Comparison of Three Japanese Entry-level Forest Road Motocross

In case that the majority of riders are not confused when choosing motocross, we have selected three representative sports motocross for a comparison test, hoping to help fans when choosing a motorcycle. To a large extent, these three motorcycles are modern high-tech products. They are Honda CRF250L priced at US$4499, Kawasaki KLX250S priced at US$5,099, and Yamaha WR250R, the highest priced of the three, at US$6,990.

Honda CRF250L

CRF250L is positioned as a lightweight multi-purpose motocross, and its selling point is flexibility, lightness, and a wide range of uses. The power heart of CRF250L is the four-stroke water-cooled DOHC250ml single-cylinder engine, which focuses on low-to-medium revolution performance. It cruises at 60km/h and can run 44.3 kilometers per liter of fuel, which is quite fuel-efficient. The CRF250L frame adopts a double-cradle oval steel tube frame, which is a new design that can provide a balance point between stability and flexibility. The minimum turning radius of the new motorcycle is 2.3 meters. Compared with the CRF250R, the seat height and ground clearance of the new motor are greatly reduced. In addition to the reduced seat height and ground clearance, the power and torque of the CRF250L is far from that of the CRF250R. Don’t think that this is just one motorcycle modification, and other should be the same. In fact, CRF250R and CRF250L are completely two motorcycles, which are completely irrelevant from the frame to the engine to the purpose. Don’t think that CRF250L is the cheap and popular version of CRF250R. CRF250L is mainly used for street riding, and it is a motocross suitable for all ages. The CRF250R is based on competitions and is suitable for professional riders. Therefore, compared with the R version, CRF250L has a heavier body and less output, but it is cheaper, more fuel-efficient and more practical.

Advantage

• High cost performance

• Fuel efficiency

Disadvantages

• The suspension system is not adjustable

• It feels more like a toy motorcycle than an endurance racer

Yamaha WR250R

Yamaha WR250R is positioned as a lightweight multi-purpose motocross, but the off-road function is more prominent. The selling point is strong power and excellent road performance. In 2008, Yamaha first launched the WR250 brothers-WR250R and WR250X. New riders may confuse R and X, thinking that R is for racing and X is for motocross. In fact, WR250R is an off-road version with 21-inch front wheels, 18-inch rear wheels and pineapple tires, while WR250X is a street version with 17-inch front and rear wheels, low seats and street tires. With the transplantation of the WR-F aluminum alloy semi-cradle design frame and the water-cooled DOHC single-cylinder engine with a compression ratio of up to 11.8:1, and the first time the electronic injection system is placed on the 250-class off-road motorcycle, it is widely praised by the market.


The minimum gyration radius of the two 250WR models is 2.3 meters. If cruising at a constant speed of 60km per hour, it can run 34 kilometers per liter of fuel. In 2012, Yamaha continued to update these two motorcycles, but only made some changes except for the color. The intake and exhaust valves of the new engine are made of titanium alloy and forged aluminum alloy pistons. The maximum speed reaches 11500rpm. WR250R is better at dealing with sand and mud than WR250X. Although the frame, engine, exhaust system, and suspension system are the same as the WR250X, the off-road tires of 21 inches at the front and 18 inches at the rear increase the ground clearance by 40mm and the seat height is 25mm higher than the X version.

Advantage

  • Powerful engine
  • Optimal suspension system
  • Excellent road performance 
  • Advanced motorcycle engine modification

Disadvantage

  • Higher price
  • The seat is too high

Kawasaki KLX250S

Kawasaki KLX250S is positioned as a lightweight multi-purpose motocross. Its selling point is its strong, lightweight body and strong practicability. In 2012, Kawasaki upgraded the lightweight and flexible KLX250S again, and made changes to the pattern. As a multi-purpose motocross under 300 pounds, KLX250S provides an excellent choice for motorcycle fans whether it is commuting or expedition. The KLX250S has a 249ml four-stroke water-cooled DOHC single-cylinder engine wrapped in a lightweight and high-strength steel frame. Such a motorcycle frame modification lowers the center of gravity of the entire vehicle, making the handling performance better on harsh roads. The fuel supply system of KLX250S uses a 34mm Keihin carburetor. The front suspension of the KLX250S uses an inverted front fork and has 16 adjustable compression damping; the rear suspension uses a Uni-Trak linkage shock absorber, which also has 16 adjustable compression and rebound damping. The front brake of the KLX250S uses a 250mm semi-floating disc with dual-piston calipers, and the rear wheel uses a 240mm petal brake disc.

