When Honda released the CRF250L Rally, it got a lot of riders excited to have their own rally-inspired motorcycle. With the CRF250L as a foundation and style taken straight off Dakar bikes, the Rally looked ready for success.

CRF250L honda rally bike build dual sport

We picked up a Rally for ourselves and found it to be a capable, though slightly underpowered, bike with loads of versatility. We put that versatility to the test and built the CRF250L into a small-displacement ADV bike meant to handle commuting, off-roading, and longer trips in the dirt.

Watch the video below to see how the build went, and keep reading for more details.

Performance

The Rally’s performance was one of our primary concerns, so we started with the basics and addressed the tires. The showroom rubber worked well enough on the street, but their performance was less than stellar in the dirt. We opted for a set of Dunlop’s D606 tires because they’re D.O.T. compliant and much more capable off road. We also went with some heavy-duty tubes to stave off flats and installed rim locks to keep the tire from spinning on the rim while running low psi.

One big downfall for the 250L Rally is suspension. From the factory, both ends of the bike are overly soft and can’t hold up to off-road riding. The components are also basic and non-adjustable, so solutions for the problem are limited. We fixed the forks with a Race Tech Fork Upgrade Kit that added a spring to the damping (left) leg of the fork. The kit stiffened the front suspension, making it ride higher in the stroke and letting us use all the travel.

CRF250L honda rally bike build

The shock suffers similar shortcomings. The excessive softness limits the bike, especially with any luggage installed, and the only solution we found was to buy a complete aftermarket shock and ditch the stock unit. Once front and rear suspension was sorted, the bike performed worlds better than before and was ready for serious riding.

Weight was our next concern, and it’s also one of the main criticisms many people have against the Rally. The bike is a little overweight for its size, but we took a few simple steps to slim it down. We started by replacing the stock battery with a Tusk Lithium Battery. The new battery performs just like any other quality battery, but it drops over four pounds off the weight and doesn’t break the bank cost wise.

We also installed a full FMF exhaust system that cut almost eight pounds off the bike. We went with the Power Bomb header pipe joined up to a Q4 silencer. Both pieces are on another level in terms of quality, and they squeeze a little more power out of the CRF250L’s engine too.

Comfort

We tackled comfort next, and while the Rally is versatile, we found it most comfortable on short, less-aggressive rides. A seat kit from Seat Concepts helped by replacing the stock seat with one that’s ergonomically optimized for long-distance and off-road riding. The new seat has exceptionally comfortable foam, and the shape is tapered to be wider at the rear but slim up front. This shape still lets the rider scoot forward on the seat and get aggressive, but the rider can also scoot back and get a wide area of support for their butt.

CRF250L honda rally build head on

The other contact point we reworked was at the feet. The stock pegs are actually better than most, but they still needed improving. We replaced them with a set of IMS Rally Foot Pegs because they’re wider, longer, and more comfortable than the stock pegs thanks to the larger area that disperses pressure across more of the foot.

For hand controls, we replaced the steel bars with a Tusk Chub Big Bar and oversize clamp kit. The stock bars were steel, they bent easily, and the new aluminum bars are a step up in terms of quality and durability. Lastly, we finished off hand controls with some grips and a Tusk Grip Heater Kit to keep our hands warm whether we’re in the middle of nowhere or just on our way to work.

Lights and Electrical

Typically, one of the first things we change out on our bike builds is the stock headlight. The CRF250L Rally was different in that its stock headlight wasn’t too bad. It worked well on and off road, but we took the lighting up a notch by adding a Baja Designs Squadron Pro LED Light alongside the headlight. The Squadron Pro is a small, 2×2 pattern LED that will floor you when you see how much light it puts out. For us, it’s a necessity for off-road night riding.

CRF250L honda rally build profile

In the rear, we had concerns with the taillight/plate mount. The stock assembly is large, the blinkers attached to it are large, and the license plate mount hangs far out over the tire. This setup was heavy and awkward for off-road riding, and it could get in the way of some luggage setups. We went with the minimalist approach using a DRC LED Taillight Assembly and a pair of Tusk Mini-Stalk LED Turn Signals. Both accessories are much smaller than the stock components, and the mount included with the DRC taillight kit tucks everything up higher under the fender.

