Tag Archives: kawasaki KLX250S

KLX 250S – mountain and desert

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• KLX in Mohave
KLX – Baja Gallery

Parachute blind somewhere into SW USA, spin a bottle and head that way. Chances are in a short time you’ll be riding through epic scenery. Whether you ride road or trail, there are no bad routes out here, and over the summer I got my KLX relocated to the west Colorado to knock out the classic Rocky Mountain passes. But as it was now a bit late in the season, that plan got downsized to riding back to Phoenix via Moab, UT. It still couldn’t fail to be a great ride.
coutmapFrom Eagle, CO I’d pre-mapped a 300-mile network of backroads and trails (left) towards the La Sal Mountain Loop just out of Moab which I did one brilliant afternoon on the CRF a few years back.
And out of Moab I could think of nothing better that riding the macys-logoWhite Rim Trail again, then heading down through the Lockhart Basin on the Utah BDR towards Monument Yalley. Over to Macy’s in Flagstaff for a schnick-schnack, and it’s all downhill from there.

krigdupakRocking up on the outskirts of Eagle one freezing morning, the KLX’s battery was as flat as trampled roadkill. Even if it recharged, it would be a risk alone en brousse, so at the quad shop downtown I fitted a new one for $35 and set off along Cottonwood Pass Road. The aspens were on the turn and shimmered when backlit by the low autumn sunshine. Maybe it wasn’t so late in the season after all?
klx-3Annoyingly, the map tile I was on didn’t display on the Montana GPS so I was riding on the memory of the Google Map and blundering around a bit. I should have picked up a Colorado Benchmark or similar, but I was only one day in the state so would muddle through.
From Carbondale, 133 lead south along a chilly valley, then switched back up the 8,700-foot Ragged Mountain Pass which had the KLX down to fourth, but still plugging away at 45mph.
klx-6Next morning in Delta, it didn’t look like the Grand Mesa to the north was snowed-over yet, so the little 250 chugged up to nearly 11,000′ (3300m) where an easy dirt road contoured past the thin snow to the plateau’s southern rim, before dropping down spectacularly at Lands End Observatory (left). On the level at this height the KLX again managed surprisingly well, but some inclines and another few thousand feet would have had it struggling, I’m sure.
klx-7klx-8A quick blast in the slow lane up Highway 50 led to 141, apparently a well-known bikers’ road. At Gateway general store (right) there were more bikes than cars: a CB500X, MV triple, one of those Harding Davies you hear so much about, plus an intrepid Ozzie couple on a KLR (left).
The food van here made an outstanding bacon-avocado wrap and proper chips but, as I’ve often found, the fuel in these outback places is often rough as well as expensive, even so-called 91 premium. Perhaps it sits in the tanks for too long.
bedroI was looking for something called 4.4 Road to connect with the La Sal Loop for Moab, but still off the map tile, I blundered up 42.10 instead. The nav felt off but it took me ten miles to admit it, and by the time I found 4.4 it was too late in the day to risk unravelling what looked like a mass of tracks to get to Moab before the slavering coyotes came out. So I carried on along the much longer 141 bikers’ lizroad – nice, but nothing special – then swung back west via Bedrock and Paradox. Somewhere here I had a gas and lodging moment; none of either in Paradox, so I turned down the wick, slipped between some kamikaze deer while faffing again with the GPS, and rolled into Moab’s Lazy Lizard on fumes.

wrtmapNext day I ditched the baggage and set off for the White Rim Trail, a 150-mile round trip from Moab. An old uranium prospecting road built in the 50s, half the distance is the off road and all of it is like turning the HDR setting to 11.
Most of the time the trail traverses a broad ‘white’ sandstone terrace – hence the name. And every once in a while the track comes right to a cliff edge with staggering vistas over eroded butes, mesas, canyons and pencil-thin spires as far as the eye can see. And all without a single warning sign, guardrail or any signs at all. It all helps you feel you’re out in the wilds and, along with the ease of the riding, it’s the frequency of these mind-boggling outlooks that gives the WRT its well-earned reputation.

