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Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Honda Makes it Official: 2013 CRF250L Coming to the States

Honda has announced that the CRF250L we told you about in April is, in fact, coming to a U.S. dealer near you for the 2013 model year. As previously reported, this bike will feature a version of the same engine found in the CBR250R, tuned for stronger low-end power (with a smaller throttle body, for instance).  MSRP will be $4,499.

With a claimed curb weight of 320 pounds, it is more than 30 pounds lighter than the CBR250R.  This weight includes fluids, so the dry weight should actually be under 300 pounds … not bad. This dual sport lacks any sort of suspension adjustment, except for preload on the rear spring. A small 2 gallon gas tank should provide adequate range with fuel mileage estimated in the neighborhood of 100 mpg. Here are the specifications provided by Honda for the U.S. market version of this bike. Take a look at Honda’s web site for additional details.


Engine Type 249.4cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke
Bore And Stroke 76mm x 55mm
Induction PGM-FI, 36mm throttle body
Ignition Computer-controlled digital transistorized with electronic advance
Compression Ratio 10.7:1
Valve Train DOHC; four-valve


Transmission Six-speed
Final Drive #520 chain; 14T/40T


Front Suspension 43mm inverted fork; 8.7 inches travel
Rear Suspension Pro-Link® single shock with spring preload adjustability; 9.4 inches travel
Front Brake Single 256mm disc with twin-piston caliper
Rear Brake Single 220mm disc
Front Tire 3.00-21
Rear Tire 120/80-18


Rake 27°35′ (Caster Angle)
Trail 113mm (4.4 inches)
Wheelbase 56.9 inches
Seat Height 34.7 inches
Curb Weight 320 pounds
Fuel Capacity 2.0 gallons
Miles Per Gallon TBD – Honda’s fuel economy estimates are based on EPA exhaust emission measurement test procedures and are intended for comparison purposes only. Your actual mileage will vary depending on how you ride, how you maintain your vehicle, weather, road conditions, tire pressure, installation of accessories, cargo, rider and passenger weight, and other factors.
Ground Clearance 10.0 inches


Available Colors Red
Model Id CRF250L


  1. Dave says:

    Love it! It is beautiful!

  2. Z1 says:

    Well, then I suggest that you not buy one…and I’m sure you won’t. But don’t deny the thousands of riders out there who are going to buy one…and have a great time riding it.

  3. steve says:

    i wonder if any honda folk actually ever go on dual sport rides, probably not, If they did they might notice the sea of orange bikes. How they think a comparatively underpowered and heavy bike will sell to this crowd is beyond me. A 450 with a ready to ride weight close to the ktms might actually sell bikes, until then honda continues to be a loser company

    • Z1 says:

      Yeah, Stevie boy, this “loser company” that just happens to be #1 in the world (and the U.S.) in motorcycle sales. This new bike from Honda will outsell anything from KTM (or anyone else) due to these factors:

      1. Honda quality

      2. Honda dealer network

      3. Honda name

      4. The amazingly low retail price

      5. It is what most people in this market (a 250cc dual purpose bike, with the emphasis on street-use) want and need

    • Dave says:

      Again, missing the point. If your idea of a dualsport is the KTM stuff then this bike is as appropriate for you as a Harley. They will not sell to the KTM crowd. They will sell many more, to a far larger crowd. Mostly people that don’t even know who KTM is.

  4. T. Rollie says:

    The BMW R 1200 GS marketing folks have nothing to worry about from this new threat from Honda. Nice try Honda, you’re only like 1000 cc too small in the pistons and a non-tweakable suspension. Nice price and weight, though. Oh…you mean this dual-sport is meant for a different audience?

