ADVrider

Go Back   ADVrider > Bikes > Thumpers
User Name
Password
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 11-04-2014, 08:26 AM   #1
TheJRM OP
Adventurer
 
TheJRM's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2011
Location: NorthShore, MA, USA
Oddometer: 66
Is the CRF250l Right For Me?

So here's the deal: I currently own a CB500x. I love the bike and commute on it daily. I've slowly been outfitting it as a commuter/day tripper; tall screen, center stand, bags. Plan on installing heated grips.

Despite it's ADV "style" the bike is in no way an off road machine. Suspension struggles with pot holes, so even light ADV type riding is out of the question.

My wife and I used to own a set of TW200s. We toured as far as 1,000 miles on those bikes... fully loaded (gotta love the cycle racks rear rack!). I've taken the T-Dub through streams, mud bogs, dirt roads and down the hwy for hours on end @ 70 mph (pinned). The bike can truly do it all. My wife stands 5'2" and weighs just 115 lbs, so for her, the bike works. For me, the bike is just too cramped/uncomfortable for long days in the saddle, so I sold mine. I still love to bomb around on hers from time to time, but don't do so very often now that I have my "X."

So here's my question: My wife and I plan on resuming some day/overnight touring next Summer. Motorcycle trips have taken a back seat to the commitments of parenthood, but we'll be in position to leave the kids with grandma for the occasional weekend by Summer of 2015. My wife loves to ride and I love to ride with her.

We enjoy loading the bikes up with camping equipment and hitting the back roads of New England. I'd love to spend more time with her exploring all that VT, NH and ME have to offer.

Given that none of our riding will be overly aggressive (dirt roads, gravel and fire roads only), I don't need a serious off road machine like a WR. CRF250l seems like it meets all the qualifications I'd look for in a small displacement bike, and adding a Cycle Racks rear rack to the machine will transfer all of the cargo weight off of the sub frame and actually help to bolster it in the process.

I want to purposely limit the CCs here because I just don't need anything bigger - once again, my wife will be on a TW200 and we ride together. We will avoid the highways whenever possible.

I also see this bike as an ADV training bike of sorts; my end goal (for when the kids are older) is to venture further out on bigger bikes (ex: the new "True Adventure!" by Honda ) with my wife by my side, but we're a few years away from that point. I view our weekend trips as training sessions for what's to come down the road.

Any additional insight on the CRF250l would be greatly appreciated. Once again, I loved the TW for the type of riding I'm describing here, but it was just too cramped for me. Thinking the CRF is just the ticket, but perhaps I'm overlooking something...
TheJRM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2014, 09:09 AM   #2
Bobk0
MacGyver Minded.
 
Bobk0's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2014
Location: South of the East
Oddometer: 235
People seem to have good luck with them. I considered one awhile back being that they are pretty cheap new. Fuel injection and a 6 speed is nice. Overall it seems like a pretty solid bike. Honda actually makes these in Thailand instead of Japan which made me go but I am guessing thats what helps cut the cost. I ended up deciding I want a DR-Z because it fits more of what I want. One of the only issues I saw on the CRF was that a few people had carried a good (normal) amount of camping hear on the rear rack and the sub-frame had actually cracked after some trail riding and had to be welded back together. Overall they seem like a good machine for the $.

Tons of info here:
http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=823409
Bobk0 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2014, 09:15 AM   #3
Soldier311
Beastly Adventurer
 
Joined: Nov 2013
Location: Eastern NC
Oddometer: 1,560
Also look at...

The KLX250S, but you'll be giving up F.I. for a carb. But you can easily big-bore the KLX in the future of you want.
__________________
"It's more fun to ride a slow girl fast than a fast girl slow."
1999 DR350SEX
Soldier311 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2014, 09:28 AM   #4
TheJRM OP
Adventurer
 
TheJRM's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2011
Location: NorthShore, MA, USA
Oddometer: 66
I used to own a DR650 before purchasing the CB500X in July of 2013. I ended up trying to convert the DR into a street bike (daily commuter), but wasn't happy with the end product, hence it's sale. SUPER happy with my CB.

Now that I'm used to FI, I'll never go back. That being said, KLX is out.

