Next Gen of the Most Fuel Efficient Motorcycle We Have Ever Reviewed

Discussion in 'In the News' started by xcel, Nov 10, 2011.

  1. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    [​IMG]2012 Honda CRF250L Dual-Sport reveal at the 42nd Tokyo Auto Show.

    [fimg=right][/fimg]Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG - Nov. 10, 2011

    2012 Honda CRF250L Dualsport – Maybe < $6K to start while 75 + mpg should be a given.

    Along with an all new display and a number of BEVs, PHEVs and HEVs, Honda has announced its lineup of new production based motorcycles to be revealed or put on display at the 42nd Tokyo Motor Show 2011 taking place in Tokyo from Saturday, December 3 through Sunday, December 11, 2011.

    A Motorcycle at an auto show? In Japan in particular and periodically in the US, manufacturer’s bikes are displayed alongside their production and concept automobiles. BMW and Suzuki are two that usually have a bike or two on the show floor in the US but I digress.

    At this year’s Tokyo Auto Show, Honda’s display in the motorcycle section, they will display the planned production model of the CRF250L which offers both an ease of use in everyday life and the fun of off-road riding.

    So what’s the big deal about this bike? How about 128 mpgUS on our ride around downtown LA and into the Beverly Hills neighborhoods three years ago on its 2008 predecessor?

    CleanMPG Reviews the 2008 Honda CRF230L

    Since that time, we have had the chance to ride the 2009 Kawasaki KLX250SF and 2010 Yamaha WR250X Adventure Touring Project Bike to impressive results. And unfortunately, both bikes have far outclassed the aging Honda 230L with more modern ergonomics, displays and technology, more modern and capable suspension including upside down front forks and increased travel front and rear, larger discs front and rear, liquid cooling and probably more importantly, the HP on tap to do an all-highway run at 80 + mph if that need ever exists. Taking on a 25 mph headwind in full tuck reduced the powerful and fuel injected Yamaha WR250X to a 60-mph struggler whereas the Honda CRF230L would have had to be ridden off the Interstate with little chance of even besting the PSL minimums.

    The CRF250L Specification Guessing Game

    No specs of the all-new mighty miser have been released so I will make some assumptions and we all know what assumptions are good for… In other words, take them with a grain of salt.

    I will assume the all-new 2012 CRF250L will incorporate the fuel injected 250 cc engine out of the recently released 2011 CBR250R. It would make little sense not to in fact. This would mean an increase in HP from maybe 15 HP to a much more palatable 23 HP on tap. For a bike that probably weighs in the neighborhood of 265 pounds means a very large jump up in acceleration performance.

    We will make a few more stretches of the bikes capabilities given that excellent engine that was surely placed within a lightweight steel/aluminum hybrid frame.

    Let us guess at a 75 + mpgUS rating (non-adjusted EPA city cycle) from its extremely efficient 249cc liquid-cooled single cylinder engine featuring a four-valve DOHC cylinder head, engine counterbalancer, PGM-FI fuel injection and even the possibility of Honda’s low cost ABS ($500 option) being added to an CRF250M or Supermotard variant later on next year. The lightweight machine should provide more confidence inspiring handling and a much broader power band in which to slice and dice amongst the traffic of anywhere, USA.

    With a possible 2 - 2.5 gallon tank, the all-new dual sport should have a rated range of 150 to 185 miles and closer to 250 miles under our tutelage when pushed. All told, a very low total cost of ownership solution given an expected < $6,000 initial outlay and 100 mpg’s leading to essentially little cost at the pump on a week to week basis during the warmer riding seasons.

    2012 Honda CRF250L Dualsport


    • 249.4cc single-cylinder engine with dual overhead camshafts driven by a Hy-Vo-type chain, forked roller rocker arms, four-valve head, shim-style valve adjustment, counterbalancer shaft and liquid cooling.

    • The single-cylinder engine should produce a remarkably broad torque curve with peak torque generated at a somewhat high but accessible 7000 rpm. This should provide the opportunity for even better fuel economy but we shall see? Peak horsepower kicks in at 8500 rpm, well before the 10,500-rpm redline while.

    • The crankshaft runs in plain bearings for quieter operation, and the big end of the connecting rod spins in a low-friction needle bearing.

    • Gear-driven counterbalancer shaft helps quell engine vibrations for rider comfort. It's located so close to the crankshaft that the balancer weight passes between the two crank weights to keep the engine as compact as possible while boosting mass centralization.

    • Engine countershaft sits lower than the mainshaft to further reduce the front-to-back engine dimension.

    • Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI) continuously monitors several variables to ensure the correct fuel mixture for the existing riding and atmospheric conditions, thereby delivering optimal performance and remarkably crisp throttle response over a wide range of operating conditions, plus increased fuel economy.

    • Finally PGM-FI system incorporates an Idle Air Control Valve (IACV) to minimize torque reaction and smooth responses to small changes in throttle position. This is accomplished through gradual reductions of air and fuel intake when the throttle is opened and closed.

    • A six-speed transmission that works in concert with the engine's broad power delivery to produce quick acceleration plus excellent fuel economy during top-gear cruising.

