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2021 250 Shootout

250 SML Shootout In-Depth | 2021 Honda CRF250R



RIDER SCORES: 4-5-1-3-2-3

The Honda CRF250R returns completely unchanged for 2021…not even graphics have been changed for the new season. But that’s not a bad thing! The Honda CRF250R is easily the most fun bike to ride in the class as it handles amazingly well and has an easy-to-ride powerband that riders of all skill levels can appreciate. The. CRF250R’s ergonomics are super comfortable and easy to maneuver on and the “rider triangle” – footpegs to seat to handlebar – is perfect for most riders. 

The Honda is not the most powerful bike in the class, but its spread of power is very good throughout the rpm range. It is not the best in any area but it boasts a very well-rounded, linear spread of power that only the fastest pros may find lacking. The adjust-on-the-fly mapping switch provides three distinctively different powerbands; one being standard, two being mellow, and three being the aggressive and most exciting setting.

The suspension is well-balanced and the bike is plush and predictable. Heavier and/or faster riders will need firmer settings, but even when the bike is too soft for a rider it doesn’t do anything unexpectedly. As one would expect, the clutch and transmission are flawless, and the Honda’s quality of construction and attention to detail is excellent. 


Test rider Austin Schott.


“The Honda engine needs to be screaming to be most effective. The power is hollow down low and susceptible to mistakes early in the power curve. The mid-range is decent if you are high in the rpm range and the top end is where the Honda shines.” – Pat Foster

“Quick handling, sharp cornering, and a light, agile feel make his Hondo the most-fun bike to ride in the class. It whips, scrubs, and corners better than everything else.” – Pat Foster

“The suspension is plush and comfortable, Heavier and more aggressive riders will need to stiffen up both end to slow down some of the excessive movement. Although the bike is on the softer side it is very confidence-inspiring.” – Pat Foster

“The bike is pretty slow off the bottom and if it isn’t screaming it can fall on its face. The bike needs more bottom-end and mid-range power. Once the bike is revved out it picks up and goes.” – Rene Garcia

“The bike corners great and the suspension has good hold up, but I would like more high-speed stability.: – Rene Garcia

‘The Honda powerband is bitchin’. For me, it seemed like I was a gear too high coming out of corners, but the bike never stops pulling.” – Cole King

“The bike handles great. I never had to wrestle it into the corners and I felt like I always knew what the bike was going to do. It was very predictable and it inspires confidence.” – Cole King

“The suspension is top-notch. I never bottomed out and the fork and shock complement each other nicely. Very balanced.” – Cole King

“If I were looking for a bike to play on and not necessarily race, this Honda is it for sure. I have more fun on the red bike. than any other.” – Donn Maeda

“Honda could save some money by getting rid of the map switch and making map three the only option. It’s the only one worth riding in.” – Donn Maeda

“The CRF250R almost knows what I want it to do. The bike handles amazingly well and inspires confidence everywhere on the track. Easily the best cornering in the class.” – Donn Maeda

 “I rode the Honda in map three which is its most aggressive setting. The power hits hard and keeps pulling in each gear. The only thing the CRF is lacking is some punch down low. I think one tooth on the rear sprocket and you’d be golden.” – Austin Schott

“The Honda feels like home when you sit on it. It is very comfortable and right away I trusted it and enjoyed the way it handled. It is stable, yet corners great.” – Austin Schott

“I was all over the place on the track today but the Honda suspension handled all of my ever-changing lines and kept me in control. I dig it!” – Austin Schott

“The powerband is really smooth and easy to ride. The top end has a fun, lively feel and the bike is very enjoyable. Its weak point is a lack of bottom end power, but the ECU is tuned perfectly and makes the bike so easy to ride.” – Mike Sleeter

“Handling is Honda’s strong point. The chassis is so balanced that cornering is easy. I did find that the bike would oversteer, mid-turn at times.” – Mike Sleeter

“The suspension is comfortable and balanced. The bike’s bottoming control is one of the best in class and I could charge into turns and jump into bumps with confidence.” – Mike Sleeter

Chase Curtis

Chase Curtis is an avid motocross and MTB rider, and he is the SML Video Editor. Completely self-taught, Chase is one of the best video editors in the sport and one of our biggest assets.

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