  5. xrdude says:

    As a long time rider, let me add my 2 cents- my first ‘dualsport’ was a Honda CL72 (250 Scrambler for the young ‘uns) so looking at pretty much ANY of the new dualsports is like comparing a space ship to a biplane next to that. Point is, all modern equipment, including this new Honda, is most likely more capable offroad than 99% of the people that will buy them. I once helped officiate a cross country race where an ISDE rider showed up on a Yamaha TW200 and proceeded to run off and hide from the rest of the field, regardless of machine make or model. This was in the early 90’s, so most of the entrants were on two stroke 250 MXers, both lighter AND faster than the TW.I learned a valuable lesson from this- TALENT will make you fast on anything, and having the fastest and lightest bike without said talent will simply put you on the fastest and lightest bike. Developing your skills makes you a better rider, having the bestest and fastest bike won’t necessarily make you any better at all.

  6. Lloyd G says:

    Wow thats a heavy bike!

  7. endoman38 says:

    C’mon, peoples. This bike was designed as an entry level/family fun/around town/low maintenance bike, not a serious enduro bike. It’s got the full complement of street legal stuff, weighs about the same as the Kaw KLX250S and will have typical Honda quality to it. It no way should be compared to bikes like the CRF250X, WR250F, KTM EXC or even KDX’s. Those were all built for mainly dirt and some states won’t even let you plate them. Will I get one? No, but I’ve got a street legal CR250R…hehehe.

  8. Kevin says:

    320lbs :O

  9. Reinhart says:

    Does the fuel injection on the HONDA add an extra 50 pounds to its total weight? Where’s the payoff in weight savings due to modern technology? This bike was not made for the USA but for 3rd world nations that could give a rats A$$ about how much it weighs. As long as it will carry a family of 5 and get 100 miles to the gallon it will be successful in those nations.

    • soi cowboy says:

      The third world countries are going to fuel injection. Check the Honda thailand site for the newer Wave 125i.

  10. kjazz says:

    There’s nothing milktoast about my Honda. Of course being an XR650R (barely street-legal) keeps it exciting on the streets AND the trails.

  11. Zimm says:

    Impressive price point for inverted forks and liquid cooling. Half the price of the KTM 350 EXC I was looking into.

    • Tom says:

      I have a KTM 350 EXC-F. It really sucks as a street bike. But in the dirt WHOO HOO!!!

      I see this Honda as an option for those exploring trails with the DP crew on KLR’s and GS’s. If you want a full blown dirt bike to ride down the street to the trail head then get the 70 pound lighter KTM. If you plan on riding on the street with an occasional dirt trail then this Honda is PERFECT!

  12. Vrooom says:

    I’m in the market for a light dual sport. I wish they’d used the 450 motor and kept it to 320 lbs, but really this is pretty close to the perfect around town and d/s bike.

  13. kirk66 says:

    If I weighed 100lbs less and was in my late teens or early twenties I would be riding this to school or playing on the fire roads daily. But I’m not close to either of those and will stay true to my KLR.

  14. Steve says:

    When they called it a dual sport I was hoping for a little wind protection and a front fender that might actually do something.

  15. Superduckz says:

    Why is it the the other “big three” all have identities that aren’t boring but somehow Honda can’t manage it. I’m yet to see a single motorcycle segment that Honda can’t turn into vanilla ice cream. I think the old “you meet the nicest people on a Honda” theme has worn itself out.. shrug..

    • Z1 says:

      Boring?? Really??? I think beating all your Japanese competition by $500 to over $2,000 at MSRP is pretty exciting. But I guess you would rather buy a used, clapped-out Yamaha or Kawasaki for the same price as this new Honda.

      • Superduckz says:

        When a motorcycle company has to use savings instead of excitement as an argument in favor of its products then yeah… BOOOORRRIIING…

        • Z1 says:

          Well, then I suggest that you not buy one…and I’m sure you won’t. But don’t deny the thousands of riders out there who are going to buy one…and have a great time riding it. They will not find it boring.

    • DaytonaJames says:

      Superduckz… you slay me. The Hondamatic vanilla ice cream maker slices, dices well engineered machines into the blandest milksop you’ll ever ride. You meet the blandest people on a Honda.

      Yamaha made this same machine in the WR250R including fuel injection but at 290 dry weight back in 08′. Albeit offered at a bit higher price, no doubt they’ll come to play nice once the Honda actually hits the floors. Honda, thanks for finally coming to the picnic but everyone has already packed up and gone home.

