First Impression: 2023 Honda CRF250RX

Same Is Good

Story by Tyler Belknap, Photos by Trevor Hunter

The 2023 CRF250RX may not boast any changes for the new model year, but why fix something that isn’t broken? Coming off a complete redesign in 2022, the quarter-liter CRF RX features similar characteristics to both the R and even a little hint of the X to blend off-road and moto into one package. From its powerful motor to its lightweight, agile frame and plush suspension, this bike is a contender in every aspect. Honda spoiled us by laying out a unique off-road loop at the beautiful Chocolate Mountain Ranch, throwing just about every off-road terrain available at this bike including flowy moto tracks, techy rock singletrack, steep up and down hills, flat track, and more. 

Without a doubt, the 250RX still remains one of the most powerful 250F’s in its class. At the track or on the trail, this motor delivers the power needed for the terrain. Top end pull similar, but not quite on par, to the 250R gives this bike a fast and strong pull into the high RPMs. But as we all know, off-road is not all high revving and aggression. Just by shifting up a gear, the motor shows off its torquey and meaty bottom to mid-range pulling power that is one of the best in its class. This versatile motor makes for a competitively fast top end and a useful, easy to ride bottom end. Simply put, the motor offers something everyone can enjoy.

We also had a 125C rider on hand who found a real appreciation for the motor. It had just enough juice down low to make some of the technical sections a breeze without having too much that he felt could get away from him. Coming off a 125, this motor blends torque with aggression very well, making it a good transition bike that has the potential to grow into being a competitive off-road racer.

With suspension being softer than the R version, we found this bike still was on the firm side for an off-road bike which is better suited for more typical western terrain. Thriving in the faster and whooped out terrain, this lends itself to delivering a good setup for Grand Prix style racing. We enjoyed how well it held up in the moto style area without bottoming out or being too harsh. For the tighter rocks, it seemed to do better once we took 2-3 clicks out of the compression in both the shock and forks. Going deeper into the stroke once softened gave the suspension a smoother feel in the everlasting tight stuff at Chocolate Mountain Ranch. Running standard 105mm of sag, tight corners were the name of the game. When taken to faster more open areas, we found adding sag gave the bike more stability and leveled out the bike a little more.

The bike’s lighter scale weight, weighing in at a claimed 238 pounds, shows on the trails. This bike moves easily in those tight areas, with a nimble feel making you feel like a pro. This chassis is one of the better chassis to offer both good stability and precision cornering.

One gripe we do have with this RX, and it’s more noticeable after riding an R, is the stock 2.1 gal tank is big and bulky. With experience on the 250R, we know how much better this bike can corner and feel with a less obtrusive gas tank, but we can appreciate Honda giving us the tools needed to hit the trail or start line right out of the box with the larger tank. This is a small gripe as companies like IMS and Red Moto USA offer slimmer variations of large capacity fuel tanks.

Altogether the 2023 CRF250RX is a great bike. From its powerful but smooth motor to its lightweight nimble chassis this bike is ready for offroad. Although it doesn’t necessarily have a standout feature that will knock your socks off, it checks all the boxes well and remains at the front of the class in every aspect.

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