In 2015, leaked photos of a CRF250 Rally concept bike made their way around the Internet. Today, nearly a year and a half later, Honda officially announced the release of the CRF250L Rally.
The biggest question on everyone’s mind was what engine Honda was going to use in this new bike. According to today's news release it looks like it’s getting the same user-friendly 249.6 cc liquid-cooled single found in the CRF250L. But the engine is getting an update for 2017, with a larger 38 mm throttle body, revised airbox, reshaped air boot, new muffler, larger header, and new ECU that Honda claims result in better throttle response and more low- and mid-range power.
The real story for the Rally version is in the updates to the suspension and brakes. With 11 inches of travel out of the 43 mm inverted fork and 10.3 inches of travel with Honda’s Pro-Link rear, the Rally features an additional 1.2 and 0.9 inches of travel respectively over the base CRF250L.
The Rally will be available with ABS that can be disabled at the rear wheel with the push of a button. It gets a larger 296 mm rotor at the front wheel compared to the 256 mm disc on the CRF250L. Both bikes share the same 220 mm rear rotor.
Additional upgrades to the Rally version include updated rally-style bodywork with a “floating” screen, radiator shrouds and fairings, and what looks to possibly be some type of bash plate and hand guards. While the one photo we’ve seen from Honda so far doesn’t give us a good look at the front of the bike, it is said to have asymmetrical LED headlights as well as LED turn signals and a new digital dash.
Weight on the Rally is said to be almost 25 pounds heavier than the base CRF250L with the ABS version tipping the scales at 346.1 pounds (non-ABS is 341.7 pounds). Part of the increase in weight stems from the larger 2.7-gallon tank, which holds about half a gallon more fuel. The Rally will set riders back an additional $800 dollars with an MSRP of $5,899.
In Honda's official press release Lee Edmunds, head marketing guru for Honda America, acknowledged the growing popularity of the ADV touring segment in America. It is clear that this CRF is aimed at attracting new riders to the sport. The question I’m left with is whether the changes to the engine will be enough to satiate experienced riders as well. I look forward to finding out.