Honda CRF250 Rally

Choice and preparation

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Redballrun
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Honda CRF250 Rally

Post by Redballrun » Tue May 01, 2018 10:20 pm

Is this perhaps the best bike for the TET available on the market today?

This is a thread to post thoughts/mods/accessories and exchange info
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GaryWrench
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Re: Honda CRF250 Rally

Post by GaryWrench » Wed May 02, 2018 7:30 am

I’ve not had my Rally too long, found the suspension too soft ( I’m 100kg) and have Hyperpro front and rear kit to go on at £620 from Calsport.co.uk . I also have a carbon bashplate which has taken some real hits in the Peak District from https://www.kodamacomposites.co.uk/honda
Very pleased with that - I have the side protectors waiting to go on too. Looked at all sorts of luggage options and wanted the Kriega OS Base.. but sometimes use the bike to go to work and needed something larger so bought some Givi panniers for £100 - bounce around a little bit large enough ( stick out some from the two side bulges of the tool box and exhaust shroud) have a Kriega 10 on the rear rack and a Giant Loop handlebar bag from AS.
I’m fairly new to motorcycles ( been a 4x4 Guy for 15 years so I know the UK lanes very well) so I can’t really compare to anything else but my opinion of the rally so far is that it’s solid and reliable with long service intervals, doesn’t set the world on fire but is far better now it’s run in as engine was tight from new. Very comfortable to ride on road, feels a bit top heavy at times and heavy overall compared to friends KTM450’s but then again I don’t need an oil change every week - it’s every 8000 miles.
Not great if you are vertically challenged.. I’d like to flat foot it but can’t even with lowered seat (I’m 5’9”)
In my eye it’s perfect for TET travel, there are sections where you would like a lighter bike in the UK, and possibly more power travelling on the tarmac section through Cheshire, but overall I’m very pleased with it.
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T-Lex
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Re: Honda CRF250 Rally

Post by T-Lex » Tue Aug 07, 2018 7:36 pm

I own this bike for almost a year, have done 9000 km so far. My opinion on the bike:

Pros:
* It's a great starting point for those new to dirt riding like I was myself a year ago, learning to true a wheel, to ride standing up, to install handguards, to drift in the corners, to make a wheelie, to ride single track — this bike allowed me to do all that.
* The power is smooth and friendly, you won't circle the bike by accident, but that's also it's biggest con, when you need a quick burst of power, it's simply not there.
* Reliable, the plastic is sturdy. So far I only replaced the parts, like pegs, leavers, etc. damaged as a result of my dismounts.
* Toolbox. A very handy piece of equipment, can hold your tools, a hand pump, a chain spray, and much more. Never fell open on me, even when taking a nap on the left side.
* Exhaust. Pleasant grunt when warmed up, sturdy, doesn't dent, heat shielded. Simply no need to replace.
* Suspension. I'm 72 kg, the bike feels planted on the road. So far I've bottomed out the front fork once and the rear I have yet to bottom out. The con is that it won't allow you to jump like in motocross and to wheelie over whoops, that's not the kind of riding you should have in mind when buying this bike.
* Wind protection, don't beg for more, I'm 178 cm.
* The range is 250+ km, more than enough in Europe.

Cons:
* Terrible in deep sand, not enough power, overheats, although tubliss could mitigate it slightly, I haven't tried.
* Spare parts are freaking expensive at the dealer, need to order from Thailand. To give you an example I could buy 9 spare parts from Thailand for the price of one spare part at the dealer. This correlation is true about everything except for oil filters and chains.
* To make a wheelie you need to be really deliberate about that.
* It's heavy and underpowered for technical tight stuff, requires a lot of clutch work. A pro is that I started with four fingers on the clutch, switched to two and now to one.
* Not good to ride with a passenger if he or she is heavier than 40 kg and taller than 150 cm.
* The stock handlebar is garbage which bends on the first occasion. Need to replace with an aluminium one. In case you're interested, the profile which matches the stock one more or less is CR Hi. When you replace the stock handlebar with an aluminium one the bike will become balanced, that is if you put it on an MX stand, the front and the rear tire will lift equally.
* Light. Low beam is weak, not enough for highway speeds. I have to ride with high beam at night.
* The windshild will limit your choice of handlebars. For example CR Hi will allow you to use stock knuckle guards, but full blown barkbusters won't fit. I don't regret that, because pro riders ride with knucle guards, and I try to be like them. ;)

So at this point I've already overgrown the bike. I want something lighter and more powerful, like two times more powerful. For now I think to either trade in the bike for a EXC-F 350, to wait for a CRF450L, or to buy an MX bike as a second bike and leave this one as a travel bike, so I could progress further. Will see, 2019 should be an interesting year. If your objective is to travel conservatively and you're more or less of Asian proportions and you're not taking 30 kg of stuff with you, then you could settle on the Rally, I thought I would settle too, but now with the help of Rally I've got a taste of dirt riding and crave for more!

