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New Honda CRF250L Designed for Sale in the United States

Some keen eyes have spotted language on Honda’s web site for the new CRF250L dual sport indicating it was designed for sale in several markets, including the United States! Specifically, the web site references emissions requirements for the U.S., including California.

The power unit for the U.S. and Thailand also complies with those countries’ environmental regulations, specifically California’s evaporative emission standards and Thailand’s 6th emission standards, through the adoption of an evaporative emission control system.


You can follow this link to a micro-site set up by Honda for the CRF250L, which has all the details. This is a thoroughly modern engine design which shares features with the CBR250R. Engine performance should match the class-leading Yamaha, although the indicated weight (roughly 316 pounds) of the Honda may be on the high end for the class.

We are awaiting official word from Honda that the CRF250L will be made available through U.S. dealers. Stay tuned. Below are the specifications for the new CRF250L.

Model name CRF250L (European model)
Model type Honda MD38
Dimensions (L x W x H) (mm) 2,195 x 815 x 1,195
Wheelbase (mm) 1,445
Ground clearance (mm) 255
Seat height (mm) 875
Curb weightRiding capacity (kg) 144
Riding capacity (No.of occupants) 2
Minimum turning radius (m) 2.3
Engine liquid-cooled 4-stroke DOHC single cylinder
Displacement (cc) 250
Bore x Stroke (mm) 76.0 x 55.0
Compression ratio 10.7
Fuel supply system Programmed fuel injection system (PGM-FI)
Starter Self-starter
Ignition Full-transistor battery ignition
Lubricating Wet sump
Fuel tank capacity (L) 7.7
Clutch Wet multiplate with coil springs
Transmission Constant mesh 6-speed return
Transmission gear ratio 1st 3.333
2nd 2.117
3rd 1.571
4th 1.304
5th 1.115
6th 0.962
Reduction gear ratio (primary/secondary) 2.807/2.857
Caster angle/Trail (degree/mm) 27.6°/113
Tire size Front 3.00-21 51P
Rear 120/80-18 62P
Brakes Front Hydraulic disk
Rear Hydraulic disk
Suspension Front Telescopic (Inverted)
Rear Swing arm (Pro-link suspension system)
Frame Semi-double cradle

66 Comments

  1. Debull says:

    What is wrong with Honda? This is a lovely dual sport motorcycle but we’ve been waiting for more than two decades now for a revised or completely new XR 650L. It can’t be a lost to Honda at this point.If Honda is still not 100% sure they’ll get the sales they want then they could make it a supermotard version.It’s long over due guys and if you don’t do it Yamaha or Suzuki will figure out how to do it for under $8000 and the process of catch up will commence. Sorry for the incorrect spelling before didn’t check spelling over.

  2. HalfBaked says:

    The XR650L is about as close to what you described as Honda is ever likely to get.

  3. CB77 says:

    “Whoa Mr CB77!!! $4K? Where does this price come from?”

    Since this bike will be based heavily on the CBR250R running gear (it is basically a 250R playing dress-up) and it, too, will be sourced from Thailand…an MSRP of $4,000 should not be too difficult. Maybe that will stop a lot of bitching about the weight penalty it gives-up to the WR250…which is really not that much when you compare wet-weight to wet-weight.

  4. Greg C says:

    Found this from the web on the old XL250 :

    “The 250cc 4-stroke motor produces 24 horsepower at the wheel. The bike weighs 288 lbs with oil, grease, and petrol. Fuel capacity is 2.4 gallons (9.5 litres). ”

    Yes, I know the new bike has better suspension and brakes, but the old bike carried more gas and weighed less. Have things really changed very much in 40 years?

    Am still happy to have this new bike avaialvble to us though!!

  5. Ziggy says:

    All this chatter and hair splitting is useless.

    Readers, Honda–here’s the real deal:

    Build an air-cooled 450 with the same look, firmer springs, with the same dimensions and weight.

    We need tractor / tractable power.

    Anything less than this and you can count on sales failure.

