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Author Topic: So my third bike is... the CRF250 Rally!  (Read 2205 times)

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Offline Zanie

So my third bike is... the CRF250 Rally!
« on: March 17, 2018, 07:13:55 pm »
I have finally bought my first ever brand new bike! And isn’t it absolutely beautiful!!



I’ve been ogling the Rally now for over 4 months; ever since the test ride at the Honda demo weekend. It showed me where this bike shines. Test-riding it on tar is doing it an injustice. I got to test it on rocks…



…sand…


…and even on falls:


The itch wouldn’t go away, so I decided to gift myself a new bike. This is the first time I have bought a vehicle (car or bike) motivated purely by my own wants (it feels like a “need”, but let’s be realistic here), rather than recommendations. It’s also my very first new bike.

Many moan about this bike’s small engine, but the rides that I enjoy the most are usually with Lance and maybe 2 other buddies; exploring the back roads. Power has never been a thing for me. Lance is also one of those incredibly rare creatures that is happy to stick to the speed limit. Anyway, we try to keep off highways.

Lance’s skills are good enough to tackle almost any road on his 800GS. Mine are not. It has led to countless cases of abuse for my old work-horse 650GS. I bought my 650 when it was already 12 years old, with only 30,000 km on the clock. Almost 5 years later, it’s now on 100,000 km. It has suffered much.

































I suppose people recommended the 650 to me as the best gravel cruiser; knowing that I planned to go off-road. I guess not even I knew where I’d be taking it. It wasn’t meant to do this…



…and it let me know, in no uncertain terms, that it was past this type of work. I managed to pop the fork seals on almost every ride where there was rougher terrain. No, they were not worn. It would happen no matter if they were replaced even a month beforehand.



I’ve had to replace a front axle. I’ve had to have the rear shock reconditioned. My front wheel has a lovely smiley despite riding at 2 bar. I’ve replaced mirrors about 5 times. I’ve replaced levers about 3 times (I now know how to ride minus a front brake or a clutch lever). I’ve had to replace sub-frame screws.

I replaced front fork springs, because the standard ones were much too stiff, especially with my weight. I had to replace the rear tail-light section of my bike at least three times, because when the rear shock bottoms out, the number plate catches on to the rear wheel and the whole thing goes.



The final straw was when the tail-light section got fed to the front and jammed my rear wheel solid while I was doing 80km/h on a gravel back-road. Thank goodness I wasn’t on a corner.



I modified the entire rear as a result, also adding a more visible LED tail-light:



I have been left stranded twice thanks to battery sudden death, despite daily commuting and intermittent battery maintenance charging. Batteries would last an average one year; spanning 3 months (!!) to a maximum of 18 months. The one that lasted only 3 months also did me the favour of leaking acid all over my bike’s innards, requiring the replacement of both coolant hoses.

I’ve had to replace my entire instrument cluster (found a second-hand unit) thanks to water damage and corrosion (apparently a known issue with this bike – I guess you weren’t meant to ride it in the rain).

Within the space of 3 months, I was able to use my tow-strap twice: once thanks to a dead battery; the other time thanks to a stone that hit my radiator.



I have spent three times more on maintenance on the 650GS than I have on its capital cost (I have a spreadsheet). Perhaps an average running cost of just under R3.80/km in 2017 Rand value for everything (capital, maintenance, fuel, insurance and licencing) is not too bad. Yet I was starting to get tired of being the one that usually broke down and I wanted to get a bike that was more fun on the more technical sections.

I knew I would have more fun on a smaller bike, because Lance had convinced me to get a plastic. This time people recommended a Honda CRF230F. I am having an absolute blast on this bike. Its small size, light weight and very forgiving tractor-like personality just builds confidence. This bike also takes one hell of a lot of abuse (compared to the GS) without even blinking.

Rescuing the 230 from a ditch:


Its usual territory:




Learning some skills:


I started learning how to do my own basic maintenance on this bike; above and beyond the usual chain-cleaning/lubricating, puncture repair and battery acid level maintenance. Oh wait…that last one is quite 650GS specific.



But the CRF230F service intervals are miniscule, it doesn’t like going over 80km/h and it is not road-legal. See the gap? The obvious conclusion: must have third bike!

