On paved roads or dirt roads, the all-new CRF230L is ready to handle all kinds of transportation needs. With its compact size, lower seat height, 223cc single cylinder engine and a six speed transmission, it’s as peppy as it is frugal. Whether it’s on the campus, on the RV or on the commute, the CRF230L will provide reliable transportation for years to come.
Ponder, for a moment, two accolades that almost never get spoken in the same breath: “Less is more” and “One size fits all.” Well, in the case of the new-for-2008 CRF230L, both expressions hold true for the same machine. Thanks to its modest size and weight, the CRF230L is able to fulfill anamazing variety of roles for beginning motorcyclists through seasoned riding veterans, young and old alike.
For decades, dual-sport bikes have maintained their popularity, with the market exploding in recent years as people rediscover the joys of owning a go-anywhere, do-everything motorcycle. Street rides? No problem. Trail riding? Ditto. Both in the same day? Now you’re talkin’!
Look around nowadays and you’ll see that downsizing has hit the world of SUVs—the four-wheel equivalent of dual-sport bikes—as the quest for lighter weight, compact dimensions and better fuel economy all drive that trend. Yet versatility and go-anywhere abilities remain foremost on the must-have list. In a very similar parallel, Honda’s 2008 CRF230L fills the bill as a compact, adventure-loving, dual-sport machine that will save your pocketbook at purchase as well as in the long run. Whether it’s used primarily as an economical commuter, a campsite runabout or a weekend outback-exploration vehicle, the CRF230L will get the job done and leave you grinning all the while.
Natural assumption might connect the CRF230L to the CRF230F, but such is not the case. Although bore and stroke dimensions of 65.5mm x 66.2mm are identical, the CRF230L sports a 223cc air-cooled engine with a two-valve head and a compression ratio of 9.0:1. Unlike the 26mm piston-valve carburetor on the CRF230F, the L-model features a 30mm CV carburetor. Net result: A wide powerband that offers lots of grunt while remaining user-friendly. Tomake life easier on pavement or dirt, the CRF230L incorporates an electric starter and—like all Honda CRF models—a maintenance-free CD ignition system. The wide-ratio six-speed gearbox lends plenty of versatility for just about every setting from tight trails to freeway jaunts, and the heavy-duty clutch delivers smooth, progressive engagement with good feel and feedback.
A lightweight but tough semi-double-cradle high-tensilesteel frame provides plenty of rugged durability. A 37mm Showa leading-axle fork delivers a full 9.0 inches of travel, and in back the heavy-duty Showa shock delivers 6.3 inches of travel while also keeping the seat height down to a manageable 31.9 inches to inspire rider confidence. Two features that take the CRF230L decidedly upscale for the class are front and rear disc brakes, plus an aluminum swingarm.
A quiet, USDA-qualified spark arrester/muffler combo makes the CRF230L eligible for off-road use where spark arresters are required. The CRF-family styling also extends to more practical items, such as the wide, cleated, self-cleaning, folding footpegs, durable flex-mounted turn signals, wide polypropylene plastic damage-resistant fenders, motocrossstyle seat and high-quality tubular handlebar. The fuel tank holds 2.3 gallons, including a 0.7-gallon reserve, for plenty of riding range, especially considering the 230L’s miserly rate of fuel consumption.
Tipping the scales at a lightweight 267 pounds full of gas and ready to ride, the 2008 CRF230L will surely prove to be a handy and popular addition to the Honda dual-sport lineup. By delivering a wide array of attributes to a far-ranging spread of riders in user-friendly fashion, the CRF230L proves that with dual-sports, modest size can lead to big performance.
Veteran riders may still insist on calling them dual-purpose bikes, but whether you favor this term or the more current “dual-sport” terminology, the attraction these motorcycles hold has endured for decades. Like the popular Swiss Army knife, dual-sport motorcycles hold the inherent attraction of being one tool that can do it all, and these machines fulfill that job description with remarkable adroitness.
There’s real satisfaction in knowing that when the pavement ends, your fun times don’t stop—in fact,many times this transition in road surfaces merely demarcates the beginning of the best times! And at the end of the day, after spending who knows how long poking around on dirt trails, there’s no need to pack up the truck and start driving—you simply enjoy the street ride home.
