If ever there was a bike that would have benefited from fuel injection, it was the 2006-'09 Honda CRF250R. Even with its phenomenal chassis and light handling, the previous 250R was held back by its lack of fueling refinement, notorious for bogging and a bear to jet right. Thank goodness for the 2010 CRF250R.
The new 250R is the first production quarter-liter motocrosser to be delivered with EFI, and it's a wonderful thing. The Honda PFM-FI (Programmed Fuel Management Fuel Injection) works flawlessly, metering fuel through the Keihin 50mm throttle body for smooth, precise throttle response. The bike barks, yips, growls and purrs at your command-just wiggle your throttle hand and listen. It's immediate, predictable, functional and fun. It's more efficient, too: With the perfect air/fuel ratio provided at all times, no fuel is wasted, so the new 250R can run just as long in spite of its gas tank measuring .4 of a gallon smaller than last year.
EFI isn't the only change for 2010. The 250R was redesigned from the dirt up, and uses many of the same components and technology as its 450cc sibling. In fact, almost everything you see on the two bikes is interchangeable. Some 95 percent of the frame is identical, with only the engine cradle and motor mounts being modified to hold the 250cc mill and optimize chassis balance. Engine updates include Honda's latest Unicam cylinder head, which contributes to a shorter engine for better mass centralization while maintaining the high-rev capabilities of a DOHC design. The '09 model's dual exhaust has been scrapped, replaced by a traditional single pipe with a shorter header that brings the muffler forward, closer to the bike's center of gravity.
The CRF250R's crisp throttle response rivals that of earlier two-stroke machines. Although
Those engine updates make a big difference in performance. The 250R makes serious power from the midrange right on up to the 13,500-rpm rev limiter. And it delivers it quickly without running out of steam; it doesn't rev out and beg for a shift like the '09 model. Rather, the new bike is equally happy to pull a tall gear or tickle the rev limiter. On the racetrack, the directness of EFI takes center stage. It doesn't stumble down the straights or hiccup on landings. And with zero hesitation out of turns, it functions as precisely as you do.
In terms of handling, the 250R is quick-steering and ultra-light-feeling. The bike turns into corners intuitively and settles in nicely. It's light and flickable in the air and highly responsive to rider input. The new Showa suspension works very well; maybe even better than the Kayaba bits on the 450R.
The 2010 CRF250R is well-behaved in tight turns and on full-throttle straights-and everywhere in between.