Recommended modifications for the CRF 250 Rally

Before anyone goes off the chain, the following are MY recommendations based on MY riding style and riding conditions. There is no right or wrong. This list is comprised simply because I often get asked what the “recommended” or “must do mods” are.

Proper hand guards DO Saves you a lot of grief by protecting the levers / bars in case of a fall. Barkbusters hand guard installation on Honda 250 Rally
New handlebar CONSIDER The OEM bars are a bit soft and prone to bending. I haven’t bent mine in my minor falls, but others have reported them to bend easily. Honda 250 Rally handlebar diameter
USB-charging socket DO I use a phone as GPS navigator and it also allows me to charge my camera and GoPro on the go. USB Charging plug / power socket
Rear rack DO A solid mounting point for luggage is a necessity for me. Rear rack options

PM Racks luggage rack

Side racks DON’T The stock suspension is on the soft side and loading the bike with additional racks and excessive luggage is not for me.
Tail tidy DON’T No real need to get rid of the OEM fender. DRC Edge 2 tail tidy for Honda 250 Rally
Fuel controller DON’T Based on user experiences, adding a fuel controller does not really do much.
Aftermarket exhaust DON’T I like my bikes quiet and the mod does not provide significant power increase. Weight saving is not enough motivation to spend the cash.
Crash bars DON’T Nice thing to have, but I don’t want the extra weight. Crash / engine guards for CRF 250 Rally
Heavy duty bash plate CONSIDER A good idea in rocky terrain, but not something I need in here where it’s mostly sandy / muddy. Honda 250 Rally bash plate / engine guard

Bash plate for Honda 250 Rally

Folding mirrors CONSIDER Not absolutely necessary, but a nice upgrade.
Aftermarket seat DON’T The stock seat works fine for me even on longer days.
Grip heaters CONSIDER I opted for heated gloves instead. Definitely a good thing in colder climates.
Aux lights CONSIDER Necessary only if riding in the dark is frequent thing. Aux light project for Honda 250 Rally
Smaller front sprocket DON’T I found little change to the OEM one. The bike pulls fine as stock. Smaller front sprocket
New levers DON’T Not necessary even if I have fiddled with mine a lot. D.I.Y. 2 finger clutch experiment

Rally 490 super short levers for Honda 250 Rally

Yet another pair of levers

Bigger foot pegs CONSIDER A good addition, but in no way a necessity. The bike’s frame is soft and larger pegs may do more damage in case of a fall. Frame bending at the peg mounting point has been a reported issue since the 250 L. Bigger foot pegs for the 250 Rally
Phone mount DO I navigate with OsmAnd app so I absolutely need a phone mount. GPS / accessory bar dimensions

Cleaner & better GPS / phone mounts for the 250 Rally

Yet another Phone/GPS mount solution – The GUB G-86 phone holder

Bar risers CONSIDER The bars are a little low for riding standing up. Not a necessity though and depends on rider height. Handlebar risers for Honda Rally
Rear suspension upgrade CONSIDER Depends on your riding. Stock will work up to a point. If you are a big fella, load up a lot of stuff on the bike and/or do serious off roading a suspension upgrade may be in order. Rear suspension adjustment
Front suspension upgrade CONSIDER Same as above.
Battery tender plug CONSIDER A convenient thing if the bike sits unused for longer periods of time. Battery tender plug & charge indicator
Headlight guard DON’T I personally have never had a cracked headlight in any of my bikes, but rocky terrain may call for one.
ECU upgrade CONSIDER The 250 R ECU swap is an interesting idea. I have no personal experience, but maybe worth considering. ADV post (#4792)
Side stand exstension plate DO Good to have if you are ever stepping of the pavement.
Tire upgrade DON’T Stock tires work well enough so you can ride them until they are done and then put on something different. Honda 250 Rally OEM tires

17 Comments Add yours

  1. Alex says:

    Great post, incredible web!! An essential source of information for any Rally owner. Always waiting from Spain for new posts. I can’t thank you enough your dedication.

    Btw, the OEM handlebar is extremely fragile. Instead of install bar risers I do recommend change the handlebar for a stronger and higher one.


  2. Andrew King says:

    Interesting, and like you say these are YOUR opinions. I agree on the most part. Especially hand guards!

    I would highly disagree about the tyres and tail tidy.
    Stock tyres are garbage on mud – they don’t clear themselves of mud, and have no lateral grip UK greenlanes feature large ruts and these tyres cause the bike to slide down into them and it’s impossible in most cases to get out!

