2006 Honda CRF 250R #3 - Long Haul - Dirt Rider Magazine

With just over 76 running hours on our 2006 CRF250R hourmeter, it is time to box it up and ship it back to Honda, which is a shame because it's still in great condition. Since the last update (Oct. '06), we installed a DP clutch kit, redid the top end and continued to search for cures for the finicky carburetion.The stock CRF250R clutch has a super-easy pull and works decently, but after a year I've found that it wears quicker than other 250F clutches. Looking to solve this, I installed the DP clutch kit, which includes both the steel and fiber plates as well as new springs. The springs have a noticeably harder pull at the lever, but the kit has already outlasted the previous three stock clutch kits that I have run through this bike. With a price of $161.95, I definitely recommend the DP kit as a good option to extend clutch life.As we noted before, we found a few things to improve the finicky jetting but decided to try a JDJetting Power Surge jetting kit. JD recommends using the stock fuel pump cover with its modified diaphragm and an O-ring around the accelerator pump linkage utilizing the provided needle and jets. The instructions are very detailed and easy to follow if you have decent mechanical skills. It would be difficult to go backward from the stock setup, as almost everything we have tried improves the response in one way or another. So far, the JDJetting kit is the best setup I've tried, especially at improving the snap at low rpm. With stock settings, the CRF250R has a flat spot that can be noticed under heavy loads, and I did still find this on occasion, but the jetting kit will make it much less frequent.After running through a few of Dunlop's "budget" D952 rear tires, I decided to try the other end of the spectrum and install a D756RR rear along with another fresh D742F front. The RR is the full-race tire aimed at performance (used when tire life is of less importance). It also comes in a wider profile 110-80/19 versus the standard 100-90/19 size. If you are serious about racing, I can report that it is definitely a good tire; it will easily outgrip the D952 (and probably just about any other tire) in most conditions. But as I reported in my previous update, for just going to the track, desert or trails for play riding, the D952 will provide longer life (fewer tire changes) at a lower price with decent performance.Even with about 30 hours now on it, the Factory Connection suspension continues to work incredibly well. I did have a minor leak in one of the fork seals, but after cleaning it out with a Seal Mate (a simple plastic tool marketed by Motion Pro), it has not leaked since. The Seal Mate is a must-have tool.Finally, at about 69 hours (24 since the last top end rebuild), the motor was beginning to feel a little tired, so we decided to check out the top end. The valves were all still in spec (actually a little looser than at our last inspection), so we merely replaced the piston, pin, clips and rings. We did the top end in about two hours, which isn't that much longer than doing a two-stroke top end; it is easier now and a bit more familiar.Regular oil changes with Maxima Maxum 4 Premium oil have kept the inside of the engine looking very good. The piston had only minor wear, and the cylinder still looked like new. After the rebuild, a couple more trips to the track revealed that the fresh top end brought performance back up to the level we were used to, and it is now ready for another 25 hours of use.We've heard plenty of stories about how delicate the Honda CRF250R can be, but our time with it only boosted our continuing confidence in it (and in most of the high-performance four-strokes sold today). If you take care of these bikes-don't let dirt get past the filter, keep the oil fresh and pay attention to the bike letting you know it's time for some service-you'll be just fine. But if you don't use common sense, you will pay the price. If this is a problem for you, you should just get a two-stroke instead.When you look at our modifications list, you have to remember that we have some of the best suspension modifications available done to this bike and the exhaust system alone retails for nearly a grand. this bike looks pro and has the suspension to match; we're going to miss this bike.Running Tally
Hours on Bike: 76 (15 since last update)
Modifications: $2745.10
JDJetting Power Surge Jetting kit: $75.95
DP Brakes Clutch/spring kit: $161.95
Maintenance and Repairs: $684.60 (not including tires)
Motion Pro Seal Mate: $5
Piston, pin, clips and rings: $109.30
Gaskets: $25.01
Spark Plug: $30.49
Smith Half-Waffle soft-compound grips: $8.75
2 K&N; oil filters: $7.95 ea.
4 Motor oil changes with Maxima Maxum 4 Premium Oil: $6.14 per qt
4 Trans oil changes with Maxima MTL: $7.05 per qT
Dunlop D756RR rear tire: $118.57
Dunlop D742F front tire: $93.56.