Stephen Ross takes a look at Honda’s latest street-legal farm bike, the XR250L
In one form or another, Honda has been developing its XR range since the 70s. With many offshoots and variants, the XR250 could be described as the mainstay of the XR range.
When it comes to power, brakes, handling and styling, the XRs seem to have a perfect balance of each rather than sacrificing one for another. However, where the range does lead the field is in its reliability.
This version of the XR250 would definitely suit the entry-level rider with its low seat height of 875mm (39mm less than the XR250R) and an electric start. Something all riders have wished they had half way up a steep slippery hill on a stalled bike. There is no kickstart but a kit is available if you prefer the comfort of knowing there’s one there if you need it.
Also fitting in nicely with the beginner riders’ needs list is the 249cc engine allowing riders to hit the road on just a Learners Licence. It’s a single cylinder four-stroke so plenty of torque compared to the two-strokes, so that’s less need to keep changing down those gears.
But don’t think this bike is targeted solely at newcomers, it may suit them but it also suits anybody with the need for a reliable off-road bike that can be taken straight onto the road. This of course being made possible with the addition of its mirrors, indicators etc over its XR cousins allowing it to be road registered.
Adjustable suspension at the rear is provided in the form of a Pro-link Showa single shock with spring preload. With 20 position compression and 20 position rebound damping adjustability the bike can be set to suit the conditions you’re most likely to ride on. Disc brakes are fitted front and rear and pull up just as well in the dirt as on the road.
It does feel a little strange riding off-road with mirrors and indicators but they can really come in handy when riding with others. The six-speed gearing suits the off road but can comfortably stretch out to 100kph on the highway.
And when you’re going from the paddocks to the streets it’s a good idea to get in the mindset of where you are. You still need to indicate and go around that roundabout no matter how tempting it is to jump over it.
The Honda XR250L retails for $8995 + on-road costs.
For more information see your nearest Honda dealer or visit www.honda-motorcycles.co.nz
Engine Type: Air-cooled dry-sump single-cylinder four-stroke
Bore stroke: 73 x 59.5mm
Max Power Output: 28PS / 8000rmp
Max Torque: 2.6kg-m / 8000rpm
Ignition system: Solid state CD with electronic advance
Transmission: Six speed
Wheel Base: 1425mm
Seat height: 875mm
Ground Clearance: 285mm
Fuel capacity: 9.7 litre
Tyres front: 3.00-21
Tyres rear: 4.60-18
Dry weight: 128kg