Honda CRF250L vs CRF230L

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by acesandeights, Aug 19, 2012.

  1. acesandeights

    acesandeights Asperger

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    What are the advantages of one vs the other? Are they getting rid of the 230L?
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  2. kirbi69

    kirbi69 Been here awhile

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    i second this question... ????
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  3. sagebrushocean

    sagebrushocean Harris's hawker

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    The CRF230L is about 50 pounds lighter, air-cooled, carbureted, and has about 2/3 the hp of the 250. Has Honda even made a 230L since 2009? Carbureted air-cooled engines are harder to make compliant with emissions regulations. I doubt that we'll see another new 230L.
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  4. jon_l

    jon_l Long timer

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    230 = old tech, carb'd, simple, light-weight, Japanese manufacture. Lots of folks like simple and servicable.

    250 = new tech, FI, heavy for a 250, Thai manufacture. Other folks like no-fiddle, just ride.

    If you are small, and want it for a street-legal dirt bike, poke about on trails rather than ride dirt aggressively, and don't care about riding over 55 mph, the 230 would be a fine machine.

    The new 250 should be a great urban bike, and likely a fine 250cc dual-sport, though it remains to be seen how it will do off-road, it should be competent for a not aggressive rider who can manage the weight.

    For the low price, the 250 is tempting; the 230s were a good bit more expensive new, so probably no big savings on a new, discontinued 230 over the 250.
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  5. Crash217

    Crash217 Been here awhile

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    The 250L is Honda's version of the Yamaha Wr250r/x.

    It will be fine for commuting and light trail duty. It will be reliable. But not nearly bullet proof like the 230.

    I'm wondering if the market is getting saturated. Stagnate sales on the wr, and now a ktm 350 free ride and the Honda in the market, along with some old school small bores from suzuki and yamaha (Dr, xt).
    #5
  6. ADVNCW

    ADVNCW Banned

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    I have enjoyed the CRF230L riding the tight FS trails in the Wenatchee Mountains WA more than any! My 'trials' bike TLR200 Reflex performed better in the tight turning, but the 230L is actually comfortable with the Seat Concepts seat, XRs Only footpegs, and 1 7/8 handlebar risers for this 6'1" 230 lb rider (since 1970). Even better with a 12 tooth front sproket. My CRF230L seems like the ultimate trail bike dual sport. As well, I have set it up for traveling- intended for dirt eg WABDR and CD. Last week I did ride 200 miles of pavement 55 to 65 MPH on the WA coast highways to go play on the beach legal-driving areas. On highway, it worked, burns some oil running hard, lousy mileage only about 63MPG while I get 70 to 83 MPG trail riding the mountains. ( in the '70s I rode a two-stroke GT750 through 43 states, AK Hwy on gravel, to Baja Mexico, have done highway touring)

    [​IMG]

    I had an '83 IT490 that was thrilling to ride in woods and sand and cross country, but on these tight mountain trails was not nearly as fun, as easy, and I can ride the 230L faster on the tight and gnarly! I have done so with a buddy on a very nice expensive Euro dirt bike that would be fun else where but on the 180 degree consecutive trail switchbacks and rough 18 inch wide trails the small bike is far better, at least easy and smooth to ride! On my 230L I do not have to roost my way on these mountain trails and switchbacks, the apparently common technique on the bigger and nice dirt bikes. The 230L has plenty of power to climb the steep, tractable low-speed power that walks right up.

    My mods-
    Emissions stuff removed, rejetted, nice clean power boost from that. Max stiff on the rear shock, 15W in the front forks, Seat Concepts seat, XR only footpegs, MSR folding shift lever, Flatland skid plate, 1 7/8 inch handlebar risers for this 6'+ rider.

    The 12 tooth sprocket installed made it so great on the steep black diamond Forest Trail- Tronsen Ridge from Camas. With the low gearing my 230L walked up roosted-out roots on steep switchbacks singletrack on the side of the mountain- without spinning the wheel at all. Tractable power, walks right up, easy. I ride trails and switchbacks mostly feet-up and a lot in 2nd gear, where the ruts indicate the usual nice dirt bikes have completely roosted their way up, and roosted and spun around the switchbacks.

    [​IMG]

    The downside:

    My 230L will not pull highway speeds on a mountain pass. The last three miles of Blewett Pass Hwy 97 is steep and slows my Jeep Wrangler down to 50-55. Same for my 230L. I hoped the 12 tooth would solve it, but, alas, still slowed down to 50 in one spot on the last steep 3 mles of Blewett from Leavenworth,

    That is a small thing compared to how fun, easy, safe my 230L is on dirt roads and gnarly singletrack. To do all this and pull the mountain passes fast I would need to upgrade to an $8K or $10k motorcycle. Probably not.
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  7. damasovi

    damasovi Long timer

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    I kind of have a different opinion, the honda 250L will be a better bike than the 230L for the dirt since it has better suspension and it goes beyond the XT, DR, and 230, and time will tell if it beats the KLX250 from kawasaki that I think is the competition, if you read the 250Ll tread nobody there thinks it is WRR contender, just a better option than the ones I already name, also the $2,000 dollar difference between the Honda and the Yamaha will make some people really ask themselves if they want or need a bike as good as the yamaha, $2000 is a lot of money for mods, gear and gas!

    bullet proof? we are still very far from knowing this, I even ask the same thing from the 230L, how many miles are on people's bike already and what issues have they gotten? It was a very short live model, I think 2008 was the first year and 2009 the last.

