HONDA CRF250L (2012-on) Review

Published: 26 September 2012

A lightweight dual sport trail bike that can handle a short commute

HONDA CRF250L  (2012-on)

A lightweight dual sport trail bike that can handle a short commute

  • At a glance
  • 250cc  -  23 bhp
  • 90 mpg  -  150 miles range
  • High seat height (875mm)
  • Suitable for A2 licence
  • New: £4,199
    Used: £3,000 to £4,300 See all HONDA CRF250Ls for sale

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

If you want a lightweight dual sport trail bike that can handle a short commute in the week and then head into the countryside on green lanes at the weekend – this is it.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

Good ergonomics , suspension a chassis means that the CRF is well balanced either on road when you’re sat down or off-road stood up. It weaves slightly at speeds over 65mph, but this could be just down to tyres.

Engine 4 out of 5

The CRF uses a de-tuned CBR250R engine with the benefit of more low and mid range power. Soft, user friendly delivery will help you make good ground without getting you into trouble. It’s also very quiet, ideal for trail riding.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

Difficult to speak about long term reliability as it’s a brand new bike, but it feels typical Honda and high quality. If it’s anything like its predecessors the XL or XR250 it will last for years.

Insurance, running costs & value 4 out of 5

At £3950 it’s over £500 cheaper than its main Kawasaki KLX250 rival and it’s better. Close to £4000 is still big money for a 250, but if you’ve got a passion for the outdoors and off-road it will put a smile on your face for years to come.

Equipment 4 out of 5

It’s an off road bike, so not masses available, but it has a neat digital dashboard with speed, tripometers and fuel gauge.

Owners' Reviews

5 owners have reviewed their HONDA CRF250L (2012-on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your HONDA CRF250L (2012-on)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.8 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.6 out of 5
Engine 4.6 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.6 out of 5
Equipment 4.6 out of 5
5 out of 5

22 August 2015 by eatmorepies

As a modern economy commuter bike with some off road ability the only change I'd make is to make the front brake lever adjustable. As a dedicated 250 trail bike it's a bit heavy and the radiator looks vulnerable. I suggest it's a trail bike for the... Read more dry, flat tracks in the USA rather than the mud and stones in Derbyshire ( I use a CRF230 for that). I've done 4000 miles on it in 3 months - mostly rural A, B and tiny lanes - I've used it on dual carriageways and adopt a zen like calm as I ride at a relaxed 60mph. I'd like it to have a more road orientated seat - 150 mile rides get a bit uncomfortable towards the end - I'm looking to have the seat remade by a custom guy. If Honda put their 300cc engine in it I'll be straight down the Honda shop with a bag of money, it's one of the nicest bikes I've ridden in the past 48 years.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
The 4 is for the brakes not the ride quality. The rear is wooden, the front is good but the lever operates too far out. One day I'll get a spare lever and modify it to bring the actuation point closer to the bars. The clutch is smooth as silk and the gearbox is a joy - unless you decide to stop in a high gear for some reason. It doesn't like to click through gears whilst stationary so get down the box as you come up to a junction (as you should). As above, the seat is a bit thin for long days in the saddle - but I don't think the bike has been designed to be sat on for hours. I look for fuel at about 90 miles so I get a rest at least once a day. The riding position is superb: relaxed, upright and roomy. I haven't carried a pillion - I imagine it would be a bad experience for us both.
Engine
5 out of 5
For a 250 it's fine - excellent economy. As you would expect you need to rev the bike to make it come alive. Riding in a spirited way is very engaging and requires decent rider concentration - excellent fun. As above, put the 300 engine into this chassis and I'd be straight down the Honda shop. I think going from 23 bhp to 28 bhp with the commensurate torque increase would make this a very fine all rounder. I'd like a smaller (and hence lighter) silencer. The one Honda fit to meet Californian emission rules is lumpen and sticks out too much.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
So far so good, I'll let you know about the finish after some winter rides - not in salt though.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
First service was £98 - without a valve clearance check. As the service consists of an oil and filter change and a poke round it isn't going back to the shop. I checked the valve clearances at 2000 miles - they were spot on, the next check is now due at 18000 miles. The 8000 mile oil and filter change interval seems a bit long for a revving single so I did one last week at 4050 miles. I'll be doing one every 3500 miles. I was getting 82 mpg on the original trail tyres, at 3000 miles the original rear was worn out so I put a pair of Avon Trailriders on it. I have a smoother ride and now get 85mpg. this is excellent economy as I like to keep the engine buzzing. I expect the rear Trailrider to last at least 7000 miles.
Equipment
5 out of 5
The equipment is what I would expect, i.e. very little. I like having the clock and two trips. The mirrors are excellent. I'd love a centre stand but I know that manufacturers won't make provision for them on a putative trail bike. I'd also like to see heated grips as standard on all new bikes. I've added a 12V socket for the phone/sat nav and a rack and top box to make the bike suit my purpose. I shall put muffs on it for the cold weather.
Buying experience

You don't need to pay full retail for the bike. £3900 for a new one is possible from many dealers.

