Honda introduced its all-new 2022 CRF250R today, following in the footsteps of the revamped CRF450R for 2021. But while it was obvious the 250 would benefit from the weight-reduction and slimmer feel that would trickle down from the 450, the 250 engine package had its own specific needs. When Honda introduced the previous-generation CRF250R in 2018, it focused on a high-revving engine design, including the distinctive twin-exhaust ports, and a DOHC head instead of Honda’s previous Unicam (SOHC) design. Back in 2018, Honda talked a lot about young, aggressive riders racing 250Fs and wanting max revs.
Times have changed. Besides the handling gains and weight reduction that come with switching to the new chassis, the engine is designed to produce more low-end and mid-range power. Specifically, Honda touts 20 percent more power at 6,500 RPM. You’ll note the dual exhaust is replaced by a single exhaust port leading into a single muffler. The airbox features a 78 percent more clean-side air filter capacity, and that improves torque. Lots of durability changes, as well, including 80 percent more oil flow to camshafts, a thicker water pump gear, and a new piston and connecting rod for improved strength and durability. Changes to the clutch improve overall clutch durability by 21 percent.
On the handling front, the frame is 1.5 pounds lighter and is a large contributor to the massive eight-pound weight reduction for the bike. Yes, eight pounds! The listed weight is 229 pounds. We have heard a bit of that weight reduction comes from a surprising switch to Pirelli tires instead of the traditional Dunlops. With narrower main spars and redesigned webbing at the swingarm pivot, the frame is 20 percent less rigid laterally. The triple clamps are also designed to be less rigid.
The bike sports the same looks as the latest CRF450R including many detail refinements, from a flatter seat to a significant reduction in width, to easier airbox servicing. We all know supply issues are making it hard to get bikes at your local dealership, but Honda says this CRF250R will be available in August.
Once again there will be closed-course off-road version of the bike, the CRF250RX. Compared to the motocross bike, you get off-road specific pieces like an 18-inch rear wheel, side stand and a bigger gas tank, plus off-road specific suspension and ECU settings. It retains a five-speed transmission. The off-road version should really benefit from the improved low-end power. It is six pounds lighter than the 2021 version of the RX. No specific release date for this bike yet, though.
Here’s ace development tester Kris Keefer with more on the bike.
Every year there is one bike that is the most anticipated and this year that title goes to the 2022 Honda CRF250R. Following in the footsteps of its bigger brother, the CRF450R the 250R adopts a lot of the changes the 450R had last year. So what do we know about the 2022 Honda CRF250R? Weege handled going over some of the technical aspects from the Honda PR department, but I thought I would give you my experience from the development side of things. The official first ride is scheduled for Monday in Oregon for most of the media, so be on the lookout for a full video right here on Racerxonline.com. Until then you guys can chew on some of these tidbits.
As most of you know the 2021 CRF250R lacked a little low to mid-range torque and just needed some more of that excitement down low to really compete with the Yamaha YZ250F in media comparison testing. Being involved in production testing means that I get to see/ride the machine since its inception and even though I don't ride 250F's all that much, I can say that the engineers have created an engine character that will hopefully please a wide range of riders. Let's face it, 250F's are mostly used for the younger generation, but we are starting to see a surge in vet riders purchasing 250 four strokes. Why? They are easier to ride, manage, handle, and can allow you to ride longer, which is what we all want as enthusiasts. More bang for your buck, right? Well, the problem with attracting those vet riders with the CRF250R is that it lacked the torque that larger, lazier-style riders need to get around the track efficiently. The 2022 CRF250R's engine character should be much better for the that rider. Going to a straighter exhaust port as well as increasing the size of the intake system helps get the air in quicker as well as more efficiently. Going back to a single sided muffler should also attract the consumer that wasn't a fan of the dual muffler system and basically just simplifies and allows for easier maintenance, in my opinion.
Some of the points of the machine I was vocal about during the testing process was torque feel, chassis rigidity, and better cooling. Some of you may think that test riders have A TON of say in the production process, but that simply isn't the case most of the time. For this project, the engineers really listened to what the consumer was looking for as well as heard what the test riders were feeling during evaluation days. The Honda CRF250R chassis has been one of the most fun feeling on the track, but getting the right balance is not always easy to do. Improving stability was one of the aspects that I thought the older generation frame needed and the Honda engineers listened and massaged the frame for the newfound horsepower. The 2022 CRF250R's wheelbase is now 10 mm shorter (at 58.1 inches), rake is relaxed by 0.02º (to 27.32º), trail remains at 115 mm, the seat height is unchanged at 37.8 inches, and ground clearance is increased by 3 mm (now 13.1 inches). Longitudinal rigidity is maintained for straight-line stability, while lateral rigidity is reduced by 20 percent to enhance handling feel when cornering. Those numbers may not mean much to you, but the new frame does feel significantly different than the 2021.
Keeping the 2022 CRF250R cool was important with adding more power, so Honda increased the thickness of the water pump gear as well as redesigned the radiators louvers. Doing this has helped keep the radiator fluid inside the radiators and also keeps it circulated while doing longer motos in deeper conditions. There are many more changes to the new CRF250R, but these are some of the points that really meant something to me. Riding this 2022 machine for almost two years now, I have been happy with the progress it has made over the course of its development. We will see how the production 2022 CRF250R works next week when we get to spin some laps at the Mt. View MX track and then stack it up against some of its competition later this year! Stay tuned to Racer X for a complete breakdown of the red machine!