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2008 Honda CRF250R


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Getting in and out of corners is where races are won - no question. And that’s why, like the new CRF450R, the 2008 CRF250R features Honda’s revolutionary new Honda Progressive Steering Damper (HPSD), improving cornering traction and stability while reducing fatigue. Add all-new works-style brake discs, power boosting engine mods (higher compression) and new cylinder (cylinder head porting), and once again, Honda proves the best can get better.

 

Introduction

The brilliant future of motocross arrived in the aggressive form of the high-flying new CRF250R. Upon its unveiling, the new CRF250R literally rewrote the book on quarter-liter four-strokes. More than merely a smaller version of the CRF450R, the CRF250R was an all-new machine, in some ways a generation ahead of the much-lauded 450 so that is where the bike’s success has its roots.

History

Honda CRF250R

2004 is the year the all-conquering, new CRF250R 4-stroke motocrosser debuts as an ultra-compact new 4-stroke 4-valve Unicam engine featuring both the light weight of a compact single-cam drive and optimum combustion chamber shaped for maximum power at all engine speeds. The twin-sump lubrication system separated oil supply to crankshaft, piston and valve train from supply to clutch and transmission and the important task of reducing inertia, weight and overall engine height was completed by the lightweight titanium intake valves which permit use of smaller valve springs. Compact cylinder design was partly due to the spark plug and surrounding tube positioned between forked exhaust rocker arms. This great performing engine wouldn’t have been the same without the 37mm FCR-type carburetor featuring Throttle Position Sensor (TPS) for linear throttle response, smooth operation, crips throttle response and excellent rideability.

Many pieces were derived or adapted from Honda’s CR series of championship motocrossers, the most important being the all-new 4th-generation twin-spar aluminum frame and the lightweight 47mm Showa inverted twin-chamber cartridge-type fork which benefited of specialized settings.

The majority of features encountered on the 2008 could be also found on the 2004 model: pro-link rear suspension featuring fully adjustable Showa rear damper; swingarm featuring a dual-axis, double-taper design and large cast aluminum cross-member and the large, 240mm front and rear brake rotors stopping lightweight wire spoke wheels with aluminum spoke nipples for reduced unsprung weight.

You’ve made and idea on the first introduced model but do you think that Honda stopped there? I certainly don’t because I’ve seen the list of changes for the 2005 model but you can make an idea if you’ve read my previous review on the CRF450R.

The 2005 featured new cylinder head porting and camshaft profile for increased low-end power; new ignition map for improved power at virtually all engine speeds, new spark plug featuring side electrode improving spark and implicit combustion and new aluminum spark plug pipe for lighter weight. The right side engine cover was also new that year but the clutch was strongly revised and it now featured new stiffer clutch springs for improved feel and durability in collaboration with new shift components for smoother and more precise shifting.

Comfort and handling were the future priority so the bike was provided with new fork and rear suspension valving for improved bump absorption. New front axle placement also improved fork action and turning and the new pro-link ratio provided more compliant suspension operation.

The rest of the improvements aimed at lightweight so the rear wheel hub was now lighter and stronger as well as the lighter-weight swingarm construction. The exhaust system made no exception and it now weighed much less. The overall weight was reduced by 800 grams.

All of witch brings us back to 2006, and the accompanying improvements for that model year. Beginning with the more visible change, the idea of dual mufflers made the 2006 weigh a trilling 6.5 ounces more than the last year’s single-can version. Each of the 2006 CRF250R’s dual mufflers was now significantly smaller, shorter and lighter than the previous single silencer, and they tuck in much closer to the machine’s center of mass.

