Airness: Showa’s SFF TAC forks are an improvement over the
old CRF250 forks. Although complicated, they work well.
Smoothie: The CRF250 engine is best suited for Beginner and
Novice riders. It doesn’t pack a punch, but is instead smooth.
Q: HOW DO YOU CHOOSE BETWEEN THE
A: Obviously, Honda’s Engine Mode Select (EMS) is
just an easier-to-use version of Suzuki’s and Kawasaki’s
plug-in couplers. Plus, the function is basically the same
as Husqvarna’s handlebar-mounted, two-position map
switch, except with three maps. Here is a quick rundown
on how to choose between the three CRF250 maps.
Map one. Known as the “stock” map, this setting
works well on most track conditions. It does nothing
Map two. Map two is designed to work best on
hard-pack terrain. It is the “mellow” map. It retards the
ignition to lessen wheelspin and detunes the engine. We
are of the opinion that map two is useless. Why? The
Honda CRF250 is already struggling to keep pace with
the competition, and it’s not too much of a stretch to
say that Honda’s stock powerband is comparable to the
other brands’ “mellow” maps. MXA testers loathed map
Map three. Honda’s third map was the unanimous
choice for every MXA test rider—from Beginner to Pro.
Map three should have been the stock map, and then
Honda could have gone even more extreme on the
advanced ignition timing option.
Q: WHAT ARE THE REDEEMING TRAITS OF
THE 2015 HONDA CRF250?
A: The 2015 Honda CRF250 does several things
very well, and it was popular with a broad range of
test riders. That might sound confusing, given that
the CRF250 is at its best in the hands of Beginners and
Novices, but faster riders liked the feeling of being able to
muscle the bike around without repercussions. And, once
the suspension is balanced, the CRF250 can hit inside lines
with ease. It still suffers from headshake at high speed or
when the forks are unloaded, but in the right conditions it
corners like a cheetah in pursuit of a rabbit.
The Showa SFF TAC forks deserve some kudos. In
previous years we complained about the CRF250’s soft
spring rates and the forks’ inability to hold up through
rough terrain. The new air design far exceeds the conventional cartridge layout in nearly every way. The forks track
well across a multitude of surfaces and have a suppler feel
compared to last year’s spring design, especially in the
beginning of the stroke.
The only major quibble about the TAC forks is that the
average rider will not fully understand the intricacies of
setting and checking multiple air pressures before every
ride. Having said that, the CRF250 has the second-best
forks in the class. In our opinion the 2015 Yamaha YZ250F,
with the tried-and-true Kayaba Speed Sensitive System fork,
The CRF250’s ergonomics are quite pleasing right off the
showroom floor. The open cockpit, narrow frame, neutral
Renthal 997 handlebars and flat seat profile were
appreciated by every tester.
Q: HOW FAST IS THE 2015 HONDA CRF250?
A: We’ll answer this question with a glass-half-full
response. In stock trim, the CRF250 is very manageable,
with a nice low-to-midrange transition. Throttle response
is peppier than on last year’s bike, thanks to a lighter
throttle return spring. The CRF250 engine has the