SPORT BIKES HOT ROD TIPS
STAGE ONE MODS FOR
THE HONDA CRF250L
Riding the new Honda
CRF250L leaves you with four impressions. One, its no rocket ship. Two, it’s a bit of a porker and three,
in spite of those hard facts the machine is still a complete hoot to ride.
Stitch in the fact that it’s got a price tag of $4499 and it’s easy to see how
the popularity of this machine has taken it to the ‘sold out’ status.
But we’re so
thankful that there are number of hard edged companies out there that are as
over-the-top as we are when it comes to dirt bike/dual sport machinery and they
can’t leave well enough alone. Best Dual Sport Bikes specializes in hopping up
and modifying dual sport equipment to have a little bit more anger in their DNA
and therefore a bit more dirt influenced. Their goal with the Honda CRF250L was
to work on the ergonomics, the suspension and the power and a shaker about the
BDSB was initially
just as concerned with the power as they were the weight. This is because acceleration
is based on a power to weight ratio.
The 250L dyno’d in at 18 hp and weighed in at 312 lbs. A KTM 350EXC has
about 45 hp and weighs 242 lbs- just to put things in perspective.
Remember, many of
the engine mods remove the street legality of the machine, so check with your
local area on the proper rules. Their first mod came in bolting on an FMF Q
exhaust system. There was a double
win here as the Q4 muffler and Megabomb head pipe add almost 4 hp, but it saved
over 8 lbs over the stocker.
Next, BDSB went
ahead and replaced the battery with a lightweight Shorai unit. This was mainly
to save an extra 5 lbs of weight. It is weight that is located up high on the
bike, so you would feel it when tossing the bike around. The new battery is
also a 14-amp unit, compared to the stock 7-amp unit.
BDSB then strapped
on a good air/fuel ratio meter and rode the bike around. It was pretty lean at
all throttle openings. The
addition of fuel would change everything around on this bike as far as
acceleration went. So BDSB went to work with Dobeck engineering to design a
proprietary base map for the FMF pipe and some airbox mods. The map is only
available in the FMF programmer and makes a perfect air/fuel ratio across the
board with the FMF system.
With the additional
fuel available it made it possible to open up the (very restrictive) air box a
bit and also remove the back fire screen from the inside of the paper air
filter element. These three things made an additional 6 hp over stock, taking
the original power of 18 hp up to 24 hp.
As you can see
though, from the dyno chart, there is quite a bit more power, right from the
start and it just keeps on making the extra power until redline. To take advantage of all this power and
to make the bike more suited to off road, BDSB also provides you with a 13
tooth front sprocket instead of the stock 14. The 13-40 gearing still runs down the highway at a
respectable 80 mph and cruises nicely at 60mph.
BDSB has put
together this kit as their Stage 1 power kit. It contains a FMF Q4 muffler and
a MegaBomb head pipe that BDSB puts a ceramic coating on the inside (for free
when you buy it from them). It also contains the fuel programmer, 13 tooth
countershaft sprocket and instructions on how to modify your airbox and filter. It is $850 and this extra power changes
everything about the fun factor on the bike.
Next on the list was
fixing some ergonomics. The stock handlebars are mild steel and bend in the
first tip over. Using TAG big bar adapters let them fit stock KTM bars to the
bike. Overall, this set up is higher and lets you get further forward on the
bike. It also just feels much more natural.
The stock seat is
stiff, uncomfortable and also has a slippery downward slope. SeatConcepts.com made one of their
super superb (i.e.: fluffy, comfy) dual sport seats for it, which also has a
gripper cover. Now, you can sit
further back, plop down in comfort and stay where you want to sit. For $159,
this seat is a big plus.
Of course the stock
tires were fine for street use, anemic as dirt worthy rubber. BDSB fit on
Dunlop 952’s, a strong and durable tire where the rear unit is one pound
lighter than the stock meat. That may sound silly to bring up, but when you’re
only dealing with 24 hp, rotating weight is a factor! Ever ride a mountain bike
with light tires vs. heavy tires?
Lastly and very
importantly, is the fixing of the suspension. Stock the rear is painfully soft and bottoms on a cigarette
butt. The fork is a little better but offer no adjustments what so ever. Stock,
there is NOTHING you can do, except adjust the pre-load slightly on the rear
shock. BDSB got together with Race Tech and they built one of their G3 shocks,
which is 46mm wide instead of the stock 36. This larger body is necessary since there is no remote
reservoir and carrying more oil and nitrogen allow for better valving, heat
control and damping. The new shock also has rebound damping control, and
The fork received Gold
valves and stiffer springs. They still don’t have compression or rebound
adjustment, but are worlds better than stock and the base settings are pretty,
pretty good, for a weight range of 160-210 pounds.
The bottom line? This
bike is gigantically better than the stocker. It actually has enough bottom
power to trail ride and conquer some good-sized hills. In fact, there’s almost
no comparison over stock. Same goes for the suspension, now it has the meat to
take on a good sized, and consecutive hits without wallowing, bottoming and
launching off the trail. We loved the bars, give top mark to the saddle (nice
on the caboose) and actually look forward to going off-road exploring on the
Down the road look for
BDSB updated and refined 250L featuring a new cam profile, foam air filter and
some surprising weight savings!!! The goal is more power!!!
Over and out