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CRF250L - first impressions

  1. #1
    no can kneedown feralchimp's Avatar
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    CRF250L - first impressions

    After months of waiting, I took delivery of a former demo with 57 miles (and some not-yet-hooned oil) yesterday. My first thumper (RS125 doesn't count) and first bike with knobbies.

    Everyone online talks about how quiet the stock exhaust is, but I was still unprepared. A tech gave me an intro to the bike features, and started it up when we were still on the showroom floor. My thoughts quickly went from "Is he really going to start it in here?" to "Wow." A couple folks were having a normal conversation a few feet away, and they didn't need to raise their voices. Maybe a little louder than a 50cc 4-stroke scooter. It's the sound of basic transportation; it says "better than walking or pedaling."

    The clutch pull is super light, and first gear is really short so it's easy to get going without slipping it at all. Which is good, because reports out of Thailand / AsiaPac / Oceania are that clutch lifetime is an issue with this bike.

    This morning's ride was Union Sq -> Harvard Sq. -> Mt. Auburn -> Watertown -> Rt 20 -> Waltham -> Trapelo Rd; no highway but up to 45-50 in pretty heavy traffic. Drivers were up to their usual shenanigans; got cut off a few times, had a sketchy moment where someone turned left in front of me, someone failed to let me merge left so 25-30ft of the commute *may* have touched some sidewalk, left mirror may have touched the side of a bus at one point. And I ride like a granny, so I'm starting to see how folks get into fun-related trouble on dual sports and motards...this thing just makes me want to dodge and weave all over the place.

    Anyway, after the first 12 miles or so:
    - super smooth motor; obviously not a lot of power but surprisingly torquey for so little noise
    - amazingly smooth gear changes
    - still getting used to knobbies; they seem to like to tip in and then dance around a little, but are definitely grippy and getting on the power seems to help (might also just be a bike geometry thing?)
    - definitely not enough front brake for me to recommend as a first street bike, BUT
    - lots of engine braking
    - love the gas gauge and overall design of the digital dash
    - wish it had a tach; hard to hear revs with such a quiet exhaust
    - I'm 5-10, and prefer to one-foot it at stop lights. The bike is so light I can walk it forward up a slight grade with that one foot, though.
    - vibrations through the bars bothered me a little

    Overall:
    Love it. Extremely fun, back-to-basics motorcycle. Feels very "planted" over crappy pavement, motor/gearing definitely don't rocket you around but never seem to break a sweat either. Will definitely hold onto the ZRX and the Multi for other uses (anything where a real front brake is indicated), but for putting around town I bet I'll be reaching for this one again and again.

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    -Jared
    ZX-6R, 701 E/SM, Hyperstrada 821

  2. #2
    Banned Rambunctous's Avatar
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    Re: CRF250L - first impressions

    I liked your write-up. Thanks a lot. I enjoyed it. Keep us posted. Let me know how you do in the trails.

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  3. #3
    Old and Slow Sheppo's Avatar
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    Re: CRF250L - first impressions

    great write up

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  4. #4
    no can kneedown feralchimp's Avatar
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    Re: CRF250L - first impressions

    Thanks guys; took it out again at lunch...there's a hill with a bunch of concrete ripples that normally has me out of the seat and jangling on the ZRX; on the CRF I just scoot my butt back, lean down and hit the gas. Whee!

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    -Jared
    ZX-6R, 701 E/SM, Hyperstrada 821

  5. #5
    no can kneedown feralchimp's Avatar
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    Re: CRF250L - first impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by Rambunctous View Post
    the trails
    There's some dirt islands at the Rt.2 / Rt.16 interchange that look fun.

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    -Jared
    ZX-6R, 701 E/SM, Hyperstrada 821

  6. #6
    Senior Member B440's Avatar
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    Re: CRF250L - first impressions

    nice! I want one. Just need to pay something off first

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  7. #7

    Re: CRF250L - first impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by feralchimp View Post
    Anyway, after the first 12 miles or so:
    - super smooth motor; obviously not a lot of power but surprisingly torquey for so little noise
    - amazingly smooth gear changes
    - still getting used to knobbies; they seem to like to tip in and then dance around a little, but are definitely grippy and getting on the power seems to help (might also just be a bike geometry thing?)
    - definitely not enough front brake for me to recommend as a first street bike, BUT
    - lots of engine braking
    that sort of reminds me of the older XR series - torquey, easy pull clutch, smooth as silk gear box, terrible squishy brakes

    but very nice, looking forward to more reports!

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  8. #8
    Lifer
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    Re: CRF250L - first impressions

    I have the older and very different CRF230L which I purchased so my wife can also practice. I do enjoy taking it on my 5 mile commute. At 268lbs wet, it is probably the lightest Japanese street legal bike out there. I read such wonderful reviews of the CRF250L that I'd consider upgrading to if it wasn't 2.5" taller and probably a tad too tall for my wife. Thanks for the nice review.

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    Ducati Scrambler Icon, Ducati Multistrada 1200S, VFR/Interceptor, CRF250L/M, CRF230L

  9. #9
    TRACK RAT!!!!! Pigman's Avatar
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    Re: CRF250L - first impressions

    There is a guy on SMJ that has one allready tricked out.....great around the town bike

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  10. #10
    no can kneedown feralchimp's Avatar
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    Re: CRF250L - first impressions

    Put 70 miles on after 11pm last night; trying/failing to beat the heat and just scribbling over different neighborhoods.

    There's more front brake available than I thought, but it does take a lot more squeeze to get at it and engine braking is still what you'd want to be using most of the time.

    Maybe it's the novelty still, but by the end of the night I started having crazy thoughts like "sell other street bikes and get a Goldwing, because touring is the only non-track activity for which I'd ride something else."

    Like I said, crazy thoughts.

    Mild butt soreness by the end of the ride too; clutch lever likes to buzz a bit so I might but some kind of rubber damper near the pivot point.

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    -Jared
    ZX-6R, 701 E/SM, Hyperstrada 821

  11. #11
    no can kneedown feralchimp's Avatar
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    Re: CRF250L - first impressions

    Took it on the highway (Rt 2) this morning to get a taste of 6th gear. I weigh about 150.

    Not great up hill, but decent top end left above 60mph, especially with tuck. I didn't wring it all the way out because I'm trying to abide by at least part if the break in recommendations, but I bet it'd do 75 without complaint.

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    -Jared
    ZX-6R, 701 E/SM, Hyperstrada 821

  12. #12
    Soul Rider Paul_E_D's Avatar
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    Re: CRF250L - first impressions

    If you put bark busters on, they will quell the vibes a good deal.

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    Paul_E_D


  13. #13
    TRACK RAT!!!!! Pigman's Avatar
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    Re: CRF250L - first impressions

    This is what I was looking at for my WR450 sumo...worth every penny I think


    http://seatconcepts.com/products#!/~...=0&sort=normal

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