Honda CRF250X opinions please

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by KV-KLR, Feb 6, 2009.

  1. jnberr0

    jnberr0 Been here awhile

    Jul 25, 2005
    Well put Kenaroo. I have a 2005 model and though it isn't raced, it's on the original valves without a hint of trouble since new.

    I just took it out for a post-ice storm spin on the neighborhood streets here in Louisville today. For doddling around town, it actually makes a nice ride. She's a little high-strung considering the offroad gearing, but it almost makes we want to make her "official" and get her plated. Actually feels as punchy as my old WR400 supermoto (again, probably the gearing).
  2. VetMXR

    VetMXR Adventurer

    Aug 23, 2008
    I too can vouch for the little 250. I had a 2005 "R" model that I raced competitively in the Vet class for several years. I'm not a "revver", that is I don't bang it off the rev limiter. I changed the oil after every other ride, cleaned the air filter after every ride, and installed carb filters on the bike before it was every ridden. The chassis was completely dissassembled at the end of each season, cleaned and lubricated. I experienced no problems with the bike at all. As a matter of fact, my valves clearances never moved. I had more fun racing that bike than any other in recent years.

    I sold it this past December and purchased a new CRF450X for dual sport use. My opinion, the little 250 might not have the balls for limited road use, at least for a guy my size.

  3. murgatroid42

    murgatroid42 Great Adventurer

    Aug 7, 2003
    Ft. Collins, CO
    It sounds like you want to a bike for the trail and for long adventure riding. Ah, the mythical, perfect dualsport. Don't we all want one. :lol3 The CRF250X is perfect for trails, but is risky for long rides. How long will you go on your longest ride? 2000 miles or more? Do you want to change the oil and do valve adjustments on the road? Yuk.

    I rode my KLX400SR (green DRZS) from Colorado to Canada on the Great Divide Trail (mostly dirt), and on pavement the way back. I did 2700 miles in 10 days, no oil changes, or any engine checks. The oil looked clean afterward, it didn't use any (I force fed it 6 oz. on the way back), and after 4000 miles, the valves didn't even change half a thousandth of an inch. One of my riding partners said he would not take his KTM450 on this ride, for maintenance and reliablity reasons (he took his 650 Dakar). The CRF250X is a higher maintenance bike than the KTM.

    I have a plated KTM 200EXC, which is perfect for trails, but I would never go on a long, unsupported ride with it. I would not hesistate to go on a 3000 mile ride with my green DRZ, though. Different tools for different jobs.

    The reason these $7k new, high performance CRF250X's are a "good deal" used (i.e., cheap) is because they often require extensive rebuilds. They have the resale value of a used popsicle kept in the sun. A DRZ400 is a pig compared to the CRF250X, but it is a reliable pig. That is why I passed on a CRF450, even though it was newer and cost less than my green DRZ.

    My $0.02. Let us know what you do. You could prove us all wrong.
  4. Django Loco

    Django Loco Banned

    Oct 19, 2003
    Sorry for my inaccuracies. I knew there were several companies involved doing various parts and mods to make the bikes more reliable, just did not know specifics .... which you've pointed out! :clap

    I may wrong ... as it's been a while ... but I do remember reading something about re-designs earlier than '06. Jimmy Lewis said at one point that Honda was on "... the 5th redesign on the head" (valves, seats, ports et al).

    Thanks again for clarifying .... :freaky
  5. rideLD

    rideLD The further the better!

    Jul 15, 2004
    Omaha, Nebraska
    I love my 2004 and have never had any trouble with it. It is the perfect bike for tight woods riding and it handles better than any off road bike I have ever ridden. I've had mine for 5 years now and it has about 200 hours on it. I take good care of it and change the oil every couple of rides and keep the air filter clean.