An important note: don't even think to mod this bike. Everything more than an aluminium handlebar is an overkill. If the power/suspension/etc. are not good for you, just save your money and buy something else. You can spend thousands of euros, but it will remain a heavy underpowered Thailand bike. The quality is not bad, but you certainly see the difference when a Japanese made MX bike stands next to it.
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simon p
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Re: Honda CRF250 Rally

Post by simon p » Mon Dec 10, 2018 8:58 pm

I have been riding for 40 years have got a few enduro medals when younger & have bought a Honda rally & love it reasons for purchase =
£ 5500 to buy
8000 mls service intervals
18 & 21 " wheels
comfy I have done several 150 mls days
80 mpg
sit at 70 mph
very quite
2 year warranty
Its a Honda
On the down side suspension is soft & have ordered Ohlins for £ 1000 so still under 6k As for lack of power it has more than my CT 110 which also have gone around the world
My thoughts on mx bikes KEEP ON RACE TRACKS so the rest of us can ride in the countryside without pissing people off
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Meetchee
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Re: Honda CRF250 Rally

Post by Meetchee » Tue Dec 11, 2018 4:49 pm

Hi guys,
I'm a bit like simon p, I've been riding for MORE than 40 years and four years ago I bought the CRF 250 L. Last year I tried the rally model, a bit heavy compared to the regular CRF and a lot of probably expensive plastic.
OK, this bike (either the L or the rally) is not perfect but it can take you anywhere with a pair of aggressive tyres, it turns on a hanky (not like the 690 enduro R I previously had) and it doesn't feel too heavy when riding. One of the only issues is the low ground clearance. This bike seems perfect for the TET because you can ride for a very long time without maintenance and it's also much more comfortable than an enduro bike. And it perfectly fits to the TET code of conduct: no noise = not disturbing people, like simon p said "we can ride without pissing people off"
One of the best advantages of this bike is that it's so easy to ride because the power is low and the torque is everywhere.
I really agree with T-lex on one point: don't spend a lot of money on that bike because it will never be an enduro. But can you ride an enduro bike for 6500km? ( that's what I'm gonna do in summer : TET from Italy to Greece, including Greece)
I don't think so.
But I completely disagree with him on the "Thailand bike": it's a Honda and it's got the quality standards of Honda : I've got 20 000 km on the bike (with at least 18000 offroad), not a single problem. Before long trips with the bike, I always prepare it by checking absolutely everything and when I work on that bike, I can see a big quality difference with the KTM 690 enduro I previously had, even if the bike is cheap everything was carefully thought of, like any other Honda.
So you can go ahead Redballrun you can buy one, either a rally or an L.
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Mac
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Re: Honda CRF250 Rally

Post by Mac » Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:13 am

We have a 250 Rally that we are starting to adventurise ahead of a TET trip or two later in the year. We will mainly be riding in France/Switzerland with a mix of on and as much off road as we can find.

Does anyone have any suggestions for tyre upgrades on this bike?

We currently have the standard tyres on there which have loads of life since the bike only has 300km on it right now. Do the stock tyres need to be replaced straight away with something more aggressive or off roadie for TET riding?

So far suspension seems ok, in fact we rode it two up yesterday and I expected it to be permanently on the bump stop but it handled it well. Even riding back up the mountain road to our house the thing pulled surprisingly well. So far im impressed with this bike. Its early days but I have high hopes. We wont be asking it to do anything particularly quickly or extreme and we may consider a suspension upgrade if this bike turns out to be a keeper but $1000 for Ohlins is a big investment.
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Meetchee
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Re: Honda CRF250 Rally

Post by Meetchee » Tue Apr 09, 2019 9:13 pm

Hi Mac,
most important upgrade is an engine guard, tyres: Pirelli MT 21 rally cross (stock tyres are rubbish on dirt), rear will last 2500-3000km, when i ride long distances Dunlop D908RR(expensive)
If you have $1000 bucks too much, you can buy the Ohlins but is it really worth it on such a bike? If you want to ride the TET, you're not gonna race !!!

