With its awesome balance of power, handling, weight and size, the CRF250X is the perfect off-roader for trail riders and pro racers alike. Start with its impeccable CRF250R pedigree, add electric start, wide-ratio gearing , new-for-2008 ignition timing, new brake rotors and a slimmed-down fuel tank, and once again Honda has proven the best can get better.
Ever since it was introduced in 2004, the CRF250X has won the heart of many riders who even had some serious off-road history and that says a lot of the bike’s capabilities. Offering a rare combination of light weight and tractable power in one of the best handling packages in the off-road world, Honda CRF250X has made a name of itself and that name is now being associated with 2008 model year.
The recipe for creating the awesome product was simple back in 2004 and it as simple as then now. Take a new-generation motocrosser then add the good stuff to create an awesome off-road racer. It was introduced as a 2004 model year and it was called Honda CRF250X. A simple look at it would have made your eyes to quickly detect all the fundamental genomes shared by the 250X and Honda’s spectacular 2004 CRF250R motocross machine: fourth-generation aluminum frame, ultra-trick four-valve 249cc Unicam engine, 47mm Showa twin-chamber fork and Pro-Link single-shock rear suspension with a racing-style aluminum swingarm, dual disc brakes and even an aluminum Renthal handlebar, it was all there right from the beginning.
Even though the rolling chassis and the engine in the X-model followed the exact same architecture fount in the CRF250R, many brand-new elements set the CRF250X apart. Those changes made the bike uniquely equipped to fulfill is specific target functions.
The engine was now equipped with a new camshaft for a wider powerband and increased torque and the new wide-ratio gearbox was there to provide versatility in varying terrain. Time proved it did and the new product was already catching up to the public.
But the list of changes don’t finish there as the transformation wouldn’t have been complete without an added flywheel weight for more tractable power delivery; new exhaust system, complete with spark arrestor; larger fuel tank for greater range; electric starter, battery and ACG-plus a backup kickstarter. The new frame was also tuned for off-road work, not motocross tracks and the more compliant suspension components front and rear for a plush ride over rocks and roots. Revised linkage ratios for the Pro-Link rear suspension were added and an 18-inch rear wheel and tire for added flat-tire resistance but the off-roader was fully complete after the new lightweight slim-line headlight, plus a trick LED taillight were finally on the new product that now shined and even met California Green Sticker eligibility requirements.
After receiving its new chassis tuned for off-road competition and an engine that was lean, mean and green, the CRF250X was ready to hit the trail so it did with the required success.
The still new and amazing product remained the same for 2005 but I do recall it received a new lightweight rear hub and, of course, the Honda Race Team-inspired graphics.
2006 model year improved the two additions of the previous year and brought a lighter swingarm and a new lighter rear shock body. Light weight was the goal so the light fork guards and cable brackets were taken straight off the CRF450X and mounted on the CRF250X with a bit of weight reduction. The front axle placement was new and it improved fork action and turning and the new intake valve seat material introduced in that same year brought appreciated valve durability to the already great product.
Being developed from the CRF250R, the subject of this review also featured the changes encountered on the motocross bike that inspired its creation so the new cylinder-head porting is inspired by the R’s version as well as the new piston rings. These two changes took place in 2007 along with the revised ignition timing, new accelerator pump and linkage for improved throttle response, a one-piece cover that protects the throttle cable by keeping out dirt and water, and a new front hub lightness oriented. Honda considered that the 2007 model should feature a stronger basket and clutch center for improved wear resistance and the rear chain guide got a little lighter.
The graphic representing this model’s evolution can only go higher as the product is getting better with every year that passes and the fans become more and more satisfied with what they can buy and enjoy for future years.
Yamaha entered the scene with a motorcycle for riders who favor finesse over brute force and it is known as the WR250F and an adequate way to go off-road. This is one of those bikes that make you feel like a better rider because everything is easier than it should be, from tracking through rocks to snaking through twisty trails.
There’s a good reason middleweight off-road bikes are so popular. They offer abundant power combined with lightweight handling, and the Suzuki DR-Z250 is out to set the standards for the class. Grab a handful of throttle and you’ll be rewarded with hard-charging performance across the powerband. And when the trails get nasty, you can count on the DR-Z250’s long-travel suspension for a plush ride.
