Honda makes sure to situate the 2009 CRF100F on that thin line between a competition bike and your normal farm motorcycle in order to stay strong on the market. It manages to do so by establishing a great balance between light handling, plush suspension, a low seat, and an incredible tractable engine.
It really isn’t easy to create a trail bike on which a motocross champ would feel at home, but Honda makes it look that way. In fact, what you need is a strong-pulling 99cc air-cooled four-stroke engine, SOHC; two valves, a very well balanced chassis and 30.9” seating position. Goodies such as the upgraded Showa suspensions offering 5.2-inches of travel in front and 5.8-inches of travel in the rear are welcomed, as well as the typical off-road five-speed transmission.
You can’t argue about it, the 2009 CRF100F is one of the most pleasurable bikes out there featuring cylinder capacity around 100ccs. All the magic consists in the fact that it was built like a big-boys toy that would also suit to well-trained teenagers, not vice-verse.
The Honda CRF100F isn’t as old as you would normally think at a first sight, but that is only because it got the name in 2004 when all off-road Honda motorcycles would have been named CRF. In fact this bike is filled with heritage as it drags its roots back in the mid 1980s when Honda introduced the XR100R.
Dirt bikes of the time were normally fitted with two-stroke engines, but not this one. The XR100R stood as a four-stroke banger that was air-cooled and came with SOHC and two valves. So you can imagine what effect had the more than 20 years of development on this model, be it called XR or CRF.
Biggest improvements came in the 1990s when Showa suspensions started being present on the bike, the seat height was slightly lowered, as well as the weight. The engine remained practically unchanged.
Through the ‘80s and ’90, the XR100R would have been normally pained white and have a red seat mounted on it, but starting with the new millennium and, afterwards, the pass to the CRF designation, you can have it painted any color you like as long as it is red.
You really can’t find a decent competitor for the CRF100F because of the unique combination of small displacement and big-bike style. As I was saying, it isn’t quite a kids bike (although it can be), but not quite an adult’s dream.
You can, if you want, consider the Yamaha TT-R110E and Kawasaki KLX110 opponents for the Honda, but if you take a closer look you’ll notice how they are designed for kids, but have the size to be ridden by adults. The engines, even though bigger (110cc on the Yamaha and 111cc on the Honda), are certainly comparable (air-cooled, four-stroke, SOHC; 2-valves).
But definitely not comparable is the constant-mesh 4-speed that equips the Yamaha, respectively three-speed on the Kawasaki. The CRF100F comes with a five-speed tranny, perfect for getting the best out of the 99cc engine. Now you know why they made the engines slightly bigger on the TT-T and KLX.
Not to mention the chassis on the blue and green teams. They won’t take the bikes through corners as the one on the Honda will, making them not so suitable for the track.
Honda inspired the looks of the CRF100F on its racing sibling, the CRF450R motocross bike so that you would have a hard time not liking it. Its looks are meant to be a preview of the way it is claimed to perform as a 2009 model year and when you think that you can achieve that with styling and graphics, you start feeling kind of bad for not getting the real thing.
But things aren’t really just like that. This bike stands out in front of the Yamaha and Kawasaki by featuring the 16 and 19 inches wheels, as well as the big-bike dimensions.
Honda’s color for 2009 remains Red, but you still get the white number plates so you can now say that you’re hooked up with the closest thing to a racing bike.
Already thinking about buying one? The $2,449 MSRP doesn’t scare any customers away even though the 2009 Yamaha TT-R110E will sell for $1,949 and the Kawasaki KLX110 for $1,849. But they’re whole other stories than the Honda.
Having built the CRF100R for decades, Honda has surely got this recipe right and this is shown best on the 2009 model year. Standing as the most efficient alternative for those who are too big for the CRF80F and yet not as experienced for the CRF230F, this motorcycle has yet many points to prove in this very competitive market.
Engine and Transmission
Engine Type: air-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke
Bore and Stroke: 53.0mm x 45.0mm
Compression Ratio: 9.4:1
Valve Train: SOHC; two-valve
Induction: 22mm piston-valve carburetor
Final Drive: #428 chain; 14T/50T
Chassis and Dimensions
Front Suspension: 27.0mm leading-axle Showa fork; 5.2-inch travel
Rear Suspension: Pro-Link Showa single shock; 5.8-inch travel
Front Brake: Drum
Rear Brake: Drum
Front Tire: 2.50-19
Rear Tire: 3.00-16
Rake: 28.50 degrees
Trail: 99.0mm (3.9 inches)
Wheelbase: 49.2 inches
Seat Height: 30.9 inches
Ground Clearance: 10.0 inches
Curb Weight: 174 pounds
Fuel Capacity: 1.3 gallons, including 0.3-gallon reserve