I took Clyde (my CRF250L) in for his first service after break-in yesterday afternoon. He and I had a little over 1000 km’s of fun on the clock, so it was time to have him checked over: nuts and bolts, brakes, clutch, oil and filter change, chain service, and valve adjustment.
My previous article, CRF250L Owner’s First Impressions details my thoughts at the 600 km mark. Since then, Clyde and I have had great fun together, but I developed two concerns that I raised with the service manager yesterday. They were…
UPDATE: For additional review notes on the CRF250L, written since this post, read my post detailing…
How the CRF250L has performed after 4500 km’s of riding
CRF250L high-speed handling and engine chatter
- Now and then the bike feels like it wants to squirm around beneath me at speeds above 80 kph. It’s not unsafe or anything. I can handle it fine. It just feels a bit top-heavy and super-sensitive to changes in the road surface. I realize that since this is my first dual sport bike, I might just be unaccustomed to the feel of riding a motorcycle with such narrow and knobby tires, and a 21″ front wheel. Still, I wanted to see what Honda felt about this.
- Since new, I have noticed a chattering noise. It is always audible when cruising along in certain gear and speed ranges, i.e. 3rd gear at 50 kph, or 4th gear at 60-65 kph. It sounded like valve chatter to me. It disappears if I roll the throttle off or on. It is not apparent when revving the engine in neutral. It is also not evident when lugging the engine. I don’t know what this bike is supposed to sound like. The chatter could be a normal engine sound for the CRF250L. But as with the high speed handling concern, I just wanted to ensure that Honda checks it out.
Honda’s response to high-speed handling issues and engine chatter on the CRF250L
So Clyde spent the night at the Honda Powerhouse dealer here in town. They wanted to ensure they could work on the valves when they were cold.
This morning, Adam the Honda service manager, called to say that Clyde was ready to ride. Awesome! My Wife was out with our other vehicle so I decided to walk. I took a shortcut across the railway tracks. When I walked into the Honda service entrance, a customer eyed me and said, “it looks like a load of burrs have followed you in.” I thought he said “a load of birds,” and so I immediately ducked and looked around. Then of course I saw the thick bunches of burrs, not birds, clinging to the cloth bag that held my helmet and gloves. It seems I had collected them in my hike across the tracks.
But I digress. Here is what Honda said about my concerns:
- No abnormal noises from the motor.
- Because the CRF250L puts out a lot of power for a little power plant, it will make more noise when under load.
- High-speed stability issues are normal for a dual sport of this type.
- The large 21″ front tire with no balancing, and the soft suspension for off-road riding, make this bike unstable over 75 kph.
My thoughts regarding Honda’s conclusions on the CRF250L issues
Though I think their remark that the bike is unstable by design over 75 kph, is an overstatement, I see what they mean by that. They are saying that it can seem unstable at speed compared to a standard, or a sport bike. I get that, and I agree with them. The mechanic test rode Clyde for about 20 minutes, before and after the service. I am satisfied now that nothing amiss is causing the handling characteristics that I notice. That’s all I needed to know.
And by the way, Clyde’s New Wind Screen smooths out those high-speed instabilities by quite a degree. I highly recommend the windshield if you ride highways a lot. The mechanic’s test ride was done without the wind screen.
As for those engine noises, I am comfortable with their assurance that it is normal engine noise for this motorcycle. It is way too easy to become paranoid about sounds, so I won’t sweat it anymore. They have ridden enough CRF250L’s to know what they typically sound like. I’ll trust their conclusion. Plus I have it in writing from them, so I’ll put my overly sensitive ear to rest and continue to enjoy riding Clyde. That said, I did notice a reduction in the chatter after the valves were adjusted.
So it is all good. My concerns were respected and answered, the bike has had its first service after the break-in period, and even though I brought Clyde to them all muddy from a ride into the hills, I got him back all cleaned up and ready for more fun. Bonus! The people at Honda Powerhouse have given Clyde and I excellent service thus far.
Have you had any concerns with your CRF250L? How have you resolved them?
Over to you now…