tinguishable by two consecutive blinking lights, which
repeat three times. Holding the map button down for
an additional second switches the ignition curve to the
aggressive map. Three lights blink consecutively and
repeat three times. Holding down the map button for
another second will switch the map back to stock (and
a single blue light will flash). Here is a quick rundown
on how to choose between the three CRF250 maps.
Known as the “stock” map, map one does nothing
exceptionally well. 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 far a stretch
to say that Honda’s stock powerband is comparable
to the other brands’ “mellow” maps. MXA testers
loathed map number two. Honda’s third map was the
unanimous choice among every MXA test rider—from
Beginner to Pro.
Suspension. As air forks go, the Honda CRF250
has the best all-around feel of any bike with Showa
SFF-TAC forks, followed by the KX450F. The MXA
wrecking crew appreciates good forks wherever we
find them, and we like Honda’s take on the TAC; however, we believe that the forks are too complex for the
typical teenage 250 four-stroke owner to live with. And,
we know that Honda feels the same way. How do we
know? Because the 2017 Honda CRF450 will come with
coil-spring forks based in no small part on consumer
studies conducted by Honda themselves.
Ergonomics. The 2017 Honda CRF250 feels comfortable regardless of your stature. The CRF250’s layout
in terms of the seat, pegs, bars, levers and pedals is
quite pleasing right off the showroom floor. The open
cockpit, narrow frame, neutral handlebars and flat seat
profile are creature comforts that were well liked by
Q: WHAT IS NOT CHARMING ON THE 2017
A: Here is a quick list of attributes that the MXA
wrecking crew doesn’t like on the 2017 Honda CRF250.
(1) Twice pipes. Adding an extraneous muffler to a
250cc four-stroke is ridiculous. Twin pipes were on the
CRF250 once before—from 2006 to 2009—before being
resurrected in 2014. They don’t make more power,
made all the more obvious by the 5-horsepower differential credited to the single muffler on the 2017 KTM
250SXF. They aren’t quieter, especially since Honda
has a prescribed sound limit that every production bike
must meet regardless of how many mufflers it has.
They cost more to replace, repack and repair, while
doubling the chance of damage in a crash. If you’re
buying an aftermarket pipe for your 2016–’ 17 CRF250,
you’d be smart to look at a single-sided system. It will
be $500 cheaper.
( 2) Clutch. Honda has been sucking wind in the
clutch department for years, but it became more obvious once KTM showed the world how long a clutch
( 3) Weight. Things are looking bad when a Honda
CRF250 weighs 2 pounds more than a KTM 450SXF.
The 224-pound CRF250 hits the scales at 6 pounds
heavier than a 2017 KTM 250SXF. Its only saving grace
is that it’s lighter than the 226-pound Suzuki RM-Z250.
On a related note, Honda would be competitive against
Kawasaki and Yamaha if it drop-kicked one muffler and
its extra plumbing.