Advantage

  • Sturdy and reliable motorcycle body
  • The lightest weight
  • Still use carburetor
  • Minimum power
  • Best motorcycle for modifications

“Heart” Comparison

All three motors are equipped with a 250ml water-cooled four-stroke four-valve DOHC single-cylinder engine. Only Yamaha uses titanium alloy intake valves and forged aluminum alloy pistons with a motorcycle modification. Of course, the cost of the motor has also been increased. In addition, Yamaha’s compression ratio is 11.8:1, which is the largest of the three, followed by KLX with 11.0:1, and the smallest with CRF of 10.7:1. Obviously, the super-large compression ratio puts Yamaha in an advantageous position in this competition in terms of power and torque.

Honda CRF250L transplants the engine of CBR250R, it and Yamaha WR250R both adopt advanced electronic fuel injection system. Only Kawasaki KLX250S uses a 34mm Keihin carburetor. The biggest advantage of the electronic fuel injection system is the rapid cold start. The engine can respond immediately after ignition, and the carburetor must open the large throttle to start the hot motorcycle for a period of time before the engine can transmit power stably.

Another benefit of electronic fuel injection is that it improves fuel efficiency and is more fuel-efficient than carburetor. In order to compare the fuel consumption of these three motors, we conducted a fuel mileage test, and the final test results were: Honda 67mpg, Yamaha 63mpg, Kawasaki 60mpg. Each motorcycle has a fuel tank capacity of 2 gallons. From this we can know that with a full tank of fuel, Honda’s mileage is more than 14 miles in Kawasaki, which is considered a 300-pound motorcycle It’s a long distance.

All three motorcycles have excellent throttle response and flexible maneuverability, so they never fear off-road obstacles on rough roads. Honda’s power output is concentrated in the mid-range. The speed at the maximum torque output is nearly 3000rpm lower than that of Yamaha. Yamaha’s maximum speed (11500rpm) is 1000rpm higher than it, and it is also 1500rpm higher than Kawasaki. The engine characteristics of the three motors are more distinct at high speed. Yamaha can easily leave Kawasaki behind, and the maximum speed it can reach is strictly limited on highways in any country.

“Skeleton” comparison

When you carefully observe the appearance and overall structure of these three motors, you will find that the sports off-road motorcycle manufacturers distinguish the off-road elements of this type of utility motor from the street bike elements more clearly. Honda CRF reduces the cost of the motor by adopting a steel frame and only adopting spring preload adjustment for the rear suspension system. The rear suspension of the Kawasaki KLX is fully adjustable, and the front fork can also be preloaded and equipped with a compression damping adjuster. As for the frame, like Honda, it is also a steel frame. Compared with these two motorcycles, the Yamaha WR250R seems a bit rich and powerful. The front and rear suspension systems are fully adjustable and connected to the semi-double cradle frame. The main material of the frame is aluminum alloy. At first glance, it looks a bit like a YZ450F transplanted motorcycle frame.

The reason why we choose these three motorcycles for comparative evaluation is mainly because most motorcycle owners feel that this kind of motorcycle can be used as a commuter ride, but also can be used for fun in the wild on the weekend. The practicality of this type of utility obvious to all, so it is more meaningful to make a considerable comparative evaluation of these motors. We can tell everyone responsibly that these three motors are excellent motors. Not only are they light in weight and simple to handle, but their flexible maneuverability and powerful dynamic performance give them excellent passing performance in complex urban traffic.

