along with an MX51 rear tire built specifically for the CRF250. What’s the big deal? The rear tire is 0.9 pound lighter than the original MX51 rear. Yes, you can get this same tire for your 250 four-stroke—even if you don’t ride a CRF250—but you’ll need to order it through a Honda dealer. Q: HOW WOULD WE DESCRIBE THE 2013 HONDA CRF250 POWERPLANT? A: Pleasant, smooth and manageable are three adjectives to describe the 2013 CRF250 engine. That’s all fine and dandy for a trail horse, except that we were hoping for an explosive, exciting, race-inspired power- plant. A 250 four-stroke lives and dies by its powerband. The mostly midrange CRF250 is workmanlike, but a far cry from its chief competition, the KX250F and KTM 250SXF. The best way to maximize the CRF250 engine is to keep the powerband pulling through the midrange. With the engine lacking bottom-end grunt or top-end pull, it takes a deft rider to shift often and churn through the five-speed transmission. Failing to shift until the Unicam engine is revved out is comparable to Usain Bolt running on a grease-covered ice rink—it’s a great way to go nowhere fast. Q: WHAT ARE THE DEFINING CHARACTERISTICS OF THE 2013 HONDA CRF250? A: Every motorcycle has special characteristics that distinguish it from the rest of the pack. Case in point, the Honda CRF250 is known for several unique features. Here they are: (1) Frame geometry. The spitting image of the 2009–2012 CRF450, the 2013 CRF250’s frame geometry is aggressive. We believe that the relationship between the head angle, fork offset, front center and weight bias is slightly askew. We don’t need an engineering degree from MIT to figure this out. The CRF250’s odd handling traits can be felt from the saddle. The handling is not atrocious; it just feels wrong. ( 2) HPSD. The Honda Progressive Steering Damper was a new item on the 2010 CRF250. No other motocross bike, aside from the CRF450, comes with a steering damper. It’s sleek and functional, but it’s like putting a silk veil over a witch—merely a mask to cover the warts. ( 3) Unicam. The single camshaft on the CRF250 is a simple design. Whereas its competition uses two camshafts, the Honda Unicam is a more compact unit that still aims for high-rpm operation. Honda’s goal was to make an engine with a minimum reciprocating mass. The single cam simplifies the chore of measuring valve clearance and is less expensive when it comes time to replace the camshaft. ( 4) Frame cradle. Honda is the only manufacturer to produce a four-stroke that doesn’t sit level on a standard bike stand. The rounded frame cradle on the CRF250 forces the bike to lean back. If you want to keep the rear
2013 Honda CRF250: Not altogether different
from last year, the big news is that Honda
used stiffer springs and bigger
sub-pistons on the Showa forks.