Power: Advantage to the CR500; it’s a beast. It also vibrates like crazy and tires you out fast. You can get yourself in big trouble on the CR500 if you are not careful, true of any bike, but especially the 500. The CR250 has less power everywhere, but is more tractable and still hits hard enough that I didn’t feel a need for more power (CR500 was stock, CR250 has a PC pipe and VF3 reeds, 50T rear sprocket). Like everyone else, I read the 02 and up CR250s have crappy bottom end. This is not true. They pull just fine of the bottom, in fact you can lug them around on the bottom up steep trails, no problem. I rate the 250 engine very highly. Also, the 250 is a cinch to start, the CR500 isn’t bad, but it is not easy either.
Suspension: No contest, the CR250 is superior in every way to the 500. The CR500 was harsh on small bumps and bottomed easily, and that is after being revalved by Too Tech. Stock the suspension was borderline dismal. The CR250 is in another league. It is smooth, controlled and takes big hits like nothing I’ve ever ridden. A few times I tought to myself “this is going to hurt”, but the bike took the hits that would have jarred the hell out of me on the 500.
Handling: No contest again. Not surprisingly the CR250 turns much easier and unlike the CR500 is stable at speed. The CR500 had nasty headshake, the 250 does not. This didn’t come as much of a surprise. The CR is also much easier to move around on and feels like a smaller, lighter bike.
Controls: CR250 had significantly more powerful binders and better feel. The clutch and transmission are much better as well, especially the buttery smooth light clutch on the 250. I attribute some of this to the age of the 500.
Overall: I love the new CR250. It’s better than the CR500 in every way except for the engine. The bike is so easy to ride it inspires confidence. No wonder guys are doing huge jumps on these things. I also really like how the bike looks. The AF frame is beautiful and it’s easier to keep looking nice compared to the steel frame of the CR500. I wondered if selling the 500 was the right choice, I’m glad I did and picked up the 250.
93 CR500 Just before I sold it
04 CR250 before last weekends ride
Edited by Jsabowabo, February 15, 2011 - 09:25 AM.