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Thread: The Honda CRF 250 L / Kawasaki KLX 250 shoot out!

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    Blokes Who Can KTMphil's Avatar
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    The Honda CRF 250 L / Kawasaki KLX 250 shoot out!

    The Honda CRF 250 L / Kawasaki KLX 250 shoot out!


    We'd been meaning to do this sooner, but 3 days of constant rained had hampered our schedule.

    Managed to drag AlexUK out who's been riding KLX 250's for a number of years. His KLX 250 has some modifications, airbox, carb, ecu and exhaust, so we wern't comparing the bike this time to a stock KLX 250.





    Before hitting the trails, we did a stationary push/ compression test on the suspension comparing the bikes.

    The front suspension was noticeably harder on the Honda CRF 250 L than on the Kawasaki KLX 250.

    The rebound on the rear shock absorber was faster on Honda CRF 250 L than that on the Kawasaki KLX 250 .


    Off into the trails behind the 700 year stadium in Chiang Mai, a bit soggy everywhere but surprisingly puddle free considering all the constant rain.


    One thing you immediately notice about the Honda CRF 250 L is how low it is compared to most enduro style bikes, it makes the bike very easy to handle through the tree roots and soft mud on gradients, where we were riding, it was not hindered in any way being slight lower.


    We did a loop of the lower enduro trail area for Alex to get the feel of the KLX, then he took the Honda CRF 250 L for a test to compare.







    Alex agreed that the lower seat and the bike generally being lower felt good and gave you confidence through the wet, slippy tree roots and soft mud, quite interesting that this had worked for the Honda.
    Proverbs 12:26


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    Blokes Who Can KTMphil's Avatar
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    Re: The Honda CRF 250 L / Kawasaki KLX 250 shoot out!

    Even with the standard rear sprocket (think its 42 tooth), there was plenty of power up the really steep stuff, engine torque seems fine for a 250cc bike. We had noted that the front suspension was harder than the KLX 250, but going fast through the tree roots, which is a great test for suspension, the Honda CRF 250 L held a great line, the suspension is great as standard, with mods. might be quite a bike.








    We messed around in the enduro training area, the Honda CRF 250 L climbed fine up the steep inclines, the standard IRC dual sport tires on the Honda are excellent all round tires, more aggressive (off-road orientated) than the Dunlop 605 tires that come standard with the Kawasaki KLX 250












    So to summarize, looks like it's a winner.

    It is lower than the KLX, so has a lower center of gravity and you can feel it. It being lower wasn't a hindrance in any way although we didnt go over any larger logs etc....
    Power seems good, Alex jumped straight on it after being on his KLX and said the power seemed about the same. One thing we did notice is the bike has a very noisy cooling fan and it did come on early. The Honda CRF 250 L only has a single radiator on the LHS whereas the KLX 250 has 2 radiators, in our hot climate in Asia, will be interesting to see if this bike has overheating problems in slow, hard terrain. No RPM counter doesn't really seem to be an issue, you'll get used to the engine noises. Rear brake was noticeably bad on the Honda CRF 250 L, with only 100km on the bike it probably hasn't bedded in yet and will be ok in the future.

    I was worried that the bike being around 140kg that it would feel like a real mule, i didn't at all.

    One thing Alex noticed was that the engine sump guard is only plastic, this will have to be changed if you're trail riding.
    Proverbs 12:26


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    Senior Member alexuk's Avatar
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    Re: The Honda CRF 250 L / Kawasaki KLX 250 shoot out!

    The Honda looks higher than the klx but feels lower once you sit on it.
    Front suspension is stiffer to begin with so it doesnt suffer from brake dive like the KLX.
    Over some loose rocks I am quite happy on the klx but the Honda seemed more stable, I was surprised, .
    Although we only did some gentle stuff, running it in still,It is fairly easy to move the bike about on singletrack, and the honda feels a bit smaller standing up,my knees fit better on the tank giving more grip than the Kawa.
    The tyres seemed quite grippy in the dirt for a 50/50
    There are at least a couple of plastic guards, like the bash plate, but I dont know what kind of plastic so would like to see how long they last.

