Honda CRF250L: Beginner Bike Profile + Owner Reviews

2020 CRF250L RALLY

The Swiss Army knife of motorcycles

Dual Sport motorcycles are fantastic choices for new riders. Having a bike that is comfortable on the street, and will go off onto the dirt trails without hesitation, is such a perfect mix.

The CRF250L has been a sales success for Honda since its introduction. Few bikes instill such a feeling of correctness from the moment you first park your butt in the saddle. Just as a swiss army knife is great because it can do so many things, that’s the CRF250L.

Our Take: Why You Should Buy a CRF250L

2020 Honda CRF250L Side View In Red

The CRF250L has long been a popular choice. Renowned for comfort, smoothness, reliability, and value, this bike does it all “good.” It is not the most powerful in its segment, but it has really good power over a wide rpm range. It isn’t the “best” on pavement, or ”best” on dirt, it is not a bike that takes any single “top” place in individual performance rankings, yet it is consistently near the top. It is balanced in all areas, at a great price.

Being that good, and being Honda reliable, helps this bike hold value year after year, and a bike you should strongly consider.

I love how this bike looks! In the Rally package, you can fully see the Africa Twin heritage coming through. It looks much more expensive than it actually is. You never feel like you are on a budget ride when you show up beside more expensive machines.

Bottom line: The CRF250L is a good-looking and affordable bike that is hard to find on the used market. Owners either never sell, or when listed they sell very quickly. The massive respect this bike has in the dual-sport community is well earned.

Reasons to buy the CRF250L:

  • Honda comfort and reliability
  • The suspension is a great balance both on and off-road
  • The 249cc engine is great on gas
  • The lower seat height promotes flat-footed stops. Great confidence builder for new riders
  • Parts are easy to find, making repairs quick and affordable
  • Endless aftermarket upgrades to keep you happy for years

Reasons not to buy the CRF250L:

  • Some feel the slightly heavier than the competition aspect is a downfall
  • It has good power, not the most power in its class

Production Run & Notable Model-Year Changes

Production Run & Model Generations

Honda introduced the CRF250L was first released in 2013, using a detuned version of the engine from the CBR250R sportbike. The sharing of parts from many corners of the Honda lineup provided significant cost savings without cutting corners on performance and durability.

The CRF250L is a dual-sport bike engineered for the widest range of riders.

First Generation (2013-2016)

Honda CRF250L Front Side View

  • With a 249 cc single-cylinder four-stroke, making 22.8 hp, the first-gen CRF250L was offered excellent value for money. Fuel-injected, with Showa suspension, Honda built a well-balanced package.
  • With the 2.0-gallon fuel tank and lower seat height (34.7 in) compared to competitor bikes, the CRF250L shined as a commuter bike. The long-travel suspension made this a perfect companion for weekend trips off-road.
  • Known to be extremely smooth and vibration-free, with an easy shifting transmission.

Second Generation (2017-2020)

2020 Honda CRF250L Rally Side View

  • For the 2017 model year, the CRF250L expanded the options with the addition of ABS and the Rally model.
  • Revisions to the engine included a new throttle body, exhaust header, muffler, and revised fuel injection mapping. Horsepower improved by 2 at the peak
  • The CRF250L Rally gets the same updated engine as the standard 250L, but it also gets a larger fuel tank, new Dakar-style bodywork, handguards, a windscreen, skid plate, and more suspension travel.

Third Generation (2021-)

2021 Honda CRF300L Side View

  • The 2021 Honda lineup included the introduction of the CRF300L and CRF300L Rally
  • A new 286cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke bumped the power output to 27.3 hp–a 2.5 hp gain. Now Euro 5 compliant.
  • The CRF300L sheds 8.8 lbs from the previous CRF250L

Owner Reviews of the Honda CRF250L / CRF250L Rally

CRF250L in the woods
Photo Credit:

Press & Magazines

Honda CRF250L and CRF250L Rally first ride review

“Get a Honda CRF250L (or a Rally if you want that ADV look and feel without the massive powerplant). It’s economical (starting at $5,149). It won’t win any bike night awards, but it will turn anyone (except, perhaps, those who are short) into a confident and comfortable rider, whether that’s a first-time bike owner or someone returning after a long time away from two wheels.”


Review: Honda CRF250L vs Kawasaki KLX250S

“First glance confirms the CRF250F is no parts-bin bike or a “slap some signals on it and call it a dual-sport” bike. The CRF250L is Honda’s salvo shot across the bow of its competition, letting the world know that this Honda is a serious contender.”

– Bret Tkas, (Feb 2014)

Reddit – r/CRF250L

“My ‘18 CRF250L, I’m in love with this bike”


What Owners Like

  • The WR is way higher off the ground, so if you’re shorter like me (5’7″) it’s nice to be able to almost flat foot the CRF.
  • Pros – Comfortable ergonomics, good smooth usable power, low seat height
  • The price – You can easily find a good condition CRF250L for around $3,000, and at that price, it’s a no-brainer.

What Owners Complain About

  • Suspension just not as good as Yamaha WR250R
  • Heavy. On the road, it is not such an issue but you feel it off-road.

The Bottom Line

The CRF250L and CRF250L Rally sit solidly in the middle of the 250 Dual-Sport group. You will find this Honda to be a great overall bike, especially for a new rider or someone coming back after a long stint away from two-wheel fun.

Careful searching the used market will likely yield examples that have benefitted from some aftermarket upgrades, such as suspension improvements and power adders.

If you are thinking new, the 2021 CRF300L addresses many of the complaints of the older 250’s. Check out the 2021 Honda CRF300L here.

CRF250L wheelie
Photo Credit:

Honda CRF250L Competitors

If you’re looking at a CRF250L, you may also want to check out

Honda CRF250L Specifications

The important specs are listed below. See the Wikipedia page for more detailed specifications.

Engine 249.6cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke
Power 24.4 hp (18.2 kW) @ 8,500 rpm
Torque 16.7 lb-ft (22.6 N⋅m) @ 6,750 rpm
Transmission Wet multi-plate hydraulic, constant-mesh 6-speed, chain 14T/40T

F: Showa telescopic upside down 43mm

R: Showa mono-shock Pro-Link with preload adjustability


F: Disc, twin-piston caliper

R: Disc, single-piston caliper


Front : 3.00-21 51P

Rear : 120/80-18 62P


L : 2,195 mm (86.4 in)

W : 815 mm (32.1 in)

H : 1,195 mm (47.0 in)

Seat height 875 mm (34.4 in)

L – 146 kg (322 lb)

Rally – 157 kg (346 lb)

Fuel capacity

L – 7.8 l (1.7 imp gal; 2.1 US gal)

Rally – 10.1 l (2.2 imp gal; 2.7 US gal)

Fuel consumption 77 mpg (3.05 L/100 km)

CRF250L Communities & Resources

Facebook Groups


Blogs & Wikis

YouTube Reviews




Honda CRF250L / CRF250L Rally / CRF 300L Photo Gallery