2006 Honda CRF250R - Test Ride And Review - Dirt Rider Magazine

In one of the worst-kept secrets of the year, Honda has finally unveiled the 2006 CRF250R, and she definitely has a double muffler exhaust system tucked up under the numberpanels. The twin-muffler exhaust looks cool and sounds fine, but it overshadows the truly remarkable internal engine changes that are much more significant than how the bike blows hot air!Honda limited our access to a single day at Racetown 395, but that day was enough to give us a good idea of the bike's performance and a Jones to get our hands on a keeper. The engine changes give the new model impressive snap and quick-revving acceleration that the CRF250R model has never had before. The bike pulls on top as well, but it rips through the mid-range so fast it doesn't feel like it sometimes. Most of us were all smiles about the motor, but some faster testers found a bog in G-outs and on jumps landings that we couldn't tune out with jetting. Landing with more rpm in hand was a fix.In addition to the quick and spunky motor, the baby CRF grew more supple suspension that should suit lighter riders better. Honda also fine-tuned chassis "feel" by machining a little material away up by the steering head.The exhaust system is a little heavier, and Honda lost some other weight, but the final tally is supposed to be a pound up from 2005. By our calculations, the new Kawasaki KXF250 will have at least a three-pound weight advantage on the red bike.And how about that pipe? Well, it doesn't sound much different, and Honda was mixed on whether it affected performance. They claim the most benefit to handling, and the bike does flick from side to side easier in transitions. Perhaps as important, it would be pretty tough to wad up this exhaust system in a first-turn dog-pile. So it could help you finish a moto and save money in the long run.We are more than ready to do some more extensive testing, and can't wait to get all the new bikes on the track together. The '06 KXF is certainly a solid competitor, the KTM will be a missile and we expect the YZ250F to be a threat, so it should be a great year to love four-strokes.