When EICMA rolls around it brings with it a whole host of new bikes making their debuts, and this has certainly been the case for the adventure motorcycling sector at 2016’s show.
There has been a wide range of adventure bikes being unveiled at the motorcycle show in Milan, with the new Ducati Multistrada 950, Honda’s X-ADV adventure scooter and Yamaha’s T7 Rally concept all making big waves.
But the other interesting theme to come out of the show is small capacity adventure bikes. It’s an idea that has been in the rumour mill for several years now and it has finally become a reality with BMW, Suzuki and Kawasaki all unveiling their mini adventure models.
Having processed the photos and accompanying information however, it seems that the bikes are likely to be road-biased models, with off-road excursions looking out of reach. So that leaves us with the same question of whether or not there is a small-capacity bike offering the versatility we have all come to love.
Then came along the Honda CRF250 Rally. Now we’re not saying that this is going to be the answer to all of your small capacity adventuring needs, but it looks like it could be a more solid option than the aforementioned models.
The standard CRF250L was already regarded by some as a decent overlanding option – so be it one which leans on the rougher side of things – and with the Rally it looks like Honda has made some changes that make it even more of a realistic option.
While most of the bike is identical to the CRF250L, the Rally gets extra long-travel suspension, enhanced ground clearance and a larger 10.1-litre fuel tank which offers a claimed range of over 200 miles.
The bike’s styling takes inspiration from the HRC CRF450 Rally Dakar racer and we have to say – we’re big fans of its looks. It features a ‘floating’ screen, has fairing and side shrouds offering more protection against the elements and also comes with hand guards offering further protection both to the rider’s hands and the bike’s brake and clutch levers.
As a result of the greater ground clearance (270mm), the bike becomes less friendly to shorter riders with a seat height of 895mm, 20mm more than the standard CRF250L. The headlight is a compact, asymmetric dual LED unit, while the rear light, LED indicators and number plate bracket have been designed to tuck away discreetly at the back.
A new 43mm Showa inverted fork is also present with the same 250mm stroke as the CRF250L, but it now offers 50mm extra in overall length and there are a range of rally-tweaked settings. The model also sees the introduction of black Alumite aluminium rims (21in front/18in rear) marking it out against the standard bike and it also wears block pattern enduro-style tyres.
Other major changes see the inclusion of ABS (which you can switch off at the rear), a larger floating front disc and a gear lever featuring a folding tip. The digital dash features a speedometer, tachometer, fuel gauge and a clock.
The bike’s Euro4-compliant engine makes 24.4bhp and Honda says the bike weighs in at 157kg (wet), just over 10kg lighter than BMW’s new G310GS.
So, what do you think? Does this new wave of small capacity adventure bikes have a place in the market? Is the Honda CRF250 Rally the pick of the bunch? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, or in the comments below.