My 650GS will now be retired from commuting and the rough stuff. It will serve as my breakfast run or gravel highway big group ride bike where higher cruising speeds are required. That is, after it is fixed... The day before I fetched the Rally, the GS sprang a fuel leak in protest. It also has some other rough riding/random jerks symptoms (started 3 months ago) that is proving hard to diagnose. Then there’s the 100,000 km service. Eish.

The one that started it all, plus my newest baby:


The CRF230F is my funduro bike and my “go ride in the bushes” bike (usually every Sunday).

The Rally will serve as everything in between. It will now be my main bike. I’ll use it for commuting (I expect excellent fuel consumption and longer tyre lifespan) and for any outrides where it’s just our small group and where we go explore the roads less travelled.

I’ve only had the chance to go on one longer ride with the Rally, but I’m absolutely loving it!





The professionals may complain about the too-soft suspension, but it’s perfect for my skill level (I won’t be doing ramps at speed) and I suppose my lighter-than-average-rider weight helps. I was giggling to myself on a ride with Lance on his 800GS; watching him take the safer line around a rock while I would just go straight over. This is a “brainless” bike: I don’t even have to bother about picking a line!

Others say the bike’s too high. Though I’m not that tall (164cm), my legs are incredibly long (longer than the legs of some guys who are far taller than me), so I have not found it to be too much of a problem. I really like its seating position. Though, of course, no bike will ever have a seat as comfy as my GS.

I had to get used to the fact that the bike likes revving higher than the 650GS (seems to like 6000 rather than the GS’s happy-spot of 4000). Smaller engine. Duh! I also suddenly have some very strange modern features that I’ve never had before. ABS? Hazards? Fuel gauge?! How incredibly odd.

The mirrors make me feel as if I can see the entire world behind me. The 650’s after-market mirrors (couldn’t afford to keep replacing OEM parts) have absolutely huge blind spots.

The Rally’s engine is beautifully quiet and smooth compared to my other bikes (I don’t dig loud exhausts). The first time I test-rode the bike I wondered whether it was indeed switched on! Where are the teeth-rattling vibrations?

Some people ask whether I want to have kids. I tell them I have three kids already. The eldest is a bit of a problem child; being a teenager and all. The middle child is the wilder one; obviously seeking attention. Now to see how my newest grows up. Meanwhile, I hope my friends won’t get tired of all the “baby pictures” on Facebook!
« Last Edit: March 20, 2018, 08:58:50 pm by Zanie »
 

Offline Oubones

Re: So my third bike is... the CRF250 Rally!
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2018, 07:32:32 pm »
Nice, enjoy!
Looking forward to your RR's.
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SR 500
 

Offline katana

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Re: So my third bike is... the CRF250 Rally!
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2018, 07:51:23 pm »
 :ricky: :ricky:
If you want to haul ass, you gotta mix gas.
 

Offline BLK

Re: So my third bike is... the CRF250 Rally!
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2018, 08:13:45 pm »
Good luck and enjoy,thks for sharing.
 

Offline The TRANSPORTER

Re: So my third bike is... the CRF250 Rally!
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2018, 08:25:42 pm »
Geluk en geniet hom, doen sommer klaar n tail tidy en haal daai lang groot stuk plastiek klaar af ;)
I told her i was married, she said 'me too, who cares, lets ride!'
 

Offline superfoxi

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Re: So my third bike is... the CRF250 Rally!
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2018, 08:33:59 pm »
Congratulations! A proper motorbike - finally.
Just don't par it too close to your old Beemer ... cross-contamination
 

Offline teebag

Re: So my third bike is... the CRF250 Rally!
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2018, 08:38:27 pm »
Congratulations - nice to see another one here ;)
 

Offline Dux

Re: So my third bike is... the CRF250 Rally!
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2018, 09:05:06 pm »
Congratulations , may you have many happy miles on the new toy  :thumleft:
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Offline Crossed-up

Re: So my third bike is... the CRF250 Rally!
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2018, 09:11:59 pm »
Great Zanie! You'll love it.
 

Offline Zanie

Re: So my third bike is... the CRF250 Rally!
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2018, 09:51:16 pm »
Congratulations! A proper motorbike - finally.
Just don't par it too close to your old Beemer ... cross-contamination
:imaposer: I'll make sure it's not parked too close. Wouldn't want it to learn any bad habits.

Congratulations - nice to see another one here ;)
I've been watching your thread as well and I liked what I saw.
 

Offline Battlestar

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Re: So my third bike is... the CRF250 Rally!
« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2018, 05:18:47 am »
Magic little bike. Enjoy it and I too look forward to some RR,s

Pass this way once!
 

