Honda is well-known for being one of the best dirt bike manufacturers. However, as there are a lot of different models with different specifications, it can be tough to say which are the best Honda dirt bikes.
The 10 best Honda dirt bikes are:
- Honda CRF 250X
- Honda XR650L
- Honda CRF450R
- Honda CR500R
- Honda CR250R
- Honda CRF250L Rally
- Honda CRF125F
- Honda CRF150R
- Honda CR125M
- Honda CRF50
All of these models are quite different in terms of size, engine displacement, and age. Therefore, without the necessary information, it may be difficult to choose the right one. This article will explain the key features of each one so you can make the right decision.
The 10 Best Honda Dirt Bikes
1. Honda CRF 250X
This bike is not only ideal for the beginners, but also for those with a decent amount of dirt biking experience. Aside from that, it is also the most popular one on the market. There are not many noticeable differences between the CRF 250X from 2017 and the one from 2004.
However, the 2017 CRF 250X has become more popular among beginners in recent years. It is most likely the most popular and most effective model Honda has ever made. The top speed of this bike varies between 110 and 140 km/h, depending on the specific model you buy.
It features a brilliant 250cc, 4-stroke engine, providing a smooth riding experience. It also has an excellent durable design and a very efficient electric start system. Moreover, the CRF 250X has a customizable 47mm USD coil suspension system, making it very comfortable to ride.
- Quite comfortable to ride
- Features a very efficient electric start
- Provides a smooth riding experience
- Hand brakes feel “grabby”
2. Honda XR650L
The Honda XR650L is one of the best dirt bikes Honda has ever made. The fact that Honda hasn’t changed almost anything about the XR650L and there are still thousands of buyers every year proves that this bike is an icon. The first model was made in 1993 and it has seen continuous success since then.
This dirt bike features a single-cylinder 650cc engine. It has a 5-speed transmission and an air cooler that delivers about 35 horsepower. Plus, it has a steel frame which is extremely durable. The XR650L weighs about 346 pounds.
This model is also a great choice for road riding as it can cope with almost any type of terrain. The 37-inch seat height is perhaps a little too much for a dirt bike that weighs 346 pounds. Just like the CRF 250X, this bike also features an electric start.
Due to the 4-stroke, single-cylinder engine, the fuel efficiency is quite good. This dirt bike offers a very wide powerband and requires very little maintenance. It also features the Pro-Link rear suspension, providing you with a very comfortable riding experience.
- Great fuel economy
- Offers a very wide powerband
- Features a Pro-Link rear suspension
- The seat is very high
3. Honda CRF450R
The Honda CRF450R model produced in 2008 is one of the best and most reliable models from the series. Aside from reliability this model also features an aggressive look and appearance. Plus, the CRF450R 2008 has a standard 5-speed manual transmission.
It is also important to mention that this bike, compared to the previous one, is quite lightweight, weighing only 228 pounds. Due to the Pro-Link rear suspension, this dirt bike is very comfortable too. The CRF450R has a fuel capacity of 1.9 gallons.
Another important feature of the Honda CRF450R is its very strong and wide powerband. Therefore, the riding experience feels much smoother than some other manufacturers’ bikes. This dirt bike offers precise turn-in, good rear-tire tracking and great mid-corner stability.
With the 450cc liquid-cooled, single-cylinder, 4-stroke engine, this dirt bike performs really well and offers explosive power. The seat height of the Honda CRF450R is 37.6 inches, which is quite high. When it comes to brakes, this model has a single 240mm disc on both the rear and the front wheel. Still, the front one comes with a twin-piston caliper.
- Powerful engine with a wide powerband
- Quite stable in turns
- Brilliant suspension
- One of the most expensive 450s
- It is pretty loud
4. Honda CR500R
Honda started producing this model back in 1985 and ever since then it has been one of the best 2-stroke dirt bikes money can buy. The CR500R is a simpler, yet stronger version of its smaller brother the 250CRF. Keep in mind that this bike is designed for advanced riders.
The Honda CR500R from 1984 is one of the most popular models in the series. It is air-cooled and has a 2-stroke engine that can produce 52.8hp. The engine of this dirt bike has maximum torque at 6000 rpm and maximum power at 8500 rpm. The top speed of the CR500R is 150km/h.
This dirt bike weighs just 238 pounds, featuring a 9-liter tank and a very durable frame. It comes with a 110/100 rear tire and an 80/100 front tire. This model also features the Pro-Link rear suspension. It has a standard 5-speed manual transmission just like the previous model.
Although the bike itself is quite lightweight, it has a seat height of 37.8 inches, which again is quite tall. Stopping this dirt bike is achieved via a single hydraulic disc with a dual-piston caliper in the front. Both the front and the rear suspension have adjustable compression/rebound damping.
