2017 Honda CRF110F vs. Yamaha TT-R110E | Motorcycles Are For Kids!
When we proposed this 2017 Honda CRF110F vs. Yamaha TT-R110E comparison story, we didn’t really expect to find much difference between these two established youth off-road motorcycles.
On the surface, there are quite a few similarities, including matching $2249 MSRPs. Yet when we set our crack team of young riders and their parents loose, we found that the CRF110F and TT-R110E are not clones, and each motorcycle has its own audience.
The engines and chassis are what make the CRF110F and TT-R110E seem very similar on the surface. Both have highly reliable air-cooled SOHC two-valve four-stroke motors with electric starting (which kids and adults love).
Along with 12-inch rear wheels and 14-inchers up front, both bikes have non-adjustable suspension with the shocks being linkage-free for less maintenance. The two bikes weigh about the same, and the difference in seat height between the two is a hair’s width. Basically the same bike, right? Wrong!
Before we tell you which bike is right for your child, we’re going give you our most important piece of buying advice: Don’t expect your child to grow into the bike—get a bike that fits or is too small. Once the rider masters the bike, then move up. Getting a dirt bike that is too large or powerful for a youngster is dangerous. Don’t do it.
Also, budget for a helmet, goggles, gloves, and boots—these are non-negotiable. A long-sleeve shirt and long pants are mandatory, period. After that, look into knee and elbow armor, especially if you ride in rocky terrain. Nothing puts a negative spin on a ride like an injury.
Okay, back to the 2017 Honda CRF110F and TT-R110E, and how different they are. Keep in mind that we have tested them separately, and we didn’t discern the difference with them apart—we truly had to compare them side-by-side.
Our two primary test riders were Murphy Aaron and Skylar Carrillo. Both children have parents—moms and dads—who race motorcycles. However, Skylar is a newer rider and a bit timid, while Murphy is more experienced and aggressive. Both youngsters fit the two motorcycles and are age-appropriate.
After we let the kids ride the bikes to their hearts’ content, each had a definite favorite. Once we started delving into the specs, what seemed like small differences turned out to be more meaningful than we expected.
Murphy’s favorite is the Yamaha TT-R110E. As it turns out, Yamaha has hot-rodded the TT-R quite a bit. In addition to having a slightly shorter stroke motor, the engine also has a bit higher compression and is fed by a 16mm carb (compared to the tiny 13mm unit on the CRF110F).
The extra horsepower appealed to Murphy right away as he is already executing advanced riding techniques, such as powerslides and jumping. The TT-R110E satisfied Murphy’s need for speed, and he grabbed it whenever he could.
Yamaha made sure Murphy was safe on the TT-R110E, by giving it a longer wheelbase, relaxed geometry (1.8 degrees more rake than the CRF110F), and longer suspension travel. That gave Murphy the stability he needed to exploit the TT-R110E’s power. Murphy rode the wheels off the TT-R110E and came back with a big smile on his face.
Not yet ready for wheelspin or air, Skylar is looking for a reassuring motorcycle that makes her feel safe. When a rider feels secure and confident, improvement isn’t far behind. Although both riders judged the Honda CRF110F to be lighter, it is actually a nominal four pounds heavier than the Yamaha TT-R110E.
Still, how the bike feels is of utmost important, and both riders also judged the CRF110F to be easier to handle. That sense of agility, along with the less aggressive power made the Honda an easy choice for Skylar.
Both kids judged the drum brakes and auto-clutch shifting to be equal on both bikes. Of course, kids and parents appreciate electric starting. Still, kickstarting either bike is easy, especially when warm. Both motors need the choke when cold.
Neither rider expressed a tire preference. Yamaha uses Cheng Shin, while Honda uses CST-branded Cheng Shin tires. IRC makes an iX-Kids tire upgrade if serious trail riding is planned.
Those who ride in the rocks will want to note that the Yamaha has an extra half-inch of ground clearance, plus superior sump protection.
For the kids, it’s an easy choice. A confident rider moving up through the ranks from a 50 will find a lot to like in the aggressive Yamaha TT-R110E. If you want to make the right choice for a new rider, the Honda CRF110F provides the confidence a less self-assured rider needs.
Having said that, less experienced riders will not be overwhelmed by the Yamaha TT-R110E and hard-riding kids will successfully thrash a Honda CRF110F with abandon. Still, you’re better off buying exactly the right bike for the right style of rider.
Adults, of course, need to be brought into the equation, as they have to maintain both motorcycles. Fortunately, the 2017 Honda CRF110F and Yamaha TT-R110E are pretty much a tie in this department. Both have motors and chassis that are highly regarded for durability.
Both bikes require a bit more work to get to the air filter than they should—each needs a shroud removed, along with plenty of bolts. Oil changes are fortunately needed less frequently and are easily accomplished, as is adjusting the chain.
Kids loved the look of both bikes, as they have styling cues from the motocross racebikes—no preference there, unless the rider’s favorite color is red or blue.
Honda and Yamaha have made this shootout easy for parents, kids, and journalists alike. The line is clearly drawn between these two excellent youth off-road motorcycles.
As a first bike, the 2017 Honda CRF110F is the way to go. If you’ve got a hot-shoe kid on your hands with experience, pick up the 2017 Yamaha TT-R110E. All you have to do is keep your ego in check and remember which rider your child is—the youngster will definitely benefit from you making the right choice.
Photography by Don Williams
RIDING STYLE (Skylar)
- Helmet: Fly Racing Kinetic Invazion Youth
- Goggles: Fly Racing Zone Adult
- Pants, jersey + gloves: Fly Racing Kinetic Women’s
- Boots: Fly Racing Maverik ATV/Dual Sport
RIDING STYLE (Murphy)
- Helmet: HJC CL-XY II Avengers
- Goggles: Scott
- Pants, jersey + gloves: Alpinestars Youth Racer Supermatic
- Boot: Alpinestars Tech 3
|16 Essential Specs||2017 Honda CRF110F||2017 Yamaha TT-R110E|
|Engine type||Air-cooled 2-valve SOHC||Air-cooled 2-valve SOHC|
|Bore x stroke||50.0 x 55.6mm||51.0 x 54.0mm|
|Fueling||13mm carburetor||16mm Mikuni VM carburetor|
|Transmission||4-speed w/ centrifugal clutch||4-speed w/ centrifugal clutch|
|Suspension travel f/r||3.9″/3.4″||4.5″/4.3″|
|Front tire; brand||70/100-14; CST||2.50-14; Cheng Shin|
|Rear tire; brand||80/100-12; CST||3.00-12; Cheng Shin|
|Wheelbase||41.9 inches||42.5 inches|
|Rake||24.2 degrees||26.0 degrees|
|Trail||2.0 inches||2.4 inches|
|Seat height||26.3 inches||26.4 inches|
|Ground clearance||6.9 inches||7.1 inches|
|Fuel capacity||1.1 gallons||1.0 gallons|
|Wet weight||163 pounds||159 pounds|
|Price||$2249 MSRP||$2249 MSRP|