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Honda CRF250F - Break In
April 23, 2019 version

 Introduction 

 Modifications 

 Documents 

 Fuel Injection 

 Break In 

Click pictures to  supersize.

  

Break In Rides

I started break in rides on March 16, 2019. Although I had not finished wiring, and the lights and horn were not operational, the 250F was able to be ridden off-highway, and the only real area open for riding (due to snow) was dirt roads in western Fremont County. Wellsville, a small community east of Salida, has a very small area to park just off County Road FC45.


Mileage

The tables show miles ridden and gas used to give MPG. Time and MPH avg are shown sometimes. Gearing, FI settings, and mods which directly affect engine performance and thus MPG are also shown.

This table is for the stock 250cc engine, with stock fuel injection, plus mods as noted.

Date
mm/dd/yy 
Miles
 
Gas
gal 
MPG
 
Time
h:mm 
MPH
avg 
Sprocket
fr/rr
FI
settings
Exhaust
 
Where
 
3/17/19 42.34 0.53 80 4:00 10.6 13/50 Stock Stock River Rd
3/20/19 20.11 0.21 95 1:13 16.5 13/50 Stock Stock Power Line Rd & River Rd
3/26/19 21.23 0.42 50 1:27 14.6 13/50 Stock Stock Canon City north
3/28/19 30.18 0.42 71 1:20 22.6 13/50 Stock Stock Ark Hills
 
Totals 113.86 1.59 72 8:00 14.2

This table is for the stock 250cc engine, with EJK fuel injection, plus mods as noted.

Date
mm/dd/yy 
Miles
 
Gas
gal 
MPG
 
Time
h:mm 
MPH
avg 
Sprocket
fr/rr
FI
settings
Exhaust
 
Where
 
4/4/19 25.14 0.45 56 1:11 21.2 13/50 EJK stk Stock Ark Hills
4/6/19 26.29 0.40 66 1:11 22.2 13/50 EJK v1 Stock Ark Hills
4/8/19 40.43 0.58 70 2:03 19.7 13/50 EJK v2 Stock Ark Hills
4/16/19 32.02 0.48 67 1:38 19.6 13/50 EJK v2 Stock Ark Hills
4/18/19 52.06 0.69 76 2:27 21.3 13/50 EJK v2 Stock Ark Hills
4/20/19 63.28 0.95 67 2:52 22.1 13/50 EJK v2 Stock Herring Park and Ark Hills
4/21/19 32.24 0.44 74 1:48 17.9 13/50 EJK v2 Stock Shirley Site locals
 
Totals 271.46 3.98 68 13:10 20.6

EJK vn refers to EJK settings version n (1,2,3...).
Mileage improving as EJK is dialed in.
65 MPG with the 1.6 gallon fuel tank yields 104 miles per tank of gas. Just barely tolerable. I wonder if anyone will make an aftermarket fuel tank.


Grand Totals

Grand
totals 
Miles
 
Gas
gal 
MPG
 
Time
h:mm 
MPH
avg 
     385.32 5.56 69 21:10 18.2

For those checking my arithmetic, I found and corrected some errors in transcription. Keep me honest.


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3/16/2019 - Power Line Road

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A short ride east to the top of the first hill. Although everything works, I discovered a few ergonomic adjustments were needed. I was too keyed-up to make any observations about the 250F, other than to feel relief that it could climb hills, and the brakes were working ok.


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3/17/2019 - River Road   ele 6,242 - 7,389 ft

A short ride was planned with friends Joe and Dana and their son, and it turned into a pleasant 4 hour long ride down along the Arkansas River, a side trip on Hayden Creek Rd, a stop at Turkey Rock (BLM trials site), and a short ride up Sand Gulch and back.

I made note of a few minor problems (shifter in particular), and will attend to them before the next ride. Mostly, my own bike-prep, which is incremental and improves as I adjust the bike, but the shifter must be changed.


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3/20/2019 - Power Line Road and River Road return   ele 5,727 - 7,965 ft

Down to business. I rode the Power Line Rd east to Sand Gulch Rd, then south to the River Rd, then west on River Rd back to the waiting van. I paid attention to the bike's performance up and down the hills, short muddy sections, and a few rocky sections.

The seat is hard; too hard. It must be replaced with something more comfortable - wider and softer.

The suspension sucks. The forks are harsh, barely stroking thru their travel. The rear shock is the same - harsh and non-compliant. I have had conversations with Bruce Triplett (Bruces Suspension), and the damper rods will be modified as soon as parts are available and he can schedule the work. I will also get a Hagon rear shock as soon as possible. Meanwhile, grit my teeth and avoid the rough stuff.

