At the Osaka Motorcycle Show this weekend, Honda showed this prototype of the CRF250 Rally. We first reported about the CRF250 Rally a year ago, when Honda unveiled the concept, also at the Osaka Motorcycle Show.

Combining elements of the CRF250L dual sport and the CRF450 Rally, which Honda used to compete at the Dakar, the CRF250 Rally is essentially a toned-down, road-legal version of the Dakar competitor powered by the 249.6cc Single found in the CBR250R sportbike. A picture of the concept from last year can be seen below.

032316-honda-crf250-rally-concept-2015

What makes this weekend’s announcement interesting is that last year Honda unveiled the bike as a concept, while this year the updated version is now in prototype stage. It’s a logical conclusion that we’re nearing closer to the production model (though let’s hope Honda makes that announcement before the Osaka Show 2017!)

Comparing last year’s concept to this year’s prototype, we see a significant amount of bodywork is hiding the engine, so it’s hard to tell what changes have been made there. Although a Termignoni exhaust is visible. Other changes include a revised headlight assembly, a thinner seat, and a different hand guard design on the prototype compared to the concept model.

032316-honda-crf250-rally-patent-2015

Taking a look at Honda’s original design patent for the CRF250 Rally above, we can see that Honda has largely stayed true to the overall design. Visually speaking, the CRF250 Rally is unmistakably a rally machine, with its beaked front end, long-travel suspension, wire wheels, tall screen, and rally-inspired bodywork.

We imagine the final production model won’t look too much different than the concept model at the top of the page. If so, this will be an interesting look at a new model’s evolution process from CAD drawing to final production unit. More details as we get it.

  • Ian Parkes

    Presumably an alloy frame rather than the 250L’s steel unit?

    • Kingsix87

      From what is visible of the frame, it seems to be the same as the CRF250L. With Honda’s current trend of recycling bike parts among different models, it is highly unlikely they developed a new frame. It will also drive price up. In my opinion the main thing to consider will be the weight of the new bike. The 250L is not the lightest 250 dual sport on the market and the added bodywork and structure will add even more. Their goal should and probably is to make a relatively affordable 250cc mild adventure commuter with some wind protection and little bit more comfort – that would be great. I won’t mind if the final bike has a luggage rack, even if it adds a couple of kilos. I don’t like the fat styling and all that plastic around the engine that can break in a fall. A CRF250L with half fairing, softer seat and luggage rack is the right recipe for me.

      • Ian Parkes

        Agreed. My point was all about weight. This just seems to be a heavier 250L. Maybe get a screen if going somewhere cold, otherwise just throw a set of soft bags over it and go. I guess Honda have worked out that this will generate extra sales but I don’t see any worthwhile gains myself.

    • Born to Ride

      Hate to be a dick… But I must point out that steel, by definition, is an alloy.

      • Ian Parkes

        Quite right of course. I meant an ally alloy.

        • Born to Ride

          No worries, I followed ya. You’d be amazed how many people are ignorant of that fact.

  • Jim Kircher

    It would be nice if they bumped the engine up and used the CBR300R engine for what I believe was about a 17% gain in hp from the 250 mill. Overall looks great! I would definitely take a serious look at this model!

  • Vrooom

    Could be a nice bike. Keep it well under 300 lbs, give it a 3.5-4 gallon tank. Voila. It does appear to have handguards to me in prototype form?

    • denchung

      You’re right it does, but they are different handguards. The ones in the concept and patent filing used bar-end mounts, the prototype does not. The story has been corrected.

    • TroySiahaan

      Absolutely right about the hand guards. I’m clearly blind. My apologies.

  • major tom

    Is Honda serious? I doubt it, if they were this would have tubeless tires and a centerstand. A useful fuel range would be nice too. Of course the 300cc motor for America. I’ll keep dreaming…………..

    • KLRJUNE .

      Tubeless tires have to be fixed twice, a tube tire is fixed once. No to tubeless tires offroad.

      • major tom

        I don’t understand tubeless tires fixed twice? Alongside the road or trail a plug will usually fix the leak and you are then back home with tools, etc if further repair is necessary though most likely every thing will be OK. Dealing with a tube, dismounting the wheel and tire, no shop support(wheel stand), no thanks, I’d rather ride.

        • KLRJUNE .

          A plug is a temporary fix. I know many ride around on them as if it was a permanent fix but they are taking a big chance. So if you plug the tire on the trail you still need to remove and patch the tire eventually so you have to fix it twice. Ever heard of a center stand? Mine has one and I can pull the rear tire and replace a tube in 15 minutes and so I only have to fix the flat once.

  • Dirk Harris

    Ummm…. Mugen exhaust, not Termignoni as stated in the article – blow up the pic and see for yourself. Otherwise – thanks for the article, and the (huge!) image… I like the idea of a similar bike, might make a fun commuter and weekend trailie bike. I agree, make it tougher – at least mounting points for nylon frame sliders to save bodywork in a slow-speed spill. Oh, and an optional rear rack and a good bashguard in front of that plastic engine cover.

  • Dirk Harris

    And…… I just realized the early version has the Mugen, and the update has Termignoni. I rescind my correction!

  • KLRJUNE .

    An American marketer looks at that bike and says, “It needs a fat 16 inch rear wheel, ape hangers, forward foot controls, about 300 more pounds of lard, etc ….”