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The Best Lightweight Dual Sport Motorcycle


Honda XR250 Tornado

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ "Such an amazing experience, he helped us so much with all the routes and questions that we had. The bikes are in excellent condition, we rented a Suzuki 650 and our trip was awesome. I really recommend this place to anyone that is interested in renting or having a tour, this is a really 5 Star company! - Erick Trujillo"

Honda Tornado 250 – A Sweet Little Hurricane


The best lightweight adventure bike out there. Some state that this 250 doesn’t do ‘anything perfectly’ but, to us, they’re ideal because they manage to do everything really well. When you’re planning a motorcycle tour through such a diverse country of Colombia, a jack-of-all-trades-bike is precisely what you need.


Much as its successor - the above-mentioned XRE300 - the Tornado was manufactured in Brazil, and that makes it a very popular (and easy) bike to buy, rent, repair, and resell in Colombia. At just 134kg (dry), this is an easy bike to pick up and ideal for beginners who don’t want to overwhelm themselves with a huge (and hugely powerful) bike. 


Here’s what the Tornado 250 offers:



Easy to find and inexpensive – both bikes and spares – as mentioned above, the Tornado is insanely popular in South America and that can save you a lot of time, hassle, and money.

They’re (almost) indestructible – Of course, you can run your Tornado to the graveyard but, if you treat it with TLC, there’s no reason it can’t dish up over 150K km – and then some.



Large tank – With almost 12L of fuel in a tank, you can churn out hundreds of km (over 300) on Colombian roads before you need to fill up. If you think you’d like to only fill up every 500km or so, then strap a fuel tank to the back and off you go.


It’s basically a dirt bike with a comfy travel-friendly frame – Honda tries to fool you with the looks of the bike, but the frame’s rear handles make packing a breeze. Make no mistake: this is an adventure bike that’s perfectly suited to long-ass touring.


No fuel injection! – Picked up some dirty fuel? You can pop out the carb, give it a good clean, and be on the road again in an hour.


You can lower the seat – Female riders and anyone not blessed with long legs can keep their feet firmly planted flat on the ground thanks to the seat-lowering option.

High demand = low price & great resale value – While we can’t guarantee you’ll make a profit from buying a Tornado, riding it for months, and reselling it, many riders do just that. Everyone loves these bikes so finding sellers and buyers is never an issue in South America.

Light to ride, easy to pick up – The lightness of the Tornado is one of the most enticing aspects and can’t be stressed enough. You won’t pop a hernia picking up this cool dude, no matter how much you’ve packed on it. Well…almost…


So if the Tornado is that good, why isn’t it perfect?


Here’s why:


Faulty engine casing on 2012+ models – Small but annoying af oil leaks from the gasket means an engine transplant is on the cards, and that’s something that’s neither easy, cheap, or convenient, especially when you’re outside your home country. Swapping the engine means changing the engine number on your registration papers, and that’s almost impossible to do outside of the country of registration. Honda hasn’t officially admitted that someone was drunk at the factory from 2012 onwards, but do yourself a favour: look for models pre this date and save yourself a lot of hassle.


Dodgy speedos – The Tornado speedo is infamous for its slight exaggeration, which means you’re riding slower than it says, and you’ve also done fewer kms than it says. Usually, the truth lies about 10% under the reading.


Ungreased bearings – It’s always a good idea to grease the bearings on any bike you plan to take to the road but even more important on a Tornado, as Honda seems to have skimped on this part. Grease your swing-arm, steering column, wheel, and rear shock bearings with water-resistant grease and replace. Also consider replacing the single-rubber wheel seal bearing with double-rubber ones.


Weak as hell headlight – Easy fix: replace the 35-stock bulb with a stronger bulb.



Sluggish at high altitudes - The only time the Tornado feels more like a light draft through a half-open window rather than a hurricane is when you’re above 2,500masl, two-up, and fully loaded. The stock jets are 132, which are totally fine at anything below 2000masl but you’d probably want 125 for the high Andes. Mind you, this is only if you plan on being at high altitude for a couple of weeks, and if trudging up at sloth -speed bothers you. The Tornado will still always get you up there...eventually. It's good to note that an easy fix for this is to simply remove the airbox cover and air filter for a little bit if it gets too slow. 


It’s definitely a tropical bike - Aside from disliking the altitude, the Tornado also isn’t a fan of very cold starts - perhaps you can blame that on her Brazilian ancestry. If you’re not really a morning person, then you’ll understand her spluttering on cold mornings for a minute or two…

All up, it's not the most perfect bike ever made, but when you consider the value for money, the fun ride, lightweight and easy fix...the Tornado is pretty hard to beat in Colombia.

There’s no denying that finding the right adventure motorbike is all about compromise and we think the Tornado is what happens when you make the right choice. Forget about having the ‘best bike in the world’ and concentrate more on having a ton of FUN out there, on a reliable, light, fast little hurricane.




Honda XR250 Tornado

Rear Wheel Travel
260 mm / 10.2 in
Front Brakes
Single 240 mm disc 2 piston caliper
Rear Brakes
Single 220 mm disc 1 piston caliper
Front Tyre
Rear Tyre
105 mm / 4.14 in
1411 mm / 56.5 in
Seat Height
883 mm / 34.5 in
Ground Clearance
300 mm / 11.8 in
Dry Weight
118 kg / 260 lbs
Wet Weight
132 kg / 291 lbs
Fuel Capacity
9 Litres / 2.3 gal
162 kg / 357 lbs
Oil Capacity
2.3 Litres / 2.4 Quarts
Fuel Capacity
13 Liter / US 3.4 gal / 2.9 Imp gal (CA model 12 Liter / 3.2 US gal / 2.6 Imp gal)
Consumption Average
5.0 L/100 km / 20.1 km/l / 47.3 US mpg / 56.8 Imp mpg
Braking 60 km/h - 0
14.7 m / 48.2 ft
Braking 100 km/h - 0
41.4 m / 135.8 ft
Standing ¼ Mile
14.1 sec / 142.5 km/h / 88.5 mph
Top Speed
160.6 km/h / 99.8 mph
Make Model
Honda XR 250L
Four-stroke, single cylinder SOHC, 4 valve
249 cc / 15.1 cu-in
Bore x Stroke
73 x 59.5 mm
Cooling System
Air cooled
Compression Ratio
30 mm Keihin
Spark Plug
YTX4L-BS -12 volt
Max Power
30 hp / 21.9 kW @ 9000 rpm
Max Torque
24.5 Nm / 18.7 ft. lbs @ 7500 rpm
6 Speed
Final Drive
Gear Ratio
1st 2.769 : 1 2nd 1.941 : 1 3rd 1.45 : 1 4th 1.13 : 1 5th 0.923 : 1 6th 0.786 : 1
Semi-double cradle, single downtube
Front Suspension
43 mm air-adjustable leading-axle Showa cartridge fork with 16-position compression damping adjustability
Front Wheel Travel
260 mm / 10.2 in
Rear Suspension
Pro-Link Showa single shock with spring preload, 20-position compression and 20-position rebound damping adjustability
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