The tires made short work of the few muddy sections I rode, but I'm looking forward to the new tires and mousse I have waiting to install.

The bike turns easily, and weight-shifting is easy with the narrow seat and tank. The 'cockpit' is very open for my 5' 5" size, and the bars and pegs are exactly as I like them. I changed the foot shifter, and the replacement is exactly where my foot expects it, and shifting is very smooth, up and down. I will make one slight adjustment to the Montana GPSr viewing angle, and that will be pretty much all I need to change at this time.

Although the engine is not broken in, it is doing just fine. The roll-on power is nice, and engine-braking works fine. I expect the engine will get a bit peppier (is that a word?) as it breaks in, but I'm happy with it so far. The acceleration is more pronounced than my 230F, as you would expect with about 26 cc more displacement. The 250F is not as torquey as my 230F, as expected. It won't lug down, then pull out smoothly, but that will improve a bit as the engine beds in.

The fuel injection works great. Hit the button and the engine springs to life (no choke is available, nor necessary). The RPMs are elevated a tiny amount, but settle down within a minute or two. No choke to turn off. Snick into gear, and away we go. The engine never stuttered nor was a hanging idle to be seen. Perfect, and a bit of a surprise due to my riding elevation of 5,700-8,000 feet and no jetting changes needed at all.

I get a distinct feel of more speed and additional power on tap as I start to open the throttle more and more. It's a wind-in-your face feeling that I enjoy when riding dual-sport on dirt roads (DR/DS). It's exactly why I bought this bike. My CRF250L (283cc) is definitely on the for-sale list. The 250F is my new 'more smiles-per-miles' bike.

As much as I love TST, I'm looking forward to changing my riding focus this year, and shifting to more DR/DS. I'm getting a bit long in the tooth, and the more relaxed pace and lower physical effort of DR/DS will probably see me riding the 250F more than my 230F this year. I don't feel bad about that one bit. I expected to 'slow down' sooner or later, and it looks like the time is just about now for it to start. I'm just happy that the 250F came along just as it was time for me to need it. How's that for planning!

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3/26/2019 - Canon City north   ele 5,738 - 7,936 ft

With snow still blanketing the high country, I drove down-river to Canon City and met a friend for a ride in some rugged hills near Red Canyon Park.

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We rode rocky 4WD roads that took us past old mining sites. I had a chance to open up the throttle on the easy sections, and it's obvious the engine is breaking in nicely. Twist and away we go. More power on tap, but limited by the rocky roads and the still-stiff suspension. I tried some roll-off then roll-on throttle exercises in the rocks to see how the low-end lugging was developing, and was pleased to see that performance in this situation was improved. Adding miles, fast and slow, with down-hill roll-offs to seat the rings was paying off nicely.

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Here's a look at some of the rocks we rode.

I think the temp got up to 70 today!


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3/28/2019 - Ark Hills   ele 7,865 - 9,931 ft

It's time to ride in my back yard: the Arkansas Hills north of Salida. These are the hills where I do a lot of DR/DS - Dirt Road / Dual Sport. For the last 6 years, I've been riding these hills on my 2013 CRF250L. My new 250F is 50 pounds lighter than the 250L, and I was anxious to see how it would compare 'in the field'.

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Ouch. This is gonna be harder than I thought it would be.

Time to look for some dry terrain.

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I reached Fremont County Line on mostly dry, but occasionally muddy FR175.

I was able to open up the throttle on the dry stretches, as I climbed up into the mountains. The 250F engine did not disappoint. I could break traction on the curves, and hold the line as I powered around the turns. Nice responsive and confidence-inspiring feedback from the tires through the frame, to my butt. The 250L never had this much hit; even the 283 BBK is overshadowed by the 250F 4-valve setup. The 50 pound difference is assuredly a big factor.

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View from the top.
I'm standing at 9,800 feet looking at 14er's.

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The road to Turret was freshly graded and TACKY!

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View of the frozen-over quarry on the way home.

This was a delightful day, even if only 30 miles. The 250F has added a little excitement to my DR/DS, and I look forward to drier roads ahead, when I can let this filly stretch her legs, and the smiles shine on.


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4/4/2019 - Ark Hills   ele 7,770 - 9,597 ft

A check ride this time, to see if newly installed electric circuits and the EJK work. I rode to Turret again, and then beyond until mud turned me back. The electrics worked just fine. Now I have 250F electric power to my Montana and inReach, plus the backbone for the lights etc is now installed. The EJK was flawless. The jetting was very rich with the numbers already programmed by EJK. Probably for sea level use.

