The 250F class is getting angry. Its skin is turning green, its shirt is ripping, and it’s looking for something to smash. It seems
like just a few years ago this class was a calm, smart place to be.
The motorcycles were fairly equal in strength, and if anyone had an
upper hand, it was by the smallest measure. Then, things started
heating up. Kawasaki, KTM and Yamaha took turns going a little
crazy, and now the 250 four-stroke world is a place where brawn
rules and power is the only law.
Honda tried to be above it all. The CRF250R played the role as
the smart guy in a room full of Hulks. The 2015 Honda was light, it
had the most sophisticated suspension and many riders said it was
the best-handling bike in the class. It was also the slowest. The
Hulks took turns smashing it. Now, Honda has brushed itself off and
returned with a number of significant motor changes. The idea was
to increase the brawn without decreasing the brain.
THE BEAST INSIDE
This isn’t a major change year for Honda. The list of things that are
the same on the CRF250R is much longer than the list of things that
aren’t. You have to know your Hondas pretty well to tell the difference
between a new motor and the very first one that appeared back in
2004. The Unicam head design still makes it very different from anything else in the class. Back in 2004 Honda was making a point that
you don’t need two cams and all the accompanying complications
to make power, and, in fact, there were a number of years that the
Honda was the horsepower king.
Honda made a number of motor changes for 2016
aimed at getting back into the 250 battle.