There’s also satisfaction to be found in being so thoroughly self-sufficient on a dual-sport bike: You can envision taking your machine to and through some of the wildest terrain, riding around the globe, overcoming all types of natural disasters in survival situations—or just running to the grocery store for a loaf of bread and a quart of milk. Featuring lots of suspension travel, loads of ground clearance, a compact engine with a broad powerband and a total package pared down to as little weight and bulk as possible, these light, nimble, easy-to-ride machines also carry the extra incentive of being extremely economical, the perfect choice for beginning motorcyclists or experienced old hands who know versatility when they see it. And for members of the motorhome or camping crowd, you simply can’t find a better companion for your travels and adventures.
For the past three years, the dual-sport category of motorcycles has shown year-to-year growth of 14 percent, 29 percent and 19 percent, for a whopping 75 percent increase from2003 to 2006, and 2007 is shaping up to be another banner year as well. All of which bodes especially well for the 2008 Honda CRF230L. For riders young to old, experienced or newbie, dualsport riding has never looked so attractive.
Honda Dual-Sport Timeline
A concise compendium of Honda dual-purpose motorcycles
1972 - Honda introduces a new era of modern four-stroke single-cylinder machines with the XL250K0. The engine is a 248cc, OHC four-valve single with a five-speed gearbox.
1974 - Going one step bigger, Honda next introduces the XL350K0, a 348cc OHC four-valve single with a five-speed gearbox. The very next year, the XL350 earns the SCORE Desert Series championship as well as overall victories in the Baja 500 and Baja 1000.
1978 - A new engine for the XL250 displaces 249cc. Although still a singlecylinder machine, it now features dual head pipes along with a five-speed gearbox. The quarter-liter XL gains a six-speed gearbox in 1982 as the XL250S.
1979 - The XL500S is introduced, a 498cc OHC fourvalve single with dual counterbalancers, a carburetor with an accelerator pump, an automatic compression release and a five-speed gearbox.
1982 - Pro-Link rear suspension is introduced on the XL250R, which remains a 249cc, OHC, four-valve single with two exhaust pipes and a six-speed gearbox. The XL500R also gets a Pro-Link rear suspension.
1983 - It’s a new era, a new engine and a new name for the biggest XL, which grows to become an air-cooled 589cc single as the XL600R, with an OHC Radial Four-Valve Combustion Chamber (RFVC) head, two carburetors and two head pipes, a five-speed gearbox and a Pro-Link rear suspension.
1984 - Honda introduces the XL350R, a 339cc OHC single with an RFVC head, two carburetors, two head pipes, a sixspeed gearbox and a Pro-Link rear suspension.
1984 - The XL250R gains an RFVC head and two carburetors while remaining an OHC, 249cc single with a six-speed gearbox.
1991 - Now designated as the XR250L, this street-going XR is essentially a street-legal XR250R.
1993 - The XR650L debuts with a 644cc SOHC RFVC engine with dry sump, electric starter, five speeds and XR600R-spec suspension components.
2008 - A new name for a new machine in a new millennium: The CRF230L brings a newmember to the Honda dual-sport clan.
Suzuki also presents a good way to learn how to trail ride with the DR200SE. It weighs just 249 pounds and has a seat height of only 32 inches, so you can build your confidence as you learn to ride. Of course, after you have some miles on the trail you’ll begin to appreciate the DR200SE’s range of advanced designs. It has a sturdy diamond frame, long-travel suspension and high-traction tires, so it soaks up rough terrain and handles well on tight trails.
The DR200SE is also designed to help you discover the fun of street riding as it has all the features it needs to make it street legal, along with a wide powerband and smooth acceleration.
The 2008 Suzuki DR200SE is a great way to fight the brand new CRF230L.
Kawasaki also enters the scene with a leaner, meaner and greener lightweight dual-sport machine and it does it big time!
The fun doesn’t have to stop at pavement boundaries when riding Kawasaki’s street legal KLX250S. This lightweight dual-purpose motorcycle is equally at home on the pavement or off-road and always ready for your next adventure. Now, thanks to significant updates that saw refinements made everywhere from its improved braking prowess to its aggressively styled bodywork, the KLX250 is more fun than ever.
