2017 Honda CRF250L Rally and CRF250L First Look Review

New tech and styling bring these CRFs into the modern fold.

CRF250L and CRF250L Rally
The new 2017 CRF250L Rally (right) and the bike it’s based off of, the new 2017 CRF250L.Photo composite by Julia LaPalme

Honda just announced today that its CRF250L will get updates for 2017, alongside the new CRF250L Rally. The Rally, based on the updated CRF250L, and inspired by the CRF450 Rally , gets a handful of features making it well suited for longer trips and adventures.

2017 CRF250L Rally front left studio
The new 2017 CRF250L Rally takes inspiration from its big brother and predecessor, the CRF450 Rally.Photo by Honda

The CRF250L Rally will feature the same 250cc engine as the non-Rally model, with the same updated engine, with revised PGM-FI and throttle body. Honda claims it will offer “solid bottom-end torque and substantial top-end power.” Given the puppy-dog personality of the 2016 CRF250L, we’re looking forward to seeing just how much this new engine is improved.

CRF250L Rally left side studio
The 2017 CRF250L Rally gets longer suspension travel and larger discs front and back.Photo by Honda

Along with tweaks to the engine, the CRF250L Rally features longer travel suspension than the base 250, (11 inches compared to 9.8 up front, and 10.3 inches versus 9.4 in the back) urging you to tackle more gnarly trails on your adventure. With the longer suspension, the CRF250L Rally’s rake is increased half a degree over its non-Rally counterpart, also giving the bike a longer wheelbase at 57.3 inches. Ground clearance benefits by over half an inch, and the seat height raises to 35.2 inches (only half an inch taller than the 2016 model, but about ¾ inch taller than the new CRF250L.)

2017 Honda CRF250L Rally headlights
The CRF250L Rally's asymmetrical headlights and turn signals are LED.Photo by Honda

Brakes are improved for the Rally, with a 296mm disc up front, up 40mm from the base CRF250L, which will help bring the 346-pound bike (nearly 25 up from the base 250L) to a stop. That extra weight is partly due to the Rally’s larger fuel tank, at 2.7 gallons. If the Rally gets similar gas mileage as the previous gen CRF250L, that could mean an additional 50 miles on a tank. Less range anxiety, more play time!

CRF250L Rally rear left studio
Seat height on the 2017 CRF250L Rally is taller than both the previous gen CRF250L, and the 2017 base CRF250L.Photo by Honda

The CRF250L Rally’s styling is new for 2017, with asymmetrical LED headlights and turn signals, rally-type “floating” windscreen, fairing and radiator shrouds. A new digital readout screen offers a fuel gauge and tachometer. The CRF250L Rally is available in Red/Black/White for $5,899, and will be available in March 2017.]

2017 Honda CRF250L cockpit
The 2017 Honda CRF250L Rally features a digital readout with fuel gauge and tachometer, and floating windscreen.Photo by Honda

The base CRF250L gets updates for 2017, including the updated engine with PGM-FI and a 38mm throttle body (up 2mm from 2016). The airbox was revised, along with a reshaped air boot and new exhaust with larger diameter head pipe to improve throttle response and low-end and midrange power. The engine also gets a new ECU.

2017 CRF250L in the dirt
A new ECU and 38mm throttle body are claimed to give the 2017 CRF250L “solid bottom-end torque and substantial top-end power.”Photo by Honda

Brakes and suspension on the 2017 CRF250L remain the same as the previous gen, and a minimal increase to the fuel tank. Ground clearance remains the same at 10”, but the seat gets shaved down 0.3 inches to 34.4 inches. A small victory for some vertically challenged riders! With bodywork and graphics “inspired” by the CRF450R, the new CRF250L comes in one color: Red. At $5,099, the new dual sport will be available in March 2017.

CRF250L front right studio
The 2017 CRF250L takes much of its styling cues from the 2017 CRF450R.Photo by Honda
PRICE $5,899
ENGINE 249.6cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke
FRAME Semi-double-cradle high-tensile steel frame
FRONT SUSPENSION 43mm telescopic inverted fork; 11-in. travel
REAR SUSPENSION Pro-Link single shock; 10.3-in. travel
FRONT BRAKE 296mm disc w/twin-piston caliper; ABS
REAR BRAKE 220mm disc; ABS
RAKE/TRAIL 28.1°/4.49 in.
WHEELBASE 57.3 in.
SEAT HEIGHT 35.2 in.
CLAIMED WEIGHT 346.1 lb. claimed wet
AVAILABLE March 2017