal­ers later this year.

‘You have to go look­ing for the extra power; it’s up high at the ex­pense of bot­tom end’

Same name, com­pletely dif­fer­ent bike Hard­core rac­ers will wel­come extra power from 8500rpm

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