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North of Turret, on the way back.

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Turret.

I sent the 250F seat to Renazco for a facelift and more padding. I'm using a CRF250L seat strapped into place during the seat overhaul. It's not a great fit, so I took it easy. Looking past the rich jetting, the engine is feeling much better, or maybe I'm just getting happier that I can find the time to ride. I have other changes in the pipeline, and hope to test each one on separate rides to come.


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4/6/2019 - Ark Hills   ele 7,931 - 9,928 ft

After refueling, an oil change, EJK settings adjustment, and a day off, I'm back on the road again. This time, a bit more aggressive on the throttle, with excellent results. The jetting is much more reasonable with hardly any rich feel anywhere. The 250F is really showing up well; I may not ride the 230F for a few months! This bike is FUN. Can't wait for the Renazco seat and Bruce's damper rod mods. Still waiting on backordered damper rods from Honda.

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Backcountry.

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Summer cabin.

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Break time.


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4/8/2019 - Ark Hills   ele 7,929 - 9,910 ft

Warm sunny day. I have the new widened footpegs on, and the bent shifter positioned better (see mods page). Very comfy for my feet. With the roads drying out, I can ride a bit faster and really feel the wind in my face. I tweaked the EJK settings.

Later, when I got into some rolling dips and rises, I practiced low speed climb-outs. Go over a rise and roll off the throttle. At the bottom, don't down shift, but let the bike dig deep and torque up hill. Not bad. Not a 230F, but not bad at all. Tweaking the EJK settings made the pullouts smooth, with no richness lag.

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South Park. It's gonna be a while before we head for Cripple Creek.

Click for pano.

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Black Mtn, up close. Ride around, not over.
11,654 feet high

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Can't get to Aspen Ridge.

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Break time. A-ways north of Turret.

Great news when I got home - the seat is on its way back from Renazco. I'm tired of sitting on my strapped-on CRF250L seat. And Kouba Link is shipping next week, so soon I'll be able to ride some technical places with confidence. I'm very short......


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4/16/2019 - Ark Hills   ele 6,652 - 9,944 ft

With the new Renazco seat and KoubaLink installed, the comfort level has increased considerably. I can flat-foot with a little flex left in my knees, and my butt never felt a more comfortable seat. Well, there was that 67 Triumph seat - two in comfort on all-day rides.

No tweaking the EJK today; I'm gonna try some mildly technical stuff with the current settings.

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A degraded 4WD road. It continues to climb around the curve to the left. The best line is on the left side. Embedded rocks won't move like the gravel on the right will.

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Salida - click for pano.

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More climbing on the degraded 4WD road. Easy Peasy. Mostly embedded rocks, and the 250F chugs right up it. I tried to hold the RPMs at 2,500 on this stretch, and it pulled clean and strong. Roll-on at the top for a wee wheelie.

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Yes, there's a mountain named after me. I found it on the USGS topo map just after we moved here in 1999. Rode up to it. Meh. Not much to see. It's shaped like a pup tent. There's a private home at the base which shows on the biggie pic.


So I was able to try some technical 4WD roads with lottsa loose rocks and some ledges. One thing about the 250F vs the 230F - once you commit to a line, it's more difficult to change in the middle if you run into some difficulties. The 230F allows you to roll-off, redirect, then roll-on and continue. The 250F, being a larger and heavier bike, is just a bit more cumbersome. Not a problem for most riders who have never ridden a 230F and enjoyed it's nimble manners and mellow but torquey engine.

The extra power of the 250F can induce some unwanted wheel-spin, where the 230F just sticks like velcro, and motors right up the most intimidating terrain.

I suspect it will boil down to what you're used too. If you come off of a 230F and change your riding style just that little bit, you'll get used to the 250F and not look back. The 250F surge is very beguiling.

The EJK did a great job on the technical stuff, never hesitating a bit. And no richness, either. I may have it dialed in pretty good now.


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4/18/2019 - Ark Hills   ele 6,479 - 9,922 ft

I rode to South Park today, and there was still some snow and mud near the CR53 intersection. FR174 to Herring Park was snowy in places, so I turned back and headed for Long's Gulch.

No tweaking the EJK today; I'm gonna stick with the current settings.

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The road down Long's Gulch is soft dirt at first, then gets into some rocky sections as it passes through and near some small mining sites.

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There are a few changes in elevation as the road generally descends heading west. Rocky outcrops make for interesting drop offs going down, and uphill jumps going back east.