    It’s just that simple.

    • Dave says:

      Honda knows good and well what will sell. KTM has the high end, big-bore enduro market locked up, that’s why none of the Japanese makes are releasing products into that segment. Notice that the action photo they chose to provide is pavement in a city, not dirt in the wilderness. This is a light SUV for the moto set.

      • Ziggy says:

        That’s not the issue. This thing has more than enough power for off road. it doesn’t have enough power for the city.

        What I describe is not “high end” just a real, simple, workmanlike bike that uses existing technology and will appeal to real DS riders. It’s just that simple.

        • Donnie says:

          That would depend on one’s definition of ‘city’. I’m sure it will sprint to 45 reasonably quick. Any faster than that in an urban environment can get a little harrowing – unless your name is Black Devil, and you ride a YZF-R1 in Moscow.

        • Dave says:

          An air-cooled bike would have difficulty in the urban environment (overheating). What I am hinting at is that I think many of these will never see offroad riding more challenging than a gravel road. The guys who want real off road/DS performance will go for the Yamaha WR.

          I get where you’re coming from though Siggy.

          • Ziggy says:

            There are countless air-cooled bikes on the market right now for off-road, on road, and both from pretty much every major manufacturer (BMW, Harley, Suzuki…the list goes on). As a DS and off-road rider, I respectfully disagree with your contention. As for overheating—off road riding in rough terrain (woods, mud, hill climbs) is far harder on an engine and clutch than anything idling at rush hour can dish out! Oftentimes offroad there’s very little airflow around the block and it can be caked in mud! The lighter and more nimble a DS bike is, the MORE likely it is to be used off road. This bike could easily be in a number of serious off road situations, that I sure as hell wouldn’t want to drag a KLR into! As for the Yamaha, well, fine bike but the point I am making is that Honda would have a winner by delivering TRACTABLE / TRACTOR power in a AC 450. I live in BC and the dealers here can’t seem to sell a single Yamaha 250. Why is that? Not enough power for the hilly highways to keep up with traffic and you have to wind the snot out of it off road. The Yamaha is a fine bike for US western conditions (dry and open) but real serious tight off road with mixed conditions requires power from the bottom up, not the top down. The solution is a 450. The 650 is just way to heavy a tank and way too old. They call it an off road legend? Sure, in Baja or with open conditions. But it isn’t much of a woods / mountain bike, I can tell you from experience.

  6. Jay says:

    I’m looking for good gas mileage, reliability, and very low maintenance, so I’ve been following this bike closely. The weight is a disappointment, but if the MSRP is low enough that will leave money for lightening. I’m also looking hard at the CRF230M. I really like the low weight of the CRF230M. If Honda had updated the bike with closed-circuit fuel injection, like the CRF250L, I would probably go with the 230M.

  7. randy says:

    “1) Yes, this bike will be given to U.S. Honda dealers. We will see it here by late summer, with an MSRP of about $4,000.”

    Whoa Mr CB77!!! $4K? Where does this price come from? Are you saying this will be priced way under a XT250, CRF230L, KLX250, even the TW200? I don’t believe it. While a low price would make up for a lot, Honda doesn’t do things this way. I bet it will be within a few hundred dollars of the WR250R.

    Since Honda (or Yamaha, Kawasaki,Suzuki) won’t make the bike we really want, what can be done with this one? What we have is a bike that looks an awful lot like the WR250R but is both less powerful and heavier. Nice Honda. This bike with a 30′ish seat height and a nice wide seat, 3 gallons, 19 inch front wheel, and a few scrambler styling cues would be a hit. And all alone in the market. Now IMS will have to make a 3 gallon tank to replace the stupid 2 gallon stock tank, a lowering link, etc, etc.