Luggage and Storage

Since we wanted to use the Rally as an ADV bike, we needed luggage to carry all our gear. We went with a full setup of Wolfman soft bags, because in our experience, they’re incredibly versatile and have quality construction that makes them almost bombproof.

On the tank, we went with a Blackhawk Tank Bag because it strikes a good balance between exterior size and internal storage space. Out back, we used an Expedition Dry Duffel Bag for its simplicity, waterproof construction, and roll-top closure. On the sides, we chose the Rocky Mountain Saddle Bags because they have a number of straps that positively secure the bag to the bike and really let you cinch the bags in to get the bike as narrow as possible.

CRF250L honda rally build

Everything got mounted on a Tusk Pannier Rack and Top Mount Kit. This setup gave us plenty of space overall, made it easy to mount the bags, and gave us a quick-release mechanism for quickly taking the bags off completely. The last piece of luggage/storage was the RotoPax fuel container we mounted on the top rack. The Rally’s tank only holds 2.7 gallons, which is around a 130-mile range. That’s not enough for us, so we augmented the fuel capacity with a RotoPax. The container fits perfectly on the Tusk Top Rack, and it even lets us use the RotoPax mount to secure the fuel pack. With the duffel secured to the top rack using a couple ROK Straps, it’s hard to even see that the RotoPax is there.

Additional Accessories

With the biggest aspects of the build covered, we installed some smaller accessories that fit our preferences and riding style. A set of handguards is critical for us, and we went with the Tusk D-Flex Pro wrap-around guards. They look good, but more importantly, they’ll protect your hands and controls through the nastiest of crashes.

CRF250L honda rally build jump

Next, we ditched the stock mirrors in favor of the Double Take Adventure Mirrors. These mirrors screw into the stock mounts but use ball joints and clamps/extensions from RAM Mounts. The mirrors themselves are great in terms of visibility, and the mounts are great because they let you quickly fold the mirrors in and keep them from getting ripped off by branches and trail hazards.

Finally, we wrapped the bike up, literally, with a set of custom graphics from Attack Graphics. We like the Rally’s looks so much that we didn’t want to cover them up with a set of off-the-shelf graphics. Instead, Attack designed us a set of graphics that perfectly matched the Rally and worked in some classic Honda colors.

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Tell Us What You Think

That’s it for our Honda CRF250L Rally bike build. We like the way it turned out, so don’t be surprised when you see it in some of our future ride videos.

But what do you think? Does the Rally still not pique your interest, or did our build change your mind on the small off-roader? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Parts Available at Rocky Mountain ATV/MC

Dunlop D606 Tire FMF Power Bomb Header FMF Q4 Silencer
dunlop d606 rear tire fmf power bomb header fmf q4 exhaust silencer
Seat Concepts Complete Seat Race Tech Fork Springs IMS Rally Foot Pegs
seat concepts seat kit race tech fork spring kit ims rally foot peg
DRC LED Edge 2 Tail Light Holder Double Take ADV Mirrors Baja Designs Squadron Pro LED Light
drc led taillight kit double take adventure mirror baja designs squadron pro led light
Wolfman Rocky Mountain Saddlebags Wolfman Blackhawk Tank Bag Wolfman Expedition Dry Duffel Bag
wolfman rocky mountain saddle bags wolfman blackhawk tank bag motorcycle wolfman expedition waterproof duffel bag
Tusk Pannier Rack w/ Rotopax Fuel Pack Tusk Chub Big Bar Tusk Lithium Battery
tusk pannier soft luggage mount with fuel tank rotopax tusk handlebar chub big bar tusk lithium battery motorcycle
Tusk Nut/Space Kit Tusk Rim Lock Primary Drive Chain & Sprocket Kit
tusk rim lock spacer kit tusk rim lock primary drive chain sprocket kit
Attack Graphics Custom Kit Bridgestone Ultra Heavy Duty Tube Tusk Universal Big Bar Clamps
attack graphics complete custom graphics kit bridgestone ultra heavy duty tube tusk universal big bar clamp
Tusk Folding Shift Lever Tusk 12-Volt Socket Tusk Dual Compound MX Grips
tusk folding shift lever tusk 12 volt power socket tusk mx half waffle dual compound grips
Tusk Mini Stalk LED Signals Tusk Grip Heater Kit
tusk mini stalk led turn signals tusk grip heater kit