In addition, because the CRF250R’s new, free-flowing exhaust system improves low-end power other engine alterations could be made to boost midrange and top-end power as well. The piston crown now featured a more squared-off shape to enhance sealing-a change that helps boost midrange muscle, and the compression ratio has been upped from 12.5:1 to 12.9:1. Also, the compression ring has been narrowed slightly, from 0.9mm to 0.8mm, to reduce power-robbing friction. To boost top-end output, a 40mm flat-slide carburetor with throttle position sensor replaces last year’s 37mm unit, the shape of the exhaust port has been altered and the ’06 CRF sports a different, hotter camshaft than the previous model year, one with more exhaust lift (7.7mm to 8.0mm) and 5.0 degrees longer duration. To promote engine longevity, the valve seats on the intake side are now made of a new, tougher material. And recalibrated ignition mapping complements all the above-listed tuning changes.

The engine strongly tuned in 2006 remained pretty much the same for the next year’s model, as well as the rest of the bike, which brings us to this day when the Honda CRF250R received some brand new characteristics ready to be tested on track.

We we’ll see how that went later on the review.

Honda CRF250R

Competition

Honda CRF250R

Honda didn’t bring the engine at this level to fight itself. There is some strong competition coming from the other Japanese manufacturers who seek for the smallest mistake in order to put their hands on the title.

Yamaha is claiming that now more then ever, we’re looking at the most highly refined, sweetest-handling and easy-to-ride quarter-liter motocrosser money can buy and the YZ250F is indeed a fantastic all-around package.

The 2008 Suzuki RM-Z250 features a compact, lightweight and powerful 250cc 4-stroke engine design, a strong and lightweight aluminum chassis, Showa suspension components and many high-performance features for the ultimate 250cc 4-stroke racing machine so Honda has some pretty strong competition here also.

Kawasaki presents for 2008 a better shifting, improved handling and extra reliable machine known as the KX250F. You just can’t argue with results. Kawasaki’s KX250F motorcycle has been a dominant force in professional supercross and motocross racing over the last two years. Now, this world-beating machine gets even better and anxious to fight the CRF on track.

Honda CRF250R

Exterior

Honda CRF250R

The Honda CRF250R features for 2008 new aggressive look given by the bike’s crucial elements that form the shape seen first at the finish line each and every race.

The high front fender makes a real statement on the bike’s off road abilities and the mudguards complete that goal as both elements have the clear purpose of both protecting the rider and lubricated parts of the fork in order to go fast and deal with mud properly.

Frame design allows the sidecovers to have larger air-intake ducts and they significantly contribute to the level of airflow which is increased in certain key areas. This also makes the bike look cool and complete the overall front appearance.

Rider ergonomics were optimized by adapting the handlebar, seat and footpeg height to place the rider’s legs at the narrowest part of the frame. The triangle formed stands for handling and improved comfort.

The rear fender looks like an arrow and that’s no coincidence as this motocrosser actually goes like and arrow but it also has to do it in style and that final touch is given by the sidecover decals.

2008 brings red and black color schemes which make the bike look like a real racer and provide it with its necessary dose of uniqueness.


Test Drive

Honda CRF250R

Honda has strongly upgraded the CRF250R but no change will improve the bike as much as the Honda Progressive Steering Damper (HPSD), a system also present on the bike’s bigger brother, the CRF450R. The team has come up with this much smaller system (6.5-ounce) that bolts to the re-worked steering head and lower triple clamp behind the front number plate. This allows for changes to the steering geometry and the bike handles like a dream apart the fact it goes like a train.

The engine featuring a new piston which jumps the compression ratio to 13.1:1 instead of 12.9:1 is very powerful and responsive as the bike covered a big distance with my arms stretched by the handlebars as I widely opened the throttle.

Honda CRF250R doesn’t bother to get air born either as I managed to use the amounts of power available to conquer the jumps and I also played a little with the throttle and rear brake while I was in the air. As the CRF450R, the smaller version is also very enjoyable and much alike, I would say, even if it is much smaller. Honda made sure that it signifies a great step in a rider’s evolution, kind of like a preparing period for the bigger version.

The thrill of riding the CRF is absolutely fabulous and for people who enjoy being in complete control and safety, the 250 version is very appropriate and it is also satisfaction guaranteed.

