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.

Engine type:|249cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder four-stroke
Bore and stroke:|76.0 x 55.0mm
Compression ratio:|10.7:1
Valvetrain:|dohc, four valves
Induction:|EFI, 36mm throttle body
Ignition:|Computer-controlled, digital transistorized with electronic advance
Final drive:|#520 chain; 14T/40T
Front Suspension:|43mm inverted fork; 8.7 in. travel
Rear Suspension:|Pro-Link single shock with spring preload adjustability; 9.4 in. travel
Front Brakes:|Single 256mm disc, twin-piston caliper
Rear Brakes:|Single 220mm disc, single-piston caliper
Front Tires:|3.00-21
Rear Tires:|120/80-18
Wheelbase:|56.9 in.
Rake (caster angle):|27.6°
Trail:|113mm (4.4 in.)
Seat height:|34.7 in.
Ground clearance:|10.0 in.
Fuel capacity:|2.0 gal.
Estimated fuel mileage:|77 mpg
Curb weight:|320 lb.