2013 Honda CRF250L - First Look

Big Red reintroduces a new entry-level dual-purpose model.

First Look: 2013 Honda CRF250L

First Look: 2013 Honda CRF250L

One of the hottest current trends in motorcycle sales is entry-level motorcycles. But while bikes like Honda’s own CBR250R have been a sizzling success, what if you’re after something even more versatile? Perhaps something that doesn’t mind getting a bit dirty from time to time? For anyone interested in a truly well-rounded bike such as a dual-sport, the brand-new CRF250L promises to be a serious option.

This class is not foreign to Honda; it produced the air-cooled, 50-state street-legal CRF230L last available in 2009. But the CRF250L is an all-new machine that has very little in common with the 230.

The bike’s liquid-cooled, dohc, four-valve, 249cc Single features Honda’s proprietary Programmable Fuel Injection (PGM-FI), a gear-driven counterbalancer and a very compact cylinder head that utilizes a compact roller-rocker-arm design for reduced valvetrain friction. Honda claims the engine is capable of 77-mpg fuel economy, which would give the bike a range of around 154 miles from its 2.0-gallon tank.

The chassis is specific to the 250L, as well. It’s built around a steel twin-spar frame, with suspension consisting of a 43mm inverted fork offering 8.7 inches of travel up front and a preload-adjustable Pro-Link shock with 9.4 in. of travel out back. Braking is handled by a single twin-piston caliper/256mm disc combo up front and a single-piston caliper and 220mm disc at the rear. Lightweight aluminum rims are fitted in 21-in. front and 18-in. rear sizes, allowing a wide variety of off-road or dual-sport tire options.

Competitively priced at $4499, the Honda CRF250L joins the class currently occupied by Kawasaki’s $4999 KLX250S, along with Yamaha’s $5090 XT250 and higher-performance $6590 WR250R. Husqvarna’s street-legal TE250 is a more-hardcore enduro that lists for $7599.