Honda CRF250L vs Africa Twin, which is easier to ride offroad.

Discussion in 'Japanese polycylindered adventure bikes' started by BlackMarch, Jul 24, 2020.

  1. BlackMarch

    BlackMarch Adventurer

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    I've never ridden any big bikes like the Africa Twin offroad, biggest thing I've ridden is the CRF250L.

    My question is pretty straight forward, are these "better" bikes like the Africa Twin or BMW GS1250 actually better/easier to ride offroad compared to a CRF250L Rally? Can they go places the CRF250 Rally can not?
    #1
  2. Lewilewi

    Lewilewi Ride it like you stole it......

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    I have a te300i and a 1290superadvrnture r , 40 years off rd experience,

    inc competition 25 years ago..


    If your gonna get any more serious than the 250f tread carefully...

    With a 1290 s.a.r they are very un- user friendly to the inexperienced..

    Not to mrntion 250kg to pick up on a slippery muddy hill is not easy..

    Try a 790 first
    #2
  3. cyclopathic

    cyclopathic Long timer

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    Define off-road. Define riding.

    For some it means well-groomed dirt road while carrying everything and kitchen sink..
    #3
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  4. Mudslingr

    Mudslingr Been here awhile

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    Absolutely not. Horses for courses.
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  5. iatethepeach

    iatethepeach Been here awhile

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    Repeat this mantra: "light is right."
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  6. hammerun

    hammerun Secret Eleventh Commandment - never fear.

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    Question looks like a joke.
    No way Africa Twin with 230+kg is any easier off-road than 150+kg CRF250L.
    Except super easy gravel roads.
    #6
  7. BlackMarch

    BlackMarch Adventurer

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    I guessed as much already, but guesses don't always hold up. For someone who hasn't ridden an AT, 1250GS or similar it's hard to know how much of a difference the technology stuffed in to the bikes can make or which other benefits the bikes may offer.
    #7
  8. hammerun

    hammerun Secret Eleventh Commandment - never fear.

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    AT and GS are very comfortable miles eaters, capable to go off-road.
    AT can do medium routes, GS lighter ones, but non of them can be compared with lighter bikes as for off-road performance.
    Check this genius write-up, buddy carried-out a tremendous work to analyse dual-sport market.
    Personally I am 100% agree with results of his study, his table and scores clearly shows the picture:
    https://www.everideadv.com/best-dualsport-motorcycles
    #8
  9. cyclopathic

    cyclopathic Long timer

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    It is impossible to answer your question without giving a usage context. Don't get upset with answers.

    I would suggest to put down ba list of intended rides and your physical limitations. If you are planning to ride 95% pavement and easy dirt roads long distance in Europe and you are 180cm 110kg fit guy AT would be a good choice. If your intentions to ride solo old summer road, eastern BAM and to remotes of Mongolia and you are 155cm 45kg female which needs to unload CRF250 to pick it up then RE Himalayan would be a better choice at least it is low enough to have both feet on the ground.
    #9
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  10. Little Bike

    Little Bike Air/Clutz Sue Supporter

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    The 250 will be able to go places the AT can’t except with a very, very experienced rider.
    #10
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  11. minkyhead

    minkyhead Long timer

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    . dunno lots depend on the rider ..some pretty high skill lads with the minerals can really hussle the big bangers for sure and there is in truth a lot of satisfaction gained by them for doing it ...
    its not my place to say what can and cant be done on what bike cos some riders make it happen ...what i would say is they would find it easier on a little rally ..but some guys really armt looking for easy ..and thats true ..great to watch em but i cant hussle like them on a big bike ....
    everythings relevent a lot of folks on here class the rally as a over weight boat anchor ...so where the africa twin is classed i coudnt say :hide


    i guess a easy test is to find a muddy slippy feild ..with full luggage strapped on the crf kick it over so its off camber tank low then strap 4 52lb bags of spuds on it and see how it picks up ..if that goes well repeat 5 times and preceed to step 2 ...whatever that is :lol3:lol3 ......
    for all its percieved shorcomings the little bike is light years easier to ride on single tracks for most i think

    ive got one of them t7 thingys and i wouldnt dream of trying to take it where the rally goes ..but i know lads who do ..but i also know if i try and do what they do it will end badly ..... i guess you have a bit of honest figuring out to do as do we all

    keep well

    [​IMG]
    #11
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  12. BlackMarch

    BlackMarch Adventurer

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    T7 seems capable of handling just about anything though. And unlike an AT, that thing just seems to keep the front wheel completely planted allowing you do to some solid offroad riding with a level of ease not commonly seen in any other bikes I can think of.
    #12
  13. flybynite

    flybynite So far so good

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    One look comparing the tires and wheel sizes of both should tell you a lot.
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  14. sanvara

    sanvara Been here awhile

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    I dont pretend to be rude, but honestly, if you are asking this question, drive rhe 250cc until you feel confident before considering bigger bikes to drive offroad
    #14
  15. Jarrett2

    Jarrett2 Been here awhile

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    Not a dumb question, imo. I've owned both at the same time. I had a 2016 Africa Twin DCT, 2014 CRF250L and then a 2017 CRF250L Rally.

