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Honda CRF100 Review – Is It The Right Bike For You?

Is Honda still making the CRF100, and is it the right bike for you? I’m going to answer those questions for you in this article, and I’ll also cover the practical info you need about this Honda dirt bike to make the best decision possible.

Who is the Honda CRF100 for?

The CRF100 is a classic Honda 100 four-stroke trail bike for kids around the age of 10-13 that want to learn how to ride a dirt bike with a clutch. It’s easy to ride, very forgiving, and a good size dirt bike for kids or if you’re an adult with short legs.

The CRF100F is actually the same dirt bike as the older Honda XR100R – it just has a slightly different name and plastics/cosmetics.

A stock, used 2005 Honda CRF100. They're good and reliable beginner bikes for kids, teens and short riders

Engine

The engine is a 100cc air-cooled 4 stroke, which means it’s not a race engine, but it’s super reliable and makes smooth power. This is important if you or your son or daughter is new to dirt biking.

Having a dirt bike with predictable power helps build confidence right away because you can focus on learning all of the proper riding techniques, rather than trying to control the excessive amount of power.

If you’re buying a “first dirt bike” for your kid, girlfriend, or wife, please don’t start them on a motocross or race bike. You may think it’s cool, but if they’re timid or lacking confidence, the unforgiving nature of the high-performance dirt bike will just reassure them that they’re “not meant to ride” because it’s so hard to control the bike.

Suspension

For beginners, you want soft suspension to absorb the dirt and off-road terrain to make riding comfortable at low speeds. This is exactly what the CRF100 offers with its simple and reliable shock and forks.

As long as you don’t weigh over 120lbs, the suspension will handle light to moderate trail riding. Once you start riding more aggressively, you’ll want to add stiffer springs so that it won’t bottom out the suspension, especially if you’re heavier.

Handling

For a mid-size trail bike, I like the handling of the Honda CRF100F because it’s low to the ground and the ergonomics are comfortable. The layout of the handlebars and flatter seat than the older style XR100 make it easier to move around on the bike when cornering.

With a lower center of gravity, this trail bike will help build your confidence riding in the woods because it’s easy to lean over in the corners. The short wheelbase also helps it turn at low speeds, which is important because you need to practice your balance and traction at low speeds to give you more control before you ride faster.

Size

At 30.9”, the seat height is comfortable if you or your kid is between 4’8” and 5’4” tall. That’s a fairly wide range, but it also depends on your inseam length. With longer legs, taller handlebars might help if you don’t want to move to a bigger dirt bike yet, like the CRF150F.

Even if you’re a slightly taller/larger adult, the CRF100 is still a great dirt bike to learn on. Being able to touch the ground with your foot is a good confidence booster as a beginner to prevent falling over.

Weight

Coming in at about 170lbs, the CRF100F is not exactly light for a 100cc dirt bike, but it’s still considerably less than other medium size dirt bikes. The CRF80 is the next size smaller, but it only weighs about 10 lbs less than the 100.

Specs

Engine99cc air-cooled 4 stroke SOHC
Transmission5-speed
Seat Height30.9”
Weight174lbs. (wet)
Horsepower8HP
Top Speed45MPH

Model Years

The CRF100F was made from 2004 to 2012 when Honda discontinued it for the coming CRF125FB. There were no major changes in all those years. The graphics were updated each year, and then the plastics/seat cover slightly changed in color scheme.

Issues?

The CRF100F, like the XR100, had no glaring issues that you should be concerned about. With that said, since it is so reliable of a dirt bike, many owners (often kids) did not take care of it very well.

When looking at a used model, make sure it has the right amount of oil, that the air filter is clean, and that the overall bike is straight and not missing anything. I’ve looked at some used and abused dirt bikes before, but the Honda 100’s are usually the worst – because they’re so durable.

Bottom Line: Is the CRF100 a good dirt bike?

For the right rider, the Honda CRF100F is a great bike, especially if you’re on a budget. Below are some reasons why you should or shouldn’t get one:

Pros:

  • It’s easy to ride and beginner friendly
  • Low seat height if you’re under 5’4”
  • Learn to ride with a clutch is made easier than a high-performance bike
  • Usually affordable in the used dirt bike market
  • Very reliable and durable
  • Good resale value – you can usually sell it for close to what you paid for it
  • Still plenty of mods available to make it faster
  • Plush suspension if you’re a beginner

Cons:

  • No electric start
  • Getting harder to find in good condition
  • Honda stopped making them in 2012
  • Too big for most kids under 4’6”

XR100 vs CRF100

They’re basically the same dirt bike. Honda updated the name from “XR” to “CRF” in 2004 to give it a more modern look and sound. The “F” at the end of 100F simply means that it’s a trail bike.

How to ride with confidence off-road

Ready to go riding but want to learn how to be a good rider? Starting on a beginner-friendly dirt bike is a good choice to build your confidence, but you need to learn how to use your body to ride with control off-road.

I want to help you get started with a free training guide that will teach you the basics. Tap here to download it.