In 1972, Honda launched the SL250S (sold under the name XL250 in North America) as a full-blown 4-stroke off-road vehicle and also launched the XR75 in North America for entry-level off-road users. In 1978, when a host of off-road vehicles were still based on 2-stroke engines, Honda launched the XL250S in Japan, which designed for on-road usability while dramatically improving off-road performance.
This model sparked an off-road motorcycle boom in Japan and at the same time created a category that would evolve into today's 4-cycle dual-purpose models as the XR250, a model that would anchor the XR80/185/500 XR series in North America. These events made a large contribution to the popularization of off-road riding, which the general public was not familiar with at the time.
Honda has retained the basic concepts of "being more fun and agile," "serving a broader range of riders" and "making even long riding comfortable." The development team has devoted itself to this development, striving to realize motorcycles that are fun to ride, on road as well as off.
In the meantime, Honda manufactured 2-stroke vehicles for motocross racing for about 30 years, starting with the Elsinore CR250M in 1972 and ending with the last CR125R/250R sales in 2004. These have now been replaced with 4-stroke motocrossers added as part of Honda' s global environmental initiative. Racing regulations were revised globally in 2000, which made it possible for 4-stroke machines having engine displacements up to 250 cc to enter 125 cc-class races and likewise for 450 cc machines to enter 250 cc-class races.
In response to these changes, Honda began work on a 250 cc 4-stroke machine that proved its excellent fighting capability by winning the 2002 All Japan Motocross Championship, which Honda entered with a prototype for the first time in the world. This machine then hit the market in 2003 as the CRF250R, providing features only a 250 cc 4-stroke model could, such as ease of handling and outstanding traction.
These features allowed a broad range of users to enjoy motocross. In the same year, Honda launched the CRF250X loaded with special equipment for enduro competition including a self-starter, large fuel tank, and trip meter to accommodate a wide range of uses in off-road racing.
This CRF series has been positioned to this day as the top-of-the-line series for motocrosser and enduro machines.
CRF250R (2004YM European model)
CRF250X (2004YM European model)