Honda CRF series
The CRF line was launched in 2000 as a successor to the Honda XR series. The full sized motocross bikes are equipped with liquid-cooled, single-cylinder four-stroke engines that are available from 149 cc to 449 cc. They now have dual-sport motorcycles. The more trail friendly CRF's have simple air-cooled engines, and are available from 50 cc to 230 cc. The Honda CRF450R was the first in the series, followed with the CRF250R in 2004. Further down the line, the CRF450X and CRF250X bikes emerged, both designed for mostly off-road use. They are considered among the best motorcross bikes of their class, and have been a leading seller since their introduction. The CRF450R was CycleWorlds Best Motocrosser for a record eight consecutive years from 2002-2009.
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Honda employs advanced four-stroke engine technology in their 250cc and 450cc bikes. The engines in these bikes use technology developed in Formula One racing engines. Honda uses an over-square engine design, which means that the diameter of the cylinder is larger than the stroke of the piston. This allows for higher engine speeds and a reduction of reciprocating mass. Another technology that is used is short piston skirts. The "skirt" area of the piston is the portion on the side of the piston which comes into contact with the cylinder wall and aids piston stability. While the introduction of the shorter skirt on the piston helps to reduce reciprocating mass, it also leads to more "rocking" of the piston, or minute unwanted rotation of the piston around the axis of its wrist pin. This leads to more frequent maintenance intervals for the pistons, piston rings, and cylinder walls.
Overall the new high-performance four-stroke engines in Honda's motocross bikes produce much more power per pound than older generation engines and rev more freely; in the quest for more power, longevity is reduced and maintenance is increased.
As of 2014, the CRF-F series includes the CRF50F, CRF70F, CRF110F, CRF80F, CRF125F, CRF100F, CRF125F(Big Wheel), CRF150F, and CRF230F.
Simple, air-cooled 4-stroke motorcycles. Typically, these bikes come in low-power and confidence inspiring configurations for new market entrants.
As of 2014, the CRF-R series includes the CRF150R, CRF250R, and CRF450R.
These liquid-cooled four-stroke machines were designed to be utilized purely for closed-course motorcross racing. The CRF-R lineup lacks any extra accessories; like lights and electric start.
CRF-450R Notable Changes
|2008||Honda Progressive Steering Damper|
|2013||Air forks, dual exhaust|
As of 2014, the CRF-X series includes the CRF250X and the CRF450X.
These bikes have electric start, but are still considered race bikes, albeit for off-road rather than motocross. Differences from the R models include lighting, electric start, suspension settings, engine and exhaust tuning for more low-end torque, larger fuel tanks, and a more rugged widespread ratio transmission. Robby Bell won the San Felipe 250 in 2006, 2007 and 2008.
In 2008, the CRF230L was introduced as an entry-level dual-purpose motorcycle. It was discontinued, several years later, with the introduction of a completely redesigned dual-purpose motorcycle. Being a dual-sport motorbike, these bikes are street legal from the factory, but still have a dirt-oriented design. They have a completely different frame and engine from Honda's other CRF formats, and most other components are not shared with the other CRF(non-street-legal) motorcycles. These different components meet emissions and government road regulations. All have full lighting and electric starts. Outside of the United States, the CRF230L was marketed as the XR230L.
In April 2012, the completely redesigned dual-purpose CRF250L was launched in Japan. It shares a liquid-cooled 249 cc 4-stroke DOHC single-cylinder EFI engine with the CBR250R. It is manufactured in Thailand.
In April 2013, exactly one year after the initial launch of the CRF250L, Honda announced plans to sell a supermoto version of their dual-purpose motorcycle in Europe. The CRF250M is based on the popular dual-purpose CRF250L, with revised suspension, uprated front brake and 17-inch wheels with wider road tyres. The CRF250M adds another A2 licence-friendly machine to Honda’s line-up.
- Dougherty, Brad, "First Ride: 2004 Honda CRF 450R", Dirt Rider, archived from the original on 2007-03-11
- Ash, Kevin (21 August 2004). "Rock star". Telegraph. Retrieved 13 February 2014.
If there's a cloud, it's only in the CRF's legal status. Currently, as a competition bike, there's no requirement for a speedometer, brake light or other basics (and it has none, nor even an ignition key), although it can still be registered for the road. This grey area may yet be addressed by legislation, which could mean retro-fitting some kit or buying a trailer.
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