Story By Kelly Yancey and the DR Staff
Photos By DR Staff
Christmas is just around the corner, and one of the most common gift-related questions that we get asked at Dirt Rider is, “What bike should I buy for my child?” Well, we recently went to the 2014 Honda trail bike introduction at the Hungry Valley OHV Park in Gorman, California and wanted to break down each these bikes’ key features. Part four of our Honda trail bike series: The 2014 CRF150F. The 2014 CRF150F has been a staple in the Honda trail bike lineup for a few years but we felt the need to revisit the old girl to see how she works out on the trail (and even on the occasional closed course track).
2014 Honda CRF150F
Seat Height: 32.8 inches
Claimed Weight: 234 lbs. with full tank of fuel
When you go out riding with the family you need a motorcycle that can get the job done—and do so safely at the same time. Well, the Honda CRF150F can check those appropriate boxes. If you’re a cautious beginner or an avid weekend warrior who requires a low seat height and tractable power, this might be the bike for you. Check out what we thought about the midsize trail bike from Honda:
- Motor. The 150cc, five-speed transmission can tackle deep sand and unexpected technical sections of the trail with its tractable power. Its low-end power can feel a little soft at times on the trail but that is likelty due to the extra weight the bike carries—this is not a light motorcycle. The motor had no issue reaching high RPMs and maintaining a good pace out on the trail. We were able to put the engine under considerable amounts of stress, climbing hills in a higher gear, lugging its way up hills and not once did the bike stall. Think of this as a small tractor that keeps going, and going, and going….
- Ergonomics. The longer wheel base and higher seat height of the 150F makes for a comfortable ride for taller riders. Smaller riders might want to look at the CRF125F as an option with a lower seat height and ground clearance. The CRF150F was the first bike in the lineup that we could ride more aggressive on the front end. The handlebar and controls are rider friendly and we were able to move around on the bike and remain comfortable.
- Suspension. Honda made a good choice by using the Showa 35mm front fork and Pro-Link rear shock. This setup proved itself many times throughout the day and even withstood some hard hits while doing a little closed course motocross riding. The front forks rarely bottomed out when riding aggressively; hitting small chop and bigger sand whoops was not an issue. The rear shock held up well with a wide range of rider sizes and abilities. Overall, the CRF150F feels balanced and can give a rider confidence while out on the trail.
- Handling. Straight-line stability was great with the 150F. It wouldn’t twitch or do anything that you didn’t want it to do out on the trail. It tracked well and had plenty of traction in loose rocks and sand (again, this is likely due to the heigh weight of the bike). We could also feel the advantage of the 19” front and 16” rear wheels in comparison to the smaller wheel of the CRF125F. You will not corner on a dime with this machine, but it will lean and turn when instructed properly by the rider.
- Electric Start. Yes, we know we have been using this as a category on all the trail bike models, but it’s hard to deny how well this electric start works for every rider!
- Brakes. The front disc is a nice touch and it certainly belongs on this bike due to the weight of the machine. It does take a little more pull of the front lever to get the CRF150F to stop, but it will get you stopped nonetheless. The rear drum is decent, just make sure not to drag the rear brake as it will fade faster than parachute pants did in the ‘80s!
Keep checking out www.dirtrider.com to see what we have to say about each of Honda’s new CRF-F trail bikes, and be sure to pick up the November issue of Dirt Rider Magazine for more information on all of Honda’s trail bike line up.