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ADV NewsHonda Gives Sneak Peek of Updated 2021 CRF250L & CRF250 Rally

Honda Gives Sneak Peek of Updated 2021 CRF250L & CRF250 Rally

Big Red previews new CRF250L line ahead of its launch.

Published on 11.09.2020

Honda of Japan has released a sneak peek of the updates coming in 2021 for its entry-level dual sport models – the CRF250L and CRF250 Rally. First released in 2012 for the 2013 model year, the CRF250L was designed to be an economical dual sport equally capable of running errands around town as it was exploring dirt roads in the backcountry. The CRF250 Rally variant released in 2017 added rally-style bodywork, more suspension travel and a slightly larger tank, while sharing the same frame, swing arm and engine with the standard CRF250L. Now it looks like both models will receive several upgrades for 2021 — the first significant update to the CRF250L platform in eight years.

So what’s new for 2021? Details are scarce for now but Honda’s Japanese-language press release indicates both bikes will receive revised bodywork and new Red/White/Blue paint schemes to start. Yet, the bigger news is a revised swing arm as well as an all-new frame said to be optimized for greater rigidity and reduced weight. We don’t know how much weight has been shaved but with a wet weight of 322 pounds for the CRF250L and 342 pounds for the CRF250 Rally, they could both benefit from some dieting. For comparison, the performance-focused Honda CRF450L is 291 pounds and the Yamaha WR250R is 295 pounds. 

2021 Honda CRF250L  and CRF250 Rally

The CRF250 Rally also appears to get a model-specific upgrade in the form of a larger fuel tank. The translation from Japanese isn’t all that clear and the capacity increase hasn’t been announced yet, but the photos seem to  show a noticeable enlargement in the top part of the tank. The previous 2.7 gallon fuel carrying capacity wasn’t all that impressive, so any increase would be welcomed. Along with the increase in fuel carrying capacity, Honda has announced improved fuel efficiency for both bikes — likely a result of meeting the more-stringent Euro-5 emissions standards. We’ll have to wait to see how much these two specs have changed but the combination of a larger fuel tank and better fuel economy could significantly improve fuel range for the quarter liter adventure bike.

2021 CRF250 Rally


Another change for the 2021 CRF250L worth noting is a new headlight assembly. The headlight holder is slimmed down and its chevron-shaped LED headlight is reminiscent of the CRF450L’s design. The new color scheme is also a close match with the Honda CRF racing line in appearance. In addition, LED turn signals look like they’ve been pulled from the CRF450L parts bin to give the bike a more modern look compared to the old round units. We can also see in the photos a set of flap-style handguards on the bike, which were not included as standard equipment previously. Along with the handguards, additional trail protection appears on the bike in the form of a skid plate with more engine coverage. Hopefully, both protection pieces will come on the bike as standard equipment.

While it’s not clear from the translation, there is a possibility of some tweaks to the suspension coming down the pipe as well. The added suspension travel of the CRF250 Rally was always a welcome upgrade over the standard CRF250L, but Honda never bothered to increase the spring rate to compensate for the additional 20 pounds of equipment added. When carrying a heavier rider with gear, the previous Rally model could definitely use some stiffer springs for the big bumps. Now with potentially more weight added from the larger fuel capacity, we are crossing our fingers the soft suspension has been addressed.

The official reveal of the 2021 CRF250L and CRF250 Rally will occur this Friday November 13th, but this may only be for the Asian market. We expect more details for the North American market to follow shortly after. Perhaps there will be even more exciting changes to come, so stay tuned for more details!

Author: ADV Pulse Staff

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6 thoughts on “Honda Gives Sneak Peek of Updated 2021 CRF250L & CRF250 Rally

  1. Now that Honda uses LED headlights even in the ”economy class” KTM really needs to update the mediocre headlight of the 690/701!


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