Riding Impression: Honda CRF250X

A Quick Look At Honda’s Trusty 250cc Four-Stroke Off-Road Machine

Honda CRF250X Static
The Honda CRF250X may be unchanged and simple compared to the other bikes in its class, but the little red off-roader is no less a dependable, solid machine that has its place in this category.Photo By Bob Theobald

Off-road shootouts are always interesting due to the fact that there are so many different aspects of the bikes to compare. From the gearing to the brightness of the stock headlights, the bikes are vastly different. The genre of off-road 250cc four strokes seems to have surged within the past four years, which is great news if you are in the market for one of these fun off road machines. Among these machines, the Honda is the least changed of all, but the little CRF250X is still a fun, dependable bike with loads of potential. Here’s Michael Allen’s take on the Honda CRF250X after riding the “class veteran” for several days:

The heart of the Honda CRF250X is a bit outdated performance-wise, which could be partially attributed to it being the only carbureted bike in the shootout. Not having fuel injection isn’t all bad, though; when the throttle is rolled on from a stop the power is smooth, unlike most fuel-injected bikes which can feel touchy and jumpy. The Honda has good torque in the lower RPM range and pulls decently into the midrange, but the power really falls off from the midrange to the rev limiter. In a shootout against more technologically advanced bikes, the Honda’s engine definitely takes a back seat to the rest of the competition due to a lack of excitement.

Michael Allen Honda CRF250X Trail
This engine is fairly mellow, making the CRF250X a good bike for beginners, but at the same time a talented rider can wind the bike out and really get a lot from the four-stroke powerplant (especially if it is woken up with a quality—but still quiet—aftermarket exhaust).Photo By Bob Theobald

For the beginner, or casual trail rider, the suspension on the Honda is ideal, with an overall soft feeling. Initially the fork is a little harsh, which can cause a slight push in corners, but once in mid stroke it’s very plush and compliant at mild trail speeds. The shock has a smooth action all the way through the stroke, but is a tad softer than the fork. When pushed to faster trail speeds or a mild race pace, both ends of the bike tend to blow through the travel and bottom with the fork having an audible metal-to-metal sound. Although this bike’s demographic is not the hardcore racer, I feel that the suspension is still a little soft.

Honda CRF250X Sand Spray
Call it a playbike if you wish, but the CRF250X can be ridden aggressively and for long periods of time—the mellow delivery doesn't wear you out, and experience has shown us that the durability of this machine is phenomenal.Photo By Bob Theobald

In tighter terrain the Honda can feel a bit heavy, but when the speeds increase the Honda is very stable and tracks straight with minimal front end deflection. The rider compartment as with all Honda’s is familiar and comfortable right off the bat. From the levers and grips, to the distance between the foot pegs and the seat, the Honda feels like a handshake from an old friend. In my opinion the Honda is an Ideal bike for a new rider, or a great woman’s bike; in fact, my girlfriend bought one, had the seat shaved, got the suspension lowered, and loves it to death.

Honda CRF250X Rock Ride
The suspension on the Honda is middle of the road—it's not awesome, but it's not terrible. There's a surprising amount of comfort in this bike, and while we wouldn't want to ride it on an MX track at speed, the CRF250X can handle off-road obstacles with a good degree of ease.Photo By Bob Theobald