    I have never had to adjust my ti valves once. They are all still in spec. The key is to ride it like a four stroke and not ride it like a 2 stroke. I am a former motocross, enduro, desert, and hare-scramble racer so I am no slouch. These kids that come off of 125 2-strokes bang them off the rev limiter all the time and valve train just can't take it. If you ride it right it will give you that famous Honda reliability.

    I want to get a new BMW G450x this year but I am really apprehensive about selling my beloved 250x.
  6. Collarbone

    Collarbone Been here awhile

    Jan 16, 2007
    Viroqua ,Wisconsin
    I love the power of my x and its super easy and fun to ride.streetable?But then I question any of the new high end 250's including the street legal out of the box ones.I know that once your valves start to go its time to get them can shim them but it doesn't last long I shimmed mine after it needed it and after five hours of riding they were tight again.I am currently getting the stainless valves put in and I will see how long they last.I do race mine in harescrambles but trust me I am not one of the fast guys that are ringing it out.I don't know how many hours the previous owner had on the valves when I got it but it was claimed 20 but they all claim that plus not sure if he rode the piss out of it or not.Like I said love the bike hope the new valves last awhile I am building it up for reliability so we'll see I know when they go its pretty fast one race it started and ran fine the next weekend it wouldn't start.If you want real realiability buy a newer xr 250 then you would have the perfect bike for both imo.
  7. KevinMTB

    KevinMTB Been here awhile

    Dec 4, 2007
    The middle of the Pacific
    Just thoought I'd add my experience with my 2006 crf 250x. I bought it new and had it plated so I know exactly how many miles and hours it has. It was my first bike in 23 years, I loved everything about it (light weight, electric plus kick, good power, etc). However, I must say it didn't make a good dual sport. It's great off-road but lacks the gearing for the street. I was always looking for the next gear when I hit 50 mph but was already in 5th.
    The real problem with road riding is with the high maintenance motor. I was very naive when I bought this bike when it came to the maintence schedule. I did the usual oil change after every other ride (about 8 to 10 hrs) of which must was easy trail riding. I had heard about the valve troubles and checked them without them ever changing. I rearly hit the limiter and trucked the bike to my riding area. I did take it on a couple of dual sport rides that totaled about 300-400 miles each. What finally got me was the piston oil ring went bad and I was left stranded on one off my dual sport rides. The motor didn't freeze up, but by the sounds it was making I knew something bad had happened.
    I had a total of 103 hrs. and 1305 miles on the bike when the ring failed. Due to the small amount of oil capacity, it didn't take long to burn 98% of all my engine oil. I am not bashing this bike, I still love it but I did turn in my plates and only use it for dirt riding now (I actually upgraded to a newer head and steel valves after this just to be safe). I admit it was all my fault for not checking the oil level on my 3 day trip, although I had changed the oil right before.
    I just had no idea that the maintenance schedule calls for changing the rings & piston something like every 40 hrs. (I know they say that is for racing). I received some harsh words on another forum for not knowing this SHORT interval for the piston and rings (100 hrs between piston and rings for my bike seems pretty extreme to me for mostly easy trail riding). So, I would not recommend this bike as a dual sport on long rides unless you want to do more maintenace than just oil changes (especially on the road for a long dual sport ride). As for strictly dirt riding, I love it. When it comes time to change out the rings, I'll do it my self at home and avoid having a break down on the road or trail.
    I'm not trying to flame the bike, just trying to educate about the piston and rings. I had heard so much about the valves, of which I had no problems, that I had no idea to keep an eye elsewhere.
    Just my 2 cents, take it or leave it.
  8. bikemoto

    bikemoto Tyre critic

    Oct 24, 2004
    Nelson, New Zealand
    That's for the original motocross -R, not the enduro -X. Significant differences in piston (the X has another ring and longer skirt which stops a lot of rocking and wear??), valves, cam and carb. There's a chap here who likes the extra hit of the R and retro-fits all these parts to the Xs he gets hold of.

    Some of the local racers here have well over 100 hours of hard race use on these bikes, and say the maintenance schedule is over-rated. Still on original pistons and valves at that time.

