2017 Honda CRF250 Rally © Brake Magazine

Newsworthy – Meet the Honda CRF250 Rally

Newsworthy is our regular news update. Instead of killing your inboxes with re-hashed press releases or junk you don’t need, we’ll pull out a few interesting products, stories and other things we stumbled across from recent times, write our thoughts on them and let you read the info for yourself.

It wasn’t so long ago that I was sat at this very same keyboard writing angry, disappointed words regarding Honda. The X-ADV was a bike that quickly divided opinion. It divided my opinion so heavily I wrote 600 words on the matter. The CRF250 Rally will undoubtedly split people but this time I won’t be going at it with a metaphorical baseball bat. I think Honda honestly deserve a massive cheery thumbs up. The CRF250 Rally is a damn cool thing.

I’ve no doubt that Honda couldn’t give a damn about our thoughts but it takes some cool, forward thinking to produce a bike like the CRF250 Rally. It’s probably not going to be hugely different from CRF250 L in reality but the dirt capability on paper has the potential to be better.


The standard CRF250L isn’t a bike to set the world on fire. It’s a solid performer. It gets the job done, plods along and is still enjoyable. It’s low in power and has a hefty flat spot, something Honda appear to have addressed with a 2mm bigger diameter EFI unit and a revised exhaust system over the ’16 model 250L. The Dakar styled front end should had a little more wind protection to the dual sport package, but more importantly, it looks outrageously good. Those looks have been mated with roughly an inch of extra suspension travel. The press info doesn’t give a specific fuel capacity but the fuel tanks appear to be astronomically larger than the stock CRF250 L too. The possibility of a genuine small bore ADV bike, means that Honda need every ounce of praise they get.

They deserve the praise because motorcycling is meant to be cool. Bikes should be cooler than anything else. They should turn heads, get us excited to ride and be worthy of us spending cash on. They are not just tools for an end product, they’re objects of desire, lust and enjoyment. When Honda rebuilt the Africa Twin, they brought a whole new group of people to the adventure segment and the CRF250 Rally has the potential to excite a whole generation of people. It has the potential to go down as an iconic bike, to become something we look back in 20 years as a defining moment.

“They didn’t have to model new tanks or a fairing, but they have…”

They could’ve just stuck some stickers on a 250L and called it a rally. They didn’t have to model new tanks or a fairing, but they have and I can feel 17 year old me wishing this was my first bike. I mean seriously, Honda couldn’t have done a much better job of turning the so-so 250L into a looker. Even the carbon fibre look headlight surround doesn’t offend me and fake carbon fibre should offend everyone.


Full Press Release;

Inspired by the factory CRF450 Rally machine raced in the Dakar by Team HRC, and based on the standard CRF250L, the CRF250L Rally is ready for weekend adventure, long-distance tour or the daily commute. Featuring styling that evokes images of adventure and travel, the bike has long-travel suspension, large-disk ABS brakes, excellent weather protection and an impressive cruising range. Engine performance combines solid bottom-end torque with substantial top-end power. Meanwhile, the standard CRF250L also features important upgrades for 2017, including a number of powertrain changes that are aimed at increasing power and improving throttle response.


  • Compact and sophisticated liquid-cooled DOHC 249cc single-cylinder four-stroke powerplant produces smooth and consistent torque at low rpm, plus excellent high-rpm performance.
  • A 38mm throttle body (up 2mm from the 2016 CRF250L) combines with a revised airbox, reshaped air boot, new muffler design and a larger-diameter exhaust head pipe to provide improved response and better power in the low and midranges.
  • Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI).
  • Extremely compact roller rocker arm design for the low-friction valve train allows the use of a smaller cylinder head.
  • Gear-driven counterbalancer shaft helps reduce vibrations for rider comfort.
  • Electric start for easy starting.
  • Lightweight aluminum crankcase.
  • Maintenance-free CD ignition.
  • Heavy-duty clutch offers smooth, progressive engagement.
  • Smooth-shifting, versatile six-speed transmission.
  • Heavy-duty O-ring–sealed chain for durability and reduced maintenance.
  • Quiet, USDA-qualified spark arrester/muffler.
  • Maintenance-free sealed battery.


  • Rally-type “floating” screen, fairing and radiator shrouds provide wind protection, with the rest of the machine showing off minimal MX style.
  • LED asymmetric headlights, as are the turn signals.
  • Large fuel tank allows extensive range.
  • Chassis developed specifically for the CRF250L provides excellent handling and agility.
  • Lightweight semi-double-cradle high-tensile steel frame.
  • Strong 43mm inverted fork provides 11 inches of travel.
  • Pro-Link single-shock rear suspension delivers 10.3 inches of rear-wheel travel.
  • Tapered aluminum swingarm.
  • Powerful wave-design 256mm front disc brake, and 220mm rear disc brake provide strong and consistent stopping power.
  • Meter assembly, taillight and license-plate holder have all been updated for 2017.
  • Large floating front disc—plus ABS that can be switched off for the rear brake—delivers stopping power.
  • Front 21-inch wheel and 18-inch rear wheel with lightweight aluminum rims.
  • New digital dash includes a fuel gauge and tachometer.
  • Durable front and rear steel sprockets.
  • High-quality handlebar with comfortable grips.

Transferable one-year, unlimited-mileage limited warranty; extended coverage available with a Honda Protection Plan.

  • Meets current CARB and EPA standards.
  • Models sold in California meet current CARB standards and may differ slightly due to emissions equipment.
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