Riding the new Honda CRF250L leaves you with four impressions. One, its no rocket ship.  Two, it’s a bit of a porker and three, in spite of those hard facts the machine is still a complete hoot to ride. Stitch in the fact that it’s got a price tag of $4499 and it’s easy to see how the popularity of this machine has taken it to the ‘sold out’ status.

But we’re so thankful that there are number of hard edged companies out there that are as over-the-top as we are when it comes to dirt bike/dual sport machinery and they can’t leave well enough alone. Best Dual Sport Bikes specializes in hopping up and modifying dual sport equipment to have a little bit more anger in their DNA and therefore a bit more dirt influenced. Their goal with the Honda CRF250L was to work on the ergonomics, the suspension and the power and a shaker about the tonnage.


BDSB was initially just as concerned with the power as they were the weight. This is because acceleration is based on a power to weight ratio.  The 250L dyno’d in at 18 hp and weighed in at 312 lbs. A KTM 350EXC has about 45 hp and weighs 242 lbs- just to put things in perspective.


Remember, many of the engine mods remove the street legality of the machine, so check with your local area on the proper rules. Their first mod came in bolting on an FMF Q exhaust system.  There was a double win here as the Q4 muffler and Megabomb head pipe add almost 4 hp, but it saved over 8 lbs over the stocker.  


Next, BDSB went ahead and replaced the battery with a lightweight Shorai unit. This was mainly to save an extra 5 lbs of weight. It is weight that is located up high on the bike, so you would feel it when tossing the bike around. The new battery is also a 14-amp unit, compared to the stock 7-amp unit.


BDSB then strapped on a good air/fuel ratio meter and rode the bike around. It was pretty lean at all throttle openings.  The addition of fuel would change everything around on this bike as far as acceleration went. So BDSB went to work with Dobeck engineering to design a proprietary base map for the FMF pipe and some airbox mods. The map is only available in the FMF programmer and makes a perfect air/fuel ratio across the board with the FMF system.


With the additional fuel available it made it possible to open up the (very restrictive) air box a bit and also remove the back fire screen from the inside of the paper air filter element. These three things made an additional 6 hp over stock, taking the original power of 18 hp up to 24 hp.


As you can see though, from the dyno chart, there is quite a bit more power, right from the start and it just keeps on making the extra power until redline.  To take advantage of all this power and to make the bike more suited to off road, BDSB also provides you with a 13 tooth front sprocket instead of the stock 14.  The 13-40 gearing still runs down the highway at a respectable 80 mph and cruises nicely at 60mph.


BDSB has put together this kit as their Stage 1 power kit. It contains a FMF Q4 muffler and a MegaBomb head pipe that BDSB puts a ceramic coating on the inside (for free when you buy it from them). It also contains the fuel programmer, 13 tooth countershaft sprocket and instructions on how to modify your airbox and filter.  It is $850 and this extra power changes everything about the fun factor on the bike.

 Next on the list was fixing some ergonomics. The stock handlebars are mild steel and bend in the first tip over. Using TAG big bar adapters let them fit stock KTM bars to the bike. Overall, this set up is higher and lets you get further forward on the bike. It also just feels much more natural.


The stock seat is stiff, uncomfortable and also has a slippery downward slope.  SeatConcepts.com made one of their super superb (i.e.: fluffy, comfy) dual sport seats for it, which also has a gripper cover.  Now, you can sit further back, plop down in comfort and stay where you want to sit. For $159, this seat is a big plus.


Of course the stock tires were fine for street use, anemic as dirt worthy rubber. BDSB fit on Dunlop 952’s, a strong and durable tire where the rear unit is one pound lighter than the stock meat. That may sound silly to bring up, but when you’re only dealing with 24 hp, rotating weight is a factor! Ever ride a mountain bike with light tires vs. heavy tires?


Lastly and very importantly, is the fixing of the suspension.  Stock the rear is painfully soft and bottoms on a cigarette butt. The fork is a little better but offer no adjustments what so ever. Stock, there is NOTHING you can do, except adjust the pre-load slightly on the rear shock. BDSB got together with Race Tech and they built one of their G3 shocks, which is 46mm wide instead of the stock 36.  This larger body is necessary since there is no remote reservoir and carrying more oil and nitrogen allow for better valving, heat control and damping. The new shock also has rebound damping control, and adjustable preload.

The fork received Gold valves and stiffer springs. They still don’t have compression or rebound adjustment, but are worlds better than stock and the base settings are pretty, pretty good, for a weight range of 160-210 pounds.


The bottom line? This bike is gigantically better than the stocker. It actually has enough bottom power to trail ride and conquer some good-sized hills. In fact, there’s almost no comparison over stock. Same goes for the suspension, now it has the meat to take on a good sized, and consecutive hits without wallowing, bottoming and launching off the trail. We loved the bars, give top mark to the saddle (nice on the caboose) and actually look forward to going off-road exploring on the Honda CRF250L.



Down the road look for BDSB updated and refined 250L featuring a new cam profile, foam air filter and some surprising weight savings!!! The goal is more power!!!

Over and out

Team DB

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