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Honda CBR 250r Review: CBR 250 vs Ninja 250

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  • Honda CBR 250r Review: CBR 250 vs Ninja 250

    The Honda CBR 250r Reviewed and compared to the Kawasaki Ninja 250. Get all the specs and information about the Honda CBR 250r.

    When Ninja met its Winged Brother : Ninja versus CBR250R

    Text: Sundeep Gajjar (Sunny)
    Photos:Power: xBhp

    The magic figure finally stood at 25 Bhp @ 8500 rpm for the CBR against the 32.5 Bhp @11000 rpm for the Ninja.


    The Ninja is a parallel twin, the CBR is a single.


    CBR Ninja
    249 CC 249 CC
    Single Cylinder Double Parallel Inline
    25 Bhp@8500 32.5 Bhp@11000
    23 Nm@7000 22Nm @8200

    After all this ranting, I think this comparison is not justified; the two bikes are completely in different sub-segments under the 250cc umbrella. Two thumbs us for the CBR. And remember there is no comparison between these two different bikes for different people. Peace.

    Comparison with the R15

    Old Fox's Review

    The Bonsai VFRRossiter's Review of the CBR250

    Secured a test ride of the CBR250R this morning. I had a good half hour ride with the bike, and here are my findings:

    Pre-ride observations:

    1) The size or the lack of it, surprised me. It does not look that big or bulky. Compact dimensions and presence.. maybe a carryover from the Fireblade?
    2) Plastics quality top notch.
    3) Access to basic areas like headlight removal (big headache in the Zma for me), oil/oil filter change may still be an issue. The sales guy could not immediately locate these areas for me, but I could figure out to an extent by myself.
    4) Basic storage areas, enough to keep a small raincoat, or a portable air compressor and tools.
    5) The bike seems well proportioned in general, none of the complaints that the R15 had initially with a so called thin rear tyre

    Styling, comfort:

    The VFR inspired front and the CBR1000RR inspired fairings come together in an unholy mix that actually somehow works for the 250R. It isn't an eyesore or blasphemy that I initially found it to be.

    I tried to get the seat and fairings off to have a look at how easy it is to do so, and also to have a look at how the cables are routed underneath. To me, these little things matter, because I like it to be all tidy and easily identifiable when am working on it. The fairings came off fairly easily (the sales guy was doing it, again not too familiar with the bike so struggled a bit but got it off in the end). It looked nice and well laid out. Everything was dripping with quality. No loose tape ends, and cables/wires well secured.

    The battery is positioned horizontally, so that was a first for me. The fuse box was located next to it. All in all, it is a very compact area and guys with dexterity issues like me will find a bit painful working in the small space. This brought back nightmares I had with the Zma.

    The rear seems to well thought out, and the massive exhaust reminds me of the FZ16 for some reason. All chunky with a dash of silver on it.

    The only bit that didnt work for me is the tank. I didn't particularly like the oblong-ish shape and the size of it. And 13 litres is on the lower side.


    The seat is well made, although the comfort over a long ride will only be known over a 10 hour ride. It seemed firm enough not to cause any issues though. I was on the saddle for 30 minutes and I didn't have any issues with it.

    The seating height was not too unlike the R15, (maybe a bit higher even), with my feet on the ground comfortably. It isn't going to pose a problem for shorter people and also women (I hope I don't sound misogynistic )

    The pegs and the clipons are a bit awkward for me. It is neither a full on aggressive track racing position, nor a sitting upright position. It took a bit of getting used, in the process I cramped up in the hip area (not a reflection on the bike, I do cramp up easily on bikes with a different riding position last being a GS1200R).

    The switches, levers, shifters and brake pedal come easily within hand and leg, with the quality of levers and switches again top notch. It is comparable to the best of the switchgear units I've seen on big bikes, and am sure will last a long time. I love the alloy levers, although it will be a wee bit pricier in case of a crash.

    The clutch lever isn't adjustable, which is possibly one place where Honda could have had an edge over other bikes.

    The instrument cluster is very Honda Civic. Blue tinge with neat fonts and easy to read digits. Standard output parameters on the display, but I'd have loved a distance to empty/real time mileage indicator on show. Isn't this already being offered on the Glamour PGMFi? Not sure..

    The RVMs are sufficiently large enough, and didn't throw up any major issues for me. On most bikes, when I am geared up, the edge of my shoulder blocks out the periphery of the bike and I can't see a very frisky fellow rider sneaking up my flanks in traffic. It was the same with the 250R as well.

    I tried to toggle the screen while riding it, and the buttons came easily under my glove but I could not feel the toggle action under my gloves prompting me to slow down and make sure of it. This happens to me on the R1 as well. It would be nice if a manufacturer paid attention to these little things. I mean, how hard is it to plonk a bigger more tactile button in there?

    Ride observations:

    Start from zero:

    The bike had 122 kms on the odo, and so still not even close to opening up. It had been ridden about 20 minutes ago, about the time it took for me to look it over. So it was warm enough, and the engine came to life without a major fuss, and it was puttering away at idle. The exhaust note reminded me vaguely of an FZ16.

    I checked the tyre pressures, and the rear was slightly underinflated by about 5 psi. I had it brought up to factory spec.

    It got away cleanly with a light clutch action. Gearshifting is pretty slick, at times too slick.