Sub frame issues: Read about that, but the Cycle Racks design negates that problem and *supposedly* helps to actually increase the strength of the sub frame at the same time.

http://cycleracks.com/ProductDetail/...0/Default.aspx
TheJRM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2014, 09:36 AM   #5
Epy
Hen-teaser
 
Epy's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2013
Location: CA, USA
Oddometer: 195
CRF250L is a great bike to be sure, but the stock rear shock sucks and the bike is heavy for trails.
Epy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2014, 10:03 AM   #6
TheJRM OP
Adventurer
 
TheJRM's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2011
Location: NorthShore, MA, USA
Oddometer: 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Epy View Post
CRF250L is a great bike to be sure, but the stock rear shock sucks and the bike is heavy for trails.
How do you feel it handles (in stock form) on fire roads, double track, etc? I could see this bike being used for very easy single track riding, but nothing more than that. Looking to use this as a light weight/small displacement ADV machine, not as a dirt bike.
TheJRM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2014, 10:36 AM   #7
Epy
Hen-teaser
 
Epy's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2013
Location: CA, USA
Oddometer: 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheJRM View Post
How do you feel it handles (in stock form) on fire roads, double track, etc? I could see this bike being used for very easy single track riding, but nothing more than that. Looking to use this as a light weight/small displacement ADV machine, not as a dirt bike.
That's what I've been trying to do too, but still find it a bit heavy. It handles great to be sure, but again, wish it was lighter.

Edit: It has plenty of power and is very forgiving. I haven't done anything aftermarket for power or changed gearing, and twice last Friday when I started up a hill too slowly I still made it out okay.

Epy screwed with this post 11-04-2014 at 10:54 AM
Epy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2014, 11:33 AM   #8
jckid
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Joined: Feb 2009
Location: CA
Oddometer: 312
You seem to have dismissed the WR, but it's a great bike. The suspension works really well, especially if you have it tuned for your weight and riding style, and it makes a nice amount of power for a 250. I just had my suspension done, and it's amazing. But if you're set on a CRF250L, I'm sure it will be a vast improvement over a TW. I've ridden a TW200, CRF230L, KLX250s (with 351 big bore), and a WR250X (set up for 50/50 riding). I would rate the bikes in the exact order I just listed them in (from worst to best). The KLX is nice with the big bore. The WR makes the best power stock. The KLX suspension is good, but the WR suspension is better. I haven't had a chance to try a CRF250L. I think the main downsides are that it's the heaviest and limited adjustability on the suspension.
__________________
Current: WR250X (ADV 19"/17" wheel conversion), CT110
Previous: SM610, KLX351

WR250X ride report: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=903806
jckid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2014, 11:39 AM   #9
justinope
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Joined: Oct 2013
Location: Tucson, AZ
Oddometer: 103
I think you're definitely missing out by not considering the WRR. After testing out the KLX, CRF and WRR, I ended up buying 2x WRR's. I do go offroad yes, but nothing crazy and thats kinda why I love it. It can handle road work well, it can handle off road well and I'll never feel limited by the bike on anything but a race track or long stretch of highway. Theres something to be said about a bike that will allow you to grow with it. Basically, if I decide to get into gnarlier stuff, I can.. and be pretty capable bike wise! If not, no big deal, I'm not missing much from the others.

Theres a reason the WRR has such a big following, it really is that good.
__________________
www.tucsonsilencer.com Tucson, AZ Firearms Dealer
justinope is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2014, 12:18 PM   #10
TheJRM OP
Adventurer
 
TheJRM's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2011
Location: NorthShore, MA, USA
Oddometer: 66
Great feedback! I've looked at the WR, but given the fact that I really have no interest in serious trail riding (and no ability to do so - we don't have any (legal) trails to ride around here), the added expense and the increased seat height, I'm just not sure it makes sense for me. I'm 100% certain that you guys are right, however - from all accounts it's a MUCH better off road machine!
TheJRM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2014, 01:01 PM   #11
sanjoh
Purveyor of Light
 
sanjoh's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2007
Location: Mountains of Central Florida:)
Oddometer: 4,863
Sounds like it might be a fit. The stock suspension is very soft, I've cranked up the preload on the rear shock, it helped but the damping in the shock is not adequate for my 220lbs. I usually just slow down in the rough stuff.

If you plan on loading it up, consider a different shock and at a minimum, heavier fork oil.

I really want to know how you got a tw to go 70 I have an XT225 and it is challenged to do 70.

sanjoh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2014, 01:33 PM   #12
TheJRM OP
Adventurer
 
TheJRM's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2011
Location: NorthShore, MA, USA
Oddometer: 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by sanjoh View Post
Sounds like it might be a fit. The stock suspension is very soft, I've cranked up the preload on the rear shock, it helped but the damping in the shock is not adequate for my 220lbs. I usually just slow down in the rough stuff.