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    Re: The Honda CRF 250 L / Kawasaki KLX 250 shoot out!

    Thanks for the help today Alex.
    Proverbs 12:26


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    Senior Member alexuk's Avatar
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    Re: The Honda CRF 250 L / Kawasaki KLX 250 shoot out!



    It was a shame it started raining so soon, we were only out about 20 minutes in the dry
    I'd like to try again once it's run in and a bigger sprocket on the back, to see how it copes with some of the trails here.

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    Blokes Who Can KTMphil's Avatar
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    Re: The Honda CRF 250 L / Kawasaki KLX 250 shoot out!

    These issues on the Honda CRF 250 L have been mentioned before, but i thought important to add here in case anyone missed them:


    1. Foot gear lever end doesn't swivel in (does on the KLX) - aftermarket is available

    2. Foot brake lever end doesn't swivel

    3. Rear shock not adjustable

    4. Rear shock travel less than the KLX, could be a problem with a big farrang on it bottoming out the suspension

    5. Spokes are thinner than on the KLX, maybe ok though

    6. Radiator only one side, both sides on the KLX, may cause overheating trail riding

    7. Coolant expansion tank is on the rear RHS of the bike just under the plastic, looks very vulnerable in a fall

    8.Plastic chain guard look like it will break trail riding

    9. Kick stand spring look like it will get lost easily

    10. No rpm counter

    11. Rear foot pegs look like they may break off, they did on the XR 250's with the same design
    Proverbs 12:26


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    Senior Member 2wheels's Avatar
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    Re: The Honda CRF 250 L / Kawasaki KLX 250 shoot out!

    WOW!

    Well done Phil and Alex.
    Not only the first CRF in Chiang Mai but the first on-road/track comparison as well; even if it was only a brief one.
    Hope you can do an extended comparison once the rain clears.

    But, to me, the CRF seems to be a worthy competitor to the KLX.
    My main issue would be the cooling system, which needs to be extra good in our environment.

    Summarizing?
    The battle is leaning towards the KLX but I haven't been 'put off' by the CRF.
    A happy rider is one who can enjoy an unexpected detour along the way.

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    Senior Member esspressolungo's Avatar
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    Re: The Honda CRF 250 L / Kawasaki KLX 250 shoot out!

    Nice job guys, the future will tell us more I hope, the look of the CRF is great...Looking at the one picture I discovered this:


    not very important, but there's always hidden messages where-ever we go...

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    Blokes Who Can KTMphil's Avatar
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    Re: The Honda CRF 250 L / Kawasaki KLX 250 shoot out!

    It's in mine too





    Quote Originally Posted by esspressolungo
    Nice job guys, the future will tell us more I hope, the look of the CRF is great...Looking at the one picture I discovered this:


    not very important, but there's always hidden messages where-ever we go...
    Proverbs 12:26


  10. #10
    crs
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    Re: The Honda CRF 250 L / Kawasaki KLX 250 shoot out!

    Good job lads. Have you had a look to see if anything could be stripped off or replaced to reduce weight? What does it weigh over the KLX - 5kg?

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    Senior Member Captain_Slash's Avatar
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    Re: The Honda CRF 250 L / Kawasaki KLX 250 shoot out!

    An interesting comparison, it looks like Honda have got it about right
    Drinking non-alcoholic beer is like giving oral sex to your own sister

    It tastes the same, but its not right

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    Re: The Honda CRF 250 L / Kawasaki KLX 250 shoot out!

    Well done and thanks for going to the trouble to post it up. It is really helping my decision making on which one to buy. The Honda came out better than I expected and right now it is very close.

    The main points for me is the Hondas suspension is non adjustable (although seemed to have performed well enough) and one radiator seems like it could be a problem. It seems they are relying on a fan to help it out but two seem better to me.

    With the KLX's adjustable suspension is it possible to stiffen it up to be like the CRF? Or are the springs softer? Did the KLX have many miles on it?

    Looking forward to seeing it up against a stock KLX, someone must have one laying around? it seems the weather over there is wet right now.
    If it ain't broke, fiddle with it till it is!

