Honda CRF250L coming to US, priced at $4,499

Dailies -



At more than $2,000 cheaper than the Yamaha WR250R, the Honda CRF250L will be sold in the US as a 2013 model. The all-new bikes takes advantage of low-cost manufacturing at the same factory in Thailand that produces the CBR250R to combine high specification with a low price, creating an accessible, capable dual-sport.

Looking at the spec sheet, it’s difficult to tell that this is such an affordable motorcycle. 37mm USD forks, pro-link shock, bespoke steel cradle chassis, fuel-injection etc.

Having said that, power is down and weight is up compared to the $6,590 Yamaha. Where the WR250R makes 28bhp and weighs 298lbs (wet), the 77mpg Honda makes just 23bhp and weighs 320lbs (wet). Still, two grand will buy you a lot of protein powder and gasoline.

Why are we so excited for a relatively slow dual sport? Well, the Honda CBR250R changed the beginner bike game with real quality and a riding experience that belies its diminutive performance figures. By all indications, the CRF250L should do that too, bringing real capability and utility to an unprecedented price point.

  • Eben

    And my KLR is now for sale.

  • Van Doan

    Win for small cheap bikes. This will bring in more bodies.

  • cramer

    Anyone want an ’09 Versys?

  • Gene

    Man, I weigh almost as much as a WR250R…

  • Zirq

    Sweet Jesus

  • Todd

    So, for 2013 Honda has basically released a slightly heavier but fuel-injected version of the Kawasaki KLX250S, a bike that was itself released in 2006. [YAWN] I do see the Honda is priced $500 cheaper (according to MSRP) which is good, though I’m betting plenty of new KLX’s can and are bought at a discount (to say nothing of the used market).

    Sorry, but this bike hardly seems groundbreaking to me. I’m glad Honda is going to offer something better than it has in the past, but this is not anything that extraordinary in my view. In a class of two other bikes that came out in 2006 (KLX) and 2007 (WR250R), this new for 2013 Honda struggles to be even second best (on paper anyhow).

    Now the KTM Freeride 350 is something that actually seems to be compelling and potentially groundbreaking from what I’ve read thus far. This Honda? Meh. More of a “me too” as I see it, showing up late to the party with nothing much new to add.

    I’d have rather seen Honda set its goal to build a better, lighter, and cheaper WR250R. They didn’t, hence my disappointment (though I’m not surprised in the least).

    • Zirq

      This bike is hardly meant to be groundbreaking. It’s more about getting back to roots.

      • Todd

        I guess I was responding as much to HFL’s gushing enthusiasm about this bike in this and previous articles.

        The bike itself isn’t so bad, it’s just a bit disappointing that they didn’t aim for and accomplish more.

    • pplassm

      But the Freeride will never be sold in the US, and, if it was, it would cost substantially more.

      • Todd

        Maybe, maybe not. Yes, I’m sure it would cost more, though who knows how much more. The fact that it would weigh nearly 100 lbs less (going on memory here) and make more power than this new Honda are certainly attributes that make it WORTH more. My point though is that the KTM is an example of something more exciting – something that actually advances the ball in terms of making a better dual-sport.

        • stickfigure

          The short service interval of the Freeride puts it in a totally different use class. I wouldn’t categorize it as a “dual-sport” unless you’re ok with nightly oil changes. Presumably the Honda will have the typical maintenance requirements of an L model – basically immune to neglect.

          Cheap, fast, reliable – pick two. I know it’s hard to get excited about major advances in “cheap and reliable” but it’s still great news for motorcycling… especially when you can pick these up used for $3k in a few years.

    • Eben

      I think the noteworthy thing about this and the CBR250R is that Honda is engineering entry-level bikes from scratch, with modern technology. They can do this because they’re also designed to be world market bikes and they can make up that extra R&D expense with volume. Until the CBR250R came along, the only sub-600cc bikes based on anything newer than 30-year-old designs were MXers.

      Some people still prefer the Ninja 250 to the CBR250R and some will prefer the KLX to this. But, if you’re honest, there’s no way you can deny that the Hondas are technically superior bikes. If you look at the CBR and Ninja side-by-side, you’d assume the Honda costs twice as much.

