2018 Honda CRF250R Announced

In-depth look at Honda's all-new 250 motocross bike

Chase Sexton, 2018 Honda CRF250R
GEICO Honda's Chase Sexton unveils the 2018 Honda CRF250R.Photo by Pete Peterson

American Honda gave the media an exclusive look at the all-new 2018 Honda CRF250R, which features a new engine, chassis, and suspension. The new engine utilizes a dual overhead camshaft (DOHC) design, which is a drastic change from the former "Unicam" design that was used since the bike's inception in 2004. Another major change to the engine is the the dual exhaust ports that have a header pipe exiting from both sides of the cylinder head. Also, the engine now comes equipped with electric start and the kickstarter has been removed. The new generation frame and bodywork are similar to the 2017 and 2018 Honda CRF450R as well as the coil spring Showa front fork and titanium fuel tank.

2018 Honda CRF250R
The Honda CRF250R is all-new for 2018.Photo by Pete Peterson
2018 Honda CRF250R
The 2018 Honda CRF250R receives many of the same updates the CRF450R received last year including a new frame, bodywork, and front fork. We asked about the possibility of a Honda CRF250X and Bill Weppner of American Honda informed us we will not see one for 2018.Photo by Pete Peterson
2018 Honda CRF250R, Dual Overhead Cam
The new engine has been entirely redesigned with the most radical change being the dual overhead camshaft (DOHC) design. According to Weppner, the DOHC engine uses valve train technology Honda has developed for MotoGP with cams mounted over a rocker arms that drive the valve down. They found that this design produced the most power across the entire rpm range and have been able to gain substantial top end power with the design. Weppner was unable to provide us with any exact dyno numbers, but he did tells us there is roughly a ten percent increase in power over the 2017 model. Other changes to the engine include larger titanium intake and exhaust valves that have a higher lift and a more narrow angle. Also, the piston is now a bridge-box design and the cylinder offset has been increased. To keep the engine height as low as possible, the valve springs’ coils now have an oval cross-section and lastly, the intake system is now a downdraft design similar to the one found on the Honda CRF450R.Photo by Pete Peterson
2018 Honda CRF250R, header pipes
The 2018 Honda CRF250R features twice the header pipes as the previous generation model. The dual exhaust system does not join together at any point and therefore, they are essentially two completely different units.Photo by Pete Peterson
2018 Honda CRF250R, header pipes
The right side header pipe has a resonance chamber that is somewhat hidden behind the header pipe guard.Photo by Pete Peterson
2018 Honda CRF250R, header pipes
A closer look at the routing of the two header pipes exiting the cylinder head.Photo by Pete Peterson
2018 Honda CRF250R, Electric Starter Button
The new CRF250R comes standard with the magic button. The kickstarter lever has been removed and there is no option to add one as the cases do not have a place to mount it.Photo by Pete Peterson
2018 Honda CRF250R, Electric Starter Motor
The electric starter is powered by a lithium-iron phosphate battery, which is housed in the airbox. According to American Honda ambassador Andrew Short, the battery is the same as the one used on the Team Honda HRC racebikes.Photo by Pete Peterson
2018 Honda CRF250R, Front Fork
The new Showa spring fork is an A-kit style design that is very similar to the one used on the CRF450R. According to Weppner, the only differences between the two are the shim stack and the spring. Weppner, who is a 180-pound aggressive rider, told us the forks have enough hold up for him and at the same time are not overly harsh. However, he says the new forks are valved and sprung to suit a smaller rider as well.Photo by Pete Peterson

As for the big question of when this bike will be available, Honda will have a production bike on display at Loretta Lynn's, and you can expect to see a few laps from Andrew Short on it if you're at the event. The bikes will be introduced to the media most likely in October, so do not expect to see them on the showroom floors until very late in the year.