Honda is building a new CRF250L an CRF250 Rally, with updated chassis and new look, and no doubt some other tweaks we don’t know about.
There’s been no English-language release on Big Red’s updated dual-sport models yet, but if you head over to Honda’s Japanese website, you can get a garbled Google Translate update on the machines, as well as some nice photos.
Both the CRF250L and CRF250 Rally are based on the same chassis and liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine. Honda doesn’t say much about updates to the engine; it’s probably going to be changed to be Euro5-friendly, at least. It saw a few tweaks about three years ago that added about one horsepower, which is very noticeable on a bike this size. It’s not likely to gain any more power this time around, but who knows? Maybe Honda will surprise us. There was talk of a mechanical fuel injection system for this engine, and new dual-plug heads, but that seems to have died down.
Honda’s presser confirms there’s a new frame for the CRF250L and CRF250 Rally models, supposedly lighter and more rigid. That’s good news, as there was plenty of room for improvement there, especially as the 250L has been pilloried for its excessive weight ever since it first appeared.
The press release also seems to say the bikes get new suspension. That’s probably good news; the original forks and shock were OK considering their price range, but when CMG had a long-termer CRF250L a few years back, it was magically transformed with a set of RaceTech suspension (see more about that here and here).
Both bikes get new bodywork. The CRF250L is supposedly styled to look like the CRF450R, with a lean, mean headlight and other changes. The Rally gets a new fuel tank, to extend its highway range (considering its fuel-sipping nature, this should really make this bike an interesting low-budget tourer). No doubt more details will be along in a few days, as we’re in the middle of traditional bike launch season, even if there’s no real moto shows this year.