    I have never had a FI bike, but from a small comparison between my friend's Vstorm and my KLR I notice that routine maintenance had to be done more often on my bike, of course it was easier and no electronics to mess with, some things such as valve checks were 7,000 vs 15,000. So for somebody doing many miles that could be important, if you are like me, I check valves every 18-24 months.

    I don't know the numbers, but the yamaha was never build for massive sales, it is a great bike, and if I could afford and reach a bike like that, I would buy one! the story is not everyone can handle that kind of dollar for a 250, KTM? I think that is a nich market bike, they are not massive sellers (of any model).

    I hope the USA gets more bikes that are available in other places of the world and customers will say what they want with there wallets and I am guessing small and beautiful are not going to sell. I hope I am wrong about this last part.

    Damasovi
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  8. Dirtgrain

    Dirtgrain Been here awhile

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    Honda still produces the CRF230L; it's on their website.
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  9. bobfab

    bobfab Long timer

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    Corrected. I was disappointed with the build quality on my CRF230F/L. It was good for basic trail riding but really shows its limitations when you start pushing it harder. little things break that dont break on more performance oriented machines.

    It should be noted that my riding got more intense the more time i owned it. It was my first bike and i went from putting around in a field to singletrack to enduro/HS's, which it is clearly not made for.
    #9
  10. dualsportride

    dualsportride Been here awhile

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    I was thinking about getting a 230L for playing chasing the kid on is bike. I like that it is air cooled and a Honda. Do you think this would make a good bike for this, or should I look at something smaller? The boy is on a 50 so not to fast yet but like anything he will be faster then me before I know it.
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  11. bobfab

    bobfab Long timer

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    Sounds like a perfect application. If the bike is too fast for him to keep up you could always just gear it a little lower.
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  12. damasovi

    damasovi Long timer

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    they do BUT the only model years they have listed are 2008 and 09, it means that everything we see on showrooms are leaf overs.

    Damasovi
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  13. ADVNCW

    ADVNCW Banned

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    230L, Japan made, is bulletproof and does everything easily. I bought one in May and have ridden it 3200 miles. Rode 75% dirt, and as well on very tight and gnarly singletrack as a 10k nice Euro moto. It does not wheelie without skill, does not roost or fishtail when wicking the throttle, not crazy power by any measure. But it gets the job done efficiently. I am large and arguably advanced/ expert/ riding various including large street and dirt bikes since 1970, On flat and wide open terrain it lacks suspension and wheelbase, yes, not as well suited. For gnarly trail/ mountains the short wheelbase and flat powerband low-end torque are superior. On 180 degree mountain trail switchbacks and exposed trail the low seat and short wheelbase are excellent! I toured the WA /OR coast and rode all of the legal beach (fun!!!) and 500 highway miles, loaded with my camp, 55-65 MPH, 75 MPG, never a problem to ride it at the relative high speed for 1-2 hrs steady. Standard air filter was lacking on wet sand, replacing it with a K & N. My bike has a Seat Concepts seat for comfort and 1 7/8 inch handlebar risers.

    The 250L is nicely done, looks better outfitted for flat wide open trail riding then the 230L. The 250L would be more comfortable for traveling for sure (i sat on a 250L in showroom). On the tight and gnarly mountain stuff that I ride, the 250L longer wheelbase and +50 lbs would make it more difficult than the 230L.
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  14. Kevinsterner

    Kevinsterner Been here awhile

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    It looks like Honda will still sell the 230 It is on the web site. As many others said, it is older technology but too each his own. I just purchased a 250 L and I pick it up tomorrow. I was originally going to buy a 2013 Yamaha XT 250. It is very similar to the Honda 230. (Older technology). All are good bikes and they both have different attributes. If you will be doing any Hwy riding I would go with either of the 250's. If seat height is your main preference then the 230 has the lowest folowed by the Yamaha XT
    Just my thoughts

    Have fun
    #14
  15. 727driver

    727driver Flyin'

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    Thought I should weigh in here. I bought a 2009 CRF230L early last summer and put 7500km on it with about a 50/50 mix of on and off road riding. The off road riding was mostly following my kids around on logging roads here in the BC mountains. I also used it to go fishing which often involved a mix of highway, logging roads and narrow single track or quad trails to get the final kilometer or two to the lake. The 230L is an ideal bike for difficult, steep trail riding. The gearing and torque at low speeds is awesome - the thing is a tractor. But like a tractor, it has no top end. The best I could ever do on the highway was 110km/hr and riding over a mountain pass was not very fun - 80km/hr in 5th gear. And forget passing anyone on the highway unless it is on a downhill grade.