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A light trail bike can manage the WRT in about seven hours. A full-on OHV dirt bike will be faster but won’t have the fuel range – and anyway there’s a 15mph speed limit. MTBs take days or do sections with support, and 4x4s typically take two days. You can average about 25mph on a bike, which is a realistic top speed on the dirt too, depending on what you’re riding.
klx-11klx-9A bunch of big 800-1200 advs flew past me on the wide track heading to the start of the trail proper (right). Rather them than me, I thought, but what do I know? They could be old enduro pros looking for some exercise.
The WRT starts with a stunning switchback drop into Mineral Canyon (left) and the banks of the Green river which it then follows for a klx-12few miles (left). It was definitely sandier than when I did it one spring on the CRF-L. Perhaps summer storms wash silt down. But even at road pressures on worn trail tyres, the KLR was easy to balance in the ruts, and this felt like ‘good’ sand – more crystalline or less arid and so less ‘sinky’ than ancient Saharan sand.

klx-13At one point the trail climbed steeply onto a shelf, not something you want to cock up. I passed the big bike group (left), had a little chat, but never saw them again after that. Soon a steep, 4×4-gouged drop led back down to the terrace, followed by a few short sandy sections before we were back on the bedrock.
Many stunning vistas, like the one below, pass by before the other major climb and drop over Murphy’s Hogsback. The climb is easy enough providing you attack it and there’s no one in the way. The descent felt a little more thought-provoking this time round. My KLX stalled on a washed-out hairpin, but was light enough to roll down without drama. I did wonder how those big advs would manage this bit.

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klx-confluklx-23By now you’re past the unseen confluence (right) and are heading back north towards Island in the Sky – way above and the place where regular day-tourists congregate. Glimpses of the Colorado river appear (left), the track levels off and stays that way, often crossing bare rock. I’d have found it a cushier ride on aired-down tyres, but was prepared to suffer a little to avoid punctures.
At a junction the Shafer Grade lies straight ahead climbs 1300-feet up the cliff into national park babylon. I went up and down it last time, but it was now late, I was a bit weary and fuel was low, so I took the Potash Road back east to town via the salt works. What a great day out.

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Next day the BDR trail into the Lockhart Basin was closed. Still off the tile, I klx-26didn’t have the wits to find another way round so instead road-hauled south to Blanding and worked klx-25my way towards a little sandy valley I discovered last time (left). I parked up under the rustling trees, read a bit, ate a bit, dozed a bit and moved on.
At the far end I took a ‘wrong’ turn onto the road, but it’s all good around here as long as the fuel lasts. Riding next day up to the 7000-foot rim on which Flagstaff rest, it was one final blast of cool air before rolling down into the 36-degree cauldron of Phoenix. Oil change, jet wash, pack up, fly home.

klx-28klx-27After 4000 miles I feel the same way about the great little KLX250 as I did following last February’s rides. Compared to the very popular CRF-L, it’s an under-rated 250 that’s almost certainly all the better in efi form. My one’s for sale in Phoenix for $2500. See Craigslist.

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Light
Fully adjustable suspension
Looks good in red
Seems to run cool
cros
Would prefer the efi model (now sold in US)
Seat as bad as they get, but lycra cycling shorts work wonders
Tiny tank – and the biggest aftermarket tank is only 50% more but same size as my $20 can
Tiresomely tall at normal height, but [mine] easy to lower.

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Baja Gallery ~ KLX250 F800GS

KLX250S main page
Mohave with KLX
KLX250S – Mountain & Desert

Baja16 - 46After Mohave I rode down to Baja with Al Jesse on his F800 for a couple of days, among other things trying out some new budget cases.
More or less, we crossed at San Luis and rode through the irrigated delta down to Gonzo Bay, back up to Mike’s and back.

