Honda CRF250L vs. Yamaha WR250R

I have been contemplating getting a 250 for awhile now. And until I did the “best beginner dual sport” post I was sold on the WR250R. But now I’m also looking at the CRF250L!

The issue I’m having is that on paper, they are pretty much the same. But the Honda is $2,200 cheaper. But when you get into the shootouts, the Honda falls waaay behind in every category. So the question is, can you make the Honda better then the Yamaha for $2,200?

First, I checked real “for sale” ads to find out what they are selling for to see if there really is a $2,200 difference. Of course cycletrader.com is acting stupid tonight, so a little google-fu nets me a $4,499 price tag on the Honda, and a $5,999 price for the Yamaha. Now it gets a little harder as there is only $1,500 to work with.

A quick look at the CRF from bestdualsportbikes.com shows the stage one kit pushing the horsepower to WR250R levels, and also dropping 20 pounds of weight making the two weigh within a few pounds of each other. The Stage 1 kit comes in at $700. So that leaves us $800 to fix the suspension.

So, can the Honda’s suspension be fixed for $800? The answer is probably ‘no’. The aftermarket just isn’t loaded with good suspension setups for the CRF. In fact, the only thing I was able to find outside of a custom job was a Race-Tech rear shock. And at $712 it doesn’t leave much room for any work to be done on the forks. Chop another bike from the list of potentials!

Not that I think the Honda is a bad bike, it’s just that the Yamaha is so much better. I can’t find a review anywhere that suggests the CRF is even in the same league as the WR. That’s too bad, I really like the CRF. Maybe I’ll paint the WR red and call it a Honda!