CRF250F vs CRF250R – Which Dirt Bike Is Best For You?

Looking to get a Honda 250 four-stroke but not sure if the CRF250F or CRF250R is right for you?

One is a trail bike, while the other is an MX bike. I’m going to cover all of the practical info you need so that you can decide which dirt bike is best for you. 

CRF250F vs CRF250R differences

These Honda dirt bikes have very distinct characteristics and are completely different types of bikes. 

The CRF250F is an air-cooled trail bike, and the CRF250R is a liquid-cooled motocross bike. The 250R is a high performance bike, but that doesn’t mean it’s better. 

Keep reading to learn more about each Honda dirt bike and to figure out which is best for you. 

What does the F stand for?

The F in CRF simply means four-stroke. The F in 250F means that it’s the trail bike version of their 250cc dirt bikes. 

Is the CRF250F a good beginner bike?

The CRF250F is an excellent beginner bike if you’re over 5’4″. It’s a much better beginner bike because the power is smooth, predictable, and very forgiving. 

Honda crf250f beginner dirt bike CRF250F vs CRF250R - Which Dirt Bike Is Best For You?
Honda CRF250F

Which is better for trail riding?

Depending on what type of trails you’re doing, the CRF250F is better for trail riding. The smooth power, soft suspension and wide ratio transmission are better for most types of trails. 

A CRF250R would be better at more open, fast-paced trails if you have the skill to ride aggressively. 

Power & speed

Both bikes are 250cc 4 strokes, but the engines are vastly different. The CRF250R engine is tuned for maximum horsepower, while the CRF250F is tuned for low-end torque and rideability. 


The 250R requires you to rev the engine much higher to accelerate quickly. It’s harder to ride and will wear you out quicker, but the powerful engine is best for racing on a motocross track. 

The 250F has a smooth power curve, making it easy to ride. You can ride at a much lower RPM, and it’s forgiving because it won’t surprise you with too much power of you rev it out. 

Suspension & handling

The forks and shock couldn’t be more different between these two bikes. That doesn’t mean one is always better than the other because they’re each targeted for a specific type of rider. 

The 250F

The CRF250F has conventional style forks that are very simple and not externally adjustable. They’re good because they’re reliable, soft, and plush to soak up rocks, logs and roots on the trails.

They’re not good for jumping or racing because you’ll be bottoming them out very easily. The shock is soft and non adjustable as well, aside from the preload. 

As far as handling goes, the CRF250F is shorter and steers quicker due to its frame geometry. This simply means that it turns and handles better at lower speeds, making it good for right, single track trails and learning to ride in 1st or 2nd gear. 

The 250R

Want the latest in suspension for jumping and racing MX? The CRF250R has high tech suspension with more travel. It’s much more complex then the trail bike, but it can be safely ridden at aggressive speeds. 

The CRF250F vs CRF250R comparison is not even close; they're completely different bikes.

The CRF250R is built to handle corners and ruts on the track well, but it’s taller and longer, making it top heavy and slower steering. This is better for jumps and whoops, but not sure tight single track trails. 

Price difference

There’s a pretty big price difference between these two bikes, especially when buying new. A CRF250R is $7999 MSRP, while the CRF250F is $4599. 

Which is better for you?

So, if you haven’t figured out which Honda 250 is best for you, I’ll break it down even more for you. 

You should get the CRF250F if you:

  • Are new to dirt biking
  • Plan to ride trails at a conservative pace
  • Prefer simplicity and reliability
  • Are transitioning from a small or midsize trail bike
  • Are an older guy/gal getting (back) into riding off-road

You should get the CRF250R if you:

  • Plan to ride/race motocross
  • Have riding experience and are confident in your control off-road
  • Are an aggressive trail rider on faster trails

How to become a better rider

If you fit the bill for choosing the CRF250F, then I want to help you become a better and safer rider. 

To be in control and confident riding off-road, you must learn proper riding technique. This is where many new riders make bad habits, because they’re just trying to figure it out on their own. 

So, I want to give you some proper riding tips to get started. Click here to learn more. 


Kelley Fager

I help newer riders learn to safely ride with confidence by teaching basic techniques in a way that's easy to understand. Learn To Ride With Control Here

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