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2019 HONDA CRF250: THE REAL TEST

2019 Honda CRF250

Q: FIRST AND FOREMOST, IS THE 2019 HONDA CRF250 BETTER THAN THE 2018 CRF250?

A: One yr in the past Honda reinvented the CRF250. It was in determined want of a change. The low-to-mid engine from 2010 to 2017 was inferior to what the competitors was providing. It was straightforward to journey, however to make it an efficient race bike required that buckets of cash be dumped into the engine to convey it as much as modern requirements. The 2010 Honda wore out its welcome. It went from being MXA’s 2009 shootout winner to being fourth in 2010—solely beating out the less-than-stellar, redhead, Italian-built Husky TC250. Honda’s plummet by way of the ranks of 250 four-strokes wasn’t the one unusual factor. Even weirder, Honda stored the CRF250 on the identical sluggish path for eight lengthy years. Within the course of, Honda misplaced its mojo with Honda loyalists. CRF250 gross sales shrank as Yamaha and KTM took benefit of Honda’s benign neglect. 

Lastly, in 2018, Honda’s R&D division acquired the price range to construct an all-new CRF250. On paper, it appeared like a world-beater. Sadly, one thing obtained misplaced in translation. The 2018 engine, as an alternative of being a KTM fighter, was worse than ever, however in a completely totally different means. Honda’s top-end solely technique for the 2018 CRF250 resonated with 250 four-stroke consumers. Why did it fail? On the plus aspect of the equation, the 2018’s top-end energy was near what was being provided by KTM and Husqvarna. However, the 2018 CRF250 lacked any low-to-mid energy (it truly produced Three horsepower much less down low than the engine it changed). Unusually, though designed to rev to 14,000 rpm, Honda put a mushy rev limiter in at 12,000 rpm. That killed off the ultimate 2000 rpm of top-end energy that was wanted to make the high-rpm gamble work. Honda gambled on a high-rpm engine after which folded its playing cards when the chips have been on the desk. Q: WAS THE 2019 HONDA CRF250 ENGINE HAMPERED BY THE FLAWS OF THE 2018 CRF250?

A: Honda knew it was in hassle earlier than the 2018 CRF250 even hit the showrooms. Its personal race workforce and R&D check riders advised the engineers that the bike ran prefer it had the rear brake on. The engine was muted. It felt like an previous CR125 two-stroke as an alternative of a broad, highly effective, high-rpm four-stroke. Anxious Honda sellers hoping to have a 2018 CRF250 that may fly off the showroom flooring have been quickly to be dissatisfied. The 2018 CRF250s began grenading not too lengthy after they left the showroom flooring. The clutch baskets have been exploding, which pressured a recall of each CRF250 made. It was a troublesome yr for the CRF250. 

Honda wanted a brand new 250 four-stroke engine for 2019, one with extra low, a broader mid and a prime that could possibly be used to the max. However, due to the Japanese producer’s monotonous four-year manufacturing cycles, a brand new engine wasn’t on the horizon. In any case, the 2018 CRF250 engine was all new 12 months earlier. That didn’t imply small modifications couldn’t make huge enhancements. Honda’s engineers had no selection however to go to work.

The 2019 Honda CRF250 powerplant is a lot better than the 2018 engine all through the whole energy curve. However it nonetheless lacks backside finish.

Q:  WHAT DID HONDA CHANGE ON THE 2019 ENGINE?

A: Since Honda’s R&D division spent the large price range constructing a lemon in 2018, they needed to discover a option to repair the 2019 CRF250 powerband with Band-Aids, splints and hacks. Here’s what they modified.

(1) Cam profile. Honda carried out a brand new cam profile. It was developed by the HRC 250 Grand Prix race workforce over in Europe. As well as, the valve-close timing was lowered by 2 levels.

(2) Exhaust ports. The geometry of each the consumption and exhaust ports was modified to maneuver the facility round.

(Three) Exhaust. The suitable-side exhaust pipe was shortened 50mm. 

(four) Oil jet. The piston oil jet obtained 5 nozzle holes as an alternative of 4. The additional mist was designed to maintain the piston cooler to scale back engine knock. 

(5) AC generator. The AC generator was redesigned to scale back weight and friction loss.

(6) Clutch. The clutch acquired the up to date basket and judder spring that have been used within the 2018 recall.

(7) Throttle physique. A smaller 44mm Keihin throttle physique changed the 46mm throttle physique. 

2019 Honda CRF250

Q: WHAT ABOUT THE REST OF THE 2019 HONDA CRF250?

A: Clearly Honda’s most important focus was on fixing the weak-sister powerband of the 2018 CRF250 for 2019—and doing it whereas staying inside its meager R&D price range. Fortunately, Honda solely needed to make small modifications to the suspension and chassis. Here’s what Honda up to date for 2019 on the remainder of the CRF250 package deal.

(1) Launch management. Just like the 2019 CRF450, the CRF250 additionally will get the three-mode launch management.

(2) Fork guards. The brand new wraparound fork guards improved tube protection. 

