By: Chris Green
The Lead Law is finally out of the picture after recently being lifted thanks to a group of motivated dirt bike riders, mini moms and dads and the kids. We just got back from the 2012 Honda CRF150R intro at Piru Motocross Park. Our young kid testers had a blast riding the new, small red four-stroke and we even had trouble getting them off the bike at the end of the day when it was time to load up. New for 2012, the Honda CRF150R received a new cylinder head, a lighter piston and a redesigned camshaft that was aimed towards improved power, torque and overall throttle response. A new 32mm Keihin FCR carburetor has an updated accelerator pump circuit that also helps improve the responsiveness of the machine. Both front and rear, the suspension saw revised settings to improve the ride for the young rider. And to make it fit in with its family, the CRF150R got stickered up to match its older brothers-the CRF250R and 450R.
Carson noticed right away that the ’12 150R revved higher than it did in previous years and he could hold gears longer without having to shift as much. He also noted that it made smoother power from the bottom end all they way through to the top. The suspension held up good for him on bigger jumps but he liked how it handled the small chop better than it used too. Carson has experience on previous years of the 150R and told us the carburetor changes helped the off-idle bog. He still thinks a fuel-injected 150R would be awesome, though. He likes the feel of the bike when leaning into berms and ruts and says it handles both equally good and doesn’t do anything unpredictable. Carson is a fan of the bar bend and says the bike is super comfortable to jump and floats through the air with ease. This is one munchkin who would choose the CRF150R over an 85cc two-stroke.
Tyler, a first timer on the CRF150R, had some good things to say the clutch as much to find the power compared to an 85cc two-stroke. He could leave it a gear low and rely on the torque to get him up to speed. For Tyler, the stock suspension is stiffer than what he is used to but he likes how it handles the harsh landings of bigger jumps. With his slim stature, he thought it was a bit harsh in the braking bumps. He really appreciated the bikes stability. “It felt the best cornering through sweeping turns, especially berms, but still handled the ruts good too.” He commented that the bike follows a rut best when you are smooth on the power, which made it easier for him to get leaned over. He also likes how the bike is easy to respond to his body English. The bars were a bit low for Tyler, as he likes a taller, straighter bend. We heard Tyler asking his dad for a CRF150R when we loaded up for the day. He even gave his dad the puppy dog eyes…Now we have a brand new 2012 Honda CRF150R with a bunch of laps on it thanks to our miniature Dirt Rider testers. They are currently arm wrestling for the thing to see who gets it for some long-term abuse. Maybe we can teach them to share… Coming up in a future issue of Dirt Rider, one of these small fast kids will give you a more detailed test on Honda’s new CRF150R. Stay tuned!
Posted with permission from the September 7, 2011 issue of Dirt Rider®