Yamaha TT-R230 vs. Honda CRF250F
Beginner dirt bikes come in a wide variety of sizes, and the full-size beginner dirt bike from Yamaha is the TT-R230, with Honda offering the brand-new fuel-injected CRF250F for 2019. The popular Honda CRF230F will be discontinued after 2019 and is being replaced by the CFR250F so this article will compare the Yamaha TT-R230 to the Honda CRF250F, not the 230F. These beginner bikes are designed for larger riders and are somewhat heavy (251/265 pounds) so if you're looking for a smaller beginner dirt bike, you can check our Beginner Dirt Bikes 125-140cc article. Kawasaki also offers a full-size beginner dirt bike bike that's covered in our Kawasaki KLX140G article.
The Yamaha TT-R230 has been around for many years and is an affordable (MSRP $4399), quiet, reliable, low maintenance beginner dirt bike that's a great choice for larger adult beginner riders. The TT-R230 has an air-cooled four-stroke engine, front disc brakes with rear drum brakes, electric start (but no kickstart backup), carburetor, and a six-speed transmission with a 21" front wheel and 18" rear wheel. The TT-R comes with a 90-day limited factory warranty.
The seat height of the TT-R230 is 34.3 inches which will fit a wide variety of riders, the ground clearance is 11.6 inches, and the bike weighs 251 pounds with all fluids and a full tank of gas. The gas tank holds 2.1 gallons which will allow you to ride for hours without refueling. The six-speed transmission is geared really low which can be good for those who like to putter along at very low speeds, but most riders will find the close ratio of the gears a bit too close. The suspension is on the soft side which makes for a comfortable ride in most conditions, but may be an issue for heavier riders (200+ pounds) because the bike might bottom out on occasion, especially with any type of aggressive riding.
2019 Honda CRF250F
The brand new 2019 CRF250F is also powered by an air-cooled four-stroke engine, has the same 21" front tire and 18" rear tire as the Yamaha, and the electric start of the CRF is also keyed (but no backup kickstarter). The CRF250F has a five-speed tranny compared to the six-speed tranny of the TT-R230, but the gears are spread out in a wider ratio so it still has a nice wide powerband. The CRF has both front and rear disc brakes compared to the TT-R's front disc and rear drum and the 34.8" seat height is about a half-inch taller than the Yamaha. The difference in ground clearance is negligible (.3 of an inch). It's a bit heavier than the TT-R by 14 pounds (251 lbs. vs. 265 lbs.) and although the gas tank is smaller than the Yamaha's, that's compensated for by the increased fuel economy of the fuel-injection. The front brake lever is adjustable to fit different hand sizes, and it has a low-fuel warning light. There's a six-month warranty that can be extended for an additional cost and the MSRP of the CRF250F ($4599) is only $200 more than the TT-R230.
- Seat Height: 34.3 inches
- Fuel Injection: No
- Transmission: Six-speed
- Ground Clearance: 11.6"
- Gas Tank: 2.1 gallons
- Weight 251.0 lbs.
- MSRP: $4399
- Seat Height: 34.8 inches
- Fuel Injection: Yes
- Transmission: Five-speed
- Ground Clearance: 11.3"
- Gas Tank: 1.6 gallons
- Weight 265.0 lbs.
- MSRP: $4599
The nice thing about these two beginner bikes is that they can be modified to give you more power as your riding abilities improve, so you can put off buying a new dirt bike for a while longer. The Honda 250F is brand new so there may not be many aftermarket parts yet, but the Yamaha TT-R230 will have plenty of parts to choose from. The next bike up after the TT-R230 in the Yamaha lineup is the WR250 but it's not really considered a beginner bike, and the MSRP is $8099, compared to $4399 for the TT-R. Even though the modifications (mods) will cost money, you can add the mods in stages. Some mods such as an aftermarket air filter and larger sprockets aren't crazy expensive, especially if you can do the work yourself. Changing the exhaust can get expensive and if your riding area requires a spark arrestor, check that the aftermarket muffler comes with the spark arrestor screen. Buying the parts online is cheaper, but if you're taking the bike to a shop to have the mods done, they might not be willing to use parts that you bought online so ask first.
These are both excellent beginner dirt bikes and to declare one the winner means the other would be the loser and that's not the case. The Yamaha TT-R230 is a great beginner bike. It's quiet, dependable, has a proven track record, and with a few modifications, allows room for growth as your riding improves. If the TT-R were being compared to the Honda CRF230 it would be a dead heat, but it's being compared to the Honda CRF250F which is a brand new bike. The physical size is similar enough, but there are some noticeable differences. The front and rear disc brakes, adjustable brake lever, low-fuel light, fuel injection and twice the warranty all for $200 more can't help but push the Honda into first place. Competition is a good thing though, and hopefully Yamaha will step up to the plate and redesign the TT-R230 in the near future. You won't catch any big air with these bikes, nor will you ever see the eyes of the crowd from a podium spot, but they'll let you get started riding dirt bikes and maybe someday . . .
For more info and detailed specs, visit the manufacturer's websites:
Beginner dirt bike vids:
The first video shows just how many mods can be done to these bikes. They're modifying a Honda CRF230F, not the TT-R230, but the bikes are very similar. The second video is a walkaround of the 2019 Honda CRF250F.