The Malaysian quarter-litre motorcycle class sees two new additions in the adventure bike segment – the 2017 Honda CRF250L and CRF250 Rally, priced at RM24,378 and RM28,618 respectively, including GST, but excluding road tax, registration and insurance. Taking design cues from the Honda CRF450 Dakar racer, the CRF250 adventure bikes – available from authorised Honda dealers from August 29 – are designed for the urban rider who likes things a little rough.

Both the CRF250L and CRF250 Rally carry the same 249 cc, liquid-cooled, DOHC single-cylinder power plant that delivers a claimed 24.4 hp at 8,500 rpm and 22.6 Nm of torque at 6,750 rpm, fed by a revised Honda PGM-FI and throttle body. All-new for 2017 are the airbox, connector tube and lightweight exhaust that exits on the right.

Power gets to the ground via a six-speed gearbox and chain final drive, and a primary balance shaft reduces engine vibration while the clutch is designed to withstand off-road abuse. Typical of motocross styled machines, the fuel tanks on both CRFs are slim, but the CRF250L is fitted with a 7.8-litre tank, while the Rally has a 10.1-litre tank.

A digital dashboard is found in the cockpit, and ABS is standard equipment for both the CRF250L and CRF250 Rally, with the option of switching off the rear wheel ABS for off-road riding. Honda lists the kerb weight for the CRF250L as 146 kg, while the CRF250 Rally clocks in at 157 kg.

On the suspension side of things, both the CRF250L and CRF250 Rally share the same setup, 43 mm diameter upside-down forks in front, and Honda’s Prolink monoshock at the back. Rolling on 21-inch front and 18-inch rear wheels, both CRFs get single hydraulic disc brakes front and rear, and as earlier mentioned, two-channel switchable ABS is standard.

2015 CRF250L

Seat height on the CRF250L is set at 875 mm, while the CRF250 Rally lifts the rider a lofty 895 mm off the ground. Only one colour option is available for both bikes – Extreme Red with black and white accents, and the CRF250L comes with a halogen headlight while the Rally gets a twin LED headlight setup.

In Malaysia, direct competition for the 2017 Honda CRF250L and CRF250 Rally is the Kawasaki Versys-X 250, priced at RM23,789 including GST, though Kawasaki’s small-displacement adventure bike omits ABS. Another alternative is the KTNS 3, a China-made quarter-litre adventure machine marketed by MForce Bikes, and retailing at approximately RM13,000.

GALLERY: 2017 Honda CRF250 Rally

GALLERY: 2017 Honda CRF250L