      • Dave says:

        The WR’s @ 290lb comes in at ouly a few real pounds less than this (320 is quoted wet weight). @ $6490 it’s more than a few dollars more expensive (ok ~50% more expensive). Maybe that’s why they’re packing up and leaving? +$2000 is a different picnic, in a different park all together.

  16. Tom says:

    Cool, remindes me of the XR250 I had back in the early 80’s.

  17. GP says:

    I like this bike, almost enough to sell my trusty KDX200 and go out and buy one. It is 50 pounds too heavy, though. And, would it kill them to give us rebound and compression adjustments front and rear?? Jeez. I still may go get one… The KTM 250EXC is better for my dirt riding, but this Honda is far less expensive, and is probably a better all-arounder. The WR-R is just too tall, and more money as well.

  18. craigj says:

    To those asking for a CRF450 dual purpose bike, do a little research. What’s the average top end rebuild requirement on a MX bike? 10 hours? 20? I’m not in the mood to tear the engine down every 2 weeks of commuting. Increase the durability of the 450 engine, performance goes down and the weight goes up, leading to something like the DR400.

    • Hair says:

      I’m not a Honda guy, Not by a long shot. But there is no reason why anyone would have to do a top end in that interval. Most trail rated singles these days have a recommended top end overhaul of 100 hrs. Most riders stretch that out to 3 or 4 times the recommended.

      All-in-all this should be a nice small DS bike. The Yamaha offerings are bullet proof. I fully expect the same from Honda.

    • Dave says:

      I’m told by some enduro/woods guys that the upper end rebuild intervals on 450mxer’s are only realistic if you’re racing MX. For lighter use (road, woods riding), they run practically forever (a perfect running 2004 YZF450 that’s never had its head cover off, for instance).

      I think that a slightly de-tuned 450 mill would have MUCH longer service interval ratings from the factory. These bikes will always be heaver with road running gear, electric starters, and lower price targets.

    • John A. Kuzmenko says:

      I do own a 2009 Honda CRF-450X that is street registered, actually. 🙂
      Awesome being able to legally ride it anywhere a motorcycle is allowed to operate, and I ride it every weekend on my local state forest trail loop.
      It’s racking-up the milage, and the engine has never been overhauled, yet.

      If you’re beating the piss out of your bike racing (especially if you’re an abusive animal while on the bike and/or allow dirt into the engine via the air intake), it will require more frequent overhauls.
      Just recreational riding, they will go a loooooooong time.
      I rode a 2009 Yamaha WR-250F, with a street license plate on that one, too, for over two years with no reason whatsoever to have to take the engine apart.

    • steve says:

      what a load husky and ktm make bikes now that go 2 and 300 hours before work needs to be done, and honda’s ridiculous 450 blows up in a fraction of that time while making similar power

  19. tutticos says:

    Not sure if it’s true or not: I have read that these newer dual-sport bikes (like the KLX250, WR250R and now this Honda) are made as 250cc to fit in better to the global motorcycle market.

    Something about 250cc being the upper limit for many countries before taxation/registration/licensing requirements skyrocket. Thus the reason for not seeing many more big-bore thumpers…

    The stuff I read may have been wrong… maybe someone can reply with more precise info?

    I owned a Yamaha WR250R. Really nice motorcycle. Wasn’t as sharp as a true enduro, and not as comfortable as a true streetbike; but compromised well enough.

  20. John A. Kuzmenko says:

    I remember when a dual-purpose bike that weighed 320 pounds with fuel was one of 500cc.
    Progress, huh? 😉

    Looks nice enough for somebody in the market for one, but it’s just another overweight dual-purpose bike that leans heavily toward street use with very easy off-road terrain usage in mind.
    If that’s what you want, then that’s just fine and dandy.
    Personally, when I look at a bike like this, I think, “boring”.

