2013 Honda CRF250L vs. 2013 Kawasaki KLX250S - Video

Honda's all-new lightweight 250 shakes up the sleepy dual-sport class

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The Kawasaki easily deserved its victory in our 2008 Lightweight Dual-Sport Shootout. The KLX250S had then, and still does, many admirable qualities, not the least of which include a strong engine, excellent-for-the-class suspension, and a good handling chassis.

But the KLX’s tremendously difficult starting thanks to the aging technology of a constant velocity carb was too much for us to look past this time around. A larger price tag of $5,099 didn’t help the Kawasaki’s case. The KLX makes its best proposition for someone who is interested in fitting an aftermarket exhaust, as then you’d be in the market for a jet kit anyway.

2013 Kawasaki KLX250S and 2013 Honda CRF250L

But stock to stock, Toms sums up this compare succinctly: “I'll forgo the KLX’s adjustable suspension, higher price and tach for the lesser price, fuel gauge and fuel injection of the CRF.”

The all-new CRF250L competes head-to-head with the Kawasaki in almost every respect, and then leaps ahead with the inclusion of fuel injection that isn’t just newer technology but is a clear benefit to the rider.

Icing the deal for the CRF is the fact that Honda bests the older 230’s $4999 price tag (2009) despite being an entirely new motorcycle from the now-gone CRF230L. Credit Honda’s Thailand factory for helping bring down its cost.

So, we prefer the Honda in this duel, but the real winner here is the 250cc dual-sport class customer.

By the Numbers
  Honda CRF250L Kawasaki KLX250S
MSRP $4,499 $5,099
Engine Type liquid-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke Four-stroke, Liquid-Cooled, DOHC, four-valve single
Bore x Stroke 76mm x 55mm 72.0 x 61.2mm
Fueling PGM-FI, 36mm throttle body Keihin CVK34
Transmission 6-speed 6-speed
Frame semi-double cradle, steel Semi-double cradle, high-tensile steel
Final Drive #520 Chain Chain
Front Suspension 43mm inverted fork; 8.7 inches travel 43mm inverted cartridge fork with 16-way compression damping adjustment / 10.0 in.
Rear Suspension Pro-Link single shock with spring; 9.4 inches travel Uni-Trak with adjustable preload, 16-way compression and rebound damping adjustment / 9.1 in.
Front Brakes Single 256mm disc with twin-piston caliper 250mm semi-floating petal disc with two-piston hydraulic caliper
Rear Brakes Single 220mm disc 240mm petal disc with single-piston hydraulic caliper
Front Tire 3.00-21 80/100x21
Rear Tire 120/80-18 100/100x18
Seat Height 34.7 in. 35.0 in.
Wheelbase 56.9 in 56.3 in
Rake/Trail 27°/113mm 26.5˚/104mm
Curb Weight 320 lbs 297.7 lbs
Fuel Capacity 2.0 gallons 2.0 gallons
Available colors Red Lime Green, Bright White

2013 Kawasaki KLX250S and 2013 Honda CRF250L

Related Reading
2013 Honda CRF250L Review
2012 Dual-Sport Shootout
2012 Husqvarna TE250 Review
2008 Lightweight Dual-Purpose Shootout
All Things On-Off Road on Motorcycle.com
All Things Honda on Motorcycle.com
All Things Kawasaki on Motorcycle.com

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