I've been reading many posts, some good, some bad on our new kid in town...the 2013 Honda CRF250L.
It is my impression that most of the posts are from riders that either (a) don't have one or ( haven't rode one; this is not surprising since they are hard to get right now...the dealers can't keep them in stock. hmmm...pondering...can't keep them in stock.
Yes, the supply is limited due to overseas demands for the little scooter..but still I think, "can't keep them in stock" says something to the market.
I recently traded in my 230L on a DRZ400S and my wife traded her 230L in on the new CRF 250L. WHY? Because we wanted to give up some gas mileage for a bit more speed and better suspension...we got just that on both accounts.
I took the 250L for a little spin down HWY 101 in Washington state...the hilly winding part along the Hood Canal and found this machine to be a breathe of fresh air over the 230L on the tarmac. It could easily keep my 235lb body going 65mph without waiver. It cornered well, handled well, was nice and quiet and achieved 70 mpg.
Then we headed up into the Olympic mountains...the old logging roads and fire roads. The 250L kept right up with the DRZ and had stellar handling compared to its little brother the 230L.No issues of hitting bottom on either end...not exactly a tractor but that's what the shifter and clutch are for when the terrain goes south on you.
Yes, your not going to win any enduro's on this nor astonish anybody on a track or load it down with 200lbs of gear and take off on a 2000 mile trek...but, that's not its purpose.
Let's examine reality for a moment :
Nobody ever has, nor ever will, make the perfect "Dual Sport" bike...this is a pipe dream conjured out of desperation and limited resources...or something related to that sort of mind freak in some way. If one wants to ride "anywhere" one needs at least three, if not four bikes.
We to like to go on the trails but we take our WR250F and WR450F on the trails...that's what they were made for and they're great for that...but not so much on the roads because one just rides from gas station to gas station. (and needs ear plugs and a mouth piece to keep ones teeth from rattling out).
We also like to ride on the highway...on a road bike preferably...nice smooth inline four like my old GS1000, or a Gold Wing, BMW or what have you...don't really care as long as its comfortable and fast.
Next we have the adventure bike...The gentleman's "dual-sport"...sweet on the highway and fine on the dual track but too much work on the fire roads or trails. Enter the F800GS or similar orange bike.
Finally, we get to the Dual Sport; part dirt bike, part adventure bike...good gas mileage, enough suspension for some rocks and logs, street legal and emissions correct. For the days one doesn't want to bother trailering the WR, but still may get into some crap a big bike can't handle without an expert rider at the helm. The 250L is fine for this...what we call "bike packing in the back country"...beats walking by a large margin. Did I say fine? I mean the good kind of fine...not stellar...not a pig...just fine. Honda nailed that with a good price tag...not to much, not to little...just fine.
Myself, at 6'5" and 235lbs, prefer the DRZ400S, but Ive been riding for 35 years and can deal with the high seat...frankly if not just from the size standpoint the DRZ is also...fine. Yes, Honda answered the desire of a whole lot of people, just like us, with the 250L...its a dual-sport and it serves that niche well. Its an improved 230L from our view and that's just what we wanted...just a bit more...not to much...just right.
If one wants an orange bike...shut up and go buy one...they made them for those with your needs and wants. The 2013 Honda 250L is not for you and was never intended to be for you. Most recreational riders of average size, that have a job, will love this little dual sport on the county pavement and the logging roads...Thats where they ride when they say "Dual Sport".
Good Job Honda ! Please make a CRF400L...I'll take two.
I'll never understand those that need to hate something else in order to like what they want...twisted at best....good day.