Both bikes compete with the CRF250X but isn’t something missing? Of course it is!
Known as the Kawasaki KLX300R, the competitor for Honda features a bigger cylinder capacity and offers a compact, quick-turning package that’s well-suited to tight trails or long days exploring off the beaten-path
If you’re not looking carefully, you can easily confound the CRF250X with its bigger brother, the CRF450X, as the bikes look exactly the same and both feature a red color covered with the same decals. It was logical for that to happen because they idea was the same, the only difference being the cylinder capacity.
Honda kept the aggressive look for the CRF250X also and the motorcycle is covered with plastic elements that give it style but also have a functional role like the mudguards, exhaust cover and the side panels around the radiators.
Fuel tank, seat and rear fender blend in perfectly and they are covered with a beautiful combination of red and black which is a beautiful contrast only find at Hondas.
What I most appreciated on the 250X is that it runs impeccable in completely stock form. There is no need for those airbox restrictors or pulling a baffle out of the pipe in order to get it running so Honda’s effort was well worth it.
By adding and electric start there is only the need to pull the clutch and hit the go button and the problem with turning off after finishing the ride is long gone. Manual ignition is out of fashion, but sometimes necessary so the bike also features kickstart which sometimes can come in handy.
The engine is equipped with a different cam than on the 250R model and the purpose was to obtain the same amount of power without all that noise involved and the job was done properly as Honda does every time. That very same engine is a great performer out on the trails and rocks and tree roots won’t ever stand a change in front of the CRF’s great powerband and gearing.
I noticed that the first gear is lower for fast though short starts followed by a second gear introducing the same reaction. This behavior is very useful for relatively slow speed maneuvering in complete safety and fun as the gears allow you to increase speed very fast in collaboration with the high-revving engine. Climbing round rocks has never been easier than with the CRF450X.
The thrill of riding the bike is simply awesome. Very impressive was the low-end followed by the mid-range power available from a stock and very quiet motorcycle. In fact, this is what it’s all about, getting a great rush along the powerband and a satisfying top-end in order to conquer even the steepest hills.
By adapting the handlebar and footpegs, Honda managed to place the rider in the narrowest part of the frame, an important factor which significantly improves handling and the seating position. Combined with the comfortable seat, the rush would be obtained in complete comfort and the ride will never seem to end.
Honda CRF250X feels very light while maneuvering so Honda’s efforts of reducing weight were well worth it but weight hasn’t really been an issue on the X model so Honda only improved the already good thing.
I enjoyed testing the CRF250X in some difficult conditions in order to get the necessary feedback and I am more than happy to say that it was positive. The bike has proven to be an excellent and enjoyable machine even in the tighter situations so there is no problem concerning fun and reliability.
I also had the opportunity to ride the new model in open spaces where I noticed that this is where the CRF250X reminds you that it is only a 250. Speed though is satisfying and the bike doesn’t lose stability as it dusts the surroundings. Honda hasn’t made any compromises and it ended up creating, like always, a great performer who remembers to steer sharp and really fast when necessary and to maintain stability and positive feedback when increasing speed.
It was logical for the bike to be very comfortable and handle like a dream on wide terrain. The handlebar and footpeg adjustment is even more obvious and useful in these spaces and I should also mention that the seat was also very supportive and comfortable, keeping me fit to fight another bump.
The brakes provide a very satisfying feel which can only stand for efficiency and great performance at any level and in any kind of terrain. Frankly, I was familiar with the braking system on the CRF250 and you are probably two if you’ve read my reviews so I didn’t exaggerate testing them. Efficiency is the key though.
Overall, the bike is a real blast to ride and it transforms off-road escapes in real life adventures with all the elements necessary: exploring new spaces, gaining experience but most of all, having fun.
Your introduction to a new variety of spaces where you’re experience will stand out and the fun will be a constant element can be made with the single step of paying the $6,599 retail price for the 2008 Honda CRF250X. You will also receive a one-year complimentary membership in the Honda Rider’s Club of America as Honda keeps its customers close. If you want to be part of an important association but most of all to benefit of this great product, going ahead won’t be regretted.
