Spending Some Extra Time With Honda's CRF250L Rally

Ryan Adams
by Ryan Adams

Any time off-road is time well spent

Recently, we published our Lightweight ADV Shootout which involved the CSC RXR, Kawasaki Versys-X 300, and Honda CRF250L Rally. I rode the Honda home and had it in my garage until it needed to be returned to Honda’s headquarters. This gave me a bit more time with the rally-inspired 250 and I found myself reaching for the keys more often than not.

First off, I own two big, fast, intimidating motorcycles. It was nice having the gas-sipping, lightweight Honda in the garage as an option when running errands around town. My Tuono V4R gets me between 25-30 mpg on average so having a motorcycle in my garage that averages over 60 mpg was a nice option.

2017 Lightweight ADV Shootout

The CRF250L Rally’s relatively light weight at 340 lbs was also a nice departure from my KTM Adventure 1190 R which weighs almost 200 lbs heavier. While the Honda’s seat height is claimed at 35.2-inches, the suspension is so soft, as soon as you sit on it your feet become much closer to the pavement. Not the case with the KTM’s 35-inch seat and much stiffer suspension.

The general versatility of the Honda is another reason I enjoyed having it a few extra days after our shootout. This isn’t necessarily specific to the CRF250L Rally, but rather the entire on/off-road motorcycle category. Having a motorcycle that offers generous ground clearance, a little extra suspension travel, and some knobbier tires open up an entirely new world of riding. In this case, for under six grand. You have vastly more options of routes and rides than a 20-plus thousand dollar Ducati Panigale. You’ll get to experience scenery that streetbikes never will.

2017 Honda CRF250L Rally Review – First Ride

On a whim, the Sunday before the Honda was to be returned, I decided to set off on a light off-road excursion close to my home to use the Honda the way it was meant to be one last time before we had to part ways.

One of the downsides of living in a major city is that I have to ride 100 miles of pavement for 22 miles of off-road riding. The great thing about having the Honda in the garage was that I could do exactly that with no problem.

I spent my Sunday out away from the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoyed the spectacular views offered from the trail. Being able to use one motorcycle to get to where the pavement ends and to keep going is what I love about dual-sport motorcycles.

I was speaking to a friend yesterday evening about this exact topic. Dual-sport motorcycles are really the most versatile, cheapest way to get into motorcycling. You can find them for reasonable prices used, and even new, they generally aren’t terribly expensive.

Bigger dual-sport motorcycles also offer carrying capacity even if you may need to purchase an aftermarket rack to do so. For me, though, the icing on the dirty dual-sport cake is never having to turn around. Okay, that may be overstating things, but being able to see what’s down that dirt road full of rocks and potholes and the general ability to explore is what I love about this genre of motorcycles and what makes them infinitely more versatile than other motorcycles.

Get yourself a sense of adventure and a dual-sport motorcycle. You’ll open up an entire new world of riding for yourself.

Ryan Adams
Ryan Adams

Ryan’s time in the motorcycle industry has revolved around sales and marketing prior to landing a gig at Motorcycle.com. An avid motorcyclist, interested in all shapes, sizes, and colors of motorized two-wheeled vehicles, Ryan brings a young, passionate enthusiasm to the digital pages of MO.

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  • Matt Howerton Matt Howerton on Jan 06, 2018

    I like this little Honda Rally model, but I also like to be able to see a bike's engine and hate when they're all covered up. Are the plastic bits removable to be able to show off the little thumper's heart, or are they needed for cooling and whathaveyou? Just wondering because I know you can see the normal non rally model's engine.

  • TC TC on Jan 07, 2018

    Every rider should have one (relatively) lightweight bike. Mine is a Suzuki DR650, great around town, okay on the freeway, especially with the Corbin seat, and made for dirt roads. IMS fuel tank gives me 4.9 gallons of range.