(Three) Bars. Honda went from 7/eighth Renthal bars to outsized 1-1/eighth Renthal Fatbars. 

(four) Brake caliper. The entrance brake caliper was redesigned with a bigger 30mm piston to work in unison with the earlier 27mm piston. This mod improved brake modulation on the 270mm entrance rotor.

(5) Triple clamp. The highest triple clamp now options two handlebar places that end in 4 complete driving positions. The 2 added positions allow the rider to maneuver the bars throughout a 26mm vary, together with 10mm extra rearward motion from the inventory place. 

(6) Engine guard. The engine guard was redesigned to extend airflow for improved engine cooling. 

(7) Rims. The D.I.D. Dust Star rims have been modified from silver to black. 

(eight) Footpegs. The footpegs are 20 % lighter and have a brand new form to shed mud extra simply.

2019 Honda CRF250

Q: HOW DOES THE 2019 CRF250 ENGINE COMPARE TO THE 2018 ENGINE ON THE DYNO?

A: The 2019 Honda CRF250 produces 2 extra horsepower from 8000 to 10,000 rpm and 1 to 2 extra ponies from 10,000 to 11,200 rpm. These good points pumped up peak horsepower to 42.40, in comparison with final yr’s 40.68. On the dyno, the 2019 CRF250 produces extra energy on each a part of the rpm curve than its 2018 predecessor. 

Q: HOW DOES THE 2019 HONDA CRF250 ENGINE COMPARE TO THE COMPETITION ON THE DYNO?

A: Would you like the excellent news or the dangerous information? The CRF250 is true there with the Austrian duo within the peak-horsepower division. Solely Three/10ths of a horsepower separate the Honda, KTM and Husqvarna at peak. The YZ250F is fourth in peak energy, whereas the KX250 and RM-Z250 are each down within the 39 horsepower vary. The excellent news is that the 2019 Honda CRF250 reigns because the horsepower king from 10,000 rpm all the best way to 12,200 rpm by as a lot as a horse and a half.

The dangerous information is that even after gaining 2 extra ponies off the underside, it’s nonetheless four horsepower off the KX250 at 7000 rpm, greater than 2 horsepower off the YZ250F at 8000 rpm, and a horse and a half off the KTM 250SXF at 9000 rpm. On the dyno, the Honda CRF250 doesn’t begin stretching its legs till late within the recreation at 10,000 rpm. 

2019 250 Shootout Honda CRF250

Q: HOW DOES THE ENGINE RUN ON THE DIRT DYNO?

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A: Proper up entrance, we would like each loyal Honda CRF250 proprietor to know that the 2019 CRF250 has a a lot better powerplant than the 2018 mannequin. There’s improved throttle response that will get to the meat of the powerband faster and pulls more durable on prime. The facility curve tracks the very same linear curve as final yr’s CRF250 however with extra energy throughout the board. Given these statements, you’d be hard-pressed to know what the MXA check riders might probably complain about. However complain they did.

 In movement, the 2019 Honda CRF250 lacked any snap down low. The CRF250 was arduous to maintain on the pipe popping out of corners. It was sluggish from low to mid. It didn’t leap out of a nook like a YZ250F, KX250, 250SXF or FC250. The truth is, even the much-maligned Suzuki RM-Z250 would kill it when the velocity and rpm dropped under quasar. The Honda’s linear powerband isn’t what a 250 four-stroke wants, needs or can use. The majority of 250 four-stroke riders want instant energy and torque on faucet to get the bike shifting in the direction of the higher rpm vary. The shortage of low-end energy impacts top-end, as a result of a weak low-to-mid transition is sort of a weak base on a pyramid—there isn’t any basis of energy to construct on. All it has is the highest of the pyramid with nothing under it. Each MXA check rider whined concerning the low-to-mid transition, simply as they did with the 2018 engine.The CRF250 comes with three maps and launch management.

Q: IS THERE A QUICK FIX TO GET MORE BOTTOM AND MID OUT OF THE ENGINE?

A: No. If there have been, then Honda’s R&D division would have completed it. There are small issues that you are able to do to get the inventory engine up and operating—like swapping out the tall 13/48 gearing combo for a decrease 13/49 setup. This allowed the check riders to abuse the clutch much less out of corners and get to the candy spot of the powerband faster. Shoppers should depend on the hop-up outlets to provide them extra energy—however “give” isn’t the operative phrase. Energy prices cash. 

The Showa forks are excellent and the wrap-around fork guards are a pleasant contact.

Q: WHAT DO WE THINK OF THE HONDA CRF250 CHASSIS?

A: We expect that the 2019 Honda CRF250 has an awesome chassis—and we thought the identical factor concerning the 2018 CRF250. It gives nice ergonomics that make the rider really feel proper at residence. We like that Honda added the a number of bar clamp positions, as a result of the CRF250 has a small cockpit compared to a few of its competitors. For taller riders, the power to maneuver the bars ahead over an inch will broaden the rider’s triangle. 