At Mike’s, some bikers rode up the regular way from the north, two-up on a KLR or F800. A fun, easy ride. And four GS12’s came in the hard way along El Coyote from the west. Eight miles took them some six hours. Three spent the night on 85-helmut-updthe track and rolled in for breakfast. Pic on the right (from Rick Giroux) reminds me of my own USD BMW in Algeria’s Hoggar mountains in 1985. Two nights later the Sahara finished that bike off.

Mohave with KLX250S

• KLX250S main page
• Baja Gallery
• KLX – mountain and desert

With the KLX set up, I took off for a few days. The plan was to explore the Mohave desert between the Arizona border and the Sierra Nevada. Along with Baja, this has been an unfulfilled biking destinations for as long as I’ve been trail biking.

db70mkbutIn the late 70s I gobbled up the seminal Dirt Bike magazine from cover to cover – and most of their riding was done out here, east of LA. DB founder and editor Rick Sieman wrote up his ‘Dirt Biking Years’ as Monkey Butt, the memoir of an increasingly bitter individual who saw his opportunities to gun across the Mohave scrublands slowly eroded by the rise of the Joshua Tree-hugging environmentalists. In the good years the iconic, non-competitive Barstow-Las Vegas run (‘B2V’, below) had a start line of some 3000 bikes spread out a mile wide. By the late 80s the B2V got outlawed by the BLM, Rick Sieman did time for protesting/trespassing then emigrated to Baja in disgust. But as the fully legal  LAB2V, a form of the event still survives.

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You don’t have to be an old fan of DB to recognise that besides airborne Maicos, countless movies have also been shot out in the Mohave, a short distance from Hollywood. Time Rider (Back to the Future delusiomeets TT500 desert racer) will be known to many riders my age, but be it a zombie western, a road movie, teenage slasher or Mars on the cheap, the arid scrubby, mountain-rimmed playas east of LA have provided the space and landscapes to spin a yarn. In ’91 I well remember watching a B-grade road movie called Delusion with its climactic shoot-out outside a 1930s deco motel at Death Valley Junction (left). Death Valley Junction – what a great name. A few days later I rolled up right outside that very motel (and passed it again – now reopened – on this trip). Your road trip becomes your road movie out here.
lostinIt may even go back even further than that. Childhood telly like The High Chaparral, BonanzaLost in Space, and movies like Planet of the Apes all included locations out here. If you’ve ever watched telly or seen a film, chances are the Mohave backdrops will be in your blood. Painting yourself green and wearing a salad bowl for a hat? Well, that’s just down to personal choice. Hell, we’re in California!


mk3-02I left Phoenix on a hot afternoon, looking to get a couple of hours in. Destination: west. I-10 was obviously out on a 250, there was more fun to be had on 60 up to Wickenburg, then back southwest via Salome and up 72 to Parker on the Colorado river.
Just like last time on the CRF, my ingrained thrift saw me fill up on 87 fuel – they wouldn’t sell it if it was bad, right? Wrong. My new ride was soon running like an MZ on watered-down kerosene and hit reserve at only 88 miles, somewhere east of Salome. Still, getting off to top up the bike was a relief. I refilled at a ‘Gas Haven’ roadhouse – the one pictured above is an old Hills Have Eyes movie set in Morocco. You’ll find the real thing all over the Mohave and the Southwest.

parkRocking up in a small desert town like Parker can be as thrilling as an Iowa farmer marvelling at Piccadilly Circus. The bright neon signs glow against the inky sky, growling V8s and trucks roll through – it’s all Tom Waits needed in his prime.
The downside to all this road trip romance can be underwhelming food if you try to dodge the fattening fast food traps. Or even if you don’t.

roadlegNext day I hopped over the turbid Colorado river which will be sucked down to nothing by adjacent conurbations and irrigation in the next 200 miles. Barely a trickle will reach the Gulf of California.
Hereabouts names on the map can add up to nothing more than a scattering of ramshackle, sun-bleached trailer homes or shacks ringed with dead cars, washing machines and other scrap. Is it a town or just a loose collection of dwellings where a outcasts, loners, rogue chemists or desert lovers pitch up to live on their terms?

