The 2010 model year launched off to an impressive start as members of the motorcycling press gathered at California's Perris Raceway to put the new Honda CRF250R through its initial paces. The high summer temps and a cloudless day seemed to only heat up enthusiasm for the next-generation CRF250R, which garnered many positive first impressions from the media members on hand. Representatives from Cycle News, Dirt Bike, Dirt Rider, Motocross Action, Motoplayground, Motorcycle USA, Racer X and TransWorld Motocross enjoyed putting in a pile of hot laps on the well-prepped Perris track that was diligently watered and maintained throughout the day.
Also on hand for this occasion were a trio of young GEICO Powersports Honda Team stars who pilot the CRF250R for a living, including Trey Canard, Blake Wharton and Justin Barcia. Canard is still recovering from an injury, but Wharton and Barcia jumped at the chance to take their first rides on the 2010 model, and both riders came away most impressed, saying that the new bike is so far ahead of the stock 2009 model as to leave virtually no comparison.
Most of the publications took their 2010 CRF250R test units away with them to conduct more extensive tests, but a number of initial comments complimented the new 250's easy starting, smooth powerband, remarkably strong midrange/top-end punch and high-revving nature, as well as the flawless fuel metering and throttle response delivered by the new Programmed Fuel Injection system.
Regarding the engine, David Pingree of Racer X said, "The very first thing you notice is how easily the bike kicks to life… Even when the bike was hot it fired right up." And "Throttle response is instantaneous and when you land hard all you hear is the sweet sound of the bike building rpm's again."
Kit Palmer of Cycle News remarked on the 2010 CRF250R engine by saying, "We doubt anyone will be disappointed with the Honda's motor. Power is strong and spread out quite wide and evenly. It has great over-rev and is just plain impressive… We couldn't find any faults with the Honda's new fuel-injection system… Throttle response was instant and clean, and, as mentioned, starting was a breeze."
The 2010 CRF250R chassis, which features an all-new frame, more aggressive steering geometry and new suspension components, also received its fair share of positive comments regarding nimble, accurate steering traits and a notably plush suspension action that also handles big jumps and tough whoops without a hitch.
Pingree noted, "The suspension is much more plush than in the past. There was a harsh feeling the old bike had that turned slower riders off. This setup swallowed up the small chop but still took hard landings without a problem." And Palmer likewise said, "One of the first things that caught our attention after spinning a few laps on the bike was how nimble and light it felt… The bike steers well, the back end tracks well, and it simply gets in and out of the turns quickly and effortlessly… Suspension is good, too. Very plush."
Perhaps most impressed with the new bike was Justin Barcia, who recently joined the pro ranks on a Geico Powersports Honda CRF250R prepped to the hilt. He liked the 2010 stocker better than his full-on race bike.