Our solely dealing with grievance was that the CRF250 oversteered at turn-in when operating the advisable 105mm of sag. Dropping the sag to 107mm or extra gave the check rider elevated consistency coming into and getting out of corners. Some check riders additionally dropped the forks into the clamps to raise the entrance of the chassis and put extra weight on the rear. The CRF250 tracked higher with extra sag and was undoubtedly extra secure at velocity. 

Within the air, the CRF250 feels a lot lighter than it truly is. Racers who transfer round rather a lot within the air felt that the 2019 CRF250 was the lightest bike within the class. Not true. Not even shut. On the scales, the 2019 Honda CRF250 weighs 228 kilos. It’s 10 kilos heavier than the 2019 KTM 250SXF and 5 kilos heavier than a 2019 KTM 450SXF.  

Q: HOW ARE THE SHOWA COIL-SPRING FORKS?

A: After fighting Honda’s forks for the final couple of years, the return of coil-spring forks is a welcome aid. These are good forks. Lighter check riders felt they have been a bit stiff, however they’re straightforward to arrange for many riders. They’ve a supple really feel on the prime of the stroke and regularly ramp up in firmness with none harsh spots.

2019 250 Shootout Honda CRF250

Q: WHAT DID WE HATE?

A: The hate listing:

(1) Engine. For 2019 Honda made huge strides in horsepower manufacturing. Now Honda must work slightly more durable on getting the facility to the place it’s going to do probably the most good. The CRF250 wants extra low-to-mid energy to bop with the competitors. 

(2) Weight. If feels mild when it’s within the air, however so does a 155,500-pound Boeing 737—all that modifications as soon as the bottom is concerned within the equation. 

(Three) Engine covers. The paint on the ignition and clutch covers was scratched on the primary experience. Honda ought to change to brushed aluminum so the covers will look higher longer.  

The larger piston within the entrance brake caliper improves pucker energy.

Q: WHAT DID WE LIKE?

A: The like record:   

(1) Dealing with. That is a simple bike to get snug on. 

(2) Forks. The Showa coil spring forks work nice for a variety of riders. 

(Three) Tires. We love the Dunlop MX3S entrance and rear tires that come normal. 

(four) Maps. We like having three totally different choices to select from.  

(5) Clutch. It gives an honest clutch package deal and has a simple pull on the lever. 

(6) Entrance brake. The larger piston within the caliper improved stopping energy.


If the 2019 YZ250F engine was stuffed into the CRF chassis this might be the perfect bike within the 250 four-stroke class.

Q: WHAT DO WE REALLY THINK?

A: We acknowledge Honda for spending R&D cash on the botched 2018 CRF250 powerplant. The cash, albeit a pittance, was well-spent on the 2019 engine. It’s higher in each approach; nevertheless, each MXA check rider nonetheless complained concerning the lack of backside finish. It’s an engine package deal that’s too one-dimensional for its personal good. The engine is the Hitchcockian MacGuffin within the 2019 Honda CRF250 plot line. The result of the story is determined by Honda discovering a greater powerband, not essentially extra energy. As for the remainder of the CRF250, MXA check riders had nothing however good issues to says concerning the CRF250’s suspension and chassis. The bike is able to being an entire package deal—as soon as Honda figures out the engine.

MXA 2019 Honda CRF250 video

2019 MXA 250 shootout video

2019 Honda CRF250

MXA’S 2019 HONDA CRF250 SETUP SPECS

That is how we arrange our 2019 Honda CRF250 for racing. We provide it as a information that will help you discover your personal candy spot.

SHOWA COIL SPRING FORKS
Honda hit the nail on the top with the valving and spring charges on the Showa A-kit spring forks. Preliminary settings have been near spot-on. With inventory settings, the forks rode down within the stroke. We added a couple of clicks of compression to permit them to experience larger. A number of the riders additionally dropped the forks 2mm within the clamps to reduce chassis oversteer. In case you are experiencing oversteer, drop the sag a pair millimeters earlier than decreasing the forks. For hard-core racing, these are MXA’s beneficial 2019 CRF250 fork settings (inventory settings are in parentheses):
Spring price: four.6 N/m
Compression: 7 clicks out (9 clicks out)
Rebound: 13 clicks out (14 clicks out)
Fork-leg peak: 3mm (5mm)
Notes: The forks labored nicely for 140- to 200-pound riders. Experience with these forks earlier than you ship them to your suspension guru. You may simply be stunned how nicely they work in your weight and talent degree.

2019 Honda CRF250

SHOWA SHOCK SETTINGS
We dropped the race sag to 107mm to decrease the general bike peak and stiffened up the low-speed compression to make it journey larger in its stroke. For hard-core racing, these are MXA’s really helpful 2019 CRF250 shock settings (inventory settings are in parentheses):
Spring price: 52 N/m
Race sag: 107mm (105mm)
Hello-compression: Three-1/four seems (Three-1/2 seems)
Lo-compression: 9 clicks out (11 clicks out)
Rebound: 7 clicks out (eight clicks out)
Notes: The shock is constant. It doesn’t do something out of the odd. Lighter riders beneath 140 kilos will need to keep on with the inventory setting.

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