    I sold the 230 last week and replaced it with the new 2013 CRF250L. I've only put 150km on it so far, but what a different bike! More highway power - top speed is 130km/hr. WAY smoother than the 230L was. No handlebar or peg buzz which is really nice coming from the 230L. Starts easy and has great throttle response, but so did the 230L. The extra 50 pounds is not noticeable when you are riding on the street or logging roads, but I have not yet done any tough trail riding with it. The big thing the 250L is lacking is low end grunt - it seems to be geared way too high for off road riding. I'm looking to change the front sprocket to a 13T to see how much that helps. The 250L is 2.5" taller which suits me fine with a 32" inseam. Suspension seems nicer, but I'm no racer or fast trail rider, so I'm not much of a judge of suspension. I like having a digital instrument cluster. I was a bit worried about the fit/finish/quality being built in Thailand, but I am very impressed with the 250 - it looks very well made and the styling is much more modern looking over the 230L.

    So, if I can get the low end grunt out of the 250L by changing the gearing, I will be 100% satisfied changing from the 230L to the 250L. If it proves as reliable as the old technology 230L!
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  16. Bulldogs2k

    Bulldogs2k Been here awhile

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    11k miles on my 230L's ODO. I would ride it on the HWY every day at 70 indicated* and i'm no light weight! I tell my self I would trade her in but every time I start her up, it fires up with no hesitation, and I fall in love with the machine all over again.

    There is NOTHING like having a reliable, simple, motorcycle waiting in the wings, it's comforting to know you'll never be without a bike!

    I also used to ride to the local enduro park where I would ride with the off road only bikes, it does just fine for my level of off road riding.

    Peace and chain grease! :freaky
    #16
  17. Ferdinand

    Ferdinand Ride The Wind ForeverFree

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    The 230L motor has been proven many times over in some capacity over the last 30 years very similar to xr200 and other xr small motors. There are guys with 20,000 and even over 30,000 miles (with a photo) on the 230L forum with no issues. My buddy's got about 15k on his or I should say his wife's. Of course with any bike there will always be exceptions.

    I just flogged mine for 1100 miles in 4 days with no issues at all. I rode some more later in the week and in the end about 1800 miles in ten days with longest day about 330 miles. Mix of mostly backroads mostly dirt, a little highway some singletrack, rocks etc too. Just under 5k total on mine.
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  18. Downstater

    Downstater Adventurer

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    Kind of a silly comparison. For 500 less you get a much more capable machine out of the 250L. Period.

    I own a 250L and have ridden a 230 L and F in the past year. The suspension is extremely weak and the motor feels like somebody yelled at it and it is cowering in a corner. I was not impressed at all and have felt te exact opposite when riding a 250L... Which Is why I plopped down my hard earned money on one. Solid machine. I have been riding Hondas for 20 years and know what to expect.
    #18
  19. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    I have not ridden either, but have sat on both. I have studied the specs on both. I have read others opinions on both. And I have my own opinions on their differences. IMO, the 230 is a far superior bike, mostly due to the fact that it has a carb and a proven air cooled engine. It has 2 deficiencies, it needs to be a 250 instead of a 230, and it needs better suspension, with the same travel as the 250. As it is, the 230 is almost a mini bike, sitting on it feels a lot like sitting on my grandsons XR100. Honda would have had a real winner had they just kept the CRF230, made it a 250, and put the suspension from the CRF250 on it.

    About the CRF250 being built in Thailand, there is a noticable difference in quality between the 250 and the 230,, with the 230 definitely showing better overall fit and finish. I would never own a fuel injected dirt bike, when FI goes, there is no rigging it. And it's a VERY expensive fix. With a carb, you can often tinker with it, and make it run well enough to get you out of whatever you rode into. With the exception of my '85 Goldwing, I will never own a fuel injected street bike either. The GW uses an ancient analog system with an ECU the size of a breadbox. The fuel pump is big and heavy, and can be replaced with one from a car if necessary. So far it has been fine. The LCD digital instrument panel and trip computer have failed completely however. I use a small GPS unit for a speedometer/odometer.

    I think the 230 will seriously outlast the 250. It will still be going strong after the 250s new technology has all failed.

    The 250 does not even come close to the performance of the WR if you are a serious off road rider. Of course, with a $2000+ difference in price, you can't expect it to. The KLX250 is an option, at least it has a carb, but it is also liquid cooled. If you go down and puncture the cooling system, you are in big trouble if you are 50 miles from the nearest person, out in the middle of nowhere. Twice I have cut the front brake hose on my XT225 out on the trail, and had to ride back with a rear brake only. Imagine if that was a coolant hose.
    #19
  20. roundtripping

    roundtripping Adventourist

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    Did you happen to notice when you wrote your post that everything in it is based on ifs?
    #20