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Honda CRF80 Review – Who Is It A Good Dirt Bike For?

Looking to get a Honda CRF80 but not sure if it’s the right dirt bike for you or your kid?

In this review I’ll show you exactly what you’re getting into, who it’s a good bike for, and then some practical tips to make dirt biking more enjoyable and safer!

What is the Honda CRF80?

The CRF80 is a 4 stroke dirt bike for trail riding and beginner riders. It has a manual clutch with a 5-speed transmission and a kick-start.

It used to be called the XR80, but Honda changed the name and cosmetics/plastics to “CRF” in 2003.

The Honda CRF80 is a great beginner dirt bike for kids that want to learn how to use a clutch

Who is the Honda CRF80 for?

It’s a good bike for kids that want a small dirt bike with a clutch to learn how to ride and shift gears using the clutch. With a seat height of 28.9”, it’s good for kids that are 9, 10, or 11 years old.

It’s a simple, reliable, and easy to ride trail bike for beginners, but Honda doesn’t sell the CRF80 anymore. Honda stopped making the CRF80 in 2013 and replaced it with the CRF125F, which is slightly bigger in engine and bike size.

CRF80 vs CR80

The biggest differences are the engine, suspension, and size of the bike. The CRF80 is a smaller and less powerful 4 stroke trail bike for beginners, while the CR80 is a much faster 2 stroke motocross bike for racing.

Engine

With an 80cc air-cooled 4 stroke engine, it’s as smooth and reliable as it gets. This is what makes it such a great dirt bike to learn on as a kid.

It doesn’t have much power, so your son or daughter won’t get out of control easily. It’s one, if not the smallest dirt bike that has a clutch.

This means that if your kid already knows how to ride a dirt bike without a clutch and is ready for a manual dirt bike, this is a great transitional bike.

Suspension

The forks and shock are very simple but reliable. They’re nice and plush for kids, making it comfortable to ride off-road.

If you weigh over 100 lbs, it starts to get soft and bottoms out easily. So, if you’re an adult and want to turn your CRF80 into a pit bike, you’ll want to do some suspension mods.

Going to a stiffer shock and fork springs are a must. With that said, they’re easy to rebuild and parts are cheap.

Handling

With a lower seat height than most medium size dirt bikes, it handles well at low speeds and around tight turns. This is what makes it so nice if you’re a beginner that’s still learning how to ride a dirt bike.

One of the biggest mistakes new riders make is buying a dirt bike that’s too big or powerful. This makes it much harder to control, and therefore kills your confidence and motivation to become a better rider.

Size

It’s pretty close in size to the new small wheel CRF125F – they’re both good for 9-12 year olds, depending on your height.

Weight

The CRF80 isn’t built to be a “lightweight dirt bike”, but it feels lighter than a taller bike because the center of gravity is so low.

With that said, it’s about 30 lbs Lighter than the CRF125F that replaced it! Even though they’re about the same size, that’s a big difference in such a small dirt bike…

This is mainly because of the engine size and frame/swing-arm differences to be able to handle a heavier load. What does this mean though?

If your kid is just learning to ride, having a lighter dirt bike is much easier to handle and balance. It’s also safer and easier to pick up when they tip over.

Specs

Engine80cc air-cooled 4 stroke
Transmission5-speed manual clutch
Seat Height28.9” (73cm)
Weight164lbs. (wet w/ fluids)
Horsepower5HP
Top Speed35 MPH

CRF80F Model Years

Honda made the CRF80F from 2003 to 2013 when they discontinued it. No major changes were made throughout these years, so there’s no “best year” for the CRF80.

It got yearly graphics updates and an occasional plastic update, otherwise every year is virtually all the same. This makes it cheap and easy to find and replace worn or broken parts on it.

Any common issues?

Nope! The CRF80 is as reliable as it gets. Keep the air filter clean and change the oil when it’s dirty or low and it will last forever (figuratively)!

The only issue is really a problem when an owner takes advantage of its reliability. Sometimes they don’t maintain it, so it’s worn out and needs to be rebuilt when they’re ready to sell it.

Bottom Line: Is the CRF80 a good dirt bike?

Yes, the Honda CRF80 is a good dirt bike if you or your kid is the right size for it. It’s a great bike for learning how to use the clutch. Here are some quick pros and cons if you’re still unsure:

Pros:

  • Easy to ride for beginners
  • Smallest dirt bike with a clutch
  • Great for kids age 9-12 years old
  • Reliable
  • Affordable
  • Plenty of aftermarket parts to upgrade for an adult pit bike

Cons:

  • Honda stopped making them in 2013 – getting harder to find for sale used
  • Not as much power as newer dirt bikes of the same size
  • Kick-start only
  • Carburetor can get dirty easily if you let it sit for a while

How much is a Honda CRF80 worth?

The value really depends on your local market and the condition that it’s in. The year doesn’t really matter as much because they’re basically all the same.

For example, a CRF80 in poor condition might only be worth $800 when there’s low demand. However, you might have to spend up to $2000 or more for a clean one in a high-demand market.

CRF80 vs KLX 110

The biggest difference is that the CRF80 has a 5-speed manual clutch transmission and less horsepower, while the KLX 110 only has a semi-auto transmission and 3 or 4 gears depending on the year you get.

My recommendation? If you want a dirt bike with a clutch, get the CRF80.

Without a clutch? Get the KLX110.

How to ride with confidence off-road

Learning to ride with confidence and control requires you to properly use your body on the bike. I want to show you how to do that so you have more fun and help prevent crashes that could get you or your kid hurt. Click here to download my FREE basic techniques guide.