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2008 Honda CRF230L Dual Purpose Motorcycle

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating
User Rating 5 Star Rating (1 Review)


2008 Honda CRF230L Dual Purpose Motorcycle

The CRF230L shreds a trail.

Photo © Basem Wasef

The Bottom Line

A versatile little beginner bike that's capable and fun in both pavement and offroad settings.


  • Low seat height (for a dual sport) and low weight make it manageable for beginners
  • Offroad ability offers more riding options than street-only bikes
  • Time-tested design should be reliable and durable


  • A bit underpowered for freeway speed riding
  • Might be small for larger-framed riders, and pegs are a bit narrow during offroading
  • No-frills instrumentation might make you jealous of fancier starter bikes


  • MSRP: $4,499
  • 223cc air-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke engine
  • Six-speed transmission
  • 37mm Showa fork with 9 inches travel
  • Pro-Link Showa single shock rear suspension with spring preload adjustability and 6.3 inches travel
  • Seat height: 31.9 inches
  • Curb weight: 267 lbs
  • Fuel capacity: 2.3 gallons, including .7 gallon reserve
  • One year warranty against material and workmanship defects
  • Available only in red

Guide Review - 2008 Honda CRF230L Dual Purpose Motorcycle

Flashy big bore bikes might scorch the pavement with their raw horsepower, but the humble little Honda CRF230L is a far better choice for beginner riders: this dual sport is lightweight and easy to ride, with an unassuming single-cylinder 223cc engine that provides enough thrust for around-town errands... though it's in no danger of behaving too menacingly at higher speeds.

The small saddle isn't exactly long haul material, but that's easily forgiven since the CRF230L's front and rear suspension provides a plush ride. The view over the handlebars is clean and simple, with optional hand guards offering protection from offroad obstacles. Away from paved roads, the 37mm Showa fork and Pro-Link rear suspension offer enough travel to soak up serious ruts and bumps, though heavier riders might bottom out on especially demanding terrain. An electric starter (without a backup kick start) reflects the 230L's urban orientation, though its ability to shred a trail gives it a compelling argument over street-only starter bikes like the Kawasaki Ninja 250R.

When speed needs to be scrubbed off, 240mm front and 220mm rear disc brakes do an ample but not overwhelming job of slowing down the CRF230L. If anything, the brakes are aptly suited to the bike's relatively tame personality; they'll be just fine for the mild-mannered, fun-seeking rider that might choose a CRF230L. At the end of the day, the bike's shortcomings like its narrow footpegs or its wheeziness at freeway speeds are almost negligible in contrast to its well balanced offroad and onroad abilities; for beginners who want the ability to hit trails and pavement with equal enthusiasm, the Honda CRF230L offers a reasonably priced and unintimidating way to have fun.

>>Click here for a Photo Gallery of the 2008 Honda CRF230L<<
User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 5 out of 5
fun bike not just for starters, Member lsmtech

its my commuter bike and its awesome... some people might think its not a manly bike, like your harley or sportsbike, but hey, i can go from road to offroad at any given time... now thats fun... anyone can ride on pave but not everyone can do both! i think it i topped off at 70mph but can probably get more by upgrading the exhaust but what for? gas is great... to fill up my tank takes about 3 whole dollars... i have a 8 cyl car and to fill that tank usually cost about $50... remember in 2008 when the gas prices spiked... it was costing me almost $100 to fill up, which is why i got my new two wheel ride. im gonna hold on to this bike for a while, or at least until my 11 year old son is ready to ride. thanks honda!

74 out of 74 people found this helpful.

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