    I noticed the love given the XR650L. I owned a DR650SE for several years, great bike but I got truly sick of picking that BBP up. Now I have a WR250R and it’s a way better offroad bike and it does fine on the highway too. What I’m saying is unless you are a big guy (I’m 5’9″ 160) the 650′s are too tall and heavy. Going further, there are plenty of people in the population that can’t handle the height of the WR250R. Do they have to settle for put-put bikes like the CRF230L or TW200? Some are spending the money to lower the WR250RX 4-5 inches. This makes it an excellent scrambler (dirt tracker style) that does good offroad and great on the road. But this costs a lot of money to do right, like >$1000.

    So here is what Honda should have done. Instead of competing directly with Kawasaki and Yamaha, who have pegged the low-middle and middle grade Dualsports with the the KLX250S and WR250R, Honda should have offered a bike that slides into the price and performance gap between the KTM 250 and WR250R. OR! Define a new category altogether. A throw back scrambler with a low comfortable seat, good range, classic styling, good handling on the road and basic offroad capability, and decent engine performance that allows true 70 mph cruising. Basically bookend the CBR250 with a all-rounder.

  8. gp says:

    Things I like: 1)It is a 6 speed! Finally! 2)The low seat height 3)Typical Honda build quality and engineering 4) The low price point Things I do not like: 1)The turned up seat front(it should be flatter) 2)Fuel injection (I just prefer carbs on a dirt toy) 3)316 pounds! C’mon! Jeez!
    I’d still buy one, but this bike by no means competes with the KTM, Beta, or Husky offerings. Too bad they cost twice as much.

  9. mxs says:

    Good and logical release, considering the horribly overpriced air-cooled option they had so far in their catalogue. But 316lbs is quite a weight for such small bike. They could do better for sure, considering my aging DRZ400 has more pep and weight only few lbs more.

    They should also release motard version as well.

  10. CB77 says:

    To answer a couple of questions that have been raised here:

    1) Yes, this bike will be given to U.S. Honda dealers. We will see it here by late summer, with an MSRP of about $4,000.

    2) Yes, there is a natural-break of 250cc, in the cc-range in many counties (due to harsh licensing requirements for bikes larger than that). As the U.S. market continues to contribute less and less to worldwide motorcycle sales (right now it is about 1% of worldwide sales for Honda) we will see more and more “world-bikes” as the new models we get here…it’s simple economics. The CBR250R and NC700X are the 2 most recent examples.

    • Tim says:

      Hard to believe that Honda will price this a grand or more below the competition from Kawasaki and Yamaha.

  11. Lloyd G says:

    A 250 is not enough power to keep up with traffic. I like to see Honda bulid a XR700L water cooled bike with a weight under 325 lbs, a fuel range of 175 miles and like 65 hp.
    KTM can do it! I think a giant like Honda can do it.

    • Dave says:

      KTM has a steet legal 700cc bike that weighs under 325lb?

    • Superchicken says:

      Personally, I think 350cc to 400cc is a better target. I’d like to see some Honda competition to the DRZ400, which I think is a great urban bike and good enough power to venture onto the freeway. My old XR250L would manage 70 MPH, so a 400 shouldn’t have a problem. That and I know people who have toured on DRZ350s, so I know it can’t be too bad. I just wish one of the Japanese manufacturers would sell a supermoto in that range straight from the factory and save me the trouble of the conversion when I inevitably go that way.

    • Donnie says:

      I had a 21hp KLR 250 that I rode in traffic with – regularly. Took it on the interstate fairly often and did 70-75 mph on it no problem. I ride a ZRX1200R currently but would not hesitate to get back on a 250 and ride it around, city or interstate.

    • JB says:

      A 250 can’t keep up with traffic? You must be riding the Autobahn, dude! Power is addictive, and more is usually nicer, but 24 hp will outperform most cars on the road while in the under 70mph range. Expect this bike to be able to cruise at 80, albeit begrudgingly. I would prefer a 400 or 450 class- a lightened DRZ with a 6th gear & better suspension would be great. But I could live with this bike or a KLX with a few mods.

  12. Youth says:

    Hey I still got my ’89 Honda NX250. Other than not having fuel-injection, I don’t know what’s a difference with this bike..