Over late brekkie at Chiricao Summit on unavoidable I-10, the penny drops and I fill up with full-fat 93-grade gasoline with added maple syrup. Hey presto, the bike is running like it should. Next turn north leads into Joshua Tree NP, a cool sounding place where like the song doesn’t go, I may find what I’m looking for.

KLXX - 3I’d downloaded a free Desert Southwest map for the Garmin Montana but seem to be missing out on juicy dirt roads – or I’m not reading it right (#2 it was). The NP paper map has more legible detail: Old Dale Road spins off the main drag and heads for the hills. ‘Four-wheel drive only’ it says – it’s even listed on DangerousRoads.Org – but after years of wheeling in western Australia I’ve become blasé to all that. Initially it’s a light sandy track and the KLX rattles over the washboard, front end surfing and wandering on its trail tyre. The backlight makes it hard to read the surface so I stop to air down a bit. It doesn’t make much difference but under 30mph the 140-kilo Kawa doesn’t have the momentum to flip out when it gets out of shape.
KLXX - 5Then the track turned a corner and headed into the mountains and, yes sirree, you’d want a fourbie with clearance and low range up here – or be a GS pilot with steady nerves if on your own. On occasions it gets as gnarly as the gnarliest Moroccan tracks I do, requiring confident launches up or around rock steps and over loose piles of stones.
To my relief the KLX takes it all in its stride with its combination of harmless power, light weight and compliant suspension that all helps control the bike, not require fighting it. What a revelation; that’s what I was looking for.
Up on the heights other numbered but unmapped JT (Jeep Trail?) tracks branch off and my route isn’t always clear. Orientation has to be guessed off the broad-brush NP map with the help the Montana’s compass and a desert rider’s eye for what appears to be the most used trail.

KLXX - 8Out of the hills and back on a broad sandy runway, the bike is handling much better now. It occurs to me the energetic workout has reformatted my reflexes in tune with the bike’s bucking and sliding. Well, that plus lower shadows are now across the track, raising the definition.
Back on the highway near Twentynine Palms, as the sun begins to drop I air up and scoot back into the north side of the park for the 4000-foot high scenic loop where all the J-Trees actually grow. Below, it could be the ‘Poison Forest’ episode straight out of Lost in Space where the green Siren lures in stranded argonauts.

KLXX - 10

In Joshua Tree town the cheap-motel manager claims she’s ‘full’ but then relents and apologises for mistaking me for ‘a local’. I get this suspicion at other lodgings too – presumably KLXX - 13highway-roaming reprobates take the piss or cause trouble. Opposite the hotel the neighbouring compound had a colourful row of what we call ‘Ameri-cans’ capping the wall. Inside I try to watch TV for some added cultural immersion, but it’s a lost cause – you can literally channel hop from one commercial to the next.

There are roads leading north up to Amboy and Kelso next day. I kind of hope they’ll be wide gravel dirt with shady borders, but will take what I get. Out of 29 Palms it’s actually deserted crumbling blacktop, like parts of old Route 66. There are a lot of east-west railroads round here, all converging on LA I presume. At Amboy, an old rail depot, we stop at a crossing to watch a mile-long BNSF train pulled and pushed by six locos. It’s a cue for another song and a ‘so-that’s-what-it-means’ explanation of its lyrics:

KLXX - 14And the Burlington Northern’s pullin’ out of the world
With a head full of bourbon and a dream in the straw
And a Gun Street Girl was the cause of it all
A Gun Street girl was the cause of it all