    Wot he said. Whilst I believe the CRF-X to reliable enough, it's a race bike not a trail bike. Race: good; trail: okay; dual-sport: ummm.
  9. KV-KLR

    KV-KLR Adventurer

    Apr 30, 2004
    Houston, TX
    I will let you know how it goes as the deal is done. Got a good deal and I think it will do what I want -- follow my daughter, ride in the woods and general exploring and let me dream about distant places. For clarification, most likely it will be trucked/trailered to any distant location and then used for riding and exploring, not really dual sporting by many standards. I will aspire to this type of riding for the future :D

    I will provide updates and insight as it is personally gained.
  10. kenaroo

    kenaroo I am because i ride

    Nov 30, 2005
    Austin Tejas
    Great to hear..

    plenty of good riding around houston.. Sam houston national forest. is fun

    Trail riders of houston has a fun lease. etc..

    maybe we'll see you on the trail
  11. trackhead

    trackhead Utard Wankster

    May 13, 2009
    Kibble White stainless valves need to be installed with Kibble White springs to accomodate for the change in mass from titanium to steel. The springs are made to spec to accomodate for this.

    KW valves drastically change the maintenance interval with the "valve issue" with this bike.
  12. RyanR

    RyanR Been here awhile

    Jan 9, 2010
    Denver, CO
    Sorry for resurrecting an old thread but I thought I would share my experience with the CRF250X (2008) and hopefully bumping this thread back up might trigger some responses from others who have been dual sporting the CRF and can lend some insight as to how their bikes have held up.

    ***Intro, feel free to skip***
    I purchased my bike in the spring of 2010 and already had a KLR650 so I intended to use the CRF strictly as my single-track/woods bike. I quickly realized that loading up the trailer to tow 15 miles to the trail-head was irritating and wasted a ton of time better spent riding. Luckily it's very easy to plate a dirtbike in CO and a couple weeks and do-dads later the CRF was street legal. It didn't take long for me to determine that tolerating a dirt bike on the pavement is a whole lot easier than wrestling the 450lb KLR through the rough stuff. I started riding the CRF more and more and the KLR less. About 3 months into ownership of the CRF I was considering the possibility of dual sporting it and did a 200 mile dual sport weekend trip I had done 4 times before on the KLR. The CRF is effortless in the dirt and an absolute hoot on the winding mountain roads, after that trip I was sold on the superlight DualSport and set about addressing the CRF's shortcomings.

    The first thing I did was replace the front sprocket with a 14T. With the stock 13T/49T gearing anything above 50MPH and the bike is screaming. Max Speed is about 68MPH.

    14T/49T - Still low enough for technical single track and lets you cruise at 55MPH quite comfortably. 65MPH isn't too bad but I definitely wouldn't want to maintain anything over 60 for hours. I have seen up to 77MPH passing.

    14T/45T - Great "Dual Sport" gearing. Too high for tight, technical single track and steep rocky climbs. Open single track and two track where you can keep your speed up it is fine but you no longer have enough power to loft the front end without lots of clutch work. Cruising at 65MPH is fine and I have done it for hours at a stretch. 75MPH is OK for shorter stretches, but again I wouldn't want to try it for hours on end.

    I primarily run the 14T/45T gearing on the bike but if I am going to be riding single track I switch back to the 49T rear sprocket. I have been doing less and less trail riding and more and more multi-day dual sport riding so the 49T sprocket doesn't see a lot of use these days. I think I may try out 13T/45T next go around as swapping the front sprocket is much easier than the rear.

