Usually, I absolutely hate the winter. I mean, I’ma sporty or naked bike man through and through, but there really isn’t much fun that comes out of wobbling one of those around on the gritted, disgusting roads,while freezing your nuts off in the process. In a normal world, this is the perfect time to pack up the race bike for a Euro event and hop on a plane to sunnier climates… but it’s not a normal world by any stretch of the imagination, and it’s just not on the cards right now. This meant I was in a bit of a quandary; I’m lucky enough to ride bikes for a living, and race them as well, so when that stream of twowheeled sauciness and antics was turned off as I took backmy last ‘termer, I felt like I was missing something. I needed my winter fix.
A few beers and some incredible ideas later, I was hell bent that I knew what I needed; a proper off-roading weapon. You see, I’ve always had a ‘crosser sitting in the garage and every time I’ve been out, I haven’t stopped smiling for days. Yet even so, I’ve always fancied having something thatmeant I could blat some enduro riding as well, and also even nail a few byways in the process. Off-roading definitely makes me a better rider on-road, and without any plane tickets sitting in my wallet for the foreseeable, it’s the only thing that a sane human would do in my position – and it counts as proper exercise as well, so it’s a great excuse to work off all that Chrimbo beer and wine… or a bloody good excuse if you need to sell it to the other half!
But, enough of me drooling at the prospect of getting dirty! Without further ado,meet my winter longtermer: Honda’s CRF250RX. And what a beauty she is! See, this thing is essentially an MX bike that’s been slightly relaxed; think some slightly softer suspension, a sidestand, and a bigger fuel tank, alongside some more enduro-y spec rubber for good measure. It’s no big softie though, oh no. Underneath that slightly fuel-big tank it still shares most of the goodness from the savage CRF250R MX weapon including everything fromthe engine, frame and geometry to the HRC super-duper spec launch control, while three engine modes and an electric start (thank god) means it should keep me upright… or for a bit, anyways. Gah.
Yeah, I know we all love our thoroughbred track weapons, but deep down, I always love having toys – and this, is the best one that my garage has ever seen. Sure, itmight be a bit of dollar, but for the sh1ts and gigs that it’s going to bring? I think it’s so worth it.
And that’s where the fun is going to start; I’ve just picked it up, and I’ve got to say, it looks absolutely stunning. The finish is mega, and everything looks and feels properly built – which is handy, because chances are,withme riding, it’s going to see more time on the deck than it will on its rubber. I’ve got to admit as well, that there’s some tech that I will need to get my head around in terms of the modes – my ‘crosser sitting in the garage is an ’06 CRF,with the only tech being a kill-switch that only works when it’s absolutely jammed in.
Saying that though, I’m bloody excited, and a bit nervous – offroading really is out of my comfort zone. I’ve got loads planned, starting with an MX day, to ‘run her in gently’; being an eager bugger, I couldn’t wait for a softer enduro place to become available. Once it’s got three hours of use on the engine, it will then be back to Honda for a first service and then made road ready; that includes a horn and number plate which means I can go and nail some byways.
After that? Well, I’m planning to spend every minute out on it that I can. Sure, I might not be getting a tan this winter, but I will be getting seriously down and dirty. I’m buzzing for this thing already, and I haven’t even ridden it yet!