Dirt Rider and Mini Rider got to swing a leg over the newest Honda for a true sneak preview. We won’t go into great detail here, as the magazine will be in the newsstands in days with full riding impressions, but it is safe to say we were very impressed.The bike is a major change in the same way the four-strokes have changed the larger displacement classes. Compared to an 85cc two-stroke, the CRF150 makes more power overall and has a longer power spread. And the torque, once the bike is pulling, is the hugest advantage it has over the two-strokes it will be competing with head-to-head on the showroom floor and again at the track.
There are the typical disadvantages like starting, weight and price, but every rider that sampled this bike, especially the minicycle-sized riders this bike is truly targeted at, felt the power advantage alone overshadowed all of the above. Available in both 14″/16″ and 16″/19″ wheel sizes, even adults and larger kids, especially those between 85cc two-strokes and 250cc four-strokes, will have a stepping stone, or a really fun ride.Many may ask, “Why no aluminum frame?” Simply put, it is cost. This bike needs to hit a price point. The steel frame leaves room for future year improvements as well. And there is also the aspect of durability. Though this bike is tuned and runs like a full-on race machine, it has all-steel valves for added durability. Plus the power is positioned down in the spread just a little lower than it could be to teach kids to shift in the meat of power instead of using the rev limiter as a shift indicator. We’re sure Honda has a winner on its hands here and it will open up the debate on whether or not two-strokes are really dead. But like disc brakes, single shocks, and yes, even electric starting, changes are happening and change is good.Features & BenefitsEngine/Drivetrain
- Powerful four-stroke 149cc liquid-cooled four-valve Unicam engine produces impressive power across a wide rpm range for easy-to-control operation.
- Lightweight, compact, internal auto decompression and handlebar-mounted hot-start system provide easy starting, hot or cold.
- Compact, lightweight engine assembly weighs only 43.6 pounds.
- Unicam valve train provides the light weight of a compact single-cam drive and the optimum combustion chamber shape for maximum power at all engine rpm.
- Unicam valve train features a carburized single camshaft that directly actuates two 26mm steel intake valves. The steel 22.5mm exhaust valves are actuated by twin, low-friction rocker arms.
- Crankshaft is made of high-strength, low-carbon steel with carburized main journals for maximum durability at sustained high-rpm operation.
- Forged 11.7:1 compression slipper piston and rings are lighter than a conventional design, revving quickly while maintaining excellent cylinder sealing and high-rpm power.
- Double-carburized connecting rod utilizes a big-end needle bearing for maximum high-rpm performance and durability.
- Nikasil cylinder lining is lightweight and provides cooler operation for extended engine life.
- Press-fitted aluminum spark plug pipe fits between the two exhaust rocker arms, further contributing to compact cylinder-head design.
- 32mm Keihin FCR carburetor features four rollers on the flat slide, resulting in very light throttle effort, smooth operation, crisp throttle response and excellent rideability.
– Carburetor features a throttle position sensor (TPS) that helps maintain a linear throttle response throughout the range.
- Twin-sump lubrication system separates the oil supply for the crankshaft, piston and valve train from the clutch and transmission. This ensures a cool supply of oil to the clutch, eliminates potential clutch and transmission material contamination of the engine oil, reduces the amount of circulating oil and permits the use of a smaller oil pump.
- Vertically split crankcases feature a built-in oil pump, reducing weight compared to a conventional design.
- Exhaust system uses a lightweight stainless exhaust header and repackable aluminum muffler.
- Dual radiators feature a refined core area for improved heat dissipation compared to conventional dual-radiator design.
- Gear-driven balancer reduces vibration and drives the water pump. A six-disc clutch provides the surface area necessary to handle the engine’s impressive torque, while carefully matched clutch springs provide a light feel at the lever.
- Durable five-speed close-ratio transmission.
- Front and rear suspension settings unique to the CRF150R deliver ideal bump absorption characteristics.
- All-new handlebar bend optimizes rider position and comfort.
- Lightweight, high-tensile steel frame with large-diameter frame tubing and cross-member provides excellent turning performance and straight-line tracking.
- Box-section aluminum swingarm is lightweight and rigid.
- Removable subframe is strong and durable.
- 37mm leading-axle inverted Showa cartridge front fork features friction-reducing design to improve compression and rebound control.
- The fork offers adjustable compression and rebound settings.
- Wide-section aluminum top and bottom triple-clamps position fork tubes far apart for good turning and control.
- Tapered-roller steering-head bearings for durability.
- Pro-Link rear suspension system features a fully adjustable Showa shock for superb compliance and wheel control.
- Strong, lightweight wheels are durable and minimize unsprung weight.
- Lightweight front and rear disc brakes with high-performance pads offer powerful, precise braking.
- Stout 15mm front and 17mm rear axles incorporate a surface-treatment for added strength and durability.
- Large-capacity airbox and reusable two-stage foam air filter.
- Lightweight plastic body components (radiator shroud, sidecovers, rear fender, seat base, fuel tank, front fender and front number plate) offer a slim, aggressive style.
- Seat cushion foam follows the shape of the fuel tank, providing a smooth transition to increase rider mobility and comfort.
- Non-slip seat cover for increased rider control.
- High-quality Dunlop tires.
- HRC works-type rear brake system integrates the rear master cylinder and fluid reservoir, eliminating the separate rear master-cylinder reservoir and hose.
- Adjustable front brake lever and master-cylinder assembly are the same as CR125R/CR250R components.
- Stainless steel clutch cable for long life and improved feel and action.
- Works-type handlebar grips add to rider comfort.
- Purchase of a new, previously unregistered Honda unit by an individual retail user in the United States qualifies the owner for a one-year complimentary membership in the Honda Rider’s Club of AmericaTM (HRCA). Benefits include online access to the Honda Common Service Manual, six issues of the bimonthly Honda Red RiderTM magazine, travel discounts, trip routing, MSF reimbursement, plus access to the HRCA Web site (www.hrca.honda.com). Look for the HRCA support team at select off-road events across the country. For details on the HRCA, dealers should call (310) 783-3958, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific Time.
Model: CRF150R-Expert / CRF150R
Engine Type: 149cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke
Bore and Stroke: 66mm x 43.7mm
Compression Ratio: 11.7:1
Carburetion: Keihin 32mm flat slide with throttle position sensor (TPS)
Ignition: Solid-state CD with electronic advance
Transmission: Close-ratio five-speed
Final Drive: #420 chain; 15T/56T / 15T/50T
Front: 37mm fully adjustable leading-axle inverted Showa cartridge fork; 10.8 inches travel
Rear: Pro-Link fully adjustable Showa single shock; 11.5 inches travel / 10.8 inches travel
Front: Single 220mm disc
Rear: Single 190mm disc
Front: 70/100-19 / 70/100-17
Rear: 90/100-16 / 90/100-14
Wheelbase: 50.6 inches / 49.6 inches
Rake (Caster Angle): 2748′ / 2702′
Trail: 96mm (3.85 inches) / 78mm (3.07 inches)
Seat Height: 34.1 inches / 32.8 inches
Ground Clearance: 13.2 inches / 11.9 inches
Dry Weight: 169.7 pounds / 165.3 pounds
Fuel Capacity: 1.14 gallons