KLXX - 16

Amboy has an old roadhouse motel near a former Chloride mine –  another authentic ‘gas haven’ with five-dollar fuel, no coffee and milling tourists. ‘Icy’ warns a sign on the next turn, but not today. Up top I follow a track to a grassy clearing and eat, read and doze, then head down the north slope with dunes on the horizon.
Kelso – another railroad ghost-depot. I’m wanting northeast for some intriguing backroads into Death Valley, but have to choose west for Baker and fuel (‘He was pulling into Baker on a New Year’s Eve – One eye on a pistol and the other on the door). My paper map seems unreliable, my GPS map has no key of course (but if I zoom right in dirt roads are there) and the Garmin World Base Map is – err – basic in outback California.
With a can on the back, to pass the time I decide to run the bike dry: only 125 miles but 88mpg (73US). Not bad I suppose. I snatch a few extra miles by coasting to Baker, enjoying the cycle-speed breeze. I’m not achieving a lot today, but no one’s watching.

KLXX - 19Baker is alongside I-15 and its famous Pole of Temperature (left) is reading 85°F, but by the weekend the weather is set to turn. Storm off the Pacific, wind and rain by Sunday they say.
Baker’s too close to the interstate to invite an early cut, but up the road in Shoshone there’s no room at the village inn. ‘Pahrump is KLXX - 20your nearest bet, honey’. Another 30 miles and it’s nighttime in Nevada. Fill up at the servo – it’s all I ever seem to do. ‘Motels? Right at the lights’. Once installed, I whizz back to casino-lined downtown helmet-less for my bi-annual BK. Is Nevada lid-free? Probably.

Today I know exactly where I’m going. Up to Beatty for the Titus Canyon track which  sneaks into Death Valley from the east. Other all-terrain recreationists are out in force today. I realise later I could’ve cut through Ash Meadows on the way to Beatty for a bit of dirt relief, had I studied the Southwest GPS map more closely last night on Base Camp. But out here there are no bad route finding decisions. Smooth dirt or broken asphalt, spin a bottle; it’s all good.

KLXX - 23

KLXX - 25Titus is even better than I recall – a classic one-way route which, after an initial washboard approach, winds up to a high pass from where I’m able to switch off and coast almost right to the canyon mouth (left), peering across the arid pans of Death Valley. Without the engine distracting you, riding the KLX is like being on an oversized mountain bike, you can focus on the lines and body position while slipping silently past lumbering 4x4s.

KLXX - 24

It’s Saturday and even though it’s overcast the word is out: rare wildflowers are blooming following winter rains and the park is packed with petal spotters. I don’t suppose I’m the first person to wonder how this basin can be below sea level so far inland and not death_valleyeventually fill up with debris from millennia of run-off. The visitor centre puts me straight: tectonics tilt blocks like fallen dominos, the low points happen to be below sea level. Then three tall ranges of Sierra Nevada create a Triple A rain shadow – no moisture reaches DV. Add the glaring radiation bouncing heat up against heat, and what drops may fall won’t even hit the ground so there’s never enough flash flooding and erosion to fill up the valley. Or not for a long time yet.

KLXX - 27I should have booked a hotel – I forgot Saturday’s get busy near big national parks. Back at Death Valley Junction the colonnaded Amargosa Hotel looks great inside the lobby, but with that sort of historical ambience it’s as full as a visitors’ centre car park.
Jeez, is that the time? Must be overdue for a fill up again in Shoshone at more than double the usual price. There’s a WR250R doing the same. Turns out the guy picked it up only yesterday for $7k, equipped. I’m looking for one of these for an upcoming Sahara trip where anything heavier will be a liability – at least at my age. Nice to see a fresh WR in the flesh – a good omen I tell him. Triple clamps off a JCB, they make 30-odd hp, do 70 to Her Majesty’s gallon but don’t require WR-F-like levels of care. Or so they say. Guy is usually a Victory cruiser (like half US riders it seems), but wants to explore the dirt side. Good on him, I say.