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The snow capped 14ERs line the western horizon, and are a good visual check on where you are heading because you can see them from pretty much anywhere in the valley and the Arkansas Hills.

Click for a pano.

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A smoother section as I head back east, but you can just make out some rocks near the top end. I held 2,500 RPM on all the uphill climbs, just lugging it. Only broke rear wheel traction once or twice, and had to twist the throttle once over a ledge - very impressive low-end torque. Remind me to do this ride soon on my 230F to compare.

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One of the many mine sites in the area.

I was able to ride a bit faster today, but the gas mileage improved over previous day's rides. Maybe I'm getting used to the throttle response and smoothing out the right wrist gyrations. I sure could use some suspension improvements - Bruce should have some improved fork damper rods in a few weeks. The shock research is slow - no one wants to commit because the 250F is too new to gauge the market.

Warmer weather is melting the snow, and I expect to get into some more technical terrain in the days ahead. Maybe a trail or two will be rideable...


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4/20/2019 - Herring Park and Ark Hills   ele 8,756 - 9,914 ft

A friend and I rode to South Park today, and then rode FR174 to Herring Park. We then rode to the northern end of Aspen Ridge, which was snowed-in and the gate was locked, so we had to double-back to reach FR185, the southern end of Aspen Ridge. It was snowed-in and the gate was locked also, so we rode a few side roads, then called it a day.

My friend was riding his new-to-him Slant-Hussy FE390, so the pace in Herring Park was 'peppy'. Later we slowed a bit to watch the scenery. The Herring Park Loop is a favorite CRF250L (283cc) ride, and it was interesting to compare how the 50-pounds-lighter 250F stacked up. My 250F was a delight to ride. Where the 250L had to be slowed for rougher sections, the 250F skipped over the bumps without missing a beat. I'm gonna like riding this bike on all my DR/DS routes.

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The Slant Hussy near Rick Mtn and the Crater.


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4/21/2019 - Shirley Site locals   ele 7,797 - 9,789 ft

I rode inventory on the roads and trails in the vicinity of Shirley Site. I wanted to ride some of the Rainbow Trail, to see how the 250F would handle medium TST (Technical Single Track)

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One of the easier sections of the Rainbow Trail.

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Narrow but smooth, so fairly easy to ride.

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The hardened center section is about 10 - 12 inches wide.

Besides the smooth sections shown above, I rode some rocky, twisty, climbing sections. While I had no difficulty on the smooth sections, I had problems on the more technical sections.

Weight  The 250F is 15 pounds heavier than my 230F, so the weight was noticed. Not bad enough to disqualify the 250F, but I think I would be more tired riding it after a day of TST than with the 230F.

Length  The 250F has a 2 inch longer wheel base than the 230F. Getting that longer moto around some of the tight turns was a bit tedious. I imagine a bit more twist of the wrist would help, but I do like to crawl along most times.

Height  In stock trim, the 250F is .7 inch lower than the 230F. I have lowered my 230F about 1/2 inch using a 150F link. I have not measured the ground clearance of the KoubaLink lowered 250F, but it's got to be at least 1 1/2 inch lower. That puts my 250F 1.7 inch lower than my 230F. And that is noticeable. I was hitting rocks with my footpegs brackets and the skid plate bottom that I would not hit with the 230F. I was judging which rocks to dodge around based on the 230F clearance which I am used to. I could adapt and go around some of these rocks, but that's more effort, like the weight penalty. If I removed the KoubaLink and went back to the stock link, I suspect I could clear the rocks easier, but I wouldn't be comfortable with not being able to reach the ground easily.

Torque  The 250F had no problems with slow-speed crawling through the rougher stuff, although I suspect on really steep technical trails, the 230F would have the edge.

Bottom line  I will ride the 250F on easier trails and all the DR/DS I can find. I will stick with the 230F for the really technical high-elevation TST. This does not bother me one bit. I bought the 250F as a replacement for the 250L, and it will serve that function admirably. Bonus is I will do some trail riding with it, as needed and where I judge it will not be a handicap. I will keep one of my 230F motos, and sell the other. I anticipate many happy CRF250F miles are in my future.

Counterpoint  Although I found the 250F to be somewhat difficult to ride as described above, many other riders would not have any problems dealing with the issues I mentioned. If you don't lower the 250F, you will probably not have rock problems. My short inseam (28 inch) requires me to have a low seat height; others will have no such need. I am an older rider, and weight makes a difference to me. Others in better physical condition will not be so affected. YMMV

PS The jetting was spot on today, as it has been all along with the adjusted EJK.

 

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