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Honda CRF250F Review & Specs: Why It’s NOT Right For You

Looking to get a Honda CRF250F but not sure if this dirt bike is right for you? Whether you’re buying your first dirt bike or looking to upgrade to a 250cc trail motorcycle, you’re in the right place!

In this review, I’ll cover the practical info you need, such as size, power, weight, and handling, as well as some comparisons to help you decide if this is the best dirt bike for you.

What Is The Honda CRF250F?

The crf250f is a 250cc air cooled four stroke trail bike. It’s designed for new riders who want a dirt bike that’s easy to ride and reliable.

Honda discontinued the crf230f and introduced this bike as the newer model in 2019. I’ll cover the differences later in this article.

2021 Honda CRF250F 1 Honda CRF250F Review & Specs: Why It's NOT Right For You
2021 CRF250F

CRF250F Engine Characteristics

Going back to a standard 250cc displacement (compared to the 223cc CRF230), the CRF250F has a little more overall power, especially mid-to-top-end horsepower. 

The CRF230 wasn’t lacking low-end torque, but it just ran out quickly on top, so the 250F has a little better spread. It’s still a torquey engine with good power right off of idle, making it easy to learn how to use the clutch.

Keep oil in it, change the air filter when it gets dirty, and it’s sure to last a long time, just like any Honda trail bike.

From 6-speed to 5-speed transmission

Most riders won’t tell a difference, but it’s definitely a change from the previous CRF230F, which had 6 gears. The 5-speed tranny on the new CRF 250F works well, but the biggest difference will be managing 1st and 5th gear.

Depending on your gearing, you have to either sacrifice low speed riding and use more clutch control, or you have to lower your cruising speed because the engine will be at a higher RPM.

With one less gear, you can’t have quite as wide of a spread from first to 6th gear. This will only affect you if you’re riding tight and technical trails and cruising down fire roads at high speed all in the same day/ride.


A stock CRF250F has about 23 horsepower, which makes about 20 HP at the rear wheel. This may not sound like much compared to the CRF250R MX bike at close to 40 HP, but it’s actually not a very important number.

2021 Honda CRF250F 2 Honda CRF250F Review & Specs: Why It's NOT Right For You

You see, peak horsepower doesn’t mean much, especially if you’re just a trail rider or casual off-road rider. The max power is only important when you hold the throttle wide open and stay at the RPM (7500 RPM).

Why less “peak HP” is better

In reality, the low-end torque is more important for the Honda 250F trail bike because you’ll be riding at a lower RPM more often. This is where the CRF250F is great because it has good, smooth power from idle, all the way up to peak power.

Not only is it easier to ride if you’re a beginner learning to ride, but it’s less exhausting because it’s easier to control. Using the clutch is also easier since you don’t have to slip it as much.

Top speed

With a max speed of about 60 mph, there’s not much to say because who cares about top speed unless you’re drag racing on flat ground? The slightly more important number is how quickly you can get there, and that can be easily changed.

Want to accelerate faster and don’t mind a lower top speed? Install a larger rear sprocket.
Need a higher top speed so that you can cruise down gravel roads at a higher speed? Use a smaller rear sprocket with less teeth.

2022 Honda CRF250F with aftermarket exhaust, hand guards and case cover
2022 CRF250F with some mods

Quiet riding keeps trails open

If you ride on state trails or private land that has sound regulations or neighbors that could complain, the CRF250F is a great choice. The stock exhaust is very quiet, at around 85 decibels, compared to a high-performance enduro bike or motocross bike.

As long as you keep the stock exhaust on with the baffle in, you’re not likely to bother anyone with noise. It also has a USFS-approved spark arrestor that’s needed for trail riding in the U.S.

CRF250F Suspension expectations

Unfortunately, you can’t get high performance suspension from a budget dirt bike, so Honda did not make any major upgrades to the forks and shock. With that said, it is a little bit beefier than the CRF230F to handle more weight (partially from the bike…).

Rear shock

It’s soft, and that’s totally fine if you’re a beginner. It will soak up the small bumps and trail chop nicely, especially if you’re riding at slower speeds.