KLXX - 29I try Tecopa Hot Springs, surrounded by a grubby, salt-caked wasteland, but it’s full of orange people swanning around in sarongs, and has no cabins to spare. My paper map shows a track / road heading southeast from here back to I-15. It’s getting late but could be fun. I try to follow it past the date farm but the orientation looks off. Later on, Google and Base Camp showed no link, but with a cig-packet sized screen it’s hard to work all this out on the move with seven-pound specs. Next time I’ll carry big-arsed Delorme/Benchmark road atlases, like I did on the CRF trip. Until they can beam out hologram screens, handy-sized GPS units just can’t give you the full picture. So it’s back to Baker under glowering skies and spots of warm rain.

KLXX - 12I’m resigned to dosing in an abandoned trailer or gas station, but Baker turn out to be less popular than I thought. At the motel he accepts cash and drops a card deposit as I’m ‘not a local’. Baker seems to have every brand of fast food going, apart from the Greek place. Over the road a waitress squeezes me out a Mexican meal from a big tube.

KLXX - 31Next day many people warn me of the strong winds, but apart from a few side sweeps, all it did was slow the KLX down to 49mph in places. I try to plan a route using the backwind and avoiding interstates, but at times there’s no getting away from either. The deserted Nipton Road (old cafe sadly dormant) leads me back past J-trees into NV and a fat brekkie at Terrible’s Roadhouse in Searchlight. Then it’s back over the Colorado and another refill in Golden Shores to follow windy and windy old 66 via kitschy Oatman where the weekend hoards are lapping up the whole gun-slingin’, gold-pannin’, bar-fightin’ sideshow.

KLXX - 30Near Kingman dust storms are hurtling around the valley looking for something to blow over. East along 1-40 I am sailing but turning south onto 93 it’s largely in my face and when it’s one lane I sense the tailback’s trigger fingers getting itchy. It’s the occasional price you pay for riding a 250. It rains a bit but I dry off even quicker and ease into Wickenburg on fumes.
The day turns into a tiring 9-hour, 350-mile haul of wind-surfing with the butt clearly getting acclimatised to the KLX perch. All up not so bad on a weedy 250. Must be high time to tank up.

Baja Gallery

KLXX - 34

Honda CRF250L vs XR250 Tornado

updated Summer 2020
torvscrf

Two 250 Honda trail bikes: one which I used in the UK then owned in the US; the other which I’ve used as a rental in Morocco several times. How do they compare? First, some stats, mostly gathered from the web and referring to the pre-2017 CRF. ymmv.

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Scan over them and there looks to be very little in it: same weight fuelled up; same number of gears; suspension travel within an inch. Even the power’s the same, though  the XR’s tank is half as big again and there’s 10% more claimed torque at 1000 less rpm on the Tornado (23.7Nm @6000rpm).

mk13108

That could be down to the Tornado’s 1980s carb-and-air-cooled technology which makes the same claimed power as the modern water-cooled, fuel-injected pre-2017 CRF. But as you may have guessed, any benefits of the CRF’s greater compression and modern efficiencies are swallowed up by the catalyser and other gubbins to meet today’s demanding emissions legislation.

crr11

And that’s the biggest difference of all. Both are inexpensive bikes, but as far as I know there’s no place where you can choose between one or the other, well not new any more. The Thai-built CRF met Euro-3 emissions requirements in richer (or should that be ‘leaner’) western countries. The Brazilian-made Tornado won’t, so got sold where bike emissions were less strict or are not enforced.

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Riding the 250s
Although I rode them a few months apart, my impression was the XR was a more agile machine that lived up to its XR prefix. Much of that may have been because most of the time my CRF was loaded with some 15-20kg of baggage plus a rack, bashplate and screen, all which adds some 15% to kerb weight – quite significant on a 23-hp 250. But even unloaded on Utah’s fabulous White Rim Trail (left), I still feel the XR would have been a nippier and better-sprung machine. Fuel consumption is the same – so much for the mileage benefits of efi. Rider weight and payload will have a bearing on this: one light Tornado rider in Morocco was getting close to 100mpg (35.5kpl). I only got close to that a couple of times on my CRF in the US and – interestingly – nowhere near that on a UK test bike direct from Honda.

