Wham bam: The 2013 CRF250 is a blast to ride. It’s not the best bike in the
field, but it’s mighty good for many skill levels and riding styles.
the CRF250 powerplant will have difficulty keeping up with the KX250F and KTM 250SXF, it’s still a solid package. ( 2) Forks. On the hate list last year, the Showa forks are on our good side for 2013. The forks received larger pistons and stiffer springs. As a result, the forks prevent the front end from diving, which improves handling performance. ( 3) Front brake guard. In years past, Honda pressed the front axle collar into the front brake guard. Removing the guard was troublesome. No more! The brake guard is now attached by two bolts. ( 4) Tires. A set of sneakers that work well and reduce unsprung weight? Eureka! We like that the new Honda-spec Dunlop MX51 rear tire shaves 0.9 pound off what a normal MX51 would weigh. ( 5) Handlebars. The popular trend is to ride with oversize handlebars, but Honda has stayed the course with Renthal 7/8-inch bars. We love ’em. Q: WHAT DO WE REALLY THINK? A: Honda has made a concerted effort to improve the CRF250’s odd handling traits. Good move, but while they were balancing out the chassis, KTM and Kawasaki were leapfrogging over them in the horsepower race. The 2013 Honda CRF250 has a Pro-level chassis with a Novice-level engine. Investing in aftermarket hop-ups makes a difference, but in stock form, the CRF250 needs a little more oomph. ;
SETUP SPECS Are you looking to get the 2013 Honda CRF250 suspension set up? Use these specs as a guide and adjust accordingly.
SHOWA 48MM FORK SETTINGS The stiffer 0.46 kg/mm fork springs and larger pistons make a noticeable differ- ence in the handling. Instead of the front end diving under braking, the chassis stays relatively balanced. However, in certain situations and track conditions (overly dry or wet dirt), the front end still knifes at turn-in, straightens out and knifes again at the exit of corners. Fortunately, there are several free fixes to alleviate this sensation. (1) Sag. The CRF250 is very touchy when it comes to race sag. We ran 104mm. ( 2) Fork height. We ran the fork legs down into the clamps until they were flush with the triple clamps. ( 3) HPSD. There’s a steering damper on the triple clamps for a reason. Crank it in and tighten the steering stem nut while you are at it. For hardcore racing, these are MXA’s recommended 2013 Honda CRF250 fork settings (when changed, stock settings are in parentheses): Spring rate: 0.46 kg/mm Oil quantity: 363cc Compression: 6 clicks out ( 7 clicks out) Rebound: 9 clicks out ( 11 clicks out) HPSD: 7 clicks out ( 9 clicks out) Fork-leg height: Flush with top clamp Notes: Honda dropped the oil height by 9cc in the outer chamber. Last year, we decreased the oil height after going up in spring rates. We don’t believe that it’s necessary to remove excess oil on the 2013 model. Also, stiffen the HPSD until you feel excessive drag on the handlebars.
SHOWA PRO-LINK SHOCK SETTINGS Here is what the MXA wrecking crew ran in its 2013 CRF250 (when changed, stock settings are in parentheses): Spring rate: 5. 3 kg/mm Race sag: 104mm Hi-compression: 1-3/4 turns out ( 2 turns out) Lo-compression: 8 clicks out Rebound: 9 clicks out ( 11 clicks out) Notes: The shock is very sensitive to high-speed compression. Heavier riders should go in 1/4 turn on the high-speed compression and set the sag at 100mm.