Take motocross performance to the trails with the 2009 Honda CRF250X. This machine has been tuned for off-road riding and it features electric starting, but the race-bred engine and chassis cannot pass unnoticed out where the going gets tough.
Derived from the Honda CRF250R motocross bike, this off-roader shares its major components with the racing bike. So it can brag with a four-stroke, 249cc, liquid-cooled, four-valve Unicam engine, a twin spar aluminum frame and highly-effective suspension equipment.
For starters, the motor has been retuned for more low and mid-range rpm while also being fitted with an electric starter. This adds, indeed, a little bit of weight, but makes for the adequate choice given the fact that this bike isn’t built just to go fast, but to offer a fair share of comfort too.
Also tuned for off-road riding, the Twin-Chamber Cartridge fork and Pro-Link rear suspension with new damper settings make it easier on the rider’s back while also keeping the bike stable at high speeds and through aggressive cornering.
Being an off-road bike and because of the engine’s 250ccs, Honda didn’t considered necessary to fit their Progressive Steering Damper on it, but this doesn’t radically affect the handling as we would normally tend to think. Also, neither of its competitors comes with anything that would put it in advantage so I guess that Honda is on equal foot with the competition.
Furthermore, the 2009 Yamaha WR250F features the liquid-cooled, DOHC, four-stroke engine with five titanium valves. This unit is considered to be more powerful than Honda’s Unicam engine and this has also been tuned for low- and midrange power which is linear and yet aggressive, a combination that is very hard to achieve. The e-start is a must on every off-road bike and Yamaha excludes none of their models.
Not only the WR is powerful and very reliable, but it is built on an aluminum frame, something that brings it even closer to the CRF and tightens out the score between these two off-road machines. A small detail such as the price would definitely sort things out so it is important mentioning that the Blue/White painted trail blast has a base price of $6,699.
Yamaha and Honda are the only Japanese manufacturers to retain a four-stroke 250cc off-road bike in their lineups.
But don’t worry! The Austrians from KTM have plenty to offer and among their competition off-road bikes, the 250 XC-F soon appears. Powered by a carbureted, liquid-cooled, 249.5cc single-cylinder, four-stroke motor implementing four-valve technology and which is fitted with both a kickstarter and an E-starter, this bike stays true to the category in which it is strategically positioned. The five-gears SX ratio transmission exploits properly the engine’s potential, making the power and tranny worth of being compared to Honda’s.
In what concerns the chassis, that is composed from a central double-cradle-type 25CrMo4 frame (characteristic to KTM ), an aluminum swingarm and WP suspensions. More of an expensive alternative, the KTM 250 XC-F comes with an MSRP of $7,410.95.
Husqvarna is also in for a piece of the action with the 2009 TE 250. Behind this model year sits a refined liquid-cooled, 249.5cc four-stroke, four-valves, DOHC engine, exhaust and gearbox. But what makes the Husky so competitive is the electronic fuel injection system feeding the small engine and also the MSRP which, although not yet announced, it won’t go above $7,000. Now that’s a winning combination!
Probably the best about Honda’s CRF250X model is that, although found in the off-road lineup, it looks like a veritable track motorcycle which makes it more attractive and implicit easier to sell. Two bikes have contributed to this CRF’s design, the Honda CRF250R motocrosser and its biggest sibling, the Honda CRF450X.
Compact and aggressive, the 250X design is nicely contoured by a high mounted front fender and aggressive headlight with white housing, a gas tank that is positioned down into the frame, side panels and graphics for an aggressive touch, these last two both being perfectly blended in with the all red seat.
On all 2009 Honda off-road motorcycles, the CRF250X comes with a white rear fender which unifies with the side number plates. Also, like on previous model years, the fork and disc mudguards are white.
Between those big, 21 inches front and 18 inches rear sits the compact quarter-liter engine which is the source of all fun and entertaining in the woods.
Like Yamaha, Honda suggests a retail price of $6,699 for their 250cc off-road motorcycle, the CRF250X. Compared to the KTM, both of these Japanese motorcycles are better bangs for the bucks, but when compared to the Husqvarna TE 250, things take an unexpected turn. Isn’t carburetion good enough any more?
Honda manages to work its magic on next year’s CRF250X even though without significant changes or upgrades. I can’t wait for the day when Japan’s motorcycle makers will turn to fuel injection even for engines this small, but I believe I’ll have to wait a few years for that to happen. Until then, Honda reliability and performance isn’t a thing to doubt off so it remains an adequate solution for your trail riding needs.
Engine and Transmission
Type: liquid-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke
Bore and Stroke: 78mm x 52.2mm
Compression ratio: 12.9:1
Valve Train: Unicam, four-valve; 31mm intake valve; 26mm exhaust valve
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
Suspension Front: 47mm inverted Showa cartridge fork with 16-position rebound and 16-position compression damping adjustability; 12.4 inches travel
Rear: 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
Brakes Front: Single 240mm disc with twin-piston caliper
Rear: Single 240mm disc
Tires Front: 80/100-21
Wheelbase: 58.3 inches
Rake (Caster angle): 27.54o
Trail: 118mm (4.7 inches)
Seat Height: 37.7 inches
Ground Clearance: 13.6 inches
Fuel Capacity: 1.9 gallons
Curb Weight: 253 pounds