2022 Honda CRF250F Owner Review

Review Last Updated: Aug 11, 2022
Vehicle Type: Off-road recreational
Evaluation Period: new bike, 4 hours riding time

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Pros

simple air-cooled motor with decent power, fuel injection; easy to service, low maintenance compared to high performance dirt bikes; easy to ride; front and rear disc brakes;

Cons

a bit heavier and more expensive than some of the direct competition; no suspension adjustments other than rear preload; fork feels harsh, but it may soften up with use

Overview

I purchased my 2022 CRF250F new in 2022. I’ve owned a few dual sports (currently a DR650SE), a number of street bikes, as well as a few dirt bikes decades ago (XR200R, …).

The bike was covered in a film of packing grease when I picked it up. That would have been applied by Honda to prevent corrosion during transport and storage. That's fine with me. The dealer was going to power wash the bike, but I asked them not to. I'd rather clean it myself (it took some time). Some of the welds on the frame are a bit messy. The two front skid plate mounting tabs are not quite aligned.

The paint on the frame is quite thin (as is the case on our KLX140L) and will wear through within a ride or two where it makes contact with your boots if you don't have some kind of frame protection. As a preventative measure, I applied white electrical tape to the sides and front of the frame before I rode the bike. It may not look pretty, but it will add some protection. You might say "so what, it's a dirt bike", but the added protection will help prevent rust. Also, I just like to keep my bikes in good condition. The paint, or maybe it was powder coating, on my old Honda XR200R was far superior than the paint on this bike. Honda really cheapened-out here.

Initial riding impression

The bike started right up on the first attempt. I'm just breaking-in the bike, so I've been somewhat easy on it so far (no hard starts, no full throttle, varying the rpms). With the limited amount of time on the bike, and the fact I've just been breaking it in, I can't provide a full assessment at this time. The motor seems to make decent power (even without full throttle), the brakes seem fine, gear changes are smooth and easy, handling is ok, I guess. The fueling is a bit abrupt at low speed / low gears, but I've found that to be the case with a lot of fuel injected bikes; it might just be a matter of getting used to it. The only criticism I have is that the forks seem harsh like when riding over embedded rocks. It's funny because Honda claims that the suspension is plush. I expect (hope) that they will improve with use. That was certainly the case with the KLX250S I previously owned.

I'll update this page as I spend more time with the CRF250F.

Maintenance, issues (no issues so far)

The initial maintenance is due at 5 hours or 1 month. It should be pretty straight forward. The valve clearances need to be checked, and the oil and filter need to be changed at that time; there are some other things that need to be checked as well. I ordered the Honda service manual for the bike (I didn't receive it until 5 weeks later - it wasn't shipped until 4 weeks after I ordered it even though it was supposedly in stock). I plan to write up the valve clearance inspection procedure, but it will have to wait until September.

Accessories

I installed a Motion Pro oil filter magnet (23.8 mm) before I even rode the bike.

The bike comes with a small plastic skid plate, but it will provide only minimal protection. I purchased a model-specific Emperor Racing aluminum skid plate from a local Honda dealer, but it didn't fit properly: the bend didn't conform to the frame tubes resulting in a large gap between the front top edge of the skid plate and the frame; the supplied top mounting bolts were too short to engage the threads of the top frame skid plate mounting tabs. The top portion of the skid plate was not parallel to the frame tab faces, and the supplied spacers for the top mounting points were also about half of the required thickness. The rear mounting holes were off a bit too. If it was just the holes being a bit off, that wouldn't have been a big deal; I could have just enlarged the holes a bit. I tried mounting the skid plate a few times, varying the process each time (but not modifying the skid plate).

I contacted Emperor Racing, and they had me make some measurements of the skid plate and of the bike. I also sent them some photos. I was told that no one else had reported fitment issues with their CRF250F skid plate (except one person had to enlarge the top front mounting holes a bit). Emperor Racing offered to custom-fit the skid plate if I could bring my bike to them, but that wasn't practical for me. The dealer that I bought the skid plate from wouldn't take it back even though Emperor Racing offered to refund them for the cost. The skid plate looked well made, but it did not fit my bike due to either a manufacturing variation in my bike or in the skid plate, or some combination of the two. The skid plate has multiple bends in the front portion; I think some of those bends were a bit off (lower one(s) bent too much, and higher one(s) not quite enough). In the end, Emperor Racing offered to fully refund me for the skid plate, and I accepted.