    Like most said, it really depends on the terrain. There were times when I was riding forest roads in Arkansas on my CRF250L and wished I was on my Africa Twin, because all of that weight really keeps the bike planted in loose terrain. There have also been times with short, steep climbs where I was on the CRF250L and wished I was on the Africa Twin because it had enough torque to muscle its way up where the CRF250L might have stalled.

    But generally, the smaller and more technical the terrain the more I wanted the smaller bike. There is just a lot less fear and fighting taking a lighter bike through more technical stuff. Not to mention, less fitness required. The thing that holds the CRF250L back is the weak stock suspension and the exceptionally low torque of the motor. This means you really have to kind pick your lines to clear things and keep your revs high to keep from stalling the bike. You don't need to do that with the Africa Twin. It will chug along with ample torque to spare at any second for a surprise climb to need to power up.

    Now if you had said, which is easier to ride offroad, an Africa Twin or a Husky or KTM dual sport bike like the EXC or FE 350/450/500, the answer is the KTM or Husky hands down. Why? They have much better suspension to roll over whatever you point it at and enough power and torque to chug along and blast the throttle when you need a sudden burst to clear something. That means you don't have to worry about the revs as much nor do you have to pick lines as much. You just point it at something and gas it and the bike will clear it. If it doesn't its only 250 lbs coming down instead of 500-600 lbs. Also, it is much easier to regain composure on a lighter bike. If you are riding along and it gets out of sorts, that can be it on a heavy bike. But a lighter bike, you can pull it back up and keep it going. Hope that helps.
    #15
  16. Jarrett2

    Jarrett2 Been here awhile

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    Someone told me a couple of years ago, if you really want to learn how to ride off road like single track and such on a street legal bike, don't get a CRF250L. Get something like a Husky FE 350 or KTM 350 EXC-F. I didn't listen and bought a CRF250L, took it to do single track, struggled and sold the bike.

    Flash forward two years and I now own a Husky FE 450 and it is a blast on single track. I should have listened. Just passing on the info.

    The KTM/Husky dual sports are more expensive, but they will let you do so much more than the CRF250L will. And it will be much easier when you do it. In this sense, you can kind of buy performance.

    But if forest roads are the limit of off roading for, a CRF250L is perfectly fine and will save you money. I enjoyed my CRF250L Rally more than my CRF250L actually. The Rally feels like a baby Africa Twin. But both are very heavy and underpowered compared to the KTM/Husky dual sports.
    #16
  17. Adanac rider

    Adanac rider O.S.T.R. Supporter

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    Question 1, - I would say with all the rider controls, - yes . Question 2, Yes - On the Interstate and to Starbucks :linzi
    #17
  18. PeterW

    PeterW Long timer

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    Yes, they can go places you won't comfortably ride the 250. Across continents or on motorways.

    The only reason I brought a pig rather than a smaller dirt bike is that I live somewhere with good roads and apart from a few stretches of dirt a few k's long the nearest decent dirt riding is 80k's away. Not impossible on a 250 but it's really wearing. Other distances are huge here as well so the vast majority of my riding is long hauls on seal, and I did do that on a TS185 when I was young but it's hard on you and hard on the bike. Running a 250 on a motorway it'll be up in the top 1/4 of the rev range and wearing the thing out, the larger bikes lower 1/2 and in some cases lower 1/4 and they'll last 100,000k's+ (The Japanese ones will at least). The wear on the rider (vibration/wind blast) feels worse than that proportionately.

    So - compromises, in my case a DL650 which could do dirt (more than I thought it could admitted) and more importantly could cope very easily with all the road riding. Also pointing out that I wouldn't have been capable of riding a DL on dirt if I hadn't had years of riding smaller bikes.

    The bigger bikes really aren't much better on dirt here than the DL was anyway. They are certainly better on paper but you'd generally enjoy the dirt sections more going to the smaller end. 160HP on dirt roads is laughable, even on the DL650 I doubt I ever used more than 30HP and I always wanted less less weight on dirt more than I wanted more power.

    There are tradeoffs and the CRF isn't the worlds best dirt bike in any case but smaller on dirt is generally at the winning end. It's the OTHER riding that makes adventure bikes attractive options.
    #18
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