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    Senior Member alexuk's Avatar
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    Re: The Honda CRF 250 L / Kawasaki KLX 250 shoot out!

    I could probably adjust my forks to be the same as the honda, I normally run them soft
    My KLX is pretty much stock now, the only real difference is the 48t sprocket

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    Senior Member Davevb's Avatar
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    Re: The Honda CRF 250 L / Kawasaki KLX 250 shoot out!

    It's interesting as mentioned in the OP the KLX had modifications to the airbox, carb(?), ecu and exhaust yet when compared to the CRF you said the power was about the same? That bodes well for having the same mods done to the CRF it will be more powerful than the KLX. I'm really interested in seeing the CRF alongside a bog standard KLX.
    If it ain't broke, fiddle with it till it is!

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    Re: The Honda CRF 250 L / Kawasaki KLX 250 shoot out!

    Great job guys and well done for getting the report up so fast. Interesting that the bog standard CRF came so close to the modified KLX. Cooling issues well worth keeping an eye on.
    Barry
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    Re: The Honda CRF 250 L / Kawasaki KLX 250 shoot out!

    Thanks for the assist on getting the Honda CRF 250 L so quick Barry --- sounds like the Chiang Mai guys will have to wait a month before they get them. I was under the impression Alex's KLX was modified more than it was, it's actually quite standard apart from the 48T rear sprocket - It was the one he sold recently that was more modified... so a good test against an almost box standard KLX 250.


    Quite interesting how well the Honda did, we were both quite impressed.


    Then there's all the mods. that can be done that are being done to the CBR 250's that race (same engine as the Honda CRF 250 L), sounds like we might be able to ad 30% more power and lose a lot of weight.


    Quote Originally Posted by barrygrussell
    Great job guys and well done for getting the report up so fast. Interesting that the bog standard CRF came so close to the modified KLX. Cooling issues well worth keeping an eye on.
    Proverbs 12:26


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    Re: The Honda CRF 250 L / Kawasaki KLX 250 shoot out!

    Ok so they were both the same, thanks for clarifying that. I wonder, a few mods available already for the engine and maybe stump up for a good rear shock, increase the travel, set the suspension up for the rider weight (which I would need to do on either one of them anyway).....Not sure the cooling system will handle any mods....Are Kawasaki due to upgrade the KLX soon? Interesting stuff....I'm sure over the coming weeks and once run in we will be getting a good idea of it all. Cool.
    If it ain't broke, fiddle with it till it is!

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    Blokes Who Can KTMphil's Avatar
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    Re: The Honda CRF 250 L / Kawasaki KLX 250 shoot out!

    Quote Originally Posted by Davevb
    Ok so they were both the same, thanks for clarifying that. I wonder, a few mods available already for the engine and maybe stump up for a good rear shock, increase the travel, set the suspension up for the rider weight (which I would need to do on either one of them anyway).....Not sure the cooling system will handle any mods....Are Kawasaki due to upgrade the KLX soon? Interesting stuff....I'm sure over the coming weeks and once run in we will be getting a good idea of it all. Cool.

    yep ---want to test this fan coming on in more detail to see if it is an issue for people
    Proverbs 12:26


  19. #19
    Senior Member Steve Canyon's Avatar
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    Re: The Honda CRF 250 L / Kawasaki KLX 250 shoot out!

    Quote Originally Posted by KTMphil
    Quote Originally Posted by Davevb
    Ok so they were both the same, thanks for clarifying that. I wonder, a few mods available already for the engine and maybe stump up for a good rear shock, increase the travel, set the suspension up for the rider weight (which I would need to do on either one of them anyway).....Not sure the cooling system will handle any mods....Are Kawasaki due to upgrade the KLX soon? Interesting stuff....I'm sure over the coming weeks and once run in we will be getting a good idea of it all. Cool.

    yep ---want to test this fan coming on in more detail to see if it is an issue for people
    I don't think you will have any problems....

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    Re: The Honda CRF 250 L / Kawasaki KLX 250 shoot out!

    Thx for the info guys. Might be the first comparison test of the two on the internet!

    I am sold! Will get one once i actally have time to ride it, been too busy recently ...

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