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tornado

Suspension felt longer and more supple on the Tornado (in RSA they did a low seat model some 40mm lower; see table above left), the back disc is much better on the CRF. Both can sit on 100kph all day until you encounter steep inclines, headwinds or high altitude. Though it ran up to 10,000 feet without issues, some days my CRF certainly felt the elevations in Nevada and Utah. Add an incline and it struggled to do 80kph at times, though it might have been the local fuel which, in my experience, varies greatly in USA. At 2300m (7300′) on a rough track in the Moroccan Atlas, the Tornado also gets strung out between first and second gear but still fuels surprisingly well once off the pilot jet.

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Conclusion
The Tornado felt better all round and were it available in the UK cheap I’m sure I’d have bought one by now**. But maybe that’s the way it is with an ‘exotic’ unobtainable machine, let alone one whose old school technology recalls a simpler era which someone my age can relate to. Apart from being annoyingly tall for some, it’s everything you want from a 250 trail bike: light, good brakes, economical, fast enough and well sprung. For travelling the weak point on both 250s will be the subframe, but people have managed, so long as you don’t load a bike like a refugee’s GS12.

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tornado** Fast forward a few months.
I met a TRFer last week and he told me 250 Tornados from around 2003–4 are found in the UK and as I check the usual places I find he’s right. The one on the right had 8000 miles on the clock and looked in great nick but was going for a rather optimistic £2200. In 2016 a UK dealer was even looking for £3500 for a near-new 2004 Tornado! There was another one on gumtree, same age and mileage for a more reasonable £1400.

And in 2015 they stopped importing the Tornado into Morocco where the all-conquering CRF250L joined the line up. The XR250 Tornado is no longer made in Brazil and, at least in South America, has become the XRE300 (left) – a  Tornado engine bored to 291 plus efi, rear disc, optional ABS and cool, rally styling for same price as the CRF250L. However, the 300 has a poor reputation in Brazil; riders even lower the compression to try and make it last. More here.

Alternatives

klx250
crr22

If you like it old style you can still get a similarly basic XR250Rs until 2004, or TTR250 (right) in the UK until around the same time. They sold new in Australia right up to 2012 but elsewhere are getting on.
As an alternative to the CRF, the injected Kawasaki KLX250B9 (an old carb’d KLX250S in the US) has been around for years, but for some reason never created the impact of the CRF when it came out, even if the suspension is way better than the Honda. The injected version is said to be power restricted in the upper gears, but there’s a dodge or two to get round that here.

wr0

Used prices of the more powerful and unrestricted WR250R make it a less obvious choice for a travel bike as opposed to a fun weekend dirt bike, and they’re pretty rare in the UK which stopped importing them in 2008 (still sold new in parts of the EU and the US and Au where the WR has a strong following). Both the EFI Kawa and especially the Yam WR are significantly pricier used in the UK – from £2500. But they’re more sophisticated and come with a higher spec than the CRF which seems to have caught up, price wise.

Late 2016 – uprated and Rally CRF250Ls announced

crf2017.jpg
crr22
KLX1 - 30

In 2016 I got a WR250R in the UK and also bought a carb’d Kawasaki KLX250S (left) in the American Southwest, a well put together machine – an efi ought to be even better. More news on how my WR compares with the above 250s here.

• Dual Sport shootout (CRF, KLX, WR_R)
• Tornado thread on Horizons
• Ed’s Yamaha WR250R in Russia
My CRF travels in SW USA 
Honda RSA Tornado brochure 
My KLX-S in SW USA

xrr11