Honda CBR250R Review

The Honda CBR250R is the sporty looking 250cc in the Honda range aimed at learner and commuting riders who want fuel economy, low maintenance costs and reliability.  Note that in some countries it’s the mid range or range topper! Released in 2011 the new CBR250R ‘replaces’ the much well regarded CBR250RR that was sold only in selected countries for so long I can’t even remember when it first introduced or when they stopped making them! The all new CBR250R is a global model designed to meet every legislation relating to emissions like noise and pollution fuel consumption and anything else you can think of!

The CBR250R features all the latest technology in a 250cc motorcycle. It is also one of the few 250cc motorcycles that only has one cylinder and EFI. It packs in electronic or programmed fuel injection, sports fairing, digital gauges and optional ABS. The up to date fairing design makes the other manufacturers look old!

The recommended retail price of $5490 for the Honda CBR250R is very convincing argument for any would be owner, under cutting many established models from other manufacturers. The low price does not mean low quality because the CBR25oR is put together with care and visibly better parts than any other 250cc model I’ve seen for a while. That said while the joint welds are not works of art as per the CBR1000RR they are better than the other cheaper 250cc bikes. Sitting on the motorcycle is everything you’d expect in a new motorcycle in 2012, nice instruments and design. The extended 12,000km service intervals are a bonus but lets face it you should only need to service any motorcycle once a year unless done extended kilometers.

The only factors that would prevent you from buying the CBR has nothing to do with on the road performance because it is the most responsive 250cc I’ve tried to date. That said there is very little difference between any of the 250cc class. In the end I  believe it will be all about street cred. Yep – the usual perceptions relating to the power output and perhaps the single cylinder. However plug in a CPU modifying computer – no names mentioned for bias reasons and you can easily get a few more HP for braging rights!

Just remember the CBR250R engine may seemingly produce less power than its two cylinder competitors but due to more torque on the road it’s actually faster! Since it also weighs less and uses more advanced technology no doubts helps too. Check out the dyno charts and be surprised – based on that it will win the red light drag at least (to legal speeds). It is the CBR’s engine’s standout mid range torque that will make road riding easier. Top speed for the CBR250R is not quoted but due various factors I estimate about 140kph.

Overall the Honda CBR250R is a great little motorcycle, it is fast enough, modern and being a global Honda model it will be reliable and easy to maintain too.

Honda CBR250R Key Specifications
Engine:   IL1 cylinder 4-stroke 4 valve DOHC (EFI)
Capacity:  249.5cc
Power/Torque:  20Kw @ 8,500 RPM 23Nm @ 7000 RPM (Japan)
Gearbox:   6 speed
Kerb Weight:  161Kg or 165Kg with Combined ABS
Performance:  0-100kph 8 seconds Approx
Max Speed 140Kph Approx 
Fuel Economy:   13 litre fuel tank
Approx 4 litres per 100km
Seat height:  784mm
Dimensions:  L2030 x W720 x H1127 x WB1369
 Recommended Retail Price:   $5490 or $5990 with ABS



Kawasaki Ninja 250R Review

The Kawasaki Ninja 250R is one of the 250cc motorcycle aimed at commuters and first time motorcycle riders hence has the first post in my low cc reviews page. The Ninja 250R is the latest update to the decades old GPX250 or EX250 as it is also known in various countries around the world.  The basics of this motorcycle are proven reliable and ever popular over the years, which applies to the engine and other components so justifiably Kawasaki have not done a completely clean sheet design.

The Ninja 250R is a good example of a motorcycle that is better than the sum of its parts. It has good performance handles well despite the relatively soft suspension and very comfortable, looks good and most of all priced well. 250cc motorcycles in Australia have never been cheap (partly due to the restriction to 250cc) and this is not and exception. The price point for its predecessors over 10 years or so was $8,000 – 10,000 but thanks to competition it snow sells for around $6,500 (on special)  including on road costs in 2012.  Bargain hard or wait for the inevitable specials and you can buy it for under $6,000 with extras thrown in. Due to all that history the Ninja’s resale value is very high.

The main annoying characteristics/problems of the Ninja 250R’s are related to the carburettors. There aren’t any flat spots of note although the top end after approximately 9000rpm does lack the all relative round zing of say of the new single cylinder Honda CBR250R.  Likewise the Ninja is not as responsive as a motorcycle with a decent EFI system. The engine also sounds uneven when it has not been correctly tuned and guaranteed to notice. The need to turn the choke ON and OFF for cold morning starts is old school and for beginners if left pn will eventually damage the engine. Likewise the un-motorcycle like start sequence. The thing is that you will notice this since its a 250cc you’ll need every single rpm you can get. Where is the EFI system which is available in other countries – a bit scummy I say.

There are few sporty looking motorcycles in the 250cc range, the only other are the Hyosung GT250 or Honda CBR250R at the moment. That said we prefer the Honda CB400 (400cc) – it may not have a sports fairing but it looks great regardless. The CB400 is a top sellor in Japan for years and for all the right reasons but then is costs slightly more. 

I digress, although sporty to look at the Ninja 250R backs it up with good handling and turn in when riding and at stand still, however the soft suspension as per ALL 250cc motorcycles feels odd when you’ve ridden larger and harder sprung sports motorcycles. You do get physically lots of motorcycle for the money but it is over priced since the technology it use dates back 20 years you’d expected a much more competitive price by now. 

Overall the Ninja 250R is a great motorcycle for what ever justification you care to think of. I can understand why they sell, it is the package of good out doing any bad if you can justify it. Just make sure you compare the other manufacturers 250cc motorcycle range. However purely due to the price I also feel strongly that you should NOT buy the Ninja 250R for the simple reason that it does not come with EFI. Make Kawasaki put in electronic fuel injection like in other countries since for the price you’d expect it as standard and are being ripped off without it.

Kawasaki Ninja 250R Key Specifications
Engine:   IL2 cylinder 4-stroke 4 valve DOHC (Carbs)
Capacity:  248cc
Power/Torque:  29.4Kw @ 11,000 RPM 22Nm @ 9500 RPM
Gearbox:   6 speed
Weight:  Approx 169Kg
Performance:  0-100kph 8 seconds Approx
Max Speed 160Kph Approx 
Fuel Economy:   18 litre fuel tank
Under 5 litres per 100km
Seat height:  775mm
Dimensions:  L2085 x W715 x H1110 x WB1400
 Recommended Retail Price:  $7299 (See above)