In the wake of fellow Japanese manufacturer Yamaha releasing details of its overhauled WR450F trail tank, we half expected the Red army to follow suit. Unfortunately, Honda has opted to steer clear of a revamp on any of its Enduro range, instead sticking to a Bold New Graphics approach to its 2012 CRF250X.
Years of GFC turmoil have prompted this approach, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a worthy bike under the fresh sticker kit. That’s not to say we aren’t a bit disappointed the current CRF250R motocrosser hasn’t been used as the basis for the new X machine, but the 2012 250X has a formidable arsenal in its barracks.
Matching the new set of decals are a pair of black rims, so it does look marginally fresher and up to date, though of course only a total re-vamp would bring the bike right up to date in that regard. The model has hardly changed since 2008.
So you can forget phrases like EFI, SFF, DFI, Launch Control and Coaxial Traction Systems for the Honda, but it still rates as bush weapon.
I found a new sense of respect for the once bush king. The CRF250X is not a bike that will wow you with trick components meant to make you ride faster, but it will do everything you expect of it hassle-free. It is an excellent blend of agility, handling, weight and power.
The instrument cluster and cockpit set up feel dated, and when I hit the start button the carburettor took a few goes before fueling the bike into life, and the bike is very quiet. If you’re after something that hammers though the bush like a mouse, look this way.
The CRF250X doesn’t propose to be anything more than it is: a trusty trailbike. While the CRF’s engine didn’t have that instantaneous, electric feel off the bottom you get from an EFI-fed donk, it is the bike’s ability to perform in other areas that makes it a serious quarter-litre competitor.
The bike’s steering is supreme. It’s as simple as point and shoot, and it steers accurately without feeling twitchy. This allowed me to concentrate on other areas of my riding and on the trail, rather than having to worry about the bike under-steering or washing out. At 188cm tall I did feel cramped after banging my knee on the throttle when turning the bar mid-air – a set of bar raisers will fix this.
The steering was impressive but the bike’s most inspiring attribute was its predictability – a rare trait in modern four-strokes. The bike’s braking ability was impeccable, helped largely by the suspension. Some bikes will kick and buck from the rear-end under braking, but the CRF-X’s rear-end sat perfectly in line with front-end. I’ve also found the suspension too soft in the past, bottoming out on flat landings, but after launching several washouts and landing heavily on flat ground, the bike refused to case or bottom out.
Knowing how the bike will respond when you twist the throttle, or tip it into a tight turn, is a quality you can’t put a price on.
When combined with the Honda’s meaty bottom end (for a 250F), the sweet steering and very predictable handling, you have a solid trailbike that will give you the time of your life if the ride is all about the ride itself, and not how up to date your bike is.
Configuration Single cylinder
Cylinder head SOHC, four valves per cylinder
Bore/stroke 78 x 52.2mm
Compression ratio 12.9:1
Fueling 37mm Keihin FCR carburettor with TPS
Final drive Chain
Frame material Aluminium
Frame layout Twin-spar
Front: 47mm USD fork, fully adjustable,
Rear: Monoshock, fully adjustable,
Wheels Wire spoked
Front: 21 x 1.6 Rear: 18 x 2.5
Tyres Bridgestone Gritty
Front: 240mm disc, two-piston caliper
Rear: 240mm disc, single-piston caliper
Weight 114.8kg (kerb, claimed)
Seat height 958mm
Max width 827mm
Max height 1261mm
Fuel capacity 7.3
Handling and steering
Pimp black wheels
Out-dated, clunky cockpit
Exhaust was quiet and heavy