CRF230L riding impressions for the undecided...
I spent considerable time researching the various 250cc +/- dual sports out there, and the one constant I kept hearing was how the CRF230L was underpowered. Yes, it's underpowered for heavily-loaded long-distance touring on highways, but for day or weekend trips, trail riding, or commuting it has more than enough power.
Now, I am not very experienced on motorcycles but I've been driving for more than 30 years, have been a pilot for 15 years, and have owned and driven/flown some pretty high performance vehicles including several sports cars that could pull 0-60 in less than 4 seconds, and airplanes that could climb at better than 3000' per minute and cruise at over 300 knots... and while the CRF230L isn't in that class it is certainly quicker than the majority of cars. I think it would give a stock RX-8 a run for it's money; it's as quick or quicker than my wife's Volvo S80 Turbo. If this bike is considered 'slow', I can't imagine how scary fast a 600cc or 1000cc sportbike is... but I have more sense than to want to run one of those wide-open.
It handles well for a dual sport; the tires are certainly sure-footed on dry pavement and the bike is easy to flick into a corner. Low-speed maneuverability is also excellent. The bike is extremely 'rideable' especially for a novice. The suspension soaks up bumps including speed bumps.
I'm pretty durn happy with my purchase. The only thing wrong with the bike is the lack of a tachometer; I may figure out how to put an aftermarket tach on it. I also wish Honda had kept the concept of putting gear-specific RPM ranges on the speedo like they used to on the CT90/CT110.
This is not the bike to buy if you want to ride across the country on the interstate. It would be a fantastic bike if you wanted to ride across the country on back roads and dirt roads and wanted to tour lightly-loaded... especially if the roads were bad.
It was exactly what I was looking for, and I couldn't be happier.