1. The 2018 CRF250R is all-new. Facing declining CRF250R sales, Honda has brought out a motocross motorcycle that is almost completely different from last year’s edition.
2. Electric starting is standard. We’ll get to the performance improvements in a moment, but we’ve all been waiting for an electric start CRF250R, and now we have it. A lithium-ion battery in the airbox helps manage the additional weight.
3. The 2018 Honda CRF250R follows the Absolute Holeshot ethos of the CRF450R. As we’re all aware, holeshots are a first-class ticket toward winning. So, Honda has reconfigured the CRF250R’s motor and chassis to give it that needed jump off the gate. Focus was put on more power, more rear grip, and less front-end lift.
4. The long-running Unicam design is replaced by a DOHC valve train. The 2018 CRF250R is about revs, as you’ll see, so Honda went to a DOHC design for the first time in CRF250R history.
5. Sucking in more of the fuel/air mixture gets the power pumping. As a result, Honda claims the new CRF250R is smoother off the bottom, with more midrange and top end power. All four valves are titanium with a more compact valve angle. This also allows more room for the new downdraft intake, plus a new airbox and intake system Honda says increases air-charging efficiency.
6. A bigger bore and shorter stroke means a higher rev limit. Honda shortened the stroke by a significant 2.9mm and there is a new bridged box piston that is now 79mm wide (a bump of 2.2mm). Also, the compression ratio gets a small nudge.
7. To aid the higher revving, the CRF250R gets a new crankshaft with an H-shaped cross-section. Weight is reduced by more than 12 ounces, yet Honda says is has the same rigidity and internal mass.
8. The torque and horsepower peaks come later, so you’ll want to rev the new CRF250R. Honda isn’t shy about it—power is down a bit in the lower half of the rev range, and then comes alive for the upper mid-range and top end. Timid racers should like the softer bottom, while those who like to slam the rev limiter will love the new shrieking top end.
9. The 2018 Honda CRF250R gets a fully independent dual exhaust system. With all that air pushing through the motor, the new exhaust system features two separate headpipes and mufflers—there is no crossover. Honda claims more power and improved throttle response from this system.
10. There’s a new single-system for the oil. Running just 1250cc rather than 1600cc saves about 11 ounces of weight. There is also a shorter oil path to the engine, plus a new piston oil jet that sprays the bottom of the piston. The system reduces pump loss by maintaining negative pressure in the crankcase.
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