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Old 04-27-2014, 09:18 AM   #1
_CJ's Avatar
Joined: Dec 2010
Location: The 719, Yo.
Oddometer: 1,403
CRF250L vs DR350?

Been riding my 1990 DR350 for a couple years now and it's a good bike. Just upgraded the suspension with 1998 fork and shock and rebuilt the carb which has improved things. But the kick start keeps me from using the bike to run short errands and such as often as I might with an electric.

Saw a thread somebody posted with some pics of their CRF250L, and it looked pretty nice. I'm wondering how it would compare to my current bike. Reviews say the suspension is soft, so maybe the same as the DR. A little heavier, and about 5HP less than the 350, but has EFI and E-start, so maybe that balances out?

How about gearing on the CRF? The DR doesn't seem to have a wide enough spread in the transmission to cover single track to 70mph. I bought a wide gear set but installing it will require major surgery, so it's not high on my list right now.

Any thoughts on how they compare? The CRF price is nice, but I could also buy an e-start DR and swap engines which would be less expensive.

Moto since 2011, DR350
MTB since 1991, Full-Rigid Steel 1x8

_CJ screwed with this post 04-27-2014 at 10:40 AM
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Old 09-12-2014, 08:53 PM   #2
poiskadventures's Avatar
Joined: Oct 2013
Location: Washington DC
Oddometer: 5
Keep DR or get 98 DR350SE


This is my experience, but hopefully it will benefit you. Before you buy a CRF250L try riding one. Now I have both CRF250L and DR350. Here is my story short:

- I am 36 yo, 190/200 lbs, 5'7"
- Never rode a modern dirt bike before 2013
- Recently [in 2012] got back to riding
- After nearly 24K miles in 1 year I realized that offroad, trail riding is that what I want to do a lot
- So, I got a CRF250L last year
- I rode nearly 700 miles on it tarmac and some offroad (gravel, fire roads)
- then the next 700 miles only trail, gravel and fire roads
- I installed many upgrades to the bike - a skid plate, a DRC tail light, fmf q4 exhaust, handle bar risers, handguards, etc
- since I converted the bike to a trail bike had to change sprockets to 13/48 for better handling on trails and technical gnarly terrain

And I've been enjoying my CRF250L for a while. Riding, falling, learning to wheelie, jumping over the logs, riding off camber, etc. I am a big fan of Honda and just loved the looks of my CRF.

Here is my quick review of CRF250L:
- not a great high way bike (with stock gearing 70mph is doable, but need to stop after 40 minutes or so to get your arms relax from all the vibration numbness)

- the bike is great to ride within a city and county roads

- the bike is great to do simple offroad rides

- the bike is top heavy (in comparison to DR350)

- the suspension is soft, I had it it bottomed up a few times during jumping over logs

- the ground clearance is almost 2 inches smaller then DR350 - you will know that

- the seat height is lower then DR's - helps riders with lower inseam

- the power is ok for basic city errands and occasional offroading, but if you want wheelies, learning enduro techniques, the power is not enough. Changing sprockets definitely helps, but you rev your engine a lot more then DR's


and then a friend of mine sold me a 1999 DR350SE for a price, I can't quote here, because I will make a lot of people jealous. ;) Let's say I was lucky to have a friend like that.

After that everything changed.

The bottom line - I want another DR350, but 98-99 models with electric start and better suspension [try other models as well]. Seriously, I was trying to get another DR for a while, but could not find at a good deal yet. Went to see a few kick-start models and should tell you, the magic button is a big thing for me, especially if you fall in lots of mud and trying to kick start your bike in that condition is not my kind of idea of adventure ;-))

In any case, here is how DR350 is different from CRF250L:

- a lot more torque (HP it says around 30, I didn't measure that), but the engine is a lot more torquey

- the suspension is better (still soft, but not that bad), and the ground clearance is a win for me. Now I jump the logs more easily and rarely hit the skid plate. The bike sags a lot less with my weight on it then CRF does.

- DR experienced probably 50% less falls than my CRF250L though it is higher and sometimes I feel the difference in the seat height

- But the most important aspect for me was the engine - as I say - its very torque, and... the best part - I don't have to rev it high. I am old school I like low rev engines and the low grunt and low frequency noise from the exhaust. Just love it.

- My DR350 still has a stock CV carb, but I am getting a pumper carb (after I tried one with the pumper - loved the throttle response - lack of any delay)

- On my DR I could power wheelies in 1st easily with the stock sprockets. On a DR350 that I tried with pumper carb 2nd gear power wheelies are a piece of cake. My DR350 w/ CV carb has 1 tooth less on the CS sprocket and 48 on the rear and now I can do wheelies in 1, 2, 3 gears easily. 3 gears are clutch wheelies.

- Another interesting aspect - though DR is taller and when I see them side by side, DR350 seat is at least 1.5-2 inches higher (I have knobbies on both - CRF and DR), but it feels a lot less top heavy then CRF250L. When I try to do a pivot turn on DR350 I can manage it more easily then on CRF, but again I am just a novice at this. Because DR is not that top heavy, it responds to my body movements a lot better and hence when going slower I can better control that bike on more technical terrain.

The bottom line for me and what I want to do is '98-99 DR350 [if you can - get it with a pumper carb].

poiskadventures screwed with this post 09-12-2014 at 09:13 PM
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