The rear shock still struggles to perform once you start pushing the pace, especially on rough terrain. You can adjust the preload for your weight, which is important, but there’s no compression or rebound adjustments.

Front forks

The stock front forks are nice and plush, with 8.5 inches of travel. They’re nice and plush, making it comfortable if you’re new to riding, but they’re a little too soft if you weigh over 200 lbs or are an aggressive rider.

The forks can be sent to a tuner that specializes in conventional DR forks to get it to perform pretty well, and the cost is quite a bit less than more complex modern forks.

The biggest thing is making sure the springs are setup for your weight, and then adjust the sag/ride height for your weight.


The CRF250F is a full-size dirt bike for adults and teens because it has 21 and 18-inch wheels, but it’s definitely smaller than a typical 250 enduro or MX bike. Not only is the seat height lower, but the wheelbase is shorter.

This combination makes the 250F trail bike handle well at low speeds and tight areas, which is perfect for learning to ride a motorcycle. It’s easy to lean and turn, so it’s easy to handle, even though it’s somewhat heavy.

2021 Honda CRF250F 3 Honda CRF250F Review & Specs: Why It's NOT Right For You

CRF250F Weight

The biggest drawback of the CRF250F, besides the suspension, is the weight. The XR200 was fairly lightweight, but then the updated CRF230F got heavier (partly due to the electric start), and then the CRF250F gained even more weight (about 16 lbs.). 

At 265 pounds, it’s not very noticeable for casual trail riding because the center of gravity is much lower than bigger enduro bikes. However, you’ll notice the weight when you have to pick it up off the ground, but you shouldn’t be falling often if you have proper riding technique.

Seat height – is it the right size for you?

The CRF250F seat height is 34.8 inches, which is about 3 inches lower than your average 250 enduro bike. This makes it easier to touch the ground and give you more confidence as a newer rider.

So, even though it’s heavy, the CRF250F is still a good beginner bike if you’re an average size adult or taller teenager. If you’re a short guy or a girl looking for your first dirt bike, you might want to consider something like the KLX140L or TTR125.

Can you lower a CRF250F?

Want the advantages of a full-size dirt bike but need a lower seat height? If you’re a short rider, installing a lowering linkage (Amazon) is a quick and easy way to lower the seat height about 1.75 inches – down to about 33.0″.

Kouba Lowering Link CRF250F Honda CRF250F Review & Specs: Why It's NOT Right For You

This affects the handling, so you’ll want to lower the forks to balance the suspension. And when you’re taller or have better balance, you can reinstall the stock linkage to get better handling and raise the seat back up.

Honda CRF250F Specs & Dimensions

These are the specifications according to Honda:

Years Made2019 – Current
Engine249cc air-cooled 4 stroke 4-valve
Transmission5-speed manual-clutch
Seat Height34.8” (88.4cm)
Weight (wet/curb)265lbs.
Horsepower/Torque23 HP/17 ft. lb.
Cost (New)$4,999 MSRP

Is the CRF250F street legal?

No, the CRF 250F does not come street legal from the factory. It doesn’t have any lights, horn, DOT tires, or other equipment needed to be legal to ride on the road.

With that said, some states may allow you to register it for road riding with the proper modifications to make it legal.

Is the CRF250F good for dual sport riding?

Even if you can get the CRF250F plated to ride on the road, I wouldn’t consider it a very good bike for dual sport riding. It needs lighting and the transmission is better for off-road riding at lower speeds.

It’s also lacking in the power department for highway riding, and it’s not the most comfortable to sit on for hours at a time. The CRF250L would be a much better dual sport bike than the CRF250F.

What’s the difference between the CRF250R & CRF250F?

The CRF250R is a high performance motocross bike built specifically for racing on tracks with jumps. A CRF250F is a lower performance trail bike that’s built to be comfortable for riding on trails for beginners or if you don’t care about going very fast.

Even though they’re both 250cc and have a “CRF” in the model name, the 250R and 250F models are very different dirt bikes when it comes to the engine, suspension and overall size.

