Our Fuel Injected 2010 Honda CRF250R is officially in the Dirt Rider test fleet. Yesterday, Honda held an afternoon introduction for the press at Perris Raceway starring their new 250F. Today, you get to hear about it.It’s easy to talk about what’s new on the 2010 Honda CRF250R-it’s everything but the tires, basically. Honda’s approach here mirrors their 2009 CRF450R almost exactly. In fact, almost all of the non-motorized parts on the 2010 CRF250R are interchangeable with the CRF450R.Since it’s so close to it’s big brother, you’d expect the bike to behave, feel and handle similarly and it does. But Honda and the 2010 CRF250R have specific goals for next year.Honda engineers are blunt about their ambitions for the 2010 CRF250R. They expect it to have the most powerful motor in the class. That’s their number one point. Honda takes aim at this goal with an all-new engine that maintains their 13,500 rpm redline while offering higher-than-2009 13.2:1 compression. The engine geometry is lower with the crank dropped 10mm and the cylinder is also tilted back 5 degrees from last year. In all, it’s a more compact, more centralized power plant.The top end features Honda’s exclusive Unicam technology incorporating new MotoGP-inspired valve spring materials and new cam timing (details coming soon). The CRF250R features a new automatic decompression assembly as well for easy starting.In the bottom end, a new lighter crank features a revised shape and balance design and the clutch assembly gets a major overhaul utilizing higher capacity plates and a complete Kashima Coat Treatment on the inner and outer baskets. The transmission’s gearing ratios have changed across the board as well to match the new motor and to deliver potent acceleration.Feeding this little monster is a 50MM Keihn throttle body with a 12-hole injector. Similar to the 2009 CRF450R, the 250R’s fuel injection system offers idle adjustment but is refined to 100-rpm steps. However, the 250F gets its own lightweight injector.The air box is borrowed from the 2009 450 but the intake tract is all-250F designed to match the EFI system.All of this motor madness really works. We had pro and intermediate-level test riders rip around Perris’ historic raceway all afternoon and both of us came back really impressed. The motor, specifically the reluctance to sign off on top and the impressive bottom-end torque, was outstanding. The bike starts easily and sounds great with the all-new single exhaust system. The new bike runs with a deep growl compared to the 2009 dual-pipe version.As expected, throttle response with the fuel injection is amazing. Engine attitude is adjusted at the flick of a wrist and the old hesitation and bogging which followed the carbureted CRF250R around like a little black cloud is long gone.On the track there really isn’t much of a comparison between the 2010 Honda CRF250R and the 2009. True, our 2009 had 35 hours on the stock piston and suspension, but it still ran well. The 2010 simply blew it away, though. Bottom, mid, top it doesn’t matter: Everything on the 2010 CRF 250R is faster, stronger and just plain better.Along with a new motor, the 2010 Honda CRF250R gets a frame update to match the 450 (which is identical except where the motor touches) and new Showa front and rear suspension components. The Honda Steering Damper returns as well.Just like the CRF450R, you can feel the weight control engineered into this bike immediately. Pushing the bike in the pits reveals a much lighter feel compared to the 2009 CRF250R (which we tested back-to-back against the 2010). Also, when you go to hoist this sucker on a stand, you can truly feel the balance built in.Perris raceway stayed pretty smooth all afternoon, even with Geico Powersports Honda pilots Justin Barcia and Blake Wharton ripping it up. We did get some rare-in-California bike-swallowing ruts to show up, though. Those ruts really made the CRF shine, as even the slightest turning input on this bike seems to cause an immediate, controlled reaction. Through a long whoop section the bike stayed straight and controlled and jump landings were all handled with ease.Like last year’s 450, the most noticeable thing about the 2010 CRF250R is the lightweight feel. In the air and on the ground the bike just feels nimble and sweet. As far as we can tell with one day of testing, stability and bump compliance is not sacrificed for this light, aggressively handling machine. And we didn’t touch a clicker. We set the sag at 102mm and rode. Both Kris Keefer and myself had nothing to complain about in the ride department.Speaking of Kris Keefer, here’s a quick opinion he sent me last night when he got home from the introduction. He’s the dude in the pictures, in case you didn’t know.Riding the 2010 CRF 250 made me want to go back and ride a 250F again. It was that fun. The new Fuel injection works flawlessly without giving up the pivotal bottom end power that we all like on 250F’s. The bike had great instant throttle response and low-end pull was amazingly good. Going in I was skeptical about the bike being “too smooth” feeling, but the new CRF had great pull from mid to top. It also could be revved out in 3rd and shifting a little early into 4th was not an issue at Perris Raceway. Top end was great and the bike felt really snappy and fast everywhere on the track. The 2010 CRF250R felt really light and nimble and could be cornered very well. Initial lean was great coming into corners and I could start my corner sooner on the CRF. The fork and shock felt balanced but the track did not get too rough so we will have to check more into the suspension on a rougher track day. The only thing I did find that I did not like was the front tire and grips. The tire pushed once the track dried out slightly. The grips left me a funny blister on top of my thumb! WEIRD! Overall it is one of the most fun 250F’s I have ridden yet!Kris Keefer
160 lb proWe’re testing the 2010 CRF250R at some more tracks this week (and probably against the 2010 Yamaha YZ250F!) as we build our first test. Stay tuned to www.dirtrider.com and keep your eyes glued to the pages of Dirt Rider Magazine for the most complete tests on all the 2010 dirt bikes.