    • Aluminum/Steel hybrid frame plus an upside down 43 mm front fork (guessing here again) and a standard Honda Pro-Link single-shock rear suspension.

    • An ABS version may be available on an M variant as discussed above.

    • Curb weight of only 265 pounds gives the CRF230L outstanding maneuverability and helps instill rider confidence both on and off the road.

    • New stylish light housing, fenders, and a much more aggressive appearance.

    • Multi-function digital instrument cluster including speedometer, tachometer, engine temperature display, fuel gauge, clock, odometer and trip meter. We can only hope for an i/aFCD but that may be a bit to advanced for this class even in this day and age.
    All told, the once forgotten CRF may have been brought back to the head of the class and both Kawasaki and Yamaha will have to consider a redesign of their own if they want to keep up? This should be an interesting summer of 2012 for the fuel miser class.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2011
  2. southerncannuck

    southerncannuck Well-Known Member

    This is the perfect bike for people that need a commuter and can’t stomach the thought of a scooter. I’ve had some street legal enduros and I’ve found the seating / riding position perfect for city driving.
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2011
  3. Earthling

    Earthling Trying to be kind to Mother Earth

  4. beatr911

    beatr911 Tightwad

    This looks like a really nice version of the dualsport. Not as tall and inaccessible as the Yamaha. Looks like a great all arounder ready for exploration, commuting or light touring. Ready the accessories!

    Finally the 230 will die. I never thought that thing would go away. It reached the end years ago, life support only lasts for so long. That being said I like the simplicity, fewer toxic chemicals and fewer failure modes of air-cooling. Maybe I can find a 230 supermoto for cheap now.
  5. Carcus

    Carcus Well-Known Member

    "Life is fun; it's funner if you're stupid."
    --Carcus Wayne, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2011
  6. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Southerncannuck:

    I have to agree. While I really liked the tall seating position of the WR250X, the new CRF250L may be a tad bit better for the shorter folk and the ability to have scooter mileage without the stigma of one is what attracted me to the quarter liter Dualsports and Supermotards in the first place.

    I suspect the short stature however will feel a bit cramped for longer rides but the performance should be all there and I would love to take this one out at some point in the future. A Honda .25L w/ FI? If that 6th is tall enough… :D

    Harry, I remember when those guys did that ride and I thought they were nuts! The WR250X was perfect for such a ride given its proportions but the Ninja would have been quite literally a knee and crotch killer.

    I think my ride across and two IB’s on either side was a bit more fun than their other than when broadsided by the antelope in Wyoming :(

    2010 Yamaha WR250X Adventure Touring Project Bike - X-Country at 100 + MPG

    With a long distance seat, some bar risers, peg drops, two more teeth up front, and of course the GiantLoop cargo gear, I would do it again on Big Red’s brand new CRF250L or M. And this time we would document it for a world record too! May as well kncok out two Iron Butt's on Honda's new 250 while we are at it ;)

    Beatr911, Oh those “farkles” will be grand!

    About the prior gen 230, we will see those in garage sales 20-years from now and the darn things will still be running! Like you said, simplicity has a quality all its own and the fuel economy of Honda’s < quarter liter miser (the CRF230L) was so far out of this world to be almost unbelievable. Especially that second tank at almost 145 mpg!

    Carcus, loved the quote and it is so true sometimes. It is those moments when we allow a little stupidity to creep into our normal routine that we remember.

    Last edited: Nov 11, 2011
  7. Jay

    Jay Well-Known Member

    I really don't think the CRF250L will come in with a dry weight of 265lbs. One can hope, but Yamaha's WR250X dry weight is about 280 lbs and about 305lbs ready to ride with gas. The Yamaha looks like a much more expensive motorcycle and is probably much lighter. My guess is 300lbs dry weight for the CRF250L and 325lbs wet.

    If that's the case, I'll take the Yamaha, and I don't mind opening my wallet for the lighter weight. I do like the roller cam-follower engine of the Honda and the regular gas, though.
  8. jsmithy

    jsmithy Well-Known Member

    The addition of fuel injection to these bikes is always good.
  9. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Jay:

    While you are probably right on the weight, I have hopes that Honda was allowed to go after the weight gremlins wherever they can be found. In the 250 class, ounces really do make a difference in the straight-line performance realm but I am just so glad to see a competitive addition to the 250 Dual-spot class. While our first ride on the CRF230L was before we were able to hop on the 250’s from both Kawasaki and Yamaha, it did have that old Honda magic when it came to excellent FE and “good enough” performance. The new 250L should bring the performance side of the equation up to class leading with the more precise FI improving FE or at least maintaining it at the same incredible level that the 230L provided.

    I still see some small ergo issues with the 230L that the WR250X removed with the taller overall platform but those are minor with the additions I posted above. What worries me most however is what the price will be. The yen has blown through the roof although I belie they make the 250’s in one of the Asian tigers so Honda should not have been hit by the appreciating yen (other than profits of course). $6,500 USD + 250’s do not make much sense with possibly a Spark or Sonic coming in at a touch over $10K after a healthy amount of rebates that will sure to be tacked on at some point in the future.


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