2013 Yamaha XT250 vs 2013 Honda CRF250L

Yamaha XT250 Honda CRF250L

12 replies to this topic
  • keepitsimple

Posted April 02, 2013 - 10:56 PM

#1

New to posting on TT, but I've been lurking on here for a bit. Looking to buy a new DS bike and have narrowed it down to the 2013 Yamaha XT250 vs 2013 Honda CRF250L.

They're both considered "starter" bikes, which is fine by me b/c I wasn't that good a rider even when I was good, and it's been a looooong time since I've ridden. Both are lightweight & have fuel injection (the comparison link incorrectly lists the honda as carbureted). Moreover, they're a nice step up from my last bike (a Honda NX125 enduro that I sold 18 years ago). And for the record, my 1st bike was a Yamaha YZ80, so I'm a fan of both brands.

Here's what I like about the Yamaha over the Honda:

-already has low seat height (32 in), so unlike the Honda (35 in) it wouldn't have to be dropped at all for all 5'7" of me (and shrinking) to get on it
-better range: 76mpg vs 68 for the honda AND it has a bigger gas tank (2.6gal vs 2.0gal for honda)
-manufactured in Japan vs manufactured in Thailand for the Honda
-lighter (291pounds vs 320 for honda), so it's more nimble
-better turning radius

Here's what I like about the Honda over the Yamaha:

-inverted forks/better suspension
-more modern engine (new DOHC) vs Yamaha's SOHC which has been around for eons.
-liquid cooled vs air cooled for Yamaha -- this is important i think in L.A. stop&go traffic
-6speed vs 5 speed on Yamaha
-$700 cheaper MSRP vs Yamaha (though if i have to spend $ on lowering the bike, this difference becomes less pronounced).


It bothers me that neither one has a kickstarter, but that seems to be missing on almost all new dualsports. What do you think? Am I focusing on the wrong things? What am I overlooking? Keep in mind that this will be a bike that I ride only a few times per year, so I like the fact that both bikes are F.I. instead of carbuerated. This also rules out many used bikes, because most pre-2013 models tend to be carbuerated. This bike will be mainly kept for emergencies, and on the rare occasion I get to sneak a trail ride somewhere.

Thanks in advance for your expertise.

  • ThatguyTJ

Posted April 03, 2013 - 05:14 AM

#2

I really love my crf250l so I am going to give you a biased opinion.
I was actually more interested in the wr250r when I was still shopping. After watching tons of videos and reading all kinds of articles I settled on the crf. The crf seemed to be the best bang for the buck in both worlds (dirt and street). Cruising at 65 is pretty comfortable on the crf. It will do more but with the low weight of the bike it can get a little squirrelly. With the xt being even lighter, it may be a little hard to handle at higher speeds. I know you said it would mainly be a garage kept bike so you may never see the highway with it. In that case I am sure the xt will be comparable on trails to the crf. The wr will blow them both away in the dirt. With knowing that I would be using it more as a commuter bike, and the fact that I've only owned Honda bikes since I was a young boy, I settled on the crf. Many reviews also named the crf as a beginner bike that even experienced riders can enjoy. I consider myself to be closer to intermediate than beginner. I was a little rusty from not riding for about 10 years but, starting back on the crf was easy but it is still a lot of fun now that I've gotten my riding legs back. Also, for me, I really like the newer styling of the crf and the red and white paint scheme.

  • USED YZ426F

Posted April 03, 2013 - 01:55 PM

#3

I have a 2008 Yamaha WR250R, so I may be a little biased towards the piano company.

Here are a couple of thoughts concerning your decision.

The XT250 engine has been around for years and years and has a reputation as being as tough as an anvil. Change the oil once in a while, clean the air filter, add gas and go. It really is as simple as that. The Honda engine, while I am sure it has great QC overseen by Honda, is a relatively new design and as such may have some rough edges that haven't been smoothed over yet. Side note - I have over 15,000 miles on my WR250R and it has never ever, not even once, coughed. It just keeps on going. Yamaha's have legendary reliability.

Air cooled vs water cooled is not something that I would waste any effort debating. Neither engine is considered a hi-perf powerplant, and each is designed for the cooling system it utilizes. In very hot stop and go, I would be more concerned with the water cooled engine over heating. Why?!? These bikes have only a tiny fan to help move air and as such they can be more likely to overheat than an aircooled engine. The air cooled engines are designed to run in stop and go, hot or cold.

5sp vs 6sp is comparing an apple to an orange. As long as the transmission ratios are appropriate for the engine power, five or six gears don't make a snotrag's worth of difference.

Don't get hung up on the manufacture's MPG claims. Yamaha claims my WR250R gets 71 mpg (the 2008 model) but I have never gotten more than 66 mpg on a tank and average around 60 mpg. Just know that your mileage could be 10% off (or more) from what the factory claims.

