2013 Honda CRF250L Owner’s First Impressions

CRF250L Dual Sport ReviewMy shiny new CRF250L dual sport arrived at the Local Honda Powerhouse dealer on Valentines Day, February 14, 2013. A very cool Valentines gift to myself.

I ordered the bike back in October 2012, to arrive with their late winter shipment. The dealer managed to get just three bikes from Honda, and they were all pre-sold. I’m pretty happy that I ordered mine well in advance.

That’s a bit of a heads-up for those of you who are considering ordering one for yourself. Unless things change, they are hard to get. So what do I think about my new Motorcycle? In short… I love it. I’ve even named it.

Introducing Clyde — 250cc of fun

OK, so I have only ridden my CRF250L for 600 Km. The break in period is not yet over, so anything I say here is based on first impression only. I’ll write more as Clyde and I get better acquainted.

UPDATE: For additional review notes on the CRF250L, written since this post, read my posts detailing…
Two concerns on the CRF250L at the end of break-in period, and my thoughts on…
How the CRF250L has performed after 4500 km’s of riding

So far though, here are my review thoughts on Clyde, my new Honda CRF250L:

  • The CRF250L is far more capable off-road than I am — for now :-). I’ll learn to handle his exuberance over time.
  • Many riders (or perhaps readers not riders) have pointed to the weight of the CRF250L as a downside. My experience thus far though, is that it feels quite light. You can’t walk it uphill or muscle it around as easily as a true dirt bike, but it does feel light when you ride it, and it is very nimble. You have to accept that this is a dual sport motorcycle, not a dedicated dirt bike, despite being a 250cc. Clyde seems quite comfortable with his weight. He is not the least bit offended by these comments.
  • When I decided on a 250cc motorcycle, I wondered if it would produce enough power and speed to satisfy my city and highway riding requirements. Well, he’s no powerhouse, but Clyde wants it known that he is no slouch off the light, or up a hill on the highway. Sure, larger bore motorcycles will be faster, but this little 250cc dual sport motorcycle is as fast as I personally (and for now) need it to be.
  • I really dislike being held hostage by gas stations. A recent fill of a 5 gallon Jerry can cost me over $35.00 CAD. My initial MPG calculations on the CRF250L are to the tune of 80+ MPG. I like that.
  • The CRF 250L aftermarket is exploding with performance and accessory options. That should dispel any hesitations for those who enjoy modifying their motorcycle for performance, function, or appearance.
  • The mechanical design is very clean and accessible. I can poke, prod, or tweak Clyde’s private parts anytime I want. He makes them all easy to reach.

Well, like I said, this is a very preliminary review of my impressions so far of my new Honda CRF250L. Clyde is the first dual sport motorcycle I have owned or ridden.

The first difference I noticed was how plush the suspension is. Seriously, this bike will smooth out any road. So comfortable. At first I thought that the bike would lack road feedback, but it doesn’t. You get the plush ride and road feel at the same time. And by the way, The seat is comfortable for me. I hear a lot about the need to change the seat on this bike. It’s good for me, for whatever that’s worth to you.

How’s that cushy suspension going to deal with rough and nasty dirt roads you ask? We have lots of opportunity here in British Columbia to find out. Being new to riding on dirt, I haven’t checked that out as much as I will down the line, but so far… the washboard and muddy potholes on FSR’s that we’ve tested ourselves on felt almost comfortable. I had good control riding on some serious washboard through curves.

My goal is to be able to access some pretty high and otherwise inaccessible places on my little dual sport. I want to strap my French easel to the rack and do some Plien Air painting, some hiking and photography; that sort of thing.

I am not interested in hardcore trail riding, except as a method of learning better skills. We have a local trail riding club here that I might join for that reason.

Is The CRF250L A Smart Purchase?

Buying the Honda CRF250L has been one of my better decisions. I’ll have more to say in a few months on this, but I am awfully impressed thus far.

Everything about the bike seems to be crafted rather than thrown together. The CRF rides like a dream around town, and it manages highways speeds with plenty of power for it’s 250cc engine. Finding a level road around here is difficult, but I have had no difficulty keeping up with traffic on mountain highways.

In short, I love the Honda CRF250L that I have affectionately named Clyde. We are a good match because Clyde’s particular build and skill sets meet all of my expectations. He can deliver what I want to get out of a motorcycle at this point in my life. I am not looking for more than he can offer.

This bike is built considerably better than you would expect for the price. I could go on about the features like the joy of instant starts on cold (just above freezing) mornings, courtesy of fuel injection. Or I could tell you about the digital dash, or the awesome headlamp. And then there’s the smooth power and vibration free ride that the counter-balanced power plant delivers.

You get the idea. I like the bike. More to say at a later date.

Have you any thoughts on the CRF250L? Do you ride one? Thinking of buying one? Whatever your thoughts, share them in the comments below.

Over to you now…

2 thoughts on “2013 Honda CRF250L Owner’s First Impressions

  1. Robert McCleery

    Enjoyed your blog. Just got a Honda crf 250l myself and am enjoying it. Just ordered the windshield with confidence thanks to your blog. Replacing my 1972 scrambler on calm trails at our camp In Maine.

    1. ScootToots Post author

      Hey Robert,

      Very cool. I know you’re going to thoroughly enjoy the CRF. Keep us posted đŸ™‚

      Cheers

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