5 out of 5

the cheapest but most capable adventure bike

17 June 2015 by xrxlcrfan

Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
Buying experience

Bought privately @ 3000 miles 2900€

5 out of 5

Unbelievably good for what it is

14 September 2014 by Anonymous

I'd fancied a supermoto styled bike for a while. A DRZ400SM was on the cards, but they were going for silly money. I'd discounted the CRF250M a year ago as I'd never owned a bike with such a small engine capacity and knew that it wouldn't be for... Read more me, so I was back to looking at sensible but predictable ER-6Fs, SV650s, Fazers etc. Then an 11 month old CRF250M with only 1300 miles came in to my local dealership. I'd dropped in for a can of chain-lube and it had literally just come in, hadn't been washed or prep'd or anything. I was told to take it out for an hour to see what I thought of it. Well, what a surprise... a smooth, easy to ride, very economical baby-moto. Best of all, it was far more fun than I'd ever imagined a small capacity bike could be. Other than the reasonably wide bars, this bike is made for city work (and is good on the country roads as well). It will even hold it's own on the 70mph dual carriageways. I returned to the dealer, did the deal for £3300, and 2 months on am not regretting it one bit. Having done some basic maintenance & adjustment on it last weekend, I took the opportunity for a spin with friends this morning to check everything was ok. They were all on middleweight and sports 600s and could leave me on the faster A roads, but everywhere else I was up there - country roads, city streets, congestion, I left then for dust. It's the perfect bike for darting in and out of traffic jams, squeezing through gaps like a London bicycle courier, and for a 250 it has an impressive turn of speed in the city. The sportsbike boys were stuck sitting in the jams whilst I just left them. Hilarious that a cheap to run 250 had such an advantage on them in so many situations. You've probably gathered that I quite like this bike. Peanuts to insure, tax, fuel and maintain, but great fun and a little different to the run-of-the-mill bikes you usually see. I thought it might be a stop-gap bike to see me through the Winter, however as things stand at present I'm very tempted to keep it for the longer term :)

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
4 out of 5

CRF250L 2012

16 February 2013 by joeyrule111

Had the bike a week, great bike I brought for £1400 with 70 miles on the clock as a demo bike. Comftable riding position, nice and quick low down. You can ride steady at around 65-70 mph for long periods. You could prolly get it for 80-85mph... Read more downhill. For the money it seems reliable, fun. Fun enough to keep me entatained! I really like it :)

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

wow !!

30 September 2012 by badou24

fantastic bike to ride on road and off .. iv had offroad bikes all my life and this is one of the best for trail riding Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
Read all 5 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2012
Year discontinued -
New price £4,199
Used price £3,000 to £4,300
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group -
Annual road tax £38
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 23 bhp
Max torque 16 ft-lb
Top speed 86 mph
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption 90 mpg
Tank range 150 miles
Specification
Engine size 250cc
Engine type Liquid cooled, single cylinder, four stroke, DOHC, 6 gears
Frame type Steel semi double cradle
Fuel capacity 7.7 litres
Seat height 875mm
Bike weight 144kg
Front suspension 43mm upside down forks
Rear suspension 40mm diameter shock with Honda pro link system
Front brake 256mm disk, twin piston caliper
Rear brake 220mm single piston caliper
Front tyre size 21 x 1.6
Rear tyre size 18 x 2.15

History & Versions

Model history

2012: model introduced

Other versions

CRF250M, supermoto version introduced in 2014

Photo Gallery

  • HONDA CRF250L  (2012-on)
  • HONDA CRF250L  (2012-on)
  • HONDA CRF250L  (2012-on)
  • HONDA CRF250L  (2012-on)
  • HONDA CRF250L  (2012-on)
  • HONDA CRF250L  (2012-on)
  • HONDA CRF250L  (2012-on)
  • HONDA CRF250L  (2012-on)
  • HONDA CRF250L  (2012-on)
  • HONDA CRF250L  (2012-on)
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