For years, Honda four-strokes battled with competitors’ two-strokes for supremacy on both the track and the sales floor. It’s still happening today with the CRF150R mini-motocross bike. Using a scaled-down, 149cc version of the Unicam engine that powers the CRF250R and CRF450R, this pint-size screamer is every bit the race tool as competitive two-strokes. Everything is downsized for maximum performance with minimum weight, including 17-inch front and 14-inch rear wheels, a 32.8-inch seat height (reasonable for a machine with nearly 11 inches of wheel travel), a jewel-like 420 chain in lieu of the 520 chain found on larger bikes, and a small 1.1-gallon fuel tank. The result is a feathery 185-pound race weight.
Kids have a stubborn habit of growing, and the CRF150R can do so right along with them. Here’s how: For $200 more, the CRF150R Expert comes with larger 19-inch front and 16-inch rear wheels and a 1.3-inch-taller seat, making it ready when your pre-teen turns into a teenager or when that teen’s growth curve spikes. The logical step upward from here is a 125cc or 150cc two-stroke or a 250cc four-stroke, but that’s another story…
Likes: Choice of wheel sizes, doubles as a smaller wife/girlfriend's bike
Dislikes: Carbureted engine lags behind four-stroke EFI technology
Verdict: A worthy four-stroke to challenge the two-stroke mini ranks