      The big question is how will Yamaha justify selling the air-cooled XT250 for $600 more than this?

      • Todd

        “Until the CBR250R came along, the only sub-600cc bikes based on anything newer than 30-year-old designs were MXers.”

        That hardly seems applicable to the KLX or the WR250R – the two bikes this Honda CRF is really meant to be competitive with. Both are water-cooled 4 valve thumpers with USD adjustable forks and adjustable shocks, 6-spd transmissions, disk brakes F&R, aluminum swingarms (pretty sure that’s accurate for the KLX); and the WR even has an aluminum frame, crazy long valve insp. intervals, and EFI.

        You also state that the Honda’s are undeniably technically superior bikes, but I do not know what you are basing that upon (perhaps you had the CBR vs. Ninja in mind only (in which case I would agree), but your comments were not so limited).

        An interesting point/question you raise with the XT. But then the XT has always just been a basic bargain old-tech dual sport – more akin to the previous low buck Honda dual-sports. Hard to imagine anyone picking the XT over this new Honda. But then someone who was seriously considering a KLX or a WR250R, likely wasn’t going to settle for an XT either. Perhaps what Yamaha ought to do is find a way to lower the price on both bikes.

        • Eben

          Maybe it’s moto-journalists all falling for the press releases, but there’s been a lot of positive write-ups about the engine for the CBR250R. I seem to recall a bit by Kevin Cameron on it in CycleWorld and more right here on HFL.

          And yes, I’m thinking if this compares to the KLX as the CBR to the Ninja, it will be an undeniable improvement. The WR is a different story, as it’s in a totally different price category.

        • Wes Siler

          More technology and complication isn’t necessarily better for bikes like these.

          While the CBR’s 250 makes less power than the Ninja’s, the Honda is more flexible, cheaper (despite competing with a design that’s been in production for 20+ years), more fuel efficient and has lower emissions. That simplicity should also be good for longevity and servicing.

  • Groomez

    This plus a safari tank = RTW trips. Can’t wait to see what guys do with this bike on Advrider

    • scott

      Indeed, my DR650 may get replaced with one of these one the aftermarket catches up…

    • David Dawson

      It definitely has me thinking about replacing my 40,000 mile WR250X with a Honda. Similar bike, lower price…

      • Groomez

        40,000 miles on that 250!? badass

    • Bronson

      Hmmm… 1) Fly from my house on the east coast to a friend’s place in LA, 2) arrange ahead of time to buy one of these new, 3) ride it in 100% stock trim from LA to a friend’s place in Seattle. 4) Along the way figure out what it’ll need for a a ride back east via the Trans American Trail and order parts. 3) Arrive in Seattle, install real tires and my parts, then spend approx 20 days on the TAT and have memories that will last a lifetime. The only problem will be figuring out how to ask work for 4 weeks of consecutive vacation time!

      • Fizzy Fox

        Hellz to the muthafuckin yeah.

      • dux [87 CBR600, 95 XR600R]

        Do it

  • Devin

    Excited to see another small displacement bike not strictly for off road use released.

  • Troy R

    I’ve been considering a CBR250, just for commuting, and keep the ST13 for touring duty, but this might be a compelling reason to hold out…

  • BMW11GS

    I wonder if ABS is an option like on the CBR?

    • Tim

      Like others, I was considering a CBR250 as a commuter to park next to my CBR 1000 and 1100. However, this could easily replace my KLR 650 in that role. Very interested to ride one when they arrive.

  • parkwood60

    I would like 1 with upswept CL250/scrambler exhaust and less plastic. But then, the bones are good, I could buy one and make what I’m looking for.

  • RMUT

    I want to see how Deus Venice (The Emporium Of Post Modern Activities) will trick this out…

  • bluemilew
  • markbvt

    It’s a shame they didn’t price it $500 higher and put adjustable suspension on it. Apparently the only adjustment available is rear preload. No damping, and no front adjustment at all.

    • Scott-jay

      HFL told me inexpensive motorcycles have crappy suspension. Case closed.

    • bluemoco

      $500 could buy you a lot of suspension upgrades, if you really needed them. It’s pretty clear, though, that Honda wants this CRF to be a value-priced bike. Non-adjustable factory suspension is consistent with this CRF’s value proposition.