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CRF250X vs CRF250R – Which Dirt Bike Is Best For You?

Looking to buy a red dirt bike but not sure which one is better? While the CRF250X vs CRF250R 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.

CRF250X vs. CRF250R Which Dirt Bike Should I Buy CRF250X vs CRF250R - Which Dirt Bike Is Best For You?


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.

CRF250R power characteristics

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.

CRF250X power characteristics

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.

Which is better for trail riding?

The more trail riding you want to do, the more accessories you’ll want to have on your bike. The CRF250R is lightweight and handles well, but the suspension and power is not good for trail riding.

The CRF250X is clearly the better trail bike because it’s easier to ride and the suspension is more forgiving.

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.

CRF250X vs. CRF250R Which Dirt Bike Should I Buy 2 CRF250X vs CRF250R - Which Dirt Bike Is Best For You?

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.

CRF250F vs CRF250R

How about the CRF250F against the 250R? Well, that’s an even bigger gap because the 250F is a low-performance trail bike designed for beginners.

How to become a better rider

If you fit the CRF250X better, then I want to help you become a better and safer rider today.

To stay in control riding on the trails or off-road, you need proper riding technique. This is where a lot of new riders struggle because they try and teach themselves or learn from a friend, but they end up creating bad habits that cause you to ride out of control and crash more easily.

So, I want to show you how to ride with control and confidence off-road, click here to get started with proper riding technique.


Sunday 28th of April 2013

hi, what would be ur advice on a suitable bike for long enduro style rides, like all day mountainous rides, reliable and can travel long distances over a period of time without having engine problems? can the enduro bike suspension and frame take the jumps and falls? thanks

Kelley Fager

Monday 29th of April 2013

It depends on what your experience is and how big of a bike you want. A CRF250X will get the job done, but if you want more torque, the 450X, a KTM 450EXC, Yamaha WR450F, or KTM300EXC are good bikes. Honda's XR400 is a very reliable bike. The KLX300 and KLX400/DRZ400 are good bikes as well.