Some would say that this is just a smaller CRF450R but I have to contradict them as I found a motorcycle with lots of attitude given by its performing, improved engine and its handling. The top end is not that easy to reach and the “smaller version” has many surprises reserved out on the bumps and corners.

The new suspension is excellent and it has a big contribution on the big thumper’s handling. Revised, sophisticated Inverted Twin-Chamber Cartridge Fork up front and Pro-Link Suspension with new damper settings in the back was exactly what the CRF needed for 2008.

Strong braking system is also encountered on the 2008 Honda CRF250R and this completes the round of changes implemented on what became know as the best 250cc motocrosser on the tracks around the United States of America.

Price

The Honda CRF250R is being offered for an MSRP of $6,499 but that is if you want to buy it red painted. The black version will determine you to deep a bit deeper in your pockets as it cost with $200 more but, as the CRF450R, it is well worth is because it stands for the 2008 model year.

Conclusion

Innovative design has made Honda’s dual-muffler CRF250R a winner both on and off the track and it is more expected for 2008. With a great combination between power and sharp handling, this thumper promises not to disappoint and it doesn’t indeed. Price is not a motive to complain and for the money, you will be a member of Honda Rider’s Club of America. How’s that for your next choice?


SPECIFICATIONS

 

Engine and Transmission

Displacement: 249cc
Type: liquid-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke
Bore x Stroke: 78mm x 52.2mm
Compression Ratio: 13.1:1
Valve Train: Unicam, four-valve; 31mm intake, titanium; 26mm exhaust, steel
Induction: Carburetor, Keihin 40mm flat-slide with throttle position sensor (TPS)
Ignition: CD with electronic advance
Transmission: Close-ratio five-speed
Final Drive: #520 chain; 13T/51T

Chassis and Dimensions

Front Suspension: 47mm inverted Showa cartridge fork with 16-position rebound and 16-position compression damping adjustability; 12.4 inches travel
Rear Suspension: Pro-Link Showa single shock with spring preload, 17-position rebound damping adjustability, and compression damping adjustment separated into low-speed (13 positions) and high-speed (3.5 turns); 12.4 inches travel
Front Brakes: Single 240mm disc with twin-piston caliper
Rear Brakes: Single 240mm disc
Front Tire: 80/100-21
Rear Tire: 100/90-19
Wheelbase: 58.2 inches
Rake (Caster Angle): 27.9
Trail: 125mm (4.9 inches)
Seat Height: 38 inches
Ground Clearance: 14.2 inches
Fuel Capacity: 1.9 gallons
Curb Weight: 227 pounds

Other

Color: Red, Black (2008 special color)

Features

 

New for 2008

-New piston with 13.1:1 compression ratio

- New cylinder head porting for improved power

- New lighter-weight valve train components raise rev limit to 13,500 rpm

- New lighter counterbalancer shaft and drive gears

- New exhaust system for more power

- New camshaft timing for added power

- Revised carburetor jetting gives smooth power delivery under all riding conditions

- Engine torque now reaches maximum at 8500 rpm.

- New clutch features judder spring for smother engagement.

- New Honda Progressive Steering Damper (HPSD). Tested by Team Honda, this lightweight, compact steering damper improves cornering ability and reduces rider fatigue.

- New fork triple clamps with 22mm offset for improved cornering.

- New Showa fork features a larger cartridge rod and new cartridge oil piston for improved oil flow and less friction, plus stiffer springs for improved mid-stroke action.

- New rear shock valving matches changes to the fork.

- New works-style front and rear brake discs reduce unsprung weight.

- New rear fender shape for improved mud protection

- New larger left-side engine guard

- New Black color (2008 special color)

Engine/Drivetrain

-Powerful four-stroke 249cc liquid-cooled four-valve Unicam engine.

- Lightweight titanium intake valves permit the use of smaller valve springs and reduce overall engine height.

- ACG cover, clutch cover and cylinder-head cover are made of magnesium to reduce engine weight.

