Honda has introduced its contestant for the 2018 World Motocross Championship MX2 class. Fitted in the frame and suspension package of the 2017 CRF450R, the CRF250R's new engine promises more power at higher rotation levels, and is equipped with electric starter and selectable engine modes as standard.
The 2016 motocross season proved to be a far cry from the dominant 2015 campaign that resulted in an astonishing MX2 world title for Honda's prodigy, Slovenian Tim Gajser. After a rather lackluster season in motocross competitions around the world, Honda's CRF250R underwent a radical redesign for 2018, starring a brand new single-cylinder liquid-cooled engine.
In a capacity class that lacks the torque of the 450s, Honda decided to abandon the Unicam design of the CRF450R engine, and reverted to a double overhead camshaft layout for the 2018 CRF250R's cylinder head. The new engine is designed for high-revving performance, rising the redline 900 rpm higher and delivering 9 percent more peak power. This is achieved by shifting to a more over-square cylinder (79 x 50.9 mm, compared to 76.8 x 53.8 of the current model), incorporating larger titanium valves and higher-lift camshafts.
The fuel-injected engine is equipped with selectable engine modes, giving the rider the ability to change the engine's ignition mapping to three different settings; Standard (Mode 1), Smooth (Mode 2) and Aggressive (Mode 3).
Traditionally for motocross bikes, manufacturers seek every possible way to shed a few more grams, and Honda went all the way in this quest. The 2018 model will only have an electric starter fitted as standard, with no possibility to retrofit a kick starter, as there's no room available in the engine.
Combined with a 6.3 liter (1.7 gal) titanium fuel tank – also lifted off of the CRF450R – that is more than half a kilo (1.1 lb) lighter than the plastic unit of the current CRF250R, the wet weight of the new model is announced at just 108 kg (238 lb).
The new CRF is built around an aluminum twin-spar frame that is identical to that of the 2017 CRF450R, as is the suspension – with a set of 49 mm Showa coil-spring inverted forks replacing the SFF-TAC-Air front system of the 2017 model.
We're still waiting on pricing and availability information. In the meantime, check out below the official promo video of the motocross racer that will support Honda's Absolute Holeshot philosophy in 2018.