2015 Honda CRF250 Rally Concept
The Honda SFA Concept may be getting the lion’s share of the attention among Honda’s Osaka Motorcycle Show-bound concepts, but don’t sleep on one of the other prototypes that will be showcased at the annual event. This bike is called the CRF250 Rally Concept and from sheer looks alone, it’s already got a grip on my fluttering heart.
Granted, the bike may have a passing resemblance to the Honda CRF250L bike that’s used in the Dakar Rally, but there are also a lot of new components added into the mix to justify its concept designation. From a visual standpoint, the CRF250 Rally Concept exudes the spirit of a mini rally racer. That’s an attractive characteristic that can’t be swept under the rug. Give Honda credit for doing its part to make it look as such, including additions not he bike’s body and chassis. There’s a lot to like about the Honda CRF250 Rally Concept and I am excited to hear from Honda when the bike makes its debut in Osaka this weekend.
It’s still unclear whether the CRF250 Rally Concept will drop that “concept” designation in the future, but if I’m Honda, I’m going to have my ears on the ground in Osaka just so I can gauge the public’s interest on the model. If it proves to be a hit, then I’ll begin to seriously consider the possibility of bringing it to production. Maybe not in the near future, but sometime down the road.
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2015 Honda CRF250 Rally Concept
Aesthetically speaking, the Honda CRF250 Rally Concept looks the part of an off-road adventure bike that’s ready to rumble. If the bike’s appearance makes it look like it’s a little bit stouter than your usual rally bike, that’s because it actually is. Certain elements about the lend to that belief, particularly the fully enclosed body and the modified tank design sourced from the CRF250L. The clear plexiglass windscreen also appears to be larger, which by the way lends itself to the more aggressive-looking front cowl. Speaking of that area, you’ll also see that Honda fitted the concept with LED headlights, a headlight protector, and a plastic mudguard that extends forward to keep the as much dirt away from the lights as possible.
At the back, the CRF250 Rally Concept also features large brackets on the rear subframe that can be used to mount optional components like panniers and a rear luggage rack.
The bike’s color scheme and accompanying sponsor logos were likely added for vanity purposes but other new additions like the fat-tube handlebars, the Gathers M GPS navigation unit with integrated handlebar mounted controls, and the anodized and carbon fiber pieces all come together to give the bike that natural off-road look that can burst into the rally scene and prove its worth as a legitimate small-displacement rally racer.
The Honda CRF250 Rally Concept’s frame is probably the one part about the bike that’s going to need some serious improvement should Honda decide to build the model as a production unit. It’s not because the existing set-up is underwhelming; on the contrary, certain parts about the chassis setup can be used on a future production unit.
The wraparound hand guard and the exhaust protector as useful components that can help improve the bike’s durability, especially when it’s tackling the beaten path. Same goes for the front suspension, which looks as if its been upgraded to handle the rigors of rally racing. Likewise, the addition of the billet aluminum hubs, the triple clamps, and the Mugen dual exhaust system creates enough versatility to provide the CRF250 Rally Concept with what it needs to be off-road ready.
Here’s the catch, though. In the event Honda decides to give the thumbs up on the CRF250 Rally Concept - sources from the company say that it’s only a matter of time before that happens - it’s going to have to improve upon the bike’s existing chassis setup, specifically adding race-grade components that can tackle the rigors of things like cross-country rally racing.
Honda hasn’t divulged specific details about the concept’s drivetrain, but from its name alone, we’re expecting to bike to have the same 250 cc fuel-injected single-cylinder engine found in the current CRF250L. If it’s not completely the same, it has to be pretty close to it. That engine is capable of producing 23 horsepower on the CRF250L, but with the likely increase in weight brought about by chassis and suspension upgrades, it wouldn’t surprise us if the CRF250 Rally Concept has slightly less power than its CRF250L cousin.
Then again, this is only a safe estimate on our end with the actual details coming from Honda. Fortunately, we won’t have to wait too long to learn more about this admittedly impressive off-road rally concept.
Don’t expect to hear any pricing information about the Honda CRF250 Rally Concept in the near future. But even with its future still up in the air, that doesn’t mean we can’t put a guess price on it. With the CRF250 priced at $5,000, a production version of the CRF250 Rally Concept could amount to something a little more expensive than that, possibly around $5,300.
Will It See Production?
We’ve been told that questions about the CRF250 Rally Concept really isn’t so much about whether Honda will do it or not, as it is a decision on when to do it. That’s great news, although it would be nice to have a more definite timetable than "sooner than later."