A dual-purpose motorcycle is a wonderful thing as it offers up the best of both worlds. You can ride it through the city during the week and then on the weekend take off on an adventure. A little touring, a little light trail riding – with a dual-purpose you can pretty much do it all. The problem is that these sorts of bikes aren’t exactly cheap. Something like a BMW F700 GS starts at R147 990. This amount of capital outlay is intimidating for a novice rider looking to buy his or her way into the game. Equally intimidating is the weight.
Said BMW tips the scales at just over 200kg. This doesn’t sound like much on paper but when you’re trying to pick up 200kg of tipped over motorcyle out in the middle of nowhere it’s a totally different story. So what’s the answer then? Well up until now there hasn’t really been one as sub 800cc dual-purpose bikes don’t really exist. I know this because I was looking at purchasing one a few months ago and there is NOTHING out there.
Fortunately this has just changed as Honda has gone and unveiled its new for 2017 CRF250L Rally. Stealing styling cues from the Dakar-conquering HRC CRF450 Rally, this awesome looking newcomer weighs in at only 157kg. Easy to handle and maneuver through tight city traffic, its off-road credentials are boosted by long-travel suspension and 270mm of ground clearance. To make it less tiring out on the open road Honda has given the CRF250L Rally a ‘floating-screen’ wind deflector and wider front fairings to better insulate the rider from the elements.
Other highlights include hand guards, ABS brakes and asymmetric LED headlamps. Honda’s familiar single-cylinder 250cc liquid-cooled motor has now been tweaked to deliver 18.2kW and 22.6Nm. The 10.1-litre fuel tank is said to deliver a maximum range of 320-kilometers – not amazing but handy nonetheless. Although local pricing is yet to be confirmed I’d guess that the CRF250L Rally will probably cost in the region of R72 900 when it’s launched here in 2017. That’s pretty affordable for a manageable and capable dual-purpose bike that will take you most places. A game changer? Time will tell but I’d be very surprised if it isn’t. – Thomas Falkiner