The suspension on each bike is nothing like what you would find on a dedicated off-road or motocross bike. While the bikes may look like they are build for hard core off-road riding, the fact is that the suspension is going to be on the "cheesy" side. That is to say that they will soak up bumps on the road and trail just fine, the inverted forks of the Honda are not going to be appreciably better than the forks on Yami. My WR has inverted forks, and they are fine on pavement, but off-road they are very "springy" and will bottom on anything more than a small bump. The forks on my '06 YZ250 on the other hand are a thousand light-years better in performance.

Edited by USED YZ426F, April 03, 2013 - 02:09 PM.


  • keepitsimple

Posted April 04, 2013 - 03:15 PM

#4

Thanks for the responses! Both bikes' reputed spongy suspensions don't really bother me because the streets here in L.A. are so poorly maintained that the potholes make on-road riding more of a challenge than some technical trails. From what I've read, it looks like I'll be happy with whichever bike I choose. Still, it's important for me to do my due diligence about the bikes. Moreover, it's great to hear everone's different perspectives, bringing up issues I'd never think of.

Follow-up question: does anyone know of kickstart add-on kits/mods for either the XT250 or the CRF250L?

  • USED YZ426F

Posted April 05, 2013 - 02:40 AM

#5

Follow-up question: does anyone know of kickstart add-on kits/mods for either the XT250 or the CRF250L?


I don't know of any add-on kicks for those bikes. Since they are both FI, you have to have a working battery to power the fuel pump before the engine will fire anyway. I am not aware of any FI bikes with a kick starter. I was a little concerned about my WR250R not having a kick start at first, but it has been flawless since day one. Just push the button with the right thumb and the bike fires up. No muss, no fuss.

  • keepitsimple

Posted April 09, 2013 - 01:19 AM

#6

Thanks. I plan to keep the battery on a tender, but I'm old-school (carbs & kickstarters) and had hoped to have a kickstart should the battery fail. But if F.I. requires a working battery, then I guess a kickstarter wouldn't do me much good.

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  • sizemoredr

Posted April 18, 2013 - 07:17 PM

#7

Does anyone know if the Honda has a larger aftermarket gas tank? They both seem to have good range but just curious. Both seem reliable and easy to maintain. XT 250 is comfortable, good seat height, and lighter. Honda looks better to me and seems to have more after market options. I'm beginning to think I'd be happy with either. decisions decisions

  • Positron007

Posted April 18, 2013 - 07:34 PM

#8

IMS is making a larger fuel tank (3.1 gallon) for the CRF250L. I have one preordered.

  • keepitsimple

Posted April 29, 2013 - 12:10 AM

#9

I don't know of any add-on kicks for those bikes. Since they are both FI, you have to have a working battery to power the fuel pump before the engine will fire anyway. I am not aware of any FI bikes with a kick starter. I was a little concerned about my WR250R not having a kick start at first, but it has been flawless since day one. Just push the button with the right thumb and the bike fires up. No muss, no fuss.


According to KTM's website, the 2013 KTM 350EXC is a fuel injected bike that has both an electric start AND a kickstart as well:

http://www.ktm.com/u...al-details.html

Not sure if that was true of the 350EXCs from previous years, but I do know that I don't have $10k to spend on a dual sport just to get a kickstarter.

Edited by keepitsimple, April 29, 2013 - 12:11 AM.


  • dynex619

Posted May 02, 2013 - 11:59 PM

#10

2013 XT250 is a lot lighter than the CRF250L

  • mikejjmay

Posted May 04, 2013 - 04:59 PM

#11

i went in today and the conversation with the dealer went like this,

You are out of CRF250l's aren't you?

yep

you have plenty of xt250's dont you

yep

well you give me the 2013 xt at the crf price and you got a deal today.

They made the deal.

I wanted the XT anyway case of the lower height, engine around longer, easier design, and 30 pounds lighter. Also, I did not like that the rear suspenion on the honda was not adjustable at all. I did however like the Hondas front forks.

  • Positron007

Posted May 09, 2013 - 02:57 AM

#12

i went in today and the conversation with the dealer went like this,

You are out of CRF250l's aren't you?

yep

you have plenty of xt250's dont you

yep

well you give me the 2013 xt at the crf price and you got a deal today.

They made the deal.

I wanted the XT anyway case of the lower height, engine around longer, easier design, and 30 pounds lighter. Also, I did not like that the rear suspenion on the honda was not adjustable at all. I did however like the Hondas front forks.


Nice work. :thumbsup:

The rear shock on the CRF250L has preload adjustment.

  • Positron007

Posted May 30, 2013 - 02:27 PM

#13

The Honda engine, while I am sure it has great QC overseen by Honda, is a relatively new design and as such may have some rough edges that haven't been smoothed over yet. .


Just to clear a few things up the motor in the CRF250L is not as new as you claim, it is the same motor found in the CBR250R. I have a few friends that have had their bikes on the track (ie cbr250r) and have now racked up 30,000km without issues.
I'd say that is pretty good.





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