  13. HalfBaked says:

    Will Honda be making this version available in the US as well?
    http://s1.visordown.com/uploads/images/huge/43405.jpg

  14. Stratkat says:

    3 words: KTM 350 Freeride!

  15. Dave Kent says:

    Agree, to a point. I’ll never sell my ’05 XR650L, for all the reasons you mentioned, particularly the aircooled simplicity. It’ll always be my 2 wheeled Jeep that’s ready to take me anywhere I want to go. But, if I’m in the mood to raise some hell, that simple air cooled motor just doesn’t make enough go juice to be really entertaining. If Honda would put their XR650R into a dual sport or supermoto package, I’d buy one in a heartbeat.

  16. morpheus says:

    I guess it would just kill these companies to build a 350. somehow a 250 just seems a little weak One of the better bikes I have had was a Suzuki DR350, for my money better than the current dr 400.

    • John says:

      I agree entirely. 350 is just right for a DP bike.

    • Andrew Mai says:

      The KTM 350 EXC-F is a street legal dual sport that weighs 241 lbs, much less than the 316 lbs of this 250. Of course it costs a lot more, too. Around $9600.

    • Dave says:

      Is 250cc a “catch weight” in some countries? Ie. above 250 requires a different license/insurance?
      Sincerely asking, it seems like 250cc is a focal point for most makes.

  17. Tom says:

    Ok Honda, now do the same thing to your 20 years too old XR 650L dualsport and then you’ll have me. But, I must say I do like this bike too.

    • paul246 says:

      No, leave the XR650L alone, thank-you. Why do you think its still finding buyers after 20 years? Torque, tough, air cooled simplicity, 13 inches of ground clearance and a good suspension and still easily capable of motoring down the highway all day at 70+ mph.

      Also, Scott Summers is still kicking azz with his XR600R’s.

      • Reagan says:

        Last I saw Scott Summers was mounted on a Husky, is he back on a XR? If so why not the luiqud cooled 450?

        • paul246 says:

          There was a recent post on Thumpertalk from one of his friends, says Scott is still winning local hare scrambles on an XR600R.

  18. AndrewF says:

    Before you get too excited remember that complying with local regulations is one thing, actually adding the bike to your local range is another. Honda’s engineers might well cover all the basis when they design the bike but your local Honda importers might still decide there isn’t enough demand or cost will be too high or whatever other excuse they might dream up…

  19. John says:

    Sold! I need a dual sport and was leaning towards a KLX. Well, I suppose it will depend on the price but if it’s the same or close to the CBR, sold!

  20. william says:

    I think the lower seat height is good thing they did with this bike. I wish others would do this. It gives it a big advantage over the other bikes in this class, at least for some people. However, since Honda sold me a new quad with a defective shock and refused to do anything, including even sell me a new part to fix it, I am not interested in buying another Honda. I suppose the extra weight might be due to the engine being based off of the street bike instead of the offroad bike, to gain reliability. Also, the extra mass helps reduce engine noise. That is pretty heavy though, seems like it wouldn’t need that much weight.

  21. This bike aounds great! Now if Honda could modify the CBR 250R for even better MPG I would be happy.

  22. Reinhart says:

    What’s a “self starter”? Does it mean you have to kick start it?

  23. Doc says:

    I like it but would rather have this. http://www.honda.co.jp/CB1100/color/

    • soi cowboy says:

      DOHC totally wrecks the style of the cb1100. Forces the bottom edge of the tank up which is disjointed with the bottom edge of the seat. Are they worried a sohc 1100 wouldn’t have enough torque? The 1979 twin cam 750 was not that great a bike anyway. DAMN IT ALL, WHERES MY OATMEAL.

      • Doc says:

        Nothing wrong with the DOHC 750 or 900. I had two of each. All were supersports. In fact I would love to have my ’81 CB900F back. I loved it. Perfect all around bike!