    Well not much to say here, I am at 7500 miles on the bike and for the first 7k only did oil changes every 500 miles and cleaned the air filter whenever it looked dirty. Around 7k my front wheel bearings began squealing and I have replaced them and one of my fork seals is now leaking so I need to address that. I had neglected using a battery tender since I ride year round my battery is usually fairly fresh but it looks like it has bit the dust. The funny part was I used the kickstart exactly once when I first got the bike to make sure it it worked and haven't used it since. When my battery died it actually took me a couple minutes to remember I had the kickstart. Happily I have been riding all week while waiting for my new battery and it fires up in 1-2 kicks every time. I checked my valve clearances at 100 miles and adjusted them all to the loose end of the range. I checked them again at 6000 miles and they had all moved a little but were still on the loose end of spec.

    I have a Wolfman Expedition tank bag and the Wolfman Enduro Fender Bag. I absolutely love the Tankbag, it isn't in the way, it is secured to the bike and has survived many crashes and though it is not water proof it has kept its contents dry through many deep water crossings and even a couple dunks in the river. The fender bag stays in place and carries my irons, beadlock and extra tube and patch kit. Not much to say about it other than I strongly recommend a fender brace if you are going to load yours up with that much weight. I have been wanting to try Wolfman's Saddle Bag Mount/Rollie Bag system or a Giant Loop but in the mean time I have just been packing my gear into my backpacking pack and wearing that. I kind of like having the weight on me and keeping the bike light and nimble.

    Currently using the Trailtech X2... not impressed. My buddy has the dual sport version with the projector low beam vs. the reflector on mine. They both stink. They get the job done but anything over 35MPH and you are out riding your light. I am considering the BajaDesigns Squadron 4 LED light that fits into the stock CRF light housing. Anyone tried this one out?

    I am using the Trailtech Vector. I have nothing bad to say about it, it works well and installation was fairly straight forward. I really like not having that stupid speed pickup that drives the stock Odometer. Just a spacer off a CRF250R and matching seal is all you need to remove it. The Trailtech dash uses a little magnetic pickup so the whole stock assembly can be removed. I do at times wish I would have opted for the Vapor dash for the tachometer but I like some of the functions of the Vector like the Max and Average speed records.

    So far I am having a blast with the bike and I am already a little surprised at the mileage I have got out of it. With all the doomsday talk about valves on the internet I was expecting to be doing the top every single year but that has not been the case. I don't see myself ever going back to a big dual sport like the KLR, I think something along the lines of the new KTM 500 EXC will be the next bike I look at. I want to retain the lightness of the CRF but more torque and a wide 6 speed transmission would be nirvana.

    So how about it, any other loonies out there dual sporting their CRF250X's?
  13. RyanR

    RyanR Been here awhile

    Jan 9, 2010
    Denver, CO
  14. eyedragaknee

    eyedragaknee McGuyver

    Jul 27, 2004
    I have had in descending order(DS bikes only)
    KLX250S 2007
    CRF250X 2007
    DR650 2009
    DRZ400 2004

    Now on a KTM250 XCF-W 2008

    I would NOT want to try to run the TAT on any of these bikes except the KLX250S and maybe the DR650. Yamaha makes a nice 250 as well.

    My CRF was a great bike and a blast to ride in the woods. NO issues at all. Not a DS or street bike, IMO Too high strung.

    The KTM is the same way. Awesome in the woods and trails. PITA on the road.

    Just my 2 cents.

  15. RyanR

    RyanR Been here awhile

    Jan 9, 2010
    Denver, CO
    Was your DRZ400 an E or an S? I rode an S this past weekend and it struck me as a solid all-around DS bike. Light enough for most trails and felt totally comfortable humming along at 55-70 for a couple hours on the slab.
  16. Wookazoid

    Wookazoid Tree Basher

    Jun 2, 2010
    Goobertown, Arkansas
    I found lots of interesting opinions on here about the 250X and the reliability of the valves or lack there of. I've got a 2006 model that I bought new. I raced hare scrambles on it just a very few times before I sat it up. I had a 2004 XR250R that I prefered in the tight, technical trails in the Ozarks close to where I live (I also plated it but it wasn't up to much highway stuff). I've also had a couple of dual sports since then... a KLR650 and an XR650L that I still have. My riding over the past four years has been sporadic having had some medical issues (both hips replaced) and never ending business travel.

