Time spent riding motorcycles creates memories that last a lifetime. For many, their first experience on a motorcycle took place during a family camping trip with a family member, such as an uncle, giving them pointers on how to ride. However, with little to no guidance, controlling a motorcycle can be intimidating and scary for beginners. On the other hand, when taught proper technique and body position, the new rider will gain confidence as they notice a correlation between proper technique and minimized mistakes.

The 2019 Honda CRF250F and CRF125F in front of mountains.
Siblings in red—the 2019 Honda CRF250F (left) and CRF125F (right).Jeff Allen

American Honda scheduled an event to introduce its all-new CRF110F, CRF125F, CRF125F Big Wheel, and CRF250F, which it refers to as the “CRF Trail Family,” at Hungry Valley SVRA in Gorman, California, this past February. Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans as inclement weather forced a cancellation of the event. Instead, Honda gave us the bikes so that we could go out with them and do something similar on our own.

Demonstrating proper body position and watching as it is implemented during figure eight drill.
Left: Demonstrating proper body position to Jake.
Right: Watching on as Jake implements proper body position during our figure eight drill.
Evan Allen

In keeping with the theme of Honda’s intro and the CRF Trail Family, my dad, younger brother Jake, and I spent a day at Johnson Valley OHV in Lucerne Valley, California, with the CRF125F and CRF250F. Our goal for the day was to help Jake, who is a beginner rider, develop his technique on the Honda trailbikes. To begin the day, we set up cones on the dry lake bed to create a few different drills for Jake to practice on the CRF125F before moving up to the CRF250F and repeating them. For the first exercise, we had him simply ride in a figure eight pattern to develop a sense of traction while turning, as well as braking and using the throttle.

Brother explains how to approach a corner wide before sweeping into the apex on a dirt bike.
Explaining how to approach a corner wide before sweeping into the apex.Jeff Allen

He found his groove quickly, so we moved on to the next drill—hard braking. Before we developed a greater sense for speed, first we had to improve his braking ability in the dry desert conditions. Placing one cone as a braking marker and another as a stopping point, we had him gain as much speed as possible before the braking marker. Immediately after he passed it, we had him slow down as quickly as he could. He struggled to stop in time due to improper technique, so I gave him a few pointers on how to get on the binders harder in a safe, effective way.

Bikers doing a hard braking drill.
Challenging front end feel with a hard braking drill.Jeff Allen

My dad and I taught Jake to downshift to utilize as much engine-braking as possible, while simultaneously dragging the rear brake. With the rear wheel slowing down, we also had him progressively grab more front brake, being careful to not allow the front end to slide, to develop a sense of how much braking the tires and dirt would allow him. Finally, with all of the braking techniques being applied, I taught him to remain standing up and to shift his weight back until he approached the apex of the turn, where he would then seamlessly sit down, put his inside foot out, and gradually apply the throttle.

Biker starting.
There was a lot more roost after this photo. Well, at least Jake thought so as he practiced starts.Jeff Allen

Once Jake’s braking zones had become progressively smaller, we began our next drill—starts. Although most beginner riders don’t need to worry about gate drops, I figured it would be good to teach him how to put the power down and accelerate quickly. I had him rev the bike in first gear and release the clutch on my signal before accelerating and upshifting as quickly as possible. This gave him an opportunity to become familiar with wheelspin and shifting gears at speed.

Big brother showing little brother best line up an incline.
Sometimes you need an extra set of hands. Luckily big bro was there to show Jake the best line.Jeff Allen

Jake did well in each of the tasks and got comfortable on the Honda trailbikes quickly, so we fueled them up and headed out on the trail. Using the techniques I taught him, Jake became extremely comfortable on the single-track trails and two-track roads we went on. As the ride progressed, I noticed the riding techniques I taught him became more instinctive to him. By the end of the day, as the sun went down and we loaded the bikes, Jake was gleaming with confidence as this was surely the best he had ever ridden a dirt bike. This is what it’s all about—dirt bikes and family. Jake and I have always shared a passion for surfing, and now we share a passion for riding motorcycles.

Biker riding up a hill climb.
Learning from his mistakes, Jake was crushing hill climbs by the end of the day.Jeff Allen

2019 Honda CRF125F Tech Spec

PRICE $3,099
ENGINE 124.9cc, air-cooled, single-cylinder four-stroke
TRANSMISSION/FINAL DRIVE 4-speed/chain
MEASURED HORSEPOWER N/A
MEASURED TORQUE N/A
FRAME Steel tubular twin-spar
FRONT SUSPENSION Showa 31mm coil-spring telescopic fork; 5.2-in. travel
REAR SUSPENSION Showa shock; 5.5-in. travel
FRONT BRAKE Nissin 2-piston caliper, 220mm disc
REAR BRAKE 95mm drum
WHEELBASE 48.0 in.
SEAT HEIGHT 29.1 in.
FUEL CAPACITY 1.0 gal.
CLAIMED WEIGHT 194 lb. wet
AVAILABLE Now
CONTACT powersports.honda.com

2019 Honda CRF250F Tech Spec

PRICE $4,599
ENGINE 249cc, air-cooled, single-cylinder four-stroke
TRANSMISSION/FINAL DRIVE 5-speed/chain
MEASURED HORSEPOWER N/A
MEASURED TORQUE N/A
FRAME Steel tubular twin-spar
FRONT SUSPENSION Showa 41mm coil-spring telescopic fork; 8.5-in. travel
REAR SUSPENSION Showa shock adjustable for spring preload; 9.0-in. travel
FRONT BRAKE Nissin 2-piston caliper, 240mm disc
REAR BRAKE Nissin 1-piston caliper, 220mm disc
WHEELBASE 55.9 in.
SEAT HEIGHT 34.8 in.
FUEL CAPACITY 1.6 gal.
MEASURED WEIGHT 263 lb. wet
AVAILABLE Now
CONTACT powersports.honda.com
Two brothers riding motorcycles in the mountains.
This is what it's all about—dirt bikes and family. Jake and I have always shared a passion for surfing, and now we share a passion for riding motorcycles.Jeff Allen