If you plan on loading it up, consider a different shock and at a minimum, heavier fork oil.

I really want to know how you got a tw to go 70 I have an XT225 and it is challenged to do 70.

Good to know! I think it's going to work for me.

I weigh 165#. Resprocketed the tw and, as long as I have a flat road with no head wind, I can easily hit 70 mph in a semi tuck. Wife pulls away from me @ 75!!!
TheJRM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2014, 02:01 PM   #13
Epy
Hen-teaser
 
Epy's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2013
Location: CA, USA
Oddometer: 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheJRM View Post
Good to know! I think it's going to work for me.

I weigh 165#. Resprocketed the tw and, as long as I have a flat road with no head wind, I can easily hit 70 mph in a semi tuck. Wife pulls away from me @ 75!!!
Two things: you'll probably want to immediately replace the stock rear tire, as it really sucks offroad. 2nd thing, if you are height challenged like me, don't get the low seat from seat concepts. I weigh the same as you and I can tell you their normal foam on that low seat feels like sitting on concrete.
Epy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2014, 02:01 PM   #14
JMo (& piglet)
Dakar Dazed
 
JMo (& piglet)'s Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2007
Location: Somewhere west of Laramie...
Oddometer: 3,443
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheJRM View Post
...I also see this bike as an ADV training bike of sorts; my end goal (for when the kids are older) is to venture further out on bigger bikes (ex: the new "True Adventure!" by Honda ) with my wife by my side, but we're a few years away from that point. I view our weekend trips as training sessions for what's to come down the road.

Any additional insight on the CRF250l would be greatly appreciated. Once again, I loved the TW for the type of riding I'm describing here, but it was just too cramped for me. Thinking the CRF is just the ticket, but perhaps I'm overlooking something...
From the riding you describe, I'd say the CRF250L would be perfect for you - far less cramped than the Trailway but still more manageable than a taller dual-sport bike, with all the benefits of Honda build and reliability, EFi, good fuel economy etc.

One thing that stands out in your paragraph above is the [typical] mis-assuption that this would be some kind of ADV training bike before 'moving up' to something bigger? - that by inference would be somehow better... which is a marketing fallacy concocted in no small part by BMW to sell their more profitable heavy metal, when the reality is people have go far further off the beaten track on an F650 than they ever have on a huge 1200GS.

Don't get me wrong, the new Honda Africa Twin will be an excellent bike - but you certainly don't need 100hp and the expense of all those electronic aids to go on an adventure ride - not unless you intend to cover many miles of highway, loaded with luggage and a pillion for example?

If you are both going to be riding your own bikes, then it would make a lot more sense to have something with which you are both comfortable...

You say you already have a CB500X? - sure as standard the suspension on that is not designed for off-highway use to any great extent... but consider that Rally Raid will have their adventure conversion (incorporating new 17/19" spoked wheels, uprated suspension, high front fender and skid plate etc. available early in the new year) - which will make that bike significantly better off-road - more than you and your wife are ever likely to need by the sounds of it?

I'd suggest you could buy two CB500X's and the necessary wheel and suspension upgrades for the price of one Africa Twin when it does eventually see the light of day...

As anyone who has ridden around the world will tell you, they never came back wishing that had taken a larger or heavier (or more complicated) bike...

Just something to consider perhaps? - in the meantime, have fun on the CRF - that's what they were made for!

Jx
JMo (& piglet) is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2014, 02:43 PM   #15
trainman
Gnarly Adventurer
 
trainman's Avatar
 
Joined: May 2007
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
Oddometer: 394
I've ridden my CRF250L all over Colorado and up to 10,000 feet. The bike handles this 240 lb. 69 year old guy for what I want it for and I've owned a many dual sport bikes, all sizes and makes. If you are happy with the TW200 then the CRF250L will be like you died and went to heaven. You have to remember asking a question on this forum will bring many answers, most will be upgrading the ride to a more performance oriented bike. I ride my bikes with stock suspension, stock exhaust, and no engine upgrades, my biggest upgrade is a different tooth counter shaft sprocket. There have been several comparisons done on the three, CRF250L, WR250R, and the KLX250S and the way I listed them is the way most finished in the reviews.

John
trainman is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Share

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

.
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


Times are GMT -7.   It's 09:11 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2014