Yoshimura RS-9T Honda CRF250R Dual System
Honda's 2018 CRF250R followed in the footsteps of the highly-anticipated CRF450R redo from the prior year. However, as we soon found out during our First Look testing, and even more during the Shootout, the newest CRF has an amazing chassis and great balance...but is lacking a bit in the motor department for the first year. Most notably there's a lack of roll-on power and torque needed to get the bike up and going at lower revs. Once things are wound up though, the bike is a blast...it just needs a bit more oomph to really round out the package.
Yoshimura RS-9T Honda CRF250R Features:
- The RS-9T cans utilize a tapered design like the stock Honda system for more compact layout.
- The complete stainless system weighs 1.2 pounds less than stock, while the titanium system shaves off nearly three pounds.
- Yoshimura's CRF250R system features exhaust cans developed specifically for this model, and not re-used from their 450 products.
- MSRP: $977.00 for the stainless/aluminum, and $1499.00 to go full titanium/carbon.
First off, it feels a bit odd to pull two completely separate exhausts out of a box for one bike. Once the shock has worn off, it's fun to examine both exhausts closely as they appear to be mirrored copies of each other at first glance, but that isn't the case.
To optimize performance, each side is actually quite a bit different from one another. Starting from the length and tapers of each headpipe and the noticeable size differences in the cores of each exhaust can. Interestingly enough, while chatting with the Yoshimura staff we learned that both exhaust cans are different than the ones they developed for the CRF450R. The 250 cans not only have different core sizes than the ones used for the 450, but they're also longer.
Installation is fairly simple with separate systems, but takes about twice as long as normal. (No brainer, right?) The fit and finish was on point, with everything sliding together quite easily. The only unusual part of the fitment was the headpipe configuration, where the exhaust flanges can slip off. Many race teams run head pipes where the exhaust flanges are bolted onto the cylinder, and aren't connected to the headpipe. Instead, they use exhaust springs to keep them together. This makes the headpipes easier to disassemble, as the flanges don't have to be removed, but it also means that the system is reliant on the headpipe springs to keep it together. First you bolt the flanges to the cylinder head, then slide the head pipes into the flanges, finally using the pipe springs to latch it in. Mostly it's something to keep in mind as you go to install the system, so there's not a momentary freakout when the flanges fall off the headpipes.
Hardware-wise, there's nothing really special to install the exhausts themselves outside of all the pipe springs needed between both systems. The only notable extra part is a bracket to reroute a starter wire on the left side on the engine. Without it installed, the wire can come into contact with the backside of the headpipe. With it? It'll stay a few inches clear and safe.
On the Track
As we mentioned in our test of the new Honda and our 2018 250 Shootout, the newest generation CRF250R is a revver, but lacks the roll-on torque needed to be a complete match against the rest of the class. Naturally the first place anyone will look to modify power is an exhaust system. Initially I was a bit skeptical if an exhaust would make a noticeable difference to the way the CRF made power, but right off the bat I was generally surprised.
The changes were easy to notice as I swapped back and forth between the stock and Yoshimura system. Normally, the CRF needs to drop down to second gear in most tighter corners but with the Yoshimura system installed I was able to carry third in more corners than not. The new CRF still doesn't gain the bark of say a YZF with the exhaust installed, but it does come on quicker. The stock powerband rolls on very mellow before a nice mid-range bark that allows the bike to rip through the RPM range into the peak mid-to-top range. With the Yoshimura onboard, the bike is still quite mellow off the bottom but the bark is more noticeable and comes on a bit earlier in the RPM range.
For example, when you roll into a tight rut the bike still has a slight mellow spot with the Yoshi but as you settle in and roll the throttle on the bike has enough hit to pull itself into the prime RPM range now. The same corner with a stock exhaust would stay flat through the corner and that "bark" or hit would be late enough in the range the CRF wouldn't pull out of the corner. It would either require a quick downshift of a well-placed finger on the clutch to get things humming.
Up top, the CRF also runs a little bit farther out with the Yoshimura system, feeling like it truly revs throughout the range. Overall, there are power gains across the board. As an added bonus, the system is also noticeably quieter and less intrusive than stock. A day on the stock systems are almost a bit annoying due to the rattling noise they make. The Yoshimura systems have a much more tolerable and likable sound. We'd describe it as raspy but tame.
During the course of this test we placed roughly ten hours on the system, and as with previous Yoshimura systems we've used, no durability problems were found. Due to the small size of each headpipe, they're actually well-protected from impacts and roost damage. The only durability concern, which Yoshimura does handle, is the possibility of burning of the starter wire. But this is the reason Yoshimura provides a relocating guide to reroute the wire in question and keep it out of range of the left side headpipe.
The Last Word
Over the past few years, the manufacturer's stock exhausts have become better and better...making it difficult for the aftermarket realm to create a product that makes a standout difference over the whole range. In this case, the RS-9T for the 2018 CRF250R is one of the biggest differences of any exhaust we've tested in a few years. Yes, the bike does need a bit of help to get it truly competitive in the power department against blue, white, and orange competitors, and the Yoshimura puts it on the right track.
The quality of the system is fantastic, the power gains are very noticeable, and the sound is better contained and also more appealing. The stainless system we tested chops off a bit over a pound while the titanium duals takes out nearly three pounds. While they're not cheap, under $1000 for two complete exhaust systems on the stainless model is good on Yoshimura's part when you think about there being TWO in the box. Also, considering Yoshimura allows for a 10% markdown from their MSRP in retail locations, you can pick the stainless system up for under $900.
Vital MX Rating - 4.5 stars
For more information on the system and options, head over to Yoshimura-RD.com.
About the Test Rider
Michael Lindsay - is a born-and-raised moto freak and gearhead from the heart of motocross in Southern California. First swinging a leg over a bike at the age of five, he immediately caught the racing bug, spending nearly every weekend behind a gate…and a lot of time on the couch while injured. While swinging back and forth between moto and the off-road scene, giving him a wide range of experience on the bike. Of course, all of this led to one thing: Lindsay loves working on his bikes almost as much as he loves talking about them. When he’s not in the Vital MX forum or writing his latest product review, you can find him out at the track taking dirt naps, snapping some pictures, or drooling over the latest parts for his bike. With an outspoken personality, gearhead background, and as Vital MX’s guru for product, Michael is here to share his unbiased opinion.
Review by Michael Lindsay // Photos by Michael Lindsay