- 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
- Compact chassis could be too small for larger riders (though just right for others)
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.
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.
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.
Other trailbikes suitable for teens or young adults are primarily Yamaha’s TT-R230 and Kawasaki’s KLX230R.
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’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.
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.
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.
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.
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Six months of warranty coverage is included with the possibility to extend with Honda’s Protection Plan.
This novice-friendly platform has nice build quality with clean welds and durable structure overall.
2022 Honda CRF250F Claimed Specifications
|Engine:||250cc, SOHC, air-cooled single-cylinder; 4-valve|
|Bore x Stroke:||71.0 x 63.0mm|
|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|
|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.|