    • kpmsprtd says:

      I sent emails to every Honda person I could find, and even to random citizens in the Kumamoto, Japan region. I don’t understand why they couldn’t do it at least on a pay-in-advance type program. (Like the Yamaha Super Tenere was.)

  24. Gabe says:

    Good detective work, boss!

  25. endoman38 says:

    316 pounds? Holy guacamole, say it ain’t so, Joe.

    • MGNorge says:

      Coming off much heavier bikes this one would feel like a tiddler in comparison. For this bike’s typical usage I don’t see that its weight is all that significant. There are other factors of greater importance in my book.

    • Charlie says:

      It’s heavier than my ’77 Yamaha XT500!

      • Nick says:

        That was a interesting statement. A quick look around and I saw the curb weight of the old XT at about 342#. I also saw power as being listed at only 27hp! Undoubtedly with more torque though.

  26. Steve says:

    I like a tall bike and find most bikes a little cramped. It might finally be time to trade in my 305 Scrambler.

  27. jdubb says:

    Glad to see this. Probably will not keep pace with the WR250R Yamaha. The Yamaha is lighter, able to run all day at 70 MPH and does not require valve check until 26,000 miles and weighs under 300 lbs. I put 10,000 miles on one last year and it can do it all.

    • Josh C says:

      If that really is the CBR 250R’s engine hiding under there, this machine will run all day long at 90mph without complaint while keeping appropriately long service intervals.

      • Nanabijou says:

        It is true that the CBR250R can attain +90 mph (about 93 mph). However, the CBR250R also has a full fairing. I own a CBR250R. I also own a WR250R. Out on the highway – the WR250R doesn’t cut through the wind as cleanly (it has no fairing or windscreen) as the CBR250R – and despite the WR250R’s superior rear wheel horsepower advantage (27 hp) compared to the CBR250R (24 hp), the CBR250R has a higher top speed and accelerates better at highway speeds. However, around town the WR250R will win the stop-light drag easily as it is about 80lbs lighter than the CBR250R. And apparently Honda is claiming that the engine in the CRF250L will produce 23 hp at the crank. This is 3 hp LESS than the CBR250R which is rated as having 26 hp at the crank.

  28. Don E. says:

    The bike has a 34 inch (875mm) seat height. A tall bike will not take any sales away from Yamaha. The XT250 is 2 inches lower and the TW200 is an inch lower than that.

  29. Tom says:

    I’m a recent ’12 KTM 350EXC-F owner that is happy to pay more overall and for higher maintenance cost. I did this so I could get a “dirt” bike that can be ridden on the street to the trail head. I think this is another dull purpose bike from the big manufacturers.

    • MotoGraph says:

      It may be dull but will probably be half the price of your KTM (though probably half the power too). For those of us that can’t afford a high-end dual purpose it’s another choice, which is always good. I’m sure it will still be a lot of fun.

    • mr_dirtrider says:

      Since I already own a full on dirt bike (CRF450), I don’t really neede a street legal one. Using the trailer is fine. I could use this bike to ride to work and take beginners out to the dirt. I’ll take one if the price is right. I might get some people to ride who are hesitant to ride the 450.

  30. Dave Kent says:

    I have never forgiven Honda for failing to bring forth a dual sport XR650R. And I won’t buy another Honda until they do.

  31. mickey says:

    I haven’t ridden a modern 4 stroke enduro, but I understand the 4 stroke motocross bike are very labor intensive requiring frequent tear downs. Would the same apply to this bike? I remember when Hondas 4 stroke enduros like the SLs and XLs could be ridden seemingly forever requiring little maintenance. Reliable as an anvil comes to mind.

    • MotoGraph says:

      Yes the MX bikes are very labor intensive, BUT this bike derives its engine from Honda’s CBR250R, which has very lengthy service intervals. :)

      • eehhe says:

        Unless you run it like an MX’er, then it won’t last long… 250 motocross bikes have short service intervals because they are ridden very hard in an competitive environment and failure can be very dangerous. Same size cylinder in a 1000 cc superbike (street riding) has long service intervals.