Honda introduced the new fuel-injected 2010 CRF250R to the press Wednesday at Perris Raceway. The bike is good. Real good.
      On the surface, the 250 seems to have received the same treatment that the 450 got last year. Aside from fuel injection, the bike has a mostly new motor with a new head, a longer stroke,  a smaller, redesigned piston, a new frame and a new layout. If you glance at the machine, you would swear it’s a 450, simply because it shares all the same body work with the bigger CRF. Unlike the 450, the 250 has Showa suspension, but it looks just like the KYB stuff, especially with the shorty reservoir on the shock. As far as the motor goes, the valve train is different, with some technology borrowed from the MotoGP world, which enables it to keep its 13,500 rpm reline despite the lengthened stroke. It still uses the Unicam design. The cranshshaft is 10mm lower and the head is five degrees more upright.
      With the 250, Honda seems to have avoided the major pitfalls that plagued the 450. For one thing, it starts. Throughout the day, the machine fired up easily. For another, it doesn’t have the odd stinkbug feel that unnerves some riders about the 450. In fact, the bike feels a lot like the old 250 in turns. The front end bites fairly well and the rear end tracks. But it does share one trait with the 450. It feels light.
      As for the motor, it’s fast. Mark Tilley rode the 2010 Yamaha YZ250 at Washougal last week and reported that the two motors are opposites. The YZ is torquey and has a noticeable hit down low. The Honda is a little slower to get going, then comes into a rich midrange and top end. But the CRF never has a big explosion of power, It just makes more and more as the revs climb.
      We only have one day of riding the new bike on a fairly smooth track, so the suspension is still a question mark. We’ll be doing more testing during the week on rougher tracks. But we don’t think one thing will change. The Honda will be fast on any track.

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