Work bikes and Test rides

Honda CRF250L

They let me play on a new bike at work!

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It's a Honda, the heading tells you that, it also tells you it's a CRF250. Nice!

So what is this bike? Well, it's a learner legal 250cc trail bike, good for road use and off road fun.

I cover around 500+ miles a week during my duties, so a comfortable bike is always a plus, and this

one is comfy. The colour scheme may not be to everyones taste, in fact my colleague at work

isn't too sure it looks right, but it does stand out in the crowd, and traffic.

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The bike starts easily on the button and soon warms up,

the single cylinder 4 stroke liquid cooled engine rumbles away readily awaiting the throttle to be opened.

Once opened the rumble has a slight turbine like hum as the revs build and you pull away, the exhaust note

is pleasing when you ride the bike but doesn't over ride the turbine hum, still that's not a problem.

Once moving the bike can be hooked through the gears easily, with or without the use of the clutch

( a bad habit picked up from years of riding) and smoothly pulls away and up to the heady heights of the speed limits.

In traffic a stable ride is given, in slower the traffic feet can be kept up with very little wobble of the bike.

Good points,

well these are the comfort of the seat and riding position, the seat isn't too high which means that even my

short legs will reach the ground.

The engine responds nicely, but it should do seeing it's new!

The rear view mirrors are the best I'vie seen on a bike of any type for a long time.

They stay clear and give a good view of what's behind, there's a tendency for off roader mirrors to just show

the riders elbows, not these babys, oh no! a good road view is clearly visible.

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I think this is good, both front and rear brakes have ABS. This is a first for me on a small bike and seems to

work OK, both brakes acting predictively and pulling the bike to a halt rapidly when applied in haste.

The rear ABS can be turned off (presumably for off road use).

Bad points,

the instrument panel.

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There's nothing wrong with the display itself, it's just that Honda have hooked the front brake hose up

and over, obscuring the top half of the display when seated and bottom half when stood on the pegs!

As with all this type of bike that I've ridden the fuel tank is small, an average 100 miles between

filling up seems OK, but when that's just short of a day's riding then you get on first name terms with

the petrol station staff.

How does it feel on the road?

well, remarkably solid. Considering the bike is light enough for me to lift off the ground it holds the road well.

The IRC dual purpose tyres grip well in wet and dry and don't feel out of place on the

dirt track roads I sometimes use.

As you enter the off tarmac roads standing on the footrests is easy, the bars are high enough to 'green lane' in comfort.

The suspension, though, starts to complain on rougher surfaces.

Being used to my old Yamaha WR250 it was a surprise to have the seat whack my backside as I negotiated a rough

bit of track. The front end was also a little lively, unexpectedly popping up on a small rise.

Unlike the Yamaha there's not a lot of adjustment at the rear and none at all on the front suspension units,

still as a cost effective bike that's not really a problem, the OTR price is around 4670 at the time of writing.

This is a good price for a decent all rounder but Honda need to do something about the tool kit,

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the one I have on the bike is totally useless, all I can do is pull a fuse(?), and they're buried

under the body work somewhere!

Would I buy one?

well, if I needed a bike for work and weekend playing it would be on the list, the new price isn't too high and

there are plenty of dealers to choose from. As a distance bike though, I know it isn't designed for long hauls so...