Riding high along XR250, 525, CR250 riders

Here's a nice riding report for ya!

I spent an awesome afternoon yesterday riding my (wife's) 230F and a friend riding on his '02 XR250. His had an FMF silencer +pipe, rejet, suspension mod, and bike has under 30 hrs of use since new. Mine has powerup setup, bone stock everything else, and has about 20 hrs of use since new.

We began the afternoon trail riding a series of twisty but mainly flat woods through the 5hr ride that encompassed four of six interconnected trails. Creek crossings aplenty, fallen tree limbs to lob over, slick black mud on the bottom of the course, some deep watered holes to sink into, he led some, I led some. We took base camp stops to refill gas & camelbacks and have discussions about what was fun and where next to ride.

Sharing seat time w/ a bud for 5 hrs, you should come to one, if not many, a(n) impression. The main impression I got was this: Neither of our bikes showed an advantage over one another. Not even in how they performed be it in creek crossings, high speed open trails, tight turning, nor braking. A real world comparison, IMO, with two riders who are equal in age, skill level, and bike setup for correct weight. In the end, the dynamic differences between our bikes just were not there for us to say "WOW, this is better...that is better". And that to me is why the ride yesterday was so invigorating. We were both riding ours WFO, and neither of us walked away from the other.

The only perceived difference is that the XR250 required an extra tank fillup over the 230F. Considering the amount of time we spent gassing it , I think the fuel range of the 230 having a slight advantage is hardly even worth mentioning.

The XR250 did take a bit longer to get back on track after a spill or engine kill. A kick here, a kick there to get it back on track. I took a few spills too, but could get back on the saddle and giddy up within a split second of mounting.

There was a mildly slick creek crossing in which 3/4 up, we had to go left immediately and squeeze between two close trees. UP top, I didn't get my bar through the two trees perfectly, and when I hit it w/ my bar, my bike killed. That button fired the motor back up right when my feet touched ground. Before a fallen leaf could land on ground, I repointed the bike, slipped out the clutch and wheelied the 230F through them trees. :)

My friend made it through fine, (note to self...cut down those Renthals!) but had that been me stuck up that hill on his bike, I know I'd be all puckered up, and would have laid it down. No matter, it's all good and fun, especially when there's a buddy to help you out and laugh it off.

Earlier on Sunday, I spent the afternoon riding w/ fellas on a KTM 525 and a CR250. Different woods track, with plenty of sand whoops, and wide open stretches to hit 50+mph, mixed in with twisty mudded trails going around trees. The 50 or so series of whoops being about a 1/4 mile long are real wrist killers, but the plush forks on 230F made all the difference in the world.

Normally under these circumstances, I typically mount on my race ready woods bike, equipped w/ a Flexx handlebar & GPR. Well, I'm here to report to you that plush forks of a 230F delivers the same comfort just like a Flexx handlebar.

When we got into the woods, where it's 2nd gear only, I would be right on the rider's rear tire all the way through, getting pelted w/ roost, because that 250 in front sure liked sliding everywhere when it came on the pipe. The 525 rider was faster than us, and for the most part left us behind.

Then I rode w/ the 525 rider, he led partly, I led partly and this is where I rode the 230 as aggressively as can. Still, not enough to catch him on the straights, but in the whoops and tight trails, no problems at all keeping up the pace. We did 3 consecutive laps, about 7 mins/lap. IN total, I put in 7 laps total, in a 1.5hr time frame.

Close to sunset, with the two having gone home and me having a reserve of adrenaline and energy, took the 230 on the MX track. FIrst, I hit the kids track. Cleared every table top, working on throttling it just right to land it on the back face w/ front tire touching first. Then I worked on fanning the clutch through turns, trying to get into the meat of the torque to setup for a jump. Then, I got on the big track, and hit all the jumps as hard as can. Scary fun! And the Fastway footpegs certainly made a good bike even better.

The front did bottom on a couple of tabletop landings, but nothing harsh. The rear suspension landed me just fine. Got to rail all the deep berms, sliding high up onto the tank, dragging my pegs through the ruts. Nothing like catching that rollercoaster feeling when hitting a berm WFO! And finally, practiced on holeshotting out the gate, and doing double ups on the whoops on the track.

Considering the amount and variety of terrain I had put in on this bike this past weekend, I'll just close with saying this:

If there was such a thing as a "one bike does all", the 230F is the one in my book. :D:) This is such an easy ridiing bike that whatever is "perceived" as lacking, ...in my book?, usability ain't one of them.

Fire suit's on....back to your regularly scheduled 230F bashing :p

Great story, I'm going to pickup a new bike next month the crf230 is one of my final choices, kdx200 is other. Mostly putting with the kids, (xr50, xr70, xr80"wife"),but an occasional harescramble or enduro. You make the crf sound very promissing, and like your's is your wife bikes, mine will also get moved down to wife and daugher in the future. Sounds like it might be the right choice for me. And I'll be needing another xr50 so maybe can get a 2 bike discount.




You don't mention if you ever switched bikes with your 250 buddy. He sounds like a good riding buddy; sandbaggin' to stay together on the trail is a gentlemanly thing to do.


Great review!!!! :) Too bad the magizines can't do reviews like this.

I can see it now....the Honda dealers wrapped up in used CR-250s and KTM-525s, and a waiting list as long as your arm for 230s:-) YeeHaw!!!

Great story on the tight twisty trails minibikedad with the wife's 230! Sounds like you had a good time. Some of my friends, and other riders I meet at OHV parks ask me when I'm going to upgrade to a bigger faster bike. I tell 'em I'm not. I'm almost 50 yrs old, and am comfortable on my little 230. The next bike will again go to my son, who has graduated from an XR100 to a CRF230, then when he's around 16 or so to a 250(or bigger) of his choice.

Thanks again m-dad for the great ride report. It's always nice to read about a fun day from another rider. :)

ps... So, if your wife's bike is a 230, what do you ride? I thought you rode a 230 also! :):p



Sounds like you had a very fun day in the saddle.,Your story is just like every time I ride my 230(s) with my buds. I ride mainly on tight single track and I have had many different bikes over the years. I no longer compete, but overall I have MORE FUN on the CRF230 than I did on any of my other trail or race bikes.

Sure there are faster, more powerful and better suspended bikes to choose from. But on a smiles per mile basis, my 230 wins every time !!


ps... So, if your wife's bike is a 230, what do you ride?

...spent all of last year riding (& racing WORCS) on a CR 5 hunny, w/ Eric Gorr's mo' better everywhere engine work. This year, I'm racing (WORCS & H/S) on an '04 orange SX pinger! I'm a pinger guy-I gotta have that "hit", and I love to steer w/ the rear wheel.

I'm already planning on racing the 230F this year too, as this bike will be better suited for certain courses over my pinger. Come to think of it, next weekend , I'll race a WORCS on a Sat. on my pinger, and then race a 45mi. enduro the next day on the 230F.

Variety is the spice of liife !

I whole heartedly agree :) There is however ONLY ONE UNDISPUTABLE advantage to a 250. And that is YOU CAN GET tons of parts and fun accessories for it :) Im always going "Cool part, want one.... doh! none for the 230."

Other than that, I love the 230......

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