- Great acceleration
- Very powerful
- A little difficult to maintain
- Not suitable for beginners
5. Honda CR250R
This 2-stroke, single-cylinder dirt bike comes with 58.2 horsepower and an engine displacement of 250cc. The maximum torque on this model (51 Nm) is achieved at 8000 rpm. The CR250R is water-cooled and has a compression ratio of 8.5:1.
When it comes to suspension, this dirt bike has swingarm Pro-Link rear suspension with mono-shock that is fully adjustable. The front suspension on models manufactured from 2002 to 2007 is an inverted telescopic fully adjustable fork.
This bike does a great job when it comes to braking, featuring a single 1-piston caliper disc on the back and a single 2-piston caliper disc on the front. The size of the front tire is 80/100 51M while the size of the rear one is 110/90 62M.
The Honda CR250R uses a wet, multi-plate, cable-operated clutch and a 5-speed constant mesh transmission. The fuel capacity of this dirt bike is 7.7 liters. The dry weight of the CR250R is 213 pounds.
- Very lightweight
- Quite comfortable
- Great brakes
- Engine feels a little sleepy at times
- Fork suspension may be harsh for light riders
6. Honda CRF250L Rally
The Rally version of the CRF250L was first built in 2012. Ever since then, Honda has upgraded the design of this dirt bike every year. If you are looking for an ideal bike for adventure and road riding, this may be the model you need.
This bike features a 250cc 4-stroke engine that produces 24 horsepower. The engine is liquid-cooled and, unlike the previous models, has a 6-speed transmission. The engine can provide a very smooth powerband with almost no vibration.
Thanks to the front forks, this dirt bike provides a very stable and controlled feel. Although it may not appear like a heavyweight bike, it definitely is. The Honda CRF250L Rally weighs 347 pounds. The muffler of the bike keeps everything very quiet while you’re riding.
Another very important factor to mention is that the CRF250L Rally is fully street legal, which may be important for riders that plan to ride this bike to the trails. The suspension of this bike is decent, considering that it’s non-adjustable. Plus, The Honda CRF250L Rally has great gas mileage.
- Great power with little vibration
- Very controlled and stable riding feel
- Comfortable to ride
- Quite a heavy bike
7. Honda CRF125F
The dependable, single-cylinder, 4-stroke engine of the CRF125F offers a wide powerband as well as great performance. Therefore, it is a great choice for a wide range of riders. The fuel injection makes the bike even more efficient too.
Honda’s heavy-duty, durable clutch provides a smooth shifting feel on this dirt bike. To make the riding experience even smoother, the CRF125F features the Pro-Link rear suspension. Still, keep in mind that this model only has a 4-speed transmission.
Another important fact about the Honda CRF125F is that it has a low seat height. With the 29.1-inch seat, this dirt bike makes a great suit even for shorter riders, which is in stark contrast to some of the bikes above. Plus, it has an electric push-button starter that makes getting going very easy.
Due to the sealed design, the battery of this dirt bike is maintenance-free. To improve the security even more, Honda added a keyed ignition switch on the CRF125F. This way you are in control of who is riding the bike. This is a very useful feature that comes in handy when you have younger riders in your house that want a shot of your bike!
- Features an electric starter
- The battery is maintenance-free
- Has a wide powerband
- Not very powerful
8. Honda CRF150R
If you’re looking for a comfortable, safe, and lightweight dirt bike, The CRF150R might be the perfect choice. The Pro-Link rear suspension, along with the 37mm inverted Showa cartridge fork are both fully adjustable. The seat is slim and well-padded, providing you with maximum comfort.
Due to the reusable 2-stage foam air filter and the large capacity airbox, the power won’t drop off, even during long dusty rides. The clutch of the CRF150R is heavy-duty and is fitted with tough friction plates. This way it retains a light pull at the lever and offers great durability.
Furthermore, it features an automatic decompression system that makes starting very easy even if it’s cold outside. Aside from the broad 4-stroke power, this dirt bike also features a 5-speed manual transmission.
The Unicam design gives it excellent mass centralization and very compact dimensions. This way you can change directions on the ground and change your altitude in the air with almost no effort. As this bike is quite lightweight and has the engine displacement of 150cc,it makes a great choice for kids as well.
- Excellent mass centralization
- Compact dimensions
- Suitable for kids
- No spark arrester
- It can get quite loud
9. Honda CR125M
Honda CR125M features a 2-stroke, single-cylinder 125cc engine that weighs just 46 pounds. This dirt bike is on the lightweight side, weighing 154 pounds when dry. With a full tank the CR125M weighs 188 pounds.
The 4-point adjustable Showa shocks provide a great and comfortable riding experience. This dirt bike has a 6-speed transmission and a magnesium alloy engine casing. Plus, the engine is air-cooled and can produce 22 horsepower.
This dirt bike was extensively tested on motocross tracks in California and Japan. The Honda CR125M was ridden by Marly Smith back in 1974 when he won the AMA National Motocross championship. This is one of the few off-road bikes from that period that still offer both reliability and a good top speed.
