Honda’s CRF250F is a great choice for riders getting their feet wet off-road, but also well suited for tackling challenging terrain at the hands of more experienced riders.

Honda’s CRF250F is a great choice for riders getting their feet wet off-road, but also well suited for tackling challenging terrain at the hands of more experienced riders. (Honda/)

Ups

  • Well-balanced handling with capable suspension
  • Off-road legal in all 50 states
  • Electronic fuel injection
  • Low fuel indicator can be helpful on the trail

Downs

  • Compact chassis could be too small for larger riders (though just right for others)

Verdict

The CRF250F is one of those bikes that provides a great foundation for novice riders while bringing any experienced rider who swings a leg over it back to their roots, where sheer speed, engine size, and the latest technology did not matter. It is a versatile, popular machine that grows rider skills and confidence off-road and is rideable year-round on trails across the nation.

Overview

The Honda CRF250F sits beneath the CRF450X and above the CRF125F, serving as the middle ground in Honda’s trailbike lineup. Keihin electronic fuel injection and spark arrestor–equipped exhaust make it rideable year-round in all 50 states.

The CRF250F offers manageable power from the 249cc four-stroke engine, and a well-balanced Showa suspension make it feasible and fun for newer or seasoned riders with their sights set on singletrack and moderately technical terrain. Compact dimensions and nimble handling further boost confidence and control while out on the trail. At the end of the day, a bike that increases confidence helps grow the sport, and Honda’s amiable trailbike is a great fit for the job.

The CRF250F gets props for its impressive and well-balanced suspension.

The CRF250F gets props for its impressive and well-balanced suspension. (Jeff Allen/)

Updates for 2023

In 2019 Honda increased the engine capacity to 249cc from the 223cc engine in the previous-generation CRF230F and included other mechanical and comfort-focused updates. Red number plates were added in 2022 to better align the 250F with Honda’s competition lineup, while the rest of the package was carried over for 2023 sans changes.

Pricing and Variants

The CRF250F is available in just one trim, and retails for $4,899.

Competition

Other trailbikes suitable for teens or young adults are primarily Yamaha’s TT-R230 and Kawasaki’s KLX230R.

Fuel injection on this air-cooled four-stroke is a somewhat recent update. Benefits include linear power and easy start-up whether the bike has been sitting or is hot on the trail.

Fuel injection on this air-cooled four-stroke is a somewhat recent update. Benefits include linear power and easy start-up whether the bike has been sitting or is hot on the trail. (Honda/)

Powertrain: Engine, Transmission, and Performance

In 2019 the CRF-F’s engine saw a significant redesign. The result was a counterbalanced, EFI-equipped, larger-displacement unit suitable for the modern age; no more rejetting or cleaning carbs needed.

This 250cc four-stroke engine offers great low-end power that builds in a linear fashion, making it approachable for novices. It is still exciting enough for experienced riders, though, with its ability to boost the front end up over obstacles. On our dyno, the air-cooled single churns out 20.1 hp and 15.5 pound-feet of torque and chugs on up through the rpm range.

CARB and EPA compliance, plus a USDA-qualified spark arrestor, mean the CRF250F is clean-running and safe for enjoyment across all 50 states.

The CRF250F is all about flinging dirt, having fun, and growing skills.

The CRF250F is all about flinging dirt, having fun, and growing skills. (Jeff Allen/)

Handling

The CRF250F’s chassis is compact and well-balanced. A short wheelbase (55.9 inches) makes it a compact machine that beginners can easily maneuver. The twin-spar steel frame nicely balances flex, strength, feedback, and comfort.

A Showa 41mm fork and Showa shock are also impressive. The fork offers plush comfort while also providing ideal bottoming resistance under heavy loading, making it capable of tackling jumps, conquering rocks, and dominating technical sections. Small rain ruts do cause some discomfort, as Dirt Rider mentioned in its review, with the front suspension feeling harsh and transmitting vibration into the handlebar. The shock works great out of the box, and although it is only preload adjustable, it catered well to DR’s 120-pound test rider.

Brakes

The CRF250F’s two-piston caliper/240mm disc up front and single-piston caliper/220mm disc brake out back offer good stopping power. The braking setup once again highlights the balancing act that the CRF250F plays so well; power is ample without an excessively aggressive initial bite that might overwhelm newer riders.

The riding doesn’t stop at the end of the season. This bike is green-sticker legal in California.

The riding doesn’t stop at the end of the season. This bike is green-sticker legal in California. (Jeff Allen/)

Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG

MPG is yet to be recorded.

Ergonomics: Comfort and Utility

The long motocross-style seat is on par with standard dirt bike comfort and enables the rider to easily move around. The Honda’s 34.7-inch measured seat height is taller than its competitors, but that doesn’t mean it’s not manageable. Our test riders, ranging from 5-foot-2 to 5-foot-8, still rode comfortably aboard Big Red’s trailbike and found that it was easy to plant both feet on the ground when stopped.

Electronics

Galloping down the single-track doesn’t require a whole lot of gizmos. The bike comes to life with a hit of the electric starter button and the bike’s electronic fuel injection ensures consistent, efficient fueling throughout the ride. Handlebar-mounted low fuel and “key on” indicator lights notify the rider of the most essential information.

Honda pulled from its CRF performance line to give the CRF250F some race-inspired styling.

Honda pulled from its CRF performance line to give the CRF250F some race-inspired styling. (Jeff Allen/)

Warranty and Maintenance Coverage

Six months of warranty coverage is included with the possibility to extend with Honda’s Protection Plan.

Quality

This novice-friendly platform has nice build quality with clean welds and durable structure overall.

2022 Honda CRF250F Claimed Specifications

MSRP: $4,899
Engine: 250cc, SOHC, air-cooled single-cylinder; 4-valve
Bore x Stroke: 71.0 x 63.0mm
Transmission/Final Drive: 5-speed/chain
Cycle World Measured Horsepower: 20.1 hp @ 7,500 rpm
Cycle World Measured Torque: 15.5 lb.-ft. @ 6,000 rpm
Fuel Delivery: EFI w/ 34mm throttle body
Clutch: Wet, multiplate; cable actuation
Engine Management/Ignition: Full transistorized
Frame: Tubular steel twin-spar
Front Suspension: Showa 41mm telescopic fork, nonadjustable; 8.5 in. travel
Rear Suspension: Showa shock, spring preload adjustable; 9.1 in. travel
Front Brake: 2-piston caliper, 240mm disc
Rear Brake: 1-piston caliper, 220mm disc
Wheels, Front/Rear: Spoked; 21 in./18 in.
Tires, Front/Rear: Pirelli Scorpion XC Mid Hard; 80/100-21 / 100/100-18
Rake/Trail: 26.1°/4.0 in.
Wheelbase: 55.9 in.
Ground Clearance: 11.3 in.
Cycle World Measured Seat Height: 34.7 in.
Fuel Capacity: 1.6 gal.
Cycle World Measured Wet Weight: 264 lb.
Contact: powersports.honda.com
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