Originally Posted by JerryH
First of all, while I have over 30,000 miles on XT225s, and know them inside and out, I have only sat on the CRF230L, and can only judge it by what I have read here. I don't see anything wrong with it, it is a little lower (both in seat height and ground clearance) than than the XT225. I am 6' 220, and the XT fits me a little better. I also see some complaints on the CRF's highway performance. Neither are good long distance highway bikes, they were not designed to be. But I have put 500 miles on the XT225 in one day on the freeway, averaging 60 mph. I have had it up to 74 mph GPS. On flat ground with no wind. Stock, either bike may have advantages over the other depending on the rider.
It's modifications where the XT shines. Clarke makes a 4 gallon plastic tank for it, which I have found greatly increases it's range. Mine has a kickstarter, pirated from a TTR-225. Both bikes have the same engine. There is a guy on here named Cigar Mike who makes, or used to make a centerstand for it. It has saved me more than once. I like to ride deep into the AZ desert, often alone, and have had a few flat tires. There is nothing in the desert to prop a bike up on, and the centerstand makes it easy to get the wheels off. There is another guy on here named Bryan Swenson who used to make excellent racks for the XT, laser cut steel, and only $69. You could bolt or weld anything to them, and they were solid as a rock. I have 2 of them. ProCycle also makes a carb mounted choke to replace the handlebar mounted one, with the long cable and fragile easily broken fitting at the carb. You can even get a Corbin seat if you want to spend the money. I chose a Beadrider cover instead. Happy Trails makes all kinds of panniers and mounts for them. And they have a 400 pound load capacity. Don't know what the Honda's is. The XT was sold in the U.S. mostly unchanged from 1992-2007, it is a well proven design, parts and tuning information are readily available. They make excellent bikes for a 2-3 day camping trip way out into the desert or forest. And mine has never broke down. I recently got myself one of those SPOT gadgets just in case, hopefully will never need to use it.
I was very disappointed when I saw the CRF250L, and immediately considered buying a 230, but they were already all gone, except for one Supermoto. With it's 17" wheels, it really was too small for me, and I wanted a more dirt oriented bike. But, I expect my XT225 to last me for many more years, I recently bought a 3,000 mile parts bike almost complete, including the engine, and may buy another, if I find one cheap on Craigslist. For the most part, parts from any year fit any other year.
Oh yeah. I don't know about the Honda, but the cam chain can be replaced on the XT without tearing the engine down. I'm on my third one in 30,000 miles. They were not replaced due to a problem, but my experience is that the cam chain is the weakest part of any engine that has one, and I believe in replacing them the same as drive chains.