If you’re like most motorcyclists, when someone says “adventure bike” you picture something like a big BMW GS, a 600-pound, $20,000 “dirt bike.” You know, the kind that’s usually piled high with camping gear, tools, and an espresso maker, and lying on its side in mud in the middle of some blank spot on the map.
Our Custom Honda CRF250L Rally
Not everyone needs a two-wheeled Conestoga wagon when they venture off the beaten path. Honda’s 2017 CRF250L Rally is also an adventure bike, and maybe even a better one than some of the behemoths in the class. It’s light, agile, and inexpensive—about $6000, or a little more with ABS—and is a great platform for building a lightweight adventure bike. That’s why we have taken a CRF Rally and added a few things to it to make all of its strengths just a little bit stronger. If you haven’t seen our project bike video, check it out here –
What Are Our Favorite Honda CRF250L Rally Accessories?
Starting at ground level, the stock tires were replaced by a set of Mefo Explorers. The Explorer is a 50/50 street/off-road design with a profile that’s designed to work well on smooth blacktop or rough fire roads so you can pound the pavement to the start of your adventure and hop right on the trail without changing tires. As an added bonus, they’re long-lasting tires, especially on a light bike like the Rally, so you can start and end the riding season on the same set.
It’s always a good idea to finish a ride with as many fingers as you had when you started. The stock handguards on the CRF Rally are made of plastic and won’t probably protect your hands from anything more substantial than a stiff breeze, so they were shelved in favor of a set of Barkbusters Jet Handguards. They have a strong and light aluminum backbone for serious branch avoidance, and replaceable plastic covers for the best combination of crash and weather protection.
In the rough stuff, standing up on the pegs lets the bike move around under you for better traction and steering. The CRF Rally’s stock handlebar is a bit low for these times, making some riders hunch over uncomfortably. SW-MOTECH Bar Risers (no clear view of these in the video) bring the handlebar up about an inch, making standing more comfortable. It’s a cheap but very effective ergonomic mod that can be easily removed for street riding, where all standing on the pegs does is make you look kind of silly.
The CRF Rally’s stock LED headlight is miles better than those on some dual sports, but in a world where visibility equals longevity, you can never have too much lighting. A DENALI D2 2.0 TriOptic LED Light Kit with updates like more powerful LEDs, better optics, and more robust wiring harnesses and switches, adds visibility and dovetails nicely with the bike’s budget-friendly intent. We installed the kit as a single-intensity setup in part because getting to the high-beam trigger wire proved challenging on a bike we’ll have to give back to Honda. Under the fairing, we installed a DENALI SoundBomb Mini horn to a slightly modified version of the stock bracket.
The CRF Rally probably isn’t a bike you’re going to take on a six-month trip to Tierra del Fuego, so refrigerator-size side cases and a top box big enough to hold a sheep dog are neither practical nor desirable. Weekend rides are more its style, so the soft-sided, waterproof, 18-liter SW-MOTECH Drybag 180, along with a backpack and a hydration kit, is big enough to carry a lot of what you need to get you from Friday night to Monday morning. Check out our DrySpec line for more options, but be aware the Rally’s seat isn’t big enough to accommodate both you and tent-swallowing luggage. Just introduced, SW-MOTECH will have a simple steel rack available soon that will help expand the Rally’s carrying capacity.
The CRF250L Rally is a pretty new bike, and the selection of accessories for it isn’t as wide now as it will be soon. We’ll keep an eagle eye out for new products like footpegs and crash guards, and is also hanging onto its CRF Rally to try them out and update you as they arrive. From what we’re hearing, the Rally has been a sales success, so expect more and more accessories for the little thumper to arrive any day now. We can hardly wait.