Offline blauth

Re: So my third bike is... the CRF250 Rally!
« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2018, 08:32:07 am »
Congratulation...I'm jealous!!

You had a huge amount of patience with the GS. You mentioned a smiley on the front wheel despite 2 bar. The 2 bar helps but if your suspension reaches the end of it's travel or is not progressive, this will happen no matter how hard your tyres are. A good case for the Rally.

Do yourself a favour. I suspect you will see that the GS just stands most of the time now, costing money anyway in insurance and loss in value. Sell the GS. Get what you can for it and put that money into debt or whatever. You'll see. When you have too many bikes, you never commit to any one of them whole heartedly, one foot out the door so to speak. When you commit to one bike, you will love it exponentially.

Happy rides.   :thumleft:

Drover1

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Re: So my third bike is... the CRF250 Rally!
« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2018, 07:09:00 pm »
Thanks for sharing, you are an inspiration to many, enjoy the new bike, wishing you many happy km’s! 


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Offline Zanie

Re: So my third bike is... the CRF250 Rally!
« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2018, 08:06:18 pm »
I suspect you will see that the GS just stands most of the time now, costing money anyway in insurance and loss in value. Sell the GS. Get what you can for it and put that money into debt or whatever.
The GS will definitely cost me in maintenance and insurance, but not in loss of value. It has almost no more value to lose. It's worth more to me than to anyone else, especially considering I recently replaced the clutch kit.

Anyway, I would never be able to sell a non-functioning bike (which it is currently) to anyone with a clear conscience. My poor bike with its less-than pristine panels and a fuel-leak from under the seat pictured below. On inspection, the leak seems to be from the connection of the second in-line fuel pre-filter (so that I don't have to replace the whole fuel pressure regulator / fuel filter unit next time). It will head to bike-hospital soon.
 

Offline blauth

Re: So my third bike is... the CRF250 Rally!
« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2018, 10:34:33 am »
Maybe your GS is a good case for a full rebuild if you are so inclined.....

I commend your honesty and honour r.e. selling the bike in it's current condition but if you're honest with the buyer, there's no foul    :thumleft:

Anyways, whatever you decide, all the best and give us lots of feedback on the little CRF. I've always really liked it, I'm just to snoep to fork out the dough    :-\

Offline wilfwalk

Re: So my third bike is... the CRF250 Rally!
« Reply #15 on: March 26, 2018, 04:15:19 pm »
Congrats on your new CRF 250 rally from another new owner of the same !
 

Offline wilfwalk

Re: So my third bike is... the CRF250 Rally!
« Reply #16 on: March 26, 2018, 04:16:36 pm »
Okay that wasn't meant to be ! The other photo was supposed to be this one !
 

Offline Zanie

Re: So my third bike is... the CRF250 Rally!
« Reply #17 on: March 26, 2018, 08:02:01 pm »
I am absolutely loving my new little bike. It's a great commuter and not bad on the long haul. I took it for a spin to Hermanus to visit my uncle, just for kicks and giggles. It's definitely happier at 110km/h than 120km/h, which meant that I made sure to take the more scenic, slower route. The fuel consumption (or lack thereof) is amazing. Imagine riding 270km and only filling up with R120...

I've taken it on a nice back roads ride with a couple of other mini-bike riders. I really enjoyed the less rushed and more exploratory pace.

I've had a new luggage rack installed and attachment points for my Giant U soft luggage bag thanks to Flying Brick. Chris didn't have any of the soft luggage attachment points in stock, so he sold me those off his own bike! Now I'm ready for a 4-day trip in the Tankwa this weekend.  :ricky:

Pics below of the luggage rack, soft luggage attachment points (where the sub-frame bolt is, just below the foot-peg) and small-bike ride.
 
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Offline wilfwalk

Re: So my third bike is... the CRF250 Rally!
« Reply #18 on: March 27, 2018, 11:47:45 am »
I like your luggage rack better than my plate-like one. Especially that one has a better grab-handle when you need to pick the bike up. Enjoy the long weekend trip, safely ! Look forward to a trip report and some pics, please.
 
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Offline pietas

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Re: So my third bike is... the CRF250 Rally!
« Reply #19 on: March 27, 2018, 11:57:46 am »
Lekker nuwe bike, Zanie. Geniet haar (hom?) (dit?)
Groot berge en lang grond paaie