The top speed of this model is 60 mph (96 km/h), and it’s achieved at 9,500 rpm. This bike has the fuel capacity of 1.6 gallons (6 liters). As this model is quite old you might find its design a bit plain when compared to some modern bikes.
- On the lightweight side
- Fast and reliable
- Not the most stylish model
10. Honda CRF50
Finally, if you are looking for an ideal Honda dirt bike for your child, the CRF50 is probably what you need. This model is very lightweight, weighing only 111 pounds with a full tank. The engine displacement of this dirt bike is 50cc and it produces 3.1 horsepower.
To make it even more suitable for kids, the Honda CRF50 features an automatic clutch. Without the manual clutch, shifting gears is very easy, making it perfect for a child just getting into dirt biking. This dirt bike has been the main choice of most beginners for over 40 years.
You can also adjust the top speed using the throttle limiter. This prevents new riders from going too fast, too soon. The 4-stroke engine of the CRF50 is quite reliable and long-lasting. Plus, the foam air filter is washable and easy to access, simplifying any maintenance requirements.
This dirt bike also features the keyed ignition system, preventing unauthorized use, another handy safety feature if you have younger kids around too. The plastic fenders are also very durable. Plus, the grips on the CRF50 are high-quality and very comfortable. Unlike any of the previous models, this one has a 3-speed transmission.
- Features a throttle limiter
- Ideal for kids
- The clutch is automatic
- Doesn’t have an electric starter
Honda’s History With Dirt Bikes
The American Honda Motor Company was founded in 1959 in the USA as a subsidiary of the Japanese Honda Motor Company, and has been producing dirt bikes since the 60s. For decades, Honda has been considered as one of the best dirt bike companies. They began with a 90cc and a 50cc engine that a couple of merchants were distributing.
People then started using some of the smaller bikes Honda made on campgrounds and trails. That kick-started dirt bike riding as we know it today. However, it was the CR and CRF XR series that brought Honda the most success.
Buying Guide: How To Pick The Right Dirt Bike
Finding a dirt bike that will suit your needs can often be tricky. There are many different factors you need to consider in order to find the ideal one. If you don’t explore every possible angle, you could end up with a dirt bike that is too big, too heavy, or too powerful for you.
Skill Level & Riding Experience
Dirt bikes give you quite a different feeling while riding compared to street bikes. If you have tried riding a cruiser or a chopper around the city, you will be shocked by how different riding a dirt bike feels. Still, if you have a lot of experience with dirt bikes, you probably wouldn’t be reading this. So, we will assume that you are a newer rider!
One thing you need to remember is that dirt bikes are, most of the time, quite lightweight. Street bikes, on the other hand, are usually much heavier. That’s why a dirt bike with a 250cc engine can accelerate like a heavier street bike with a 650cc engine.
If you haven’t ridden a dirt bike before, we highly recommend you stick in the 125cc to 200cc range. Riding anything more powerful in the beginning can be extremely dangerous as you may not be able to control that amount of power.
Stay Reasonable With The Size
Aside from the size of the engine, another important factor is the actual size of the bike. Some dirt bikes are bigger, taller and heavier than others. It can be tricky to find a dirt bike that is perfectly sized for you.
Your weight and height have the biggest impact on how big your dirt bike should be. A good way to find the right size is to try sitting on the bike and putting your feet down. Only one third of your feet should be in contact with the ground. If you can flatfoot it the bike is probably too small, and if you can only touch the ground with the tip of your toes, the bike is probably too big for you.
Another thing that makes dirt bikes very specific is the size of their wheels. Dirt bikes usually have a smaller rear wheel and a bigger front wheel. This allows them to navigate smoothly over rough terrain and accelerate faster than street bikes.
Dirt bikes designed for off-road trail riding will usually have smaller wheels with bigger tires and more rubber. Bigger wheels make a dirt bike more comfortable, especially for a beginner. The bigger the tire, the smaller the rock!
Consider Your Age
Although the ideal engine displacement has a lot more to do with the overall riding experience than the actual age of the rider, it is still something you should keep in mind. If you are looking for an ideal dirt bike for kids, stay in the 50cc to 150cc range.
Most kid-sized dirt bikes are in that engine displacement range. Anything more powerful than that is not only dangerous for kids but also most likely too tall. On the other hand, if you are an adult, you don’t need to consider your age in order to find the ideal engine displacement, but only your riding experience.
The Honda CRF 250X is the most popular Honda dirt bike ever made. It offers brilliant performance, efficiency, and comfort. Plus, it has a great top speed and is suitable for both beginners and more advanced riders.
Honda has been known as one of the best dirt bike manufacturers since the 1960s. They have produced a number of high-quality dirt bikes that have been sold and ridden all over the world. However, in order to choose the ideal one for you, we recommend you carefully go through the buying guide and consider all the factors that affect the feel and performance of a dirt bike.