    The tail tidy is purely cosmetic, but let be honest the stock rear mudguard is ugly!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jonathan Welsh says:

    You feel that side-racks should fall under the “Don’t” category because of their weight (bike is indeed undersprung) but I also feel that rear sideracks can provide excellent crash protection in the event of a tip-over. Also, because of my weight (88kgs) I’m planning on installing a stiffer rear shock spring anyway. I feel that the structure of the rear racks provide an excellent platform for soft luggage AND give me the added benefit of crash protection. (But you have owned your Rally for far longer than I have…I might change my mind and end up agreeing with you ;).


    1. 250rally says:

      You are right about the crash protection. Side racks can also become a real necessity if you are doing longer trips. There is only so much you can pack on the bike using the rear rack alone.


  4. Mr.X says:

    Amazing! Thanks so much for doing all this.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jonathan Welsh says:

    I want to make a case for the wisdom of installing a beefy luggage rack on the Rally…

    So, please hear me out. I took a 200-mile ride today with a friend and we did some pretty steep unpaved roads today (one in Gorges State Park, and Walkingstick Road), AND I’m not saying that I panicked in a particularly tough section, but suffice it to say that my Rally needed a bit of a nap on it’s right side. About a week ago, I received the Tusk rear luggage racks & I installed them along with a BEEFY set of Tusk handguards (that were an absolute BITCH to install correctly BTW). When the bike hit the ground, I just KNEW the footpeg & rear brake pedal were going to be bent to shit…especially because I had to drag/pivot the bike 180-degrees before righting it. But, to my amazement, there was not a single scratch on the bodywork ANYWHERE, and nothing was bent or broken. The ONLY things that received scratches were the rear luggage rack and the handguards. Needless to say, I was relieved and impressed!

    Therefore, I now feel vindicated for installing a rear luggage rack even though it weighs about 16lbs. It provided excellent crash protection today (oh, and it’s pretty darn good at supporting soft luggage too!).


    1. Igor says:

      Interesting Jonathan, can I ask what make of side racks you have ?…..
      …. and a big thanks to the creator for this website, some good pointers. But, the seat is a definite change for me, over 100 miles and its numb bum time, I haven’t got one yet but I reckon it’ll be a seat concepts upgrade,
      thanks again.


  6. Marcus says:

    Hi, I have done the ECU upgrade. It’s worth every money. The bike accelerates better and you have more power over the whole range.


  7. Michael says:

    As a CRF250L owner I totally agree to your opinions. There is just one thing missing, I consider frame protectors on the footrest triangle as a necessity.See here, why:

    I have absolutely no clue why Honda adds a protector on the right hand side but not on the left.
    So, I bought a nice pair of these at aliexpress for my bike.
    This is how it looks like:


    1. 250rally says:

      Agreed. The footrest itself is also a bit problematic. The frame metal is seriously soft and deformation seems to occur from the slightest spill.


      1. Michael says:

        Well, I did not spill mine by now, but there are several guys who treat their CRF quite bad. One of them lives in Thailand and he’s riding his CRF like a moto cross bike. He had several issues, mainly with leaking fork legs, but never complained about the frame itself.

        But as a trials bike rider I know that this is a common problem on off road bikes, especially if the owner is a bit on the heavy side.


  8. olivertidy says:

    Hi, A great resource for Rally owners, thank you. I’m looking to a couple of further mods for mine, so your list and links are very useful. I have fitted an aftermarket exhaust (Yoshimura), tail tidy (the stock is so big and ugly) and a luggage rack. The bike looks and sounds so much better for these, in my opinion. Regards and thanks again.


  9. Simon Coles says:

    RE: Rally seat – I have the Canadian model – sucks because no ABS option – also I wish I could get the LED signals. Anyway, I got the Seat Concepts aftermarket seat and definitely more comfortable! Cheers and I will be back to post more stuff!


  10. John Philips says:

    I disagree on the exhaust part, but the rest I agree with.
    If you add an FMF you will lose about 3kg of weight from this already heavy dual-sport. I mean, regular Enduro bikes are 50kg less! There is also a performance increase of approx 2 HP. Which is around 4% (with powerbomb). Do not use Megabomb as you will lose the stock heatshield.
    The investment is expensive, correct but the exhaust does not just get louder, the performance increase is light but notable! Here is how I saved weight:
    Replaced Exhaust, replaced the ugly huge plastic licenseplate holder and am thinking of adding Lithium battery, this will be a total of almost 10kg lighter bike which is 5% ! Since this bike is a keeper it is worth it and the investment is still less than 1000 euros.


    1. John Philips says:

      Correction: The exhaust does get louder but see it as a safety gadget. More noise, better heard !


  11. Fantastic resource, have just bought a CRF 250 Rally and this link is invaluable. Many thanks


  12. brian says:

    When you adjusted the rear shock did you tighten it or loosen it ?


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