Nobody likes to be considered among the slowest bikes on the track, least of all Honda. But, when CRF250 sales dipped 27 percent in 2017, Honda was ready to retire the old warhorse. Luckily, Honda had an all-new bike waiting in the wings for 2018. How new? It shares almost nothing with the 2017 CRF250.
The 2018 CRF250 is the spitting image of its big brother.
The twin pipe layout looks jet-assisted when removed from the chassis.
Honda’s engineers changed the old Uni-Cam CRF250 engine into a dual-overhead-cam design using a finger-follower rocker arm with a Diamond Like Coating (DLC).
The trademark dual exhaust is now mated to dual-exhaust ports, making them actual dual exhausts instead of one-into-twos. Honda originally claimed that they are the first production motocross bike to have twin ports, but they were off by about 50 years, as CZ produced its twin-pipe motocross bike back in the 1960s.
Electric starting is standard on the 2018 CRF250, with a lithium-iron-phosphate battery providing the power.
Gone are the air forks of 2017, and in their place are Showa coil-spring forks and a shock that is mounted 39mm lower in the frame for a more centralized feel.
The eight-plate clutch is controlled by five coil springs. It uses a judder-spring design and is a mixture of two different clutch-plate materials.
The 2018 Honda CRF250 comes with three maps that can be accessed on the handlebars, and two of those maps can be reprogrammed with Honda’s special mapping tool.
Dimensionally, the 2018 frame has a slacker 27.5-degree head angle, 3mm-shorter wheelbase, 2mm less trail and a swingarm that is 15mm shorter than 2017.
The over-square engine’s bore and stroke are now 79mm x 50.9mm (previously 76.8mm x 53.8mm). The compression ratio is upped from 13.8:1 to 13.9:1.
In total, the 2018 frame is 340 grams lighter than last year. That is two-thirds of a pound. The thin-wall 0.8mm Ti gas tank is 1 pound, 2 ounces lighter than last year’s 3.2mm-thick plastic tank.
The titanium intake valves are 2.5mm larger, while the exhaust valves are 1.0 mm larger. The intake valves have 1.3mm more lift, while the exhaust valve lift is 1.1mm higher. The valve’s V-angle is narrower at 20.5 degrees. The cylinder is offset 4.5mm forward of the centerline (it was 4.0mm forward in 2017).
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