A short interview with one of the Honda designers behind the all-new 2012 Honda CRF250L by a famous Japanese female rider/model/journalist…
Megumi Tamon, Munehiro Sugimoto and the all-new 2012 Honda CRF250L
Megumi Tamon coined the term "Mode Rider" that describe people like herself that are models, writers, and riders.
She appears in magazines, movies, and even MCs events that are primarily about Motorcycles.
Her reviews and impressions on riding are based on her build, standard for a Japanese woman, and are well regarded.
Munehiro Sugimoto is Honda’s Assistant Chief Engineer at the Motorcycle R&D Center.
Since joining Honda in 1985, Sugimoto has taken part in designing various models and was even inserted into the California lifestyle to experience the home of off-road bikes, for 5-years beginning in early 2000.
He is a motorcycle designer with "no boundry's' between "On (weekdays)" and "Off (weekends)" and who sets off on mountain adventure rides whenever he can escape his day to day duties behind the monitor deep within the Honda R&D center.
“The basic styling of the CRF series is a centralized mass with triangular proportions. The mechanism is packed into the triangular area in the body center, and the long suspension system extends from there. This is the design basis for the off-road model.”
Sugimoto: I hear that you have ridden a lot on forest roads. How did you like riding the CRF250L off road?
Tamon: In a nutshell, it is easy to ride! When combined with my skills, the CRF250L makes me believe I can go anywhere on it.
Sugimoto: Thank you for your appreciative words. This feeling that you can go anywhere is an essential factor for an off-road model. From the start of development, we were determined to apply the styling of the motocrosser CRF series to the CRF250L. A motocrosser can be a “weapon” for winning races, but the CRF250L needed to be tweaked to run on public roads.
Tamon: Which parts and how did you change to transform a motocrosser to the CRF250L?
Sugimoto: The biggest challenge was the seat height. On racers, riders do not necessarily have to put their feet down on the ground except to start the machine. But for everyday use on a public road, a motorcycle must have the right seat height. When seat height is simply lowered, that unique CRF styling, its “centralized mass with triangular proportions,” may not be delivered. We paid meticulous attention to balancing the styling and seat height.
Tamon: Changing the seat height by itself required such rework on the overall balance?
Sugimoto: Right. It is not as simple as making the design complete by just lowering the seat. Besides, no one from the development team would accept such an easy way out.
Tamon: So, in a way, is the CRF250L totally different from the rest of the CRF series?
Sugimoto: As long as it has CRF in its name, the CRF250L will basically belong to the series. But to me, if a motocrosser is a “weapon,” then the CRF250L is a “gear.” That is the difference in impression.
Tamon: This may not be exactly what you mean, but there is no vehicle other than an off-road model that gives such a strong impression of “gear.” If they could have more than one motorcycle, everyone would pick at least one off-road bike, I think. As a tool for fun that they can run anywhere they like.
Sugimoto: I agree. I only have an off-road model. (Laughs) The “feel of going anywhere on it” means that function is expressed in the form itself. It is the heart of off-road model design. I understand your view of the CRF250L as a tool for fun. Personally speaking, I think nothing else can give such joy by playing with it, except an off-road bike.
Tamon: You looked like you really enjoy riding around on the CRF250L during breaks from the photo-shoot. I felt then and there that I really like the CRF250L, especially the happy air it brings.
Sugimoto: Well, I don’t mean to brag about it, but the CRF250L is so well-designed that I had such fun taking a ride