I ordered an Anker plastic skid plate from HyperLite Moto in the US. It cost about $130 CAD with shipping (USPS), so it's not cheap, but it's quite a bit less than the aluminum skid plates that I priced out. It took about 2 weeks to arrive (I didn't have to pay provincial sales tax or brokerage fees). The skid plate is advertised as being 5 mm thick, but it's a bit less (4 mm on sides, about 4.5 mm on the bottom). The OEM skid plate is 3 mm thick. The Anker skid plate should offer adequate protection for the riding I do. It's supposed to install with the stock bolts, but I had to purchase longer bolts and spacers for the top front mounting locations. I used 5 mm flat plumbing washers for the spacers. For the left side mounting tab, I also had to add a 1 mm thick regular washer. All the holes lined up, and the curve of the skid plate matched that of the frame unlike the Emperor Racing skid plate (on both counts). The skid plate needs to be removed to change the oil and filter. Access to the oil dipstick is limited; you either have to bend out the side of the skid plate (it returns to normal position) or remove it.

Comparing the CRF250F to other bikes

Bikes in this class include the Honda CRF230F (replaced by the CRF250F), Yamaha TTR230, Kawasaki KLX230R/KLX230RS and maybe the Kawasaki KLX300R (at the upper end). I've looked at, and have sat on, all of these motorcycles, but I have not ridden any of them. I have owned a Honda XR200R, the predecessor of the CRF230F. I'll point out some of the features and specifications.

The 2022 CRF250F has a 249 cc, fuel-injected, air-cooled, electric-start, four-valve motor with a 5-speed transmission. The other bikes listed here have a 6-speed transmission and also electric start (only). The seat height is 883 mm (34.8 in) and the curb mass is 120 kg (265 lbs) with a 6.0 l fuel capacity. The suspension is non-adjustable except for the rear spring preload. It has front and rear disc brakes. There is a keyed ignition and a low-fuel indicator light. The CRF250F lists for $5699 for the 2022 ($5799 for 2023) + fees + taxes and comes with a 6-month warranty.

The CRF230F and the TTR230 are very similar to each other. Choosing one over the other may come down to what's available in your area, your relationship to your local dealers and price. 2019 was the last year for the CRF230F. The TTR230 is still available new as a 2022 model. The CRF230F only has an oil screen (no oil filter), but the TTR230 has an oil strainer and oil filter. You would likely need to change the oil more frequently on the Honda. Both of these bikes are lighter than the CRF250F. I recently sat on a new TTR230, and it felt smaller than the CRF250F. The CRF230F and the TTR230 both use carburetors, have a front disc brake, rear drum brake, are air-cooled and have non-adjustable suspension except for rear spring-preload. Both should be extremely reliable and simple to maintain. The TTR230 has a seat height of 870 mm (34.3 in), curb mass is 114 kg (251 lbs) with a fuel capacity of 8 l). The TTR230 lists new for $5099 CAD for the 2022 ($5399 for 2023) + fees + taxes and has only a 90-day warranty.

Like the CRF250F, the KLX230R/RS has fuel injection, front and rear disc brakes, air-cooling and non-adjustable suspension except for rear spring pre-load. The KLX has a two-valve head, whereas the CRF250F has a four-valve head. The KLX has a strange variable idle speed that supposedly is to help prevent stalling the motorcycle. I've never ridden a KLX230R, but the initial reports of the variable idle speed system were generally negative. There is now an after-market fix for it, though. The KLX230R seat height is 925 mm (36.4 in), which is quite high for this class, curb mass is 115 kg (254 lbs) with a fuel capacity of 6.6 l. The KLX230RS has a lower seat height at 900 mm (35.4 in). Both list for $5099 CAD for the 2022 + fees + taxes, and have a 6-month warranty. The MSRPs for the 2023 models are up $300.

The KLX300R is really in a class of its own here. It has fully adjustable suspension, liquid cooling, fuel injection, more engine performance, has front and rear disc brakes, and is heavier at 128 kg (282 lbs) with a 7.9 l fuel capacity. It's also tall with a seat height of 925 mm (36.4 in). It lists for $6199 CAD for the 2022 + fees + taxes, and has a 6-month warranty. The MSRP for the 2023 model is up $300. I seriously considered the KLX300R over the CRF250F, but I decided against it, mainly because of the seat height. I prefer the lower seat height of the CRF250F, plus my kid will be able to ride it (not the case with the KLX300R).

Last Words

More to come...


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