The CRF250’s Showa A-kit forks offer everything you want
them to be—plush, progessive and work well for every rider.
The three maps Honda chose for their EFI mapping are good.
One is mellow, one is aggressive and one is smooth.
The stock 13/48 gear combo is too tall for the top-end engine.
Fast riders liked a 49, while slower riders opted for a 50 rear.
small, and the 2018 Honda CRF250 chassis will make
you feel right at home. Our only complaint was that the
bike oversteered at turn-in with the recommended sag
of 105mm. There was an easy fix. We dropped the sag
down to 107mm, which gave us more consistency coming
into and getting out of corners. Some riders also dropped
the forks into the clamps from 5mm to 3mm to get more
weight to the rear. It made the bike track better and
become more stable at speed.
In the air, the CRF250 feels light and easy to maneuver. When you hit the ground, you can feel the additional
weight of the electric start, DOHC engine and twice pipes,
but the Showa components soak up the added weight with
The handling and feel of the CRF250 are its saving graces. The Showa A-kit spring forks work superbly under the
new chassis. It makes riding easier. You use less energy
and ride more effortlessly.
Q: ARE THE SHOWA A-KIT COIL-SPRING
FORKS BETTER THAN THE YZ250F’S KAYABA
A: A good chassis makes good suspension that much
better. We can’t say for sure which forks are better without putting the Showa A-kit forks on the YZ250F and the
Kayaba SSS forks on the CRF250. Both these forks work
great for the masses without big swings in adjustment.
They both offer good bottoming resistance and hold up
well in the stroke with minor adjustments. They both deliver a supple feel at the top of the stroke and gradually ramp
up in firmness without any harsh spots.
If we had to pick a winner, it would be the Showa A-kit
forks. Good valving goes a long way, and Honda nailed it.
We had more than 10 different test riders race the CRF250.
They ranged in skill level from Novice to AMA Pro, in
weight from 120 to 220 pounds and in age from 17 to 65.
Among all the riders, no one made a clicker adjustment
after the initial setting was found, which isn’t far off stock.
Q: WHAT IS THE BEST EFI MAP?
A: There are three different maps to choose from.
These maps are chosen from the engine mode select button that is located on the same multi-switch as the kill
switch. Map 1 is the standard map (one blue flash), Map
2 is the mellow map (two blue flashes) and Map 3 is the
aggressive map (three blue flashes). The standard map was
our go-to map. It ran clean and had a freewheeling sensation that freed up the high-revving engine on deceleration.
Once we geared the bike lower, everyone ran this map.
The mellow map was too soft for every rider who jumped
aboard. Although it has its purpose in muddy conditions
and on super-slick tracks, it would never be used in normal conditions. Most test riders preferred the aggressive
map initially, and a few stuck with it because it brought
some of the power lower and had a more responsive feel
at the throttle. The biggest complaint about Map 3 was
the increase in engine braking. Excessive engine braking
increases the loading up of the rear suspension, making
the bike both harsher in the braking bumps and less
accurate at turn-in. Map 3, however, is a map that can be
customized with the HRC tuning tool ($495.95) or the GET
WiFi-COM ($204.91). Overall, we liked that there were three
usable maps that worked well for a variety of different
conditions. It should be noted that the 2018 CRF250 does
not have launch control or traction control.