2013 Honda CRF110F | First Ride Test
2013 Honda CRF 110 F Review
After hitting rock bottom over the last four years, the off-road motorcycle market is starting to rebound. Honda realizes that new riders are the key to growth in the motorcycle market, and the all-new 2013 Honda CRF110F caters to youngsters looking to either get started off-roading, or moving up from a smaller bike.
The most interesting aspect of the CRF110F is the size of the chassis relative to the air-cooled two-valve motor’s displacement. The CRF110F replaces the CRF70F size-wise, making it smaller than the older, larger-engine, manual clutch CRF80F and CRF100F that are still in the Honda off-road motorcycle line.
Honda has realized that many youngsters are ready for more power, but not quite ready for a larger motorcycle. The CRF110F delivers the power in a way that is beginner-friendly, as well as satisfying to the more experienced rider. The automatic clutch makes the bike accessible to anyone who fits the small frame–seat height is a mere 26.3 inches–and the four-speed transmission is easily shifted.
A throttle limiter keeps the power in check for riders who want a more gradual transition from the CRF50F (a bike with a seat 4.7 inches lower and weighing 52 fewer pounds). Ultimate MotorCycling always recommends that parents buy a bike that fits a youngster immediately, and he should never be expected to “grow into” a bike. Let the rider be in full control from the first twist of the throttle, and let him fully outgrow a dirt bike before moving him to the next level.
Test rider Cole Cullins, who is eight-years old, is an experienced off-roader, and he took to the CRF110F quickly. The first thing he liked – electric starting (a kickstarter is there if the battery dies). After a few exploratory laps around the course at Honda Red Rider Ranch, and some instruction from former women’s champion motocrosser Mercedes Gonzales, Cole was twisting the CRF’s throttle hard and putting in some fast laps.
It is difficult to find fault with the Honda CRF110F’s design. Along with the low seat height, the CRF-F has suspension with a bit less than four inches of travel, less than seven inches of ground clearance (and no skid plate), plus a 14-inch front wheel and 12-inch rear hoop. This means that trail obstacles have to be kept small.
But, put this bike on a smooth trail and a budding hot shoe can buzz along at a good pace. Hitting a square-edged bump at (relatively) high speed showed the CRF110F’s limits, and Cole did go down. Muddied, but not bloodied, the CRF110F was undamaged, though the shift lever will always be vulnerable in a fall (keep a spare handy).
Cole had no complaints about the operation of the brakes, shifter or throttle. He was able to slide the bike around, using either the throttle or the brakes. The Chinese-made CST tires won’t win any awards for traction (though we suspect they will wear well), but for the intended use, they are fine. If your child is more demanding, or you have specific terrain needs, there are various options from Bridgestone, Dunlop, Maxxis and Pirelli.
Where you have minis, adults racing around on the kids’ bikes is inevitable. Full sized adults were flicking the bike around in the air, landing hard from jumps and hitting whoops hard; the 2013 Honda CRF110F refused to complain.
Honda’s reputation for durable youth off-road bikes is unquestioned, and we expect the CRF110F to be no different. We didn’t get a chance to do standard maintenance, though everything looked completely straightforward. We wouldn’t expect any nasty surprises. We are thrilled to see a new CRF from Honda, of course. The fact that it’s an all-new design with an interesting mix of chassis size and engine displacement is icing on the cake. The 2013 Honda CRF110F arrives just in time for Christmas, and it will a perfect upgrade for a growing rider with time on the pegs, as well as a great way to introduce a young rider to the sport of off-road motorcycling.
2013 Honda CRF110F Specs:
- Engine Type: 110cc air-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke
- Bore x Stroke: 50mm x 55.6mm
- Compression ratio: 9.0:1
- Valve Train: SOHC; two-valve
- Induction: 13mm piston-valve carburetor
- Ignition: CD
- Transmission: Four-speed with automatic clutch
- Final Drive: #420 chain; 14T/38T
- Suspension Front: Telescopic fork; 3.9 inches travel
- Suspension Rear: Single shock; 3.4 inches travel
- Brakes: f&r…Drum
- Tires: Front: 70/100-14; Rear: 80/100-12
- Wheelbase: 41.9 inches
- Rake: 24°25′
- Trail: 52mm (2.0 inches)
- Seat Height: 26.3 inches
- Ground Clearance: 6.9 inches
- Fuel Capacity: 1.1 gallons, including 0.3-gallon reserve
- Color: Red
- Curb Weight: 163 pounds (includes all standard equipment, required fluids and full tank of fuel-ready to ride)
- Emissions standards: EPA and CARB off-road
- Price: $1999
- Helmet: Troy Lee Designs
- Goggles: Dragon MDX Rockstar
- Neck brace: Leatt
- Jersey, gloves and pants: Fox Racing
- Boots: Gaerne Balance
Photos by Don Williams
Test Rider: Cole Cullins (http://www.tec-cycles.com)