    I say all that to say that my CRF has been collecting dust pretty much since my last hare scramble in February of 2009. It has very few hours on it and still has the original chain and sprockets all of which are in good condition. So now I'm healthy and changed positions at my job (less travel), so have spent the last few months un-moth balling it. New Q4, JD jetting kit, etc. have been installed and it runs like a dream. I adjusted the valves when it began to get reluctant to start somewhere around a year after I bought it. Last July, I decided to check the valves and the right hand intake was tight (.002")... the only one. I've ridden it probably four or five hours since then and found it hard to start this past weekend when I was about to change the oil before an upcoming race (my first since 2009). Checked my pilot thinking it had to be clogged, but it was clean. Decided to check the valves and found that same right hand intake was excessively tight again... couldn't get any gages under it. All others were in spec. Now I'm facing a dilemma... where can I go to get a turn key fix (parts and labor at a reasonable price)?

    I have checked online and figure I can get a new set of Black Diamond Kibblewhites for around $160 from Rocky Mountain, a head gasket for about $17 but the spring kit was a little over $200. CaChing! Are there other reliable options? Pro-X? Others?

    Acquiring the parts is easy, but we're lacking in reliable people who can do the valve seats around where I live. I'm leary to trust a shade tree mechanic with my head having been burned on that before. Does anyone have any recommendations on this? Does CRF's Only do machine work? Anyone closer to mid-America? The last place I had valves done was Thumper Racing down in Longview, Texas (not too far from where I live), but they're out of business. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

  17. wrk2surf

    wrk2surf on the gas or brakes

    Dec 16, 2007
    THE exact center of California/Bass lake/Yosemite
    ship the head to Agent Smith Racing .. experts with the X
  18. AgentSmith

    AgentSmith The CRF guy...

    Jan 9, 2011
    What you have is the typical CRF valve issue. The coating on the Titanium valve wears off and the valve rapidly recedes into the seat. Usually you only get a couple hours on each shimming.

    Kibblewhite's are a great solution. Their Black Diamond valves will hold up well on the 2006 head.

    The stock exhaust valves are stainless steel from the factory and they almost never wear.
  19. RyanR

    RyanR Been here awhile

    Jan 9, 2010
    Denver, CO
    Well I dropped my trusty 08 CRF250x off today for a complete top end rebuild. Going with KibbleWhite SS Valves/Springs/Seals, Honda cotters for the head and Wiseco 13.5:1 Piston (Stock is 12.9:1).

    She made it just a tick over 14k but the past 1.5-2k the engine has definitely felt beat and near the end I just gave up on valve adjustment, they were moving constantly. The past 500 miles the bike has been hard to start and will not idle. It is past due.

    I am looking forward to a fresh motor and very curious to see how much low end stonk I gain with the high compression piston. I wanted to do a full suspension rebuild at this time with new springs and valving but unfortunately didn't give myself enough time between rides to get that done before the next one so that will become a winter project.

    Since my last post here I have gone through another set of wheel bearings and a few rear tires, my front Kenda Trakmaster II tire seems to be impervious to wear and I am replacing it because the rubber is starting to get a little dry and stiff.

    Before deciding to plunk down the cash to do this rebuild I seriously considered selling the CRF and switching to an EXC. In the end I couldn't justify the expense when the CRF has been such a great bike and my only real complaint is the lack of a 6th gear... which really bothers me more when I'm sitting here on the forums than it actually does while riding. :lol3

    I'll post more when I get the bike back and I'll post up a ride report shortly after...

  20. Benduro

    Benduro It's been handled.™

    Jul 11, 2012
    El Portal, Ca
    Reliable motor? Except for the valves made of lead maybe. My buddy's valves move like crazy and I've never seen a bike that needs a new top end so frequently.