    By now, after decades of seeing bikes like this come and go, it is obvious that American Honda (or any of the other Japanese companies) will not even think about importing some kind of CRF-450R-based dual-purpose bike (due to who-knows-how-many legal concerns), the kind of bike a rider who really wants to ride off-road with would like to see.
    I believe the most dirt-worthy dual-purpose bike offered by American Honda was the XR-250L of 1991-1994.

    • pat walker says:

      I remember when a dual-purpose bike that weighed 320 pounds with fuel was one of 500cc.
      Progress, huh

      That goes a long way to explaining the high price. I guess it costs a lot to engineer that much
      weight on to a little 250. LOL nice job honDa.

  21. Eric says:

    Nice bike but once again Honda plays it conservative. WHY didn’t they use a “version” of the CRF450 engine though? The only competition at that displacement is the dated DRZ400 line and uber expensive Euro brands. C’mon Honda – bring us a CRF-450SM!

  22. zrx4me says:

    I have a DRZ400 and that is at the very edge of power needed to keep up and away from cars on the road.who the hell needs a 250 unless your off road 80% of the time.Why the hell doesent honda update the XR650L after all these years???How about a XL700 with EFI and a supermoto wheel option?Nah,thats something the japanese mfg’s will never give us

    • Mr.Mike says:

      Here in suburban hell the speed limit around town is 45mph. Everyone takes off from traffic lights so slowly in their $50k SUVs to save gas that a 125cc bike would be more than enough to stay ahead of the pack.

  23. Leo says:

    No way, less power and range than a DRZ400S. It would have to have a 3 gal tank and 450cc and together with that six speed.

  24. John says:

    Cool, though not quite the amazing breakthrough hoped since I don’t see any advantage of the KLX250S. Retail price is a bit lowr, but it’s easy to find the KLX at a good price.

    • Provalogna says:

      Some riders familiar with carburetor-equipped bikes know the increased riding pleasure of fuel injection (standard automotive equipment for several decades but much newer to motorcycles). Count me among many who prefer the many advantages of F.I. and would always select it over a carburetor except for an occasional vintage ride. From what I’ve read of the CBR250R and the KLX250S, this new CRF250L should have it all over the ancient KLX performance.

      Cosmetics is purely subjective. I might prefer the KLX in that regard but the Honda looks pretty spiffy too.

      • pat walker says:

        “Some riders familiar with carburetor-equipped bikes know the increased riding pleasure of fuel injection”

        Your kidding right?

        • Steve says:

          He’s not kidding Pat. Fuel injections beats a carb any day and direct fuel injection beats port injection. Motorcycles are really far behind the automotive technology and things are not moving real fast there either.

          • Tim says:

            Until you decide to replace that large pannier on the right rear of the bike with a nice light FMF unit. Then you’ll be shopping for a new ECU or a $400.00 reflash instead of just raising the needle and swapping a $4.00 mainjet.

      • John says:

        Fuel injection, fair enough, though I’ve never had an issue with carbs worth noting.

        The KLX sure is prettier and I like how it feels.

      • Doc says:

        I’m not sure what the true advantage is to fuel injection. I’ve owned 30 bikes and every one had a carb but 4. All the problems associated with carbs read about in magazines over the years, I didn’t have them. Stumble, lean running, all kinds of issues. For me pull the choke, start, sit there for about 10-20 seconds(if that), then go and modulate the choke as you go. No problem whatsoever. And if I want to go back out later, if the bike was even remotely warm, no choke at all.Driveability might be the only advantage in my opinion and I’m not even sure about that. My W650 is very responsive with old fashioned carbs, runs great, and I wouldn’t change any part of the fuel system, even if were free.

  25. soi cowboy says:

    I wish they would make the saddle a bit wider. It’s not like this is a race bike.

    • Provalogna says:

      That’s a very good point…still, give it a try. Sometimes seats are more comfortable that they appear. There are also wide seats that are not necessarily comfortable. Many factors affect comfort including the cover material, shape, and foam density.

    • MGNorge says:

      Don’t forget the importance of keeping the seat narrow to allow the rider to reach the ground. Make it wider for broader tushes and that might narrow the field of riders able to ride it?