2013 Motorcycle & Motorcyclist of the Year

By Motorcyclist Staff, Photography by Kevin Wing

Best Dual-Sport 

Honda CRF250L

Huge Fun-For-Dollar

Thrills Honda's tactic for reigniting motorcycling might just boil down to "give more for less." Few of the truly new models from Big Red this year are technological groundbreakers or intended to make the multi-bike owner crack open his wallet to expand the fleet. Nope. Honda's put a laser sight on new riders, reentry riders, and even those who never thought they'd ever be motorcyclists. And hit the mark dead on.

A prime example is the new CRF250L. Built in Thailand and sold for a mere $4,699, Honda's latest dual-sport rises well above its station. Sure, it's not powerful. And, yes, the overall equipment specification suggests a machine that's less than race ready. But it undercuts fellow Japanese 250 dual-sports by at least $400, which goes some way toward riding gear and insurance for the newbies.

Freshly minted riders aren't the only ones likely to be pleased. The CRF is competent and cheerful, a bike that makes experienced riders grin and novices feel like they will be able to learn the ropes without getting hurt. It is just capable enough, just flexible enough, and just well enough developed that it feels like an entirely new and hugely welcome member of the dual-sport fraternity. It's a perfect playbike, with license plates.

Alternative Take

Husqvarna TR650 Terra

A moment of silence, please, for Husky’s likable and flexible TR650 Terra. It will not continue into Husky’s new ownership in the Pierer Group. And that’s a shame. The Kymco-built, liquid-cooled engine is strong and smooth, and the chassis a good combination of on-road comfort and trail-ready capability. Let’s hope someone reprises the idea behind the Terra.

By Motorcyclist Staff
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"It's what these guys do: defend old-tech machines by bridging the conversation from clanky machinery to unique engine architecture, significant historical precedent, the serenity of Lake Como, or some other specious attribute meant to make us look past obvious flaws."

Leave out the part about Lake Como - and you're describing a harley rider..
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