If it wouldn’t exist I couldn’t name it the king of trail and that would be a big no no. Thank Honda it does and that it features everything to become an even bigger success: great looks, reliable and powerful engine, efficient handling and improved comfort. The recipe for success was kept at Hondas and they don’t plan of sharing it with anyone very soon. Way to go!
Engine and Transmission
Type: liquid-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke
Bore x Stroke: 78mm x 52.2mm
Compression Ratio: 12.9:1
Valve Train: Unicam; four-valve Intake Valve Size: 31mm; Exhaust Valve Size: 26mm
Induction: Keihin 37mm flat-slide carburetor with throttle position sensor (TPS)
Ignition: CD with electronic advance and lighting coil
Starting: Electric and kick
Transmission: Wide-ratio five-speed
Final Drive: #520 T-ring-sealed chain; 13T/49T
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 position) and high-speed (3.5 turns); 12.4 inches of travel
Front Brake: Single 240mm disc with twin-piston caliper
Rear Brake: Single 240mm disc
Front Tire: 80/100-21
Rear Tire: 100/100-18
Wheelbase: 58.3 inches
Rake (Caster Angle): 27.54”
Trail: 118mm (4.7 inches)
Seat Height: 37.7 inches
Ground Clearance: 13.6 inches
Fuel Capacity: 1.9 gallons
Curb Weight: 253 pounds
New for 2008
-New works-type front and rear brake discs reduce unsprung weight.
New Dunlop 742FA front tire for improved turning feel and traction.
New narrow-design fuel tank for improved rider ergonomics.
-Electric start system for easy starting in all conditions.
Gas-tank capacity is 1.9 gallons.
Resettable, easy-to-read three-digit odometer.
USDA-qualified muffler/spark arrester.
Powerful 35W halogen headlight features an innovative lens for a wide range of illumination.
Integrated LED taillight in rear fender.
Easy-access air filter.
Wide-ratio five-speed transmission.
Suspension tuned for competitive of-road riding needs.
18-inch rear wheel for greater flat-tire protection.
-Powerful four-stroke 249cc liquid-cooled four-valve Unicam engine is designed to produce power across a wide rpm band for easy-to-control operation.
Electric starter drives the clutch side of the crankshaft to provide superior lubrication to starter gears, and produce a narrow engine with a short, strong crankshaft.
Compact, lightweight engine assembly weight only 59.3 pounds.
ACG cover, clutch cover and cylinder-head cover are made of magnesium to reduce engine weight.
Forged 12.9:1 compression slipper piston is lighter than a conventional design, revving quickly while maintaining excellent cylinder sealing and high-rpm power.
37mm Keihin FCR-type 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) to help maintain linear throttle response through the rpm range.
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 oil to the clutch, eliminates clutch and transmission material contamination of the engine oil, reduces the amount of circulating oil and permits the use of a smaller oil pump.
Exhaust system uses a lightweight stainless steel exhaust header and muffler equipped with spark arrester.
Dual radiators feature a refined core area for improved heat dissipation compared to conventional dual-radiator design, and coolant recovery tank.
Gear-driven balancer reduces vibration and drives the water pump. Eight clutch plates provide the surface area necessary to handle the engine’s massive torque, while carefully matched clutch springs provide a light feel at the lever.
T-ring-sealed chain is approximately 1.6mm narrower and is stronger compared to conventional chains.
Durable five-speed wide-ratio transmission.
-Fourth-generation Twin-Spar Aluminum Frame with forged-aluminum steering head.
18-inch rear wheel features same lightweight rear hub and HRC works-type lightweight aluminum spoke nipples as used on the CRF250R.
Front wheel features large-diameter front axle and wide wheel-bearing span for excellent rigidity.
Rear-axle diameter of 25mm and large-diameter bearings provide optimum rigidity to withstand torturous off-road 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.
HRC works-type rear brake system integrates the rear master cylinder and fluid reservoir, eliminating the need for a separate reservoir and hose assembly.
-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 feel.
Rear brake pedal and 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.
Handlebar holders provide to different mounting positions to match rider preference.
Works-type handlebar grips add to rider comfort.
Adjustable front brake lever.
Chain guide material offers improved wear resistance, and service life is five times greater than conventional materials.
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 colors and graphics.
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.