CRF250F vs CRF230F

The biggest changes are the engine and fueling system on the 250F, but there are quite a few minor changes between these two 4 stroke trail bikes from Honda. 

Engine comparison 230 vs 250

The CRF250F has a 26cc bigger engine and 4 valves instead of two. It’s completely different, and as a result has more midrange and top-end power than low-end torque compared to the older 230. 

The CRF250F gets an upgraded fuel injection system, which I think is a big improvement over the very outdated carb that came on the CRF230F. 
It’s capable of making much more power, and there’s no jets to change or worry about tuning it for different elevation riding. 

With that said, you’re going to have to spend more since the CRF250F is still pretty new and the 230 has been around since 2003. 

Weight & suspension differences [230F vs 250F]

The forks are 41mm compared to the CRF230F’s 37mm, which means they’ll flex less with a heavier rider and be a little more stable. 

Weight is a noticeable difference, with the 250F being 16 pounds more than the 230F. It’s slightly bigger, but not by much. Overall, it’s just built for a slightly bigger rider, but it’s still easy to ride for beginner adults and teens. 

Modded 2005 Honda CRF230F
CRF230F with Bruce Triplett modified forks.

CRF250F Price – new or used?

The new price (MSRP) is $4,999 in the United States. The “OTD price” varies depending on your local dealer and the fees they may or may not charge.

You can find a used model for about 3500-5000, depending on your local market supply and demand.
Is it worth it to buy used?

If you can find one that’s considerably less that was well maintained, it might be worth buying used if you’re on a tight budget.

Best CRF250F mods

This “beginner bike” has a lot of potential with the slightly bigger engine, suspension, and fuel injection. It’s still new, so there isn’t a huge aftermarket supply yet, but it’s slowly coming out.
These are some of the top upgrades & performance parts for your CRF250F:

  • Fork upgrade
  • Rear shock upgrade
  • Intake mod
  • Exhaust upgrade
  • Fuel tuner

Is a CRF250F a good beginner bike?

The CRF 250F is a great beginner bike if you’re an adult or teen that is the right size for this bike. I’ll cover it more later, but the biggest drawback is the weight of this 250f. It will be a little bit hard to handle if you’re a smaller or weaker rider.

With that said crf250f is very easy to ride because the engine is smooth and predictable and the suspension is plush and comfortable for riding at low speeds.

CRF250F Pros:

  • Very easy to ride for teens & adults
  • Super reliable
  • Good handling at low speeds & in the woods – weight isn’t that noticeable
  • Electric start & fuel injection reduce a lot of frustration
  • Has potential if you’re willing to upgrade the suspension
  • Power is not a problem – especially if you seek out the right mods
  • Affordable compared to enduro bikes
  • Simple & easy to maintain

CRF250F Cons:

  • It’s a little bit heavy when you drop it
  • The suspension is lacking for hardcore trail rider

Is the CRF250F the right dirt bike for you?

So, if you haven’t figured out if this is the best dirt bike for you, then I’ll cover the quick facts to help you.

You should get a CRF250F if you:

  • Are new to dirt biking
  • Transitioning from riding on the street to off-road
  • Want a simple, reliable bike that’s easy to ride
  • Don’t like dealing kickstart or carburetors
  • Are at least 5’4″ tall or have good balance
  • Want to learn proper technique to become a better trail rider faster
  • Don’t need mega horsepower
  • Want a great single track trail bike
  • Enjoy modifying parts as you go

You should NOT get a CRF250F if you:

  • Want a high performance dirt bike for aggressive riding
  • Want the lightest dirt bike available
  • Prefer kickstart and a carburetor
  • Would rather mix and smell 2 stroke premix
  • Are desert racing at high speeds

Will the CRF250F make you a better rider?

If you’re just getting into off-road riding, then the CRF250F is a great dirt bike to start on. It will make you a better rider faster because it’s easy to ride and very forgiving, but there’s one mistake that many new riders make that makes it harder to ride with control.

It starts with your riding technique, and if you’re just learning on your own or from a friend, then it’s easy to make bad habits and not learn all the safe techniques, which is why I want to help you get started the right way. Click here to learn more.