CRF250X vs. CRF250R – Which Dirt Bike Should I Buy?

Looking to buy a red dirt bike but not sure which one is better? While the CRF250R and CRF250X started off on similar platforms, there are some major differences between the two that make each better in its own way. The first question you should ask yourself is, “What kind of riding are you looking to do with it?”

Suspension – Racing or Trails?

Having the right suspension for the job will make all of the difference between two bikes. While this isn’t the only difference, it’s probably the most important. The CRF250R is a motocross bike; therefore it will have stiffer suspension and valving set up for racing on a track with big jumps and whoops. It’s still not going to fit you perfectly right out of the box, but it’s going to be a lot better of a starting point than if you were to get the 250X.

If you’re looking for something more than the typical, boring, air-cooled four-stroke trail machine, the CRF250X may be just the answer. It began production with the same frame design and style of the CRF250R, including the higher performance inverted-fork and shock set-up. While it may have better and more easily adjustable suspension than most other trail bikes, it’s still going to be pretty soft so you can go on long trail rides without getting worn out from stiff suspension bucking you around.

Engine

CRF250R
CRF250R

Do you like a fast-revving, high-horsepower, race engine, or do you want something that’s smoother with a broader power-band so it won’t scare you? For having almost the same engine design, there’s yet again some major differences between the two. The 250R has a larger stroke (smaller bore), a little higher compression, hotter camshaft, a close-ratio transmission, and EFI starting in 2010. These things all add up to making the motocross version of Honda’s 250F more snappy and begs the rider to twist the throttle.

On the flip-side, the CRF250X still has the same basic engine design. A less-radical cam makes it more trail friendly for smoother power, along with the lower compression. A wider transmission ratio also makes it great for trails, both tight and high-speed. A lower-flowing intake and exhaust set-up combine to make this bike tamer for the beginning riders in mind. The exhaust is considerably quieter, and has a spark-arrestor for state trail riding.

Light-weight vs. Trail Amenities

CRF250X
CRF250X

The more trail riding you want to do, the more accessories you’ll want to have on your bike. However, lightweight is the reason why the CRF250R handles so well. The options that are exclusive to the 250X that add the most weight are a kick-stand, electric start/battery, headlight/tail-light, airbox, larger-capacity gas tank, and exhaust system. Most of these mentioned are highly desirable for trail riding, but you will feel the weight difference if you ride both bikes back-to-back.

So the question is, what are the options worth to you, and how much off-road/trail riding will you be doing? A lot of riders that like the race form of the 250R will take it and add a few things to make it more ride-able in the woods and absolutely love it. However, if you are older and prefer E-start, a kick-stand, and soft suspension, you will enjoy the 250X more, even if it is down on power a little.

-Tom Stark

What Dirt Bike Should I buy?


One of the most common questions I hear when people start getting interested in dirt bikes is, “What dirt bike should I buy?” This is a very good question, but the answer can vary greatly. The decision doesn’t necessarily depend on your age, although you don’t really want to stick a 6 year old on a big 450cc motocross bike. These are the main deciding factors on which bike you should buy.

Two or Four stroke?

The first question that I would ask is, “Do you want a two or four stroke?” It is important to some people because they might have grown up on one or the other and only want that specific stroke.

Age

Now like I said before, age does not matter as much, but it does matter a little bit more if you are a kid. Riders from 3-5 will probably want to start out on a 50cc. All of the name brand companies make a 50cc bike. Riders older than 15 will usually start riding full-size bikes.

Riding Purposes

The next big question would be, “What kind of riding are you going to do?” Will it be motocross, trail-riding, desert, dual-sport, or a little of everything? This is the fork in the road where you pick the type of dirt bike you want to ride.

Motocross

If you are going to be riding motocross most of the time, then you have several options. For big bikes you can choose a 125cc two-stroke, 250cc two or four-stroke, or a 450cc four-stroke. If you are a beginner in motocross then the smaller bike is always going to be better, and if you want to learn the basic techniques and good riding skills then I suggest a 125cc two-stroke motocross bike. These are the best training bikes because they teach you how to ride a bike faster, smoother, and they require more skill to ride fast. Intermediates will usually choose 250cc bikes, and expert riders will often choose the 450cc four-stroke, but that’s not always the case.

Trail Riding

Enduro

There are many bikes that are great for trail riding. All of the name brand companies have four-stroke trail bikes that are usually 250cc and 450cc. Kawasaki, KTM, and other European companies have two-stroke trail bikes that range from 125cc to 300cc+. If you aren’t going to be doing night riding and are a beginning rider, Honda has a great line of small-bore four-stroke trail bikes. They have a CRF100F, 150F, 230F(which is rumored to be discontinued soon), and then there is the liquid-cooled CRF250F enduro with lights that is similar to a motocross bike. KTM has 125, 200, 250, and 300cc two-stroke trail bikes that are all great and have excellent power. If you want to be a better rider and have a little more fun then a two-stroke would be a great choice, but if you want a full-size four-stroke trail bike then a 250cc would be a good bike too, because they have plenty of power and are able to be street legal.

Dual-sport

Supermoto on WR250X

Like I mentioned before the 250cc and the 450cc are capable of being street legal(You can also get a two-stroke legal for the street, but it might be a little more difficult). They are both great bikes, but a novice rider should start out on the smaller bike. Every name-brand company has a 250cc liquid-cooled four-stroke bike and are all comparable. Suzuki has a DRZ400 which is more street-oriented with a few more options than the other bikes. Honda has the XR250R, 400R, and 650R/L that can be street legal, but are also great off-road. I wouldn’t suggest getting the big 400, 450, or 650cc bikes if you are new to riding because they have a lot of power and torque.

Desert

Riding In The Desert

Desert riding may not be common to most riders, but out in Phoenix, California, and other desert areas, riders go out and ride there all of the time. The bigger the engine, the easier it will be to get through the sand. The Honda XR650 is a very good bike if you are a better rider and like to go on trips to the desert because of all the torque it has. The smallest bike that you would want out there is a 125cc two-stroke, otherwise the sand will just eat you up.

Choosing the right dirt bike can be tough. There are many bikes to choose from, so make sure you pick the right bike. But that doesn’t mean that you can only buy one. Another way to find out what bike you want is to try out some friends bikes and see if you like it or not, and the more bikes that you try the better you will know what you want. If you find out what you like before you buy one then you are on track to getting a bike that fits your needs. Thanks for viewing, and remember to check back soon for my new post titled, “How To Buy a Dirt Bike“.

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If you have any questions, feel free to ask, because there is more detail that I can go into about this subject. Thanks

-Tom Stark