- Forged 13.1:1 compression, slipper piston and rings are lighter than a conventional design, revving quickly while maintaining excellent cylinder sealing and high-rpm power.

- Lightweight, compact, internal, auto decompression system and handlebar-mounted hot-start system provide superb operation, hot or cold.

- Lightweight Nikasil cylinder lining provides cooler and quieter operation for extended engine life.

- 40mm Keihin FCR carburetor features four rollers on the flat slide, resulting in light throttle effort, smooth operation, crisp throttle response and excellent rideability.

- Carburetor features a throttle position sensor (TPS) that helps maintain a linear throttle response throughout the range and new jetting for smoother power response.

- Twin-sump lubrication system separates the oil supply for the crankshaft, piston and valve train from the clutch and transmission. This ensures a cool supply of the oil to the clutch, eliminates clutch and transmission material contamination of the engine oil, and reduces the amount of circulating oil, which permits the use of a smaller oil pump.

- Dual-muffler exhaust system centralizes mass and reduces turning inertia to improve the lightweight feel of the bike.

- Dual-muffler exhaust system also increases low-rpm torque.

- Exhaust system uses a lightweight stainless header and repackable aluminum mufflers.

- Gear-driven balancer reduces vibration and drives the water pump.

- Rugged eight-disc clutch and carefully matched clutch springs for light feel at the lever.

- Durable five-speed close-ratio transmission.

Chassis/Suspension

-Fourth-generation Twin-Spar Aluminum Frame with forged-aluminum steering head.

- HPSD features a compact damper attached to the lower triple clamp and the steering head to allow more aggressive steering characteristics and assist straight-line handling. Damping action smoothly progresses as handlebar deflection increases, which produces very natural steering characteristic and feel.

- Front and rear wheels feature HRC works-type lightweight aluminum spoke nipples.

- Front wheel features large-diameter front axle and wide wheel-bearing span for excellent rigidity.

- Large 25mm rear axle diameter and large-diameter bearings provide significant rigidity to withstand torturous track conditions.

- Revised, sophisticated Inverted Twin-Chamber Cartridge Fork.

- Pro-Link Rear Suspension with new damper settings.

- Large 50mm rear shock damper piston diameter for consistent performance under demanding riding conditions.

- Link-type front brake master cylinder and a lightweight brake rotor provide strong braking.

- Compact twin-piston front brake caliper, anodized-aluminum brake pistons and lightweight front brake disc minimize unsprung weight for improved turning and handling.

- HRC works-type rear brake system integrates the rear master-cylinder and fluid reservoir, eliminating the separate reservoir and hose.

- Large works-style 240mm front and rear brake discs.

Additional features

-Frame design allows airbox sidecovers to have larger intake ducts, contributing to significant airflow in the mid- and upper-rpm ranges.

- Rider ergonomics are optimized by adapting the handlebar, seat and footpeg height to place the rider’s legs at the narrowest frame width for improved comfort and handling.

- Dunlop 742FA front and 756 rear tires for improved traction and cornering.

- Front disc brake cover helps protect rotor and caliper from damage.

- Removable rear subframe allows easy maintenance.

- Washable, two-stage foam air filter for optimal engine protection and easy maintenance.

- Comfortable, durable controls and high-quality fasteners.

- Stainless steel clutch cable for long life.

- Honda Racing-inspired color and graphics.

- Cleated rear brake pedal and folding shift lever are made of lightweight aluminum and are designed to complement the riding position.

- Brake pedal features optimized ratio to match integrated rear-brake master-cylinder design.

- Wide, cleated stainless steel footpegs are self-cleaning, resist corrosion, provide excellent grip and fold for extra ground clearance.

- Aluminum Renthal handlebar (971 bend) is rubber-mounted to help reduce rider fatigue and improve comfort.

- Purchase of a new, previously unregistered Honda USA-certified unit by an individual retail user in the United States qualifies the owner for a one-year complimentary membership in the Honda Rider’s Club of America.



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