Little details, big improvements?

It seems like there’s never been a better time to be a dual sport rider. Sure, lots of people are exploring their two-wheeled passions in earnest this year, but dual sports are extra special because they’re capable, lightweight, and can go practically everywhere. 

Dual sport fans, Honda has some great news for you. For 2021, the CRF250L and CRF250L Rally are getting some updates, from the inside out. Many are small adjustments to dial all the elements in just a bit—effectively making them more user-friendly. Some changes are more immediately noticeable than others, which is why we’re going to tell you about all of them today. 

Honda’s liquid-cooled, DOHC, 249cc single underwent a valve timing change, thanks in part to a new camshaft on the intake side. Output is now more powerful and rider-friendly in the lower and mid-rev ranges, where most riders need it. Gear ratios have also been revised lower for first through fifth gears, with sixth gear getting a higher ratio—helping you make the most of the power band where and when you need it.  

2021 Honda CRF250L Left Side
2021 Honda CRF250L Left Side Closeup

Honda also redesigned the air cleaner, exhaust pipe, and muffler, optimized ignition timing, centralized mass even further, and even shaved a little weight off the new models. By mounting the engine just a little bit higher, ground clearance is now 30 millimeters (about 1.18 inches) higher than the outgoing model, while the seat height of 830mm (32.67) inches stays the same. Suspension travel is 10mm (0.39 inches) longer up front and 20mm (0.78 inches) longer in the rear. Overall vehicle weight is down 4 kg (or 8.8 lbs) thanks to a raft of weight-saving measures. 

While seat height remains the same, the saddle on the CRF250L features a reduced width, making it a little easier to achieve firm footing for riders. On the CRF250L Rally, the saddle is 20mm (0.78 inches) wider and uses rubber anti-fatigue mounts to make it more comfortable for longer riding stints. The CRF250L Rally also gets a 12L fuel tank, as compared with the 10L present in the regular CRF250L. Additionally, the handlebar on the CRF250L features a more upright stance and reduced weight to help decrease rider fatigue while touring. 

Gallery: 2021 Honda CRF250L and CRF250L Rally

Both models get new, thin LED headlights, as well as LED blinkers. Honda even focused on making the display font and contrast levels easier to read across a variety of lighting conditions; truly, there are a lot of small but very rider-focused changes to appreciate here. Planned launch date for both models in Japan is December 17, 2020. MSRP on the 2021 CRF250L is ¥599,500 ($5,724), and ¥741,400 ($7,079) for the Rally. Pricing and availability outside Japan has not yet been announced, but we’re certain it won’t be long in coming.