Here's what I did on the bike:

Preparation HONDA CRF 250 Long trips :
What had already been done: handle protectors, small levers, foldable selector, AXP shoe, 12V socket with a 10A fuse, modified front brake hose height, Pro handlebar grip and foam grips, door luggage Precision motorcycle racks, tank bag "home" made from an Arpenaz / Decathlon backpack, GIVI 20L waterproof bag "screwed" on the luggage rack, additional gasoline tank rotopax 3.8 L, protection of cooling hose that passes under the muffler.
No engine modifications !!!
What is done just before the trip and which only targets reliability:
-maintenance: engine oil change, oil filter, cleaning and lubrication air filter (DNA), coolant drain, new spark plug, valve clearance,
- cleaning and greasing bearings steering column, swingarm + links, wheel bearings,
Fork maintenance (SKF kit) + new fork socks
-Control and lubrication of all cables + copper grease on gas cables
-control and lubrication of all electrical terminals (WD 40)
- All important screws and nuts are tightened with medium threadlock and marked with varnish
- Bib foam front and rear, MT21 rally cross front and 908 RR rear
-new front sprocket 13 teeth
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Mac
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Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2019 7:45 pm

Re: Honda CRF250 Rally

Post by Mac » Mon Apr 15, 2019 7:50 pm

Meetchee wrote:
Tue Apr 09, 2019 9:13 pm
Hi Mac,
most important upgrade is an engine guard, tyres: Pirelli MT 21 rally cross (stock tyres are rubbish on dirt), rear will last 2500-3000km, when i ride long distances Dunlop D908RR(expensive)
If you have $1000 bucks too much, you can buy the Ohlins but is it really worth it on such a bike? If you want to ride the TET, you're not gonna race !!!

Here's what I did on the bike:

Preparation HONDA CRF 250 Long trips :
What had already been done: handle protectors, small levers, foldable selector, AXP shoe, 12V socket with a 10A fuse, modified front brake hose height, Pro handlebar grip and foam grips, door luggage Precision motorcycle racks, tank bag "home" made from an Arpenaz / Decathlon backpack, GIVI 20L waterproof bag "screwed" on the luggage rack, additional gasoline tank rotopax 3.8 L, protection of cooling hose that passes under the muffler.
No engine modifications !!!
What is done just before the trip and which only targets reliability:
-maintenance: engine oil change, oil filter, cleaning and lubrication air filter (DNA), coolant drain, new spark plug, valve clearance,
- cleaning and greasing bearings steering column, swingarm + links, wheel bearings,
Fork maintenance (SKF kit) + new fork socks
-Control and lubrication of all cables + copper grease on gas cables
-control and lubrication of all electrical terminals (WD 40)
- All important screws and nuts are tightened with medium threadlock and marked with varnish
- Bib foam front and rear, MT21 rally cross front and 908 RR rear
-new front sprocket 13 teeth
Thanks for the comprehensive reply!!

Sounds like you have been thorough and sensible in your approach

This weekend we added some Acerbis X-Factory handguards which are a huge visual and I assume functional improvement
We also fitted the Kriega OS base and OS 18 bags.

We are not entirely satisfied with the way the bags fitted to the bike. We couldnt find an 'ideal' place for the front lower straps to fix. We may need to utilise some additional straps to get everything feeling secure. We gave up in the end because it was blowing a cold gale outside. We are trying to avoid a rear rack but it may be he best option in the end for supporting the rear bag.

Bash plate may be the next upgrade especially as the bike has been lowered.

Smaller front sprocket sounds like a common mod so we may consider that also.

How well do the MT21 tyres cope with wet road?

Cheers,

Mac
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Meetchee
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Re: Honda CRF250 Rally

Post by Meetchee » Tue Apr 16, 2019 12:10 pm

Hi, you're right, a rear rack is really compulsory!
MT21 are good overall tyres but like but like all offroad tyres you have to be very careful on wet roads. Max kms with this rear tyre: between 2500 and 3000km.
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CRFMike
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Re: Honda CRF250 Rally

Post by CRFMike » Wed Jul 03, 2019 9:59 pm

This is starting to look like an old guy's bike :lol
I've also been riding for nearly 40 years. I've had a lot of bikes in this time, which I think makes many of us pretty chilled out when it comes to expectations. We can also remember the bikes that, after a long days riding, left your teeth rattling for two days and your legs unlikely to stop a pig in an alley if it tried to get passed you.
I've had my CRF Rally for a couple of months now and can confidently say I love it.
Having read most of the pros and cons here its probably fair to say they are all accurate. My only quibble would be over the weight. We all know this is not an endure bike, which gives it much of its charm. But seriously, going from my Tenere to the CRF makes it seem very light. Everything is relative.
I'm not going to pour loads of money into this bike. Other than luggage, new bars, handguards, rad braces, tyres and, of course, upgraded springs should do it. Only because I weigh in at 97 kilos.
I think its definitely TET ready with a few bolt-ons. Really good fun to ride on surfaced and unsurfaced roads. Its got a massive grin factor too :D .
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