The seat height of the Honda CRF is the lowest of the three (34.4in). If you are not tall, you are absolutely right to choose this motorcycle. At the same time, CRF’s smooth fuel supply and excellent relay torque make it easy to operate and easy to use. Yamaha WR250R has a seat height of 36.6in and is equipped with a high-revving engine. Although Yamaha no longer produces WR250X, the R version also has the excellent performance of the X version on asphalt roads after motorcycle modification. New riders may be confused by R and X, thinking that R is racing, and X is motocross. In fact, WR250R is an off-road version with 21-inch front wheels and 18-inch rear wheels and pineapple tires. WR250X is a street version with 17-inch front and rear wheels, low seats and street tires.

Road test comparison


We spent a long-time racing on the highway, of course, this is not the most interesting part of this test for this kind of small multi-purpose off-road motorcycle. On the highway, these three motorcycles can follow the traffic flow closely, without any chain falling. Among them, Yamaha has the best performance, and its seats are also the most comfortable, which makes it easy for people to feel good about it.

Once these motorcycles fall into the rugged road, they are like a fish in the water, which can’t wait to show their skills. No matter what obstacles they encounter, they can face them calmly. The only thing that obstacles can do is to reduce the speed of the rider. The tires equipped with the three motorcycles provide good grip on the street or on the muddy trails. In order to improve the off-road performance of the motor as much as possible, the three motors are equipped with off-road racing-specification wheels, and it is convenient to upgrade the tires to endurance-specific DOT-certified rubber tires.

During the test, we found that there are two factors that can roughly distinguish the performance of the three motorcycles, one is the suspension system, and the other is the weight of the motorcycle. The travel of Yamaha’s front and rear suspension system is 10.6in, which is the longest of the three, weighing 289 pounds; Honda’s suspension system has the shortest travel of the three, with front and rear suspension travels of 8.7in and 9.4in respectively. Moreover, the weight of the motorcycle is also the heaviest of the three; the Kawasaki suspension system has a middle stroke, with a front fork of 10 inches and a rear shock of 9.1 inches, but its motor weight is 287 pounds, which is the lightest of the three.

Honda relies on its own weight advantage to perform more stable on soft sand and gravel roads than the other two motorcycles, but due to the relatively short travel of the suspension system, it is difficult to cope with those hard and undulating roads. Kawasaki’s ergonomic design is closer to standard endurance racing. The relatively low seat height makes it easier to maneuver on narrow one-way streets. Except for some extremely difficult terrain, the travel of the Kawasaki suspension system is sufficient for most road surfaces. Yamaha’s performance is quite eye-catching, whether it is high or low speed, whether on rough or smooth roads, it can give people a comfortable feeling. The adjustable suspension system of Yamaha WR250R is the closest of the three to off-road racing, which also means you can toss it unscrupulously without worrying about being popped out by the seat. In terms of braking, the three motorcycles are evenly divided. Not only does it have sufficient braking power on the street, but it also reacts sensitively on loose roads.

Final test
Although these three motors have their own advantages or disadvantages. In general, they are all pretty good motorcycles. So how do we pick the most outstanding one among the three? After analyzing the notes during the test, we have always believed that WR250R is the king of performance among the three, and CRF250L has an absolute advantage in price. Now there is a question: as Yamaha WR250R is 2500 USD more expensive than HondaCRF250L, is it really worth it? And where will Kawasa kiKLX rank among the three? The answer depends on the kind of performance you value for multi-purpose of off-road motorcycles.

In the end, we came to the following conclusions: Kawasaki KLX250S is a simple, efficient and affordable off-road “battleship”; Honda CRF250L is a multi-purpose motor that is very valuable no matter what the criterion is used, CRF is recognized The one with the best commuting performance, and because of its excellent off-road performance and easy-to-handle characteristics with a better motorcycle modification, it has always become the first choice of those inexperienced off-road riders; if you are looking for a real material and can handle all kinds of bad A multi-purpose off-road motorcycle on the road, then the Yamaha WR250R is what you want. Of course, you have to pay a corresponding price for this If you are keen to travel, like to wander around, and do not have enough budget, OK! Honda CRF250L is the most cost-effective of the three cars, and you can’t go wrong with it.

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