Diversity is what Honda knows offering best and the CRF230F is an adequate example of that. Perfectly filling the gap between Honda’s race-bred CRF250X and the CRF150F, the bike is addressed at those who search for a great combination between performance, versatility, a low seat height and the convenience of electric start. Add a six-speed transmission to that list and you’re in for one hell of a ride.
Mostly used for recreational purposes, the Honda CRF230F is a bulletproof trail motorcycle powered by a 223cc, single-cylinder, air-cooled, four-stroke engine that stands as the source of all fun and excitement. With a wide rpm range and smoothly delivered power, this bike’s engine makes it good for beginners to start on, but the best of it is the e-start system ensuring easy cold starts. Now, in order for the air-cooled engine to keep up with different power plants of Honda or other manufacturer’s models, they mate it to a six-speed gearbox which is there to provide even more when you’re expecting to be flatting out.
The chassis is designed for fast cornering and agility although not made out of aluminum. But the swing arm is, and together with the Showa suspension package it offers a plush ride no matter how hard you may feel like pushing it. Also, with a 34.1-inch seat, you may want to buy some special boots because you’ll be soon scraping your feet into corners. That’s how inviting the CRF230F actually is.
Honda first released the CRF230F in November 2002 as a replacement for the old XR200R, a machine powered by a 195 cc, air-cooled, four-stroke, single-cylinder; SOHC, 2-valved engine that was valued from the very beginning through a six-speed transmission with chain final drive. Lightweight (223 pounds), highly reliable, fitted with Kayaba suspensions and managing a decent 60 mph top speed, the XR200R was a good bike to start on so it paved the road pretty well for the CRF230F.
The all new off-road motorcycle was to start being produced as a 2003 model year and brought front and rear disc brakes instead of drums and a redesigned body as, quite frankly, it really needed it. Most importantly, the engine was upgraded to 223cc, they replaced the Kayaba forks with Showa units and they started producing it only with CDI ignition instead of both kick start and CDI.
Things haven’t changed much from the 2003 Honda CRF230F as the bike meets the purpose of its creation perfectly.
2009 Yamaha TT-R230
Yamaha doesn’t miss this very important market share as the 2009 TT-R230 is perfect for raising a few question marks in a rider’s heads. Now which one should I choose? Be it the proven Honda CRF with its attractive looks and life-long mechanics or the Yamaha TT-R with…the exact same things. Damn it!
Yamaha inspired TT-R’s design on those aggressive YZ dirt bikes, but instead of racing engines, they’ve developed the air-cooled, 223cc, four-stroke; SOHC, four-valve engine which delivers predictable power, making it also perfect for those who just start riding. Like on the Honda, the engine is electrically-started and there’s a constant-mesh six-speed gearbox as well. How about the seat height? Well, is 34.2 inches good enough for you? Yep, I’m shocked too.
In the “disadvantage” section I would have to mention the steel frame and the drum rear brake, but that’s all.
With an MSRP of $3,699, I guess Yamaha calls itself even with Honda. It probably is, anyways.