When designing the CRF230L, Honda aimed at achieving a great balance between looks and a comfortable riding position. The last was given by the low seat position and the arrangement of the footpegs in relation to the handlebars which also make this dual sport a dream to handle but that is another story.
Honda created the bike’s bodywork after inspiring on the CRF-R’s so the body panels, fenders and pretty much all the plastic on the bike remind us of the championship-winning machines. For the success to be guaranteed CRF-R-inspired graphics were also added and, of course, the red color was kept for the new born also. The seat features two-tone colored material which really stands out as on the CRF-R.
The tires are positioned on lightweight rims featuring straight-pull spokes that give an original dual-sport look meaning that they stand out both on the pavement and on the trails.
The all-new reliable dual-sport machine that will become a true workhorse once bought, comes with a retail price of only $4,499 and with the promise of qualifying its owner for a one-year complimentary membership in the Honda Rider’s Club of America. Fans won’t miss this opportunity and I bet you won’ too.
Offering a low seat height, a narrow engine, light weight and outstanding fuel economy, it’s the perfect bike for everything from around-town commutes to dirt-road exploring! And best of all, it offers plenty of Honda’s world-famous dependability, apart from its racy look.
Introducing the CRF230L, a compact and lightweight adventure- loving dual-sport machine that willingly serves as an economical commuter, a motor-home runabout or a weekend outback-exploration vehicle—this is one bike that can do it all.
Engine and Transmission
Type: air-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke
Bore x Stroke: 65.5mm x 66.2mm
Compression Ratio: 9.0:1
Valve Train: SOHC; two-valve
Induction: Carburetor 30mm CV
Final Drive: #520 O-ring-sealed chain;
Chassis and Dimensions
Front Suspension: 37mm leading-axle Showa fork; 9 inches of travel
Rear Suspension: Pro-Link Showa single shock with spring preload adjustability; 6.3 of inches travel
Front Brake: Single 240mm disc
Rear Brake: 220mm disc
Front Tire: 2.27-21
Rear Tire: 120/80-18
Wheelbase: 52.75 inches
Rake (Caster Angle): 26.83”
Trail: 103mm (4.0 inches)
Seat Height: 31.9 inches
Ground Clearance: 9.5 inches
Fuel Capacity: 2.3 gallons, including 0.7 gallon reserve
Curb Weight: 267 pounds
-Dependable 223cc single-cylinder air-cooled four-stroke engine offers plenty of user-friendly power and lots of torque spread over a wide rpm-range.
30mm CV carburetor for crisp throttle response.
Electric start for easy starting.
Lightweight aluminum crankcase.
Maintenance-free CD ignition.
Heavy-duty clutch offers smooth, progressive engagement.
Smooth-shifting, versatile six-speed transmission.
Heavy-duty O-ring-sealed chain for durability and reduced maintenance.
-Box-section aluminum swingarm.
Lightweight semi-double-cradle high-tensile steel frame.
37mm leading-axle Showa front fork offers 9.0 inches of suspension travel.
Fork boots keep dirt and moisture away from fork seals.
Heavy-duty Showa rear shock offers 6.3 inches of travel.
Snail-type chain adjusters for easy maintenance.
Powerful 240mm front disc brake, and 220mm rear disc brake.
Strong, lightweight rims with straight-pull spokes.
-CRF-R-inspired bodywork and graphics.
Motocross-style seat is low and comfortable, and allows maximum rider movement.
Durable front and rear steel sprockets.
High-quality handlebar with comfortable grips.
Wide cleated, folding, self-cleaning footpegs and brake pedal for secure footing.
Quiet, USDA-qualified spark arrester/muffler.
Maintenance-free sealed battery.
Ignition switch key for added security.
Transferable one-year limited warranty; extended coverage available with a Honda Protection Plan.
Purchase of a new, previous unregistered Honda USA-certified unit by and individual retail user in the United States qualifies the owner for a one-year complimentary membership in the Honda Rider’s club of America.
Hand Guard kit