Honda CRF250 Rally Review

Welcome to the Adventure Motorcycle Traveller Reviews. Here’s a 20,000-mile review of the Honda CRF 250Rally by round-the-world motorcycle traveller James Clark.  

Honda CRF250 Rally Review

Contents

By James Clark

By James Clark

British round-the-world motorcycle traveller

Quick info

  • Bike: 2018 Honda CRF250 Rally 
  • Purchased for: £3,800 (including shock upgrades)
  • Miles covered: 22,000
  • Years owned: since 2019  
  • Engine: Single-cylinder, liquid-cooled, 249cc, FI
  • Power: 24.4 bhp
  • Torque: 16.6 ft-lbs
  • Kerb weight: 154kg
  • Seat height: 895mm
  • Tank capacity: 10.1 litres
  • Tyres: 21 and 18
  • Front suspension: USD 43mm telescopic forks
  • Rear suspension: Pro-Link, adjustable preload

Prep

Why this bike?

My first choice for a round-the-world motorcycle was a Suzuki DR-Z400, but unfortunately I had too many issues with it. My bike criteria was to be as light as possible, reliable, able to go off-road with ease, under £4,000, good availability of parts, close to stock and unmolested and low mileage.  

The CRF250 Rally was the best fit I could find. I would have gone for the CRF250L but I wanted a larger fuel tank and preferred factory rather than aftermarket as there was less of a chance of problems like leaking seals.

 

Honda CRF250 Rally Review

Modifications

Modifications before leaving the UK Modifications after leaving the UK
  • Stronger clutch springs
  • Reinforced subframe
  • Removed the Honda tool box
  • Fork socks to protect the seals

Luggage

The luggage set-up is simple. I have a Kriega OS base with 2 x 18L packs, a 30L dry bag and the hard camera box.

Travel

Reliability

The CRF250 Rally has proved very reliable in general. I’ve only had one issue, which was the headstock bearing. The other issues were caused by myself or general consumables. 

The headstock bearing failed after 8,000 miles. It’s a known issue as there’s too little grease from the factory which caused it to rust. 

I did snap my rear subframe because I was carrying too much weight on the back and then proceeded to go off-road in India. You can have a read of the ordeal here…

Honda CRF250 Rally Review

Servicing, maintenance and parts

The service intervals are really good! The Rally needs a service every 8,000 miles! Maintenance is also very easy to do. As for parts, I can only  comment on the headstock bearings and fork seals. I managed to get them both when I needed them. The headstock was sourced in Kathmandu, Nepal and the fork seals in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

Long distance comfort

There are certainly more comfortable bikes out there for long distances. I haven’t struggled on the CRF for comfort, but I believe a custom seat would make a big difference. For longer days (600km through China) I used “sweet cheeks”  throw-over canvas with two water bottles in them to make the seat wider. (Also if you get in a tight spot for water or fuel it can be a great asset!)

But in general there are no issues. It’s all about your riding style. If you’re an off-road rider then the seat doesn’t matter. And if you’re not in a rush then again, the seat doesn’t matter because it gives you an excuse to stop.

Honda CRF250 Rally Review

Good and Bad

The Honda CRF250 Rally is reliable, easy to maintain and service, has decent off-road ability and comes in at an affordable price.

It’s heavy for its power delivery and on-road ability is limited. I’d like to see it shed 20kg and a dose more torque! 

Honda CRF250 Rally Review

Verdict

I wouldn’t say it is perfect. I could list you a number of things I would change (power, weight, road ability), but if I had the chance to choose again I’d probably still end up picking the CRF250 Rally again.

I only test rode one to rule it out, but here I am 22,000 miles later sitting on it in Thailand !

A round the world motorcycle is always a compromise. The road and conditions change, but sadly your bike can’t change with them. So, choose something that will allow you to enjoy your trip as much as possible. In my opinion your mindset is more important than the bike itself.

Honda CRF250 Rally Review

About the author

James Clark

James is from the UK and currently on a round the world motorcycle trip. His objective is to ride round the world by motorcycle with as little to no flying if possible.

He’s currently trapped in Thailand due to the Coronavirus pandemic, but as soon as it clears up he’ll be making his way to Australia. 

Follow his awesome adventures here:

Read more about his trip here: Trapped by Coronavirus

Honda CRF250 Rally Review

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2 thoughts on “Honda CRF250 Rally Review”

  1. In nearly all countries I traveled you can find CRF 250 bikes. So spare part availability is a big plus. Would be interesting if power / torque got improved with the 300cc version.

    Reply

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