2018 Honda CRF250R Preview & Photos

Forget updates—the 2018 Honda CRF250R is an all-new motocross motorcycle from the knobs up. Let’s take a look at the essential facts you need to know about the new CRF250R.

1. The 2018 CRF250R is all-new. Facing declining CRF250R sales, Honda has brought out a motocross motorcycle that is almost completely different from last year’s edition.

2018 Honda CRF250R preview test
2018 Honda CRF250R

2. Electric starting is standard. We’ll get to the performance improvements in a moment, but we’ve all been waiting for an electric start CRF250R, and now we have it. A lithium-ion battery in the airbox helps manage the additional weight.

3. The 2018 Honda CRF250R follows the Absolute Holeshot ethos of the CRF450R. As we’re all aware, holeshots are a first-class ticket toward winning. So, Honda has reconfigured the CRF250R’s motor and chassis to give it that needed jump off the gate. Focus was put on more power, more rear grip, and less front-end lift.

4. The long-running Unicam design is replaced by a DOHC valve train. The 2018 CRF250R is about revs, as you’ll see, so Honda went to a DOHC design for the first time in CRF250R history.

5. Sucking in more of the fuel/air mixture gets the power pumping. As a result, Honda claims the new CRF250R is smoother off the bottom, with more midrange and top end power. All four valves are titanium with a more compact valve angle. This also allows more room for the new downdraft intake, plus a new airbox and intake system Honda says increases air-charging efficiency.

6. A bigger bore and shorter stroke means a higher rev limit. Honda shortened the stroke by a significant 2.9mm and there is a new bridged box piston that is now 79mm wide (a bump of 2.2mm). Also, the compression ratio gets a small nudge.

2018 Honda CRF250R first look review
2018 Honda CRF250R

7. To aid the higher revving, the CRF250R gets a new crankshaft with an H-shaped cross-section. Weight is reduced by more than 12 ounces, yet Honda says is has the same rigidity and internal mass.

8. The torque and horsepower peaks come later, so you’ll want to rev the new CRF250R. Honda isn’t shy about it—power is down a bit in the lower half of the rev range, and then comes alive for the upper mid-range and top end. Timid racers should like the softer bottom, while those who like to slam the rev limiter will love the new shrieking top end.

9. The 2018 Honda CRF250R gets a fully independent dual exhaust system. With all that air pushing through the motor, the new exhaust system features two separate headpipes and mufflers—there is no crossover. Honda claims more power and improved throttle response from this system.

10. There’s a new single-system for the oil. Running just 1250cc rather than 1600cc saves about 11 ounces of weight. There is also a shorter oil path to the engine, plus a new piston oil jet that sprays the bottom of the piston. The system reduces pump loss by maintaining negative pressure in the crankcase.

11. More power means a new clutch for the CRF250R. There are now two friction materials, instead of one, which should provide a better feel. The shape of the clutch has been changed, as well.

2018 Honda CRF250R preview
2018 Honda CRF250R

12. The transmission gets a stronger and lighter material, plus revised gear ratios. With a new powerband, new ratios are a must. The primary ratio is lower, with the five-speeds getting raised slightly.

13. There are three engine modes on the 2018 Honda CRF250R, and two can be remapped. Standard is fixed, and you can adjust Smooth and Aggressive to your liking.

14. The new chassis has a shorter swingarm and wheelbase, along with a slightly relaxed rake. The 15mm-shorter swingarm puts more weight on the rear wheel, which is part of the Absolute Holeshot effort, while the shorter wheelbase should make the 2018 Honda CRF250R more agile. To keep the front end down, rake is kicked out a tenth of a degree.

15. The new frame focuses on front-end stability. The frame sits a bit lower and farther forward, and cuts the weight by 12 ounces (there’s that number again!). Tapered aluminum main spars in the frame are designed to improve the feel of the front end.

16. Like the CRF450R, the 2018 Honda CRF250R now has a titanium fuel tank. It also sits lower and drops 18 ounces from the weight of the bike. This is a critical place to lose weight, as it sits so high on the motorcycle.

17. The Showa SPG fork is a coil-spring design and the shock sits lower on the shorter, lighter swingarm. The swingarm goes on a 7.7-ounce diet (being shorter helps reduce unsprung weight), and the bottom shock mount is lowered and now centralized. The spring Showa fork has a 39mm piston and 25mm rod.

2018 Honda CRF250R handlebar
2018 Honda CRF250R

18. Dunlop Geomax MX3S is the rubber of choice. These are high-end tires, so unless you ride on extreme hard pack or sand, you won’t have to switch out tires for your first ride.

19. The 2018 Honda CRF250R bodywork has been redone. It is now slimmer for reduced air resistance, and the graphics are molded into the plastic. Also, more air is directed to the radiator for the higher-revving motor.

20. The price is a secret. We’ll let you know when we know. Update: The MSRP for the 2018 Honda CRF250R is $7999.

2018 Honda CRF250R Specs

ENGINE

  • Type: Single-cylinder four-stroke
  • Displacement: 249cc
  • Bore x stroke: 79.0 x 50.9mm
  • Compression ratio: 13.9:1
  • Valve train: DOHC
    Valves: Titanium; 33mm intake; 26mm exhaust
  • Fueling: EFI w/ 46mm throttle bore
  • Exhaust: Independent dual systems
  • Cooling: Liquid
  • Starting: Electric
  • Transmission: Constant-mesh 5-speed
  • Final drive: 520 chain

CHASSIS

  • Frame: Twin-spar aluminum
  • Front suspension; travel: Fully adjustable 49mm inverted Showa SPG coil-spring fork; 12.0 inches
  • Rear suspension; travel: Linkage-assisted fully adjustable Showa shock; 12.4 inches
  • Front tire: 80/100-21; Dunlop Geomax MX3S
  • Rear tire: 100/90-19; Dunlop Geomax MX3S
  • Front brake: 260mm disc
  • Rear brake: 240mm disc

DIMENSIONS and CAPACITIES

  • Wheelbase: 58.3 inches
  • Rake: 27.5 degrees
  • Trail: 4.6 inches
  • Seat height: 37.8 inches
  • Ground clearance: 12.9 inches
  • Fuel Capacity: 1.6 gallons
  • Curb weight: 238 pounds

2018 Honda CRF250R Color

  • Red

2018 Honda CRF250R Price

  • $7999 MSRP

2018 Honda CRF250R Photo Gallery