    There wasn't much any wheelie inducing performance below 3-4000 RPM, but it does gain speed very rapidly, and once past 4000 RPM it was quick enough and I began enjoying the roll-on performance. For me, the way the bike behaves in roll ons is what gives me a lot of indication towards actual street performance. This bike will do the job superbly on the streets. Also noticeable that the fueling in the low end is just spot on, with no jerky business.

    It picks up the revs fast enough, but that only necessitates more shifting. It did seem geared a lot lower than my 180 V1.

    Beyond the mid-range, I picked up some vibes in the top end and on throttle roll-off. it almost achieves a resonance transmitting it into my arms. Probably would be a lot worse and more noticeable in the low and mid had the counter-balancer not been there.

    Bottom line for the engine: Good low-end, great mid-range, and the top end is frantic enough to necessitate regular shifts in case you want to live in that end of the RPM range. Probably would deliver a bit more real-world torque after the running in, and quite vibey at the top-end.


    The brakes are honestly a let down. I was riding the non-ABS version, and even so, it was kind of a let down. The braking seems to have not improved beyond the Karizma, which in itself isn't so great on the braking front. The feel was a bit spongy, not too progressive and I didn't really get the hang of it in terms of the amount of brake pressure required to scrub off certain amounts of speed. Still, it is not a disaster, because it does scrub speed quickly enough, but it is definitely not confidence inspiring.

    Typing this, I feel that there may have been air in the system, which can lead to these symptoms. I would say that this requires an additional ride after making sure the hydraulics are bled properly, so I would like to reserve my opinion on this.


    Decent enough. Nothing extraordinary, except that there was some amount of dive when I hit the brakes, front and/or back. This can be easily fixed to an extent by adjusting the suspension. It soaked up the potholes well enough, nothing extraordinary, and had decent ground clearance while clearing the bigger craters.

    Handling and stability:

    Another area which I didn't particularly find enjoyable. Slight hesitation to lean in, and my awkward riding position didn't help me shift weight which would have probably helped things a bit. The front seemed light and I couldn't really tell what was happening. Maybe a change of rubber will move things in a positive direction, at least with respect to tarmac feel and tyre feedback. The tyres were also struggling in variable road conditions (eg. gravel on tarmac). Am not too sure about these Continentals. I'd be looking at the M45s if they come in this size, and/or the Pirellis.

    But what did make things nice was the compactness of the bike. I found that I could slot in and be nimble enough in traffic and narrow gaps that we often have to squeeze through in traffic. The turning circle seemed just enough to do this, although I think I would have to still execute a 2 point turn to turn around in my driveway.

    One last observation I had was when I was parking the CBR250R. The side-stand seemed almost impossible to snag under the heel of my boot. Minor, annoying point which can be resolved by welding a piece of metal at the right angle. Minor, but it did leave a niggling impression of the bike in my head when I got off.

    PS: Cannot comment on the lighting as I rode it in the day.

    Bottomline: I would say 8/10. It is the right evolution from a Zma, and will rule the roost in this price point. Will be able to give some kicks on the street with ease, and touring less so, with that funny riding position (for me at least).

    Personally, I will be booking one, after trying the ABS one as well. And after getting it, I'll be getting some aftermarket rearsets, tyres, master cylinder for the front (if I find my second ride to be the same), sintered pads, and braided lines. That would make for a very well-sorted out CBR250R, and one which I can tour with ease and use as a commuter.

    CBR's Track review by Killer original post here

    Got to put the CBR250r through its paces around the kari race track. In stock form the bike is a dissapointment on track, this isnt a surprise coz the bike was clearly intended to be used as a tourer. I'm sure it would fare quite well for that purpose.


    Chassis felt tight enough and on par with what you might expect from any modern motorcycle, however not as precise as the R15's. Suspension was too soft for aggressive corner carving. The rear could probably be jacked up to maximum preload for a slightly better feel however the front is too soft as well and cannot be adjusted, the result is a very pogoish feel on corner entry and that quite destroys your entry speed. Once done with the pogo dance and you steer the bike into the corner another flaw starts to make itself apparent. There is the distinct feeling of sluggishness from the rear. It simply doesnt want to drop to max lean with the speed you would expect it to. Personally i feel this is due the ultra wide 140 section rear tire. The ninja uses a 130 section rear and i simply dont see the need for anything more on a 250 like the CBR. Bottom line the bike isnt sharp enough to be considered a good machine for the twisties. The ninja and r15 score way higher on that scale


    This is a bit confusing because considering what its built around, the engine is pretty out of place. I'm not sure why honda decided to put a short stroke rev happy motor into a tourer. As with all things honda though the powerband is neat, linear and unexciting. There isnt much uptop and most of the rush is concentrated in the midrange. This ofcourse is ideal for touring but seems to defeat the purpose of putting in a short stroke motor when its obvious strengths lie in the upper rpm range. All said and done though they've done a convincing job of making it feel like a tourer. Engine is fairly smooth, nothing exceptional and well... just does its job. As opposed to the feeling you have when you ride a ninja250r and go 'oh hey thats not a bad powerband' you might take a run on the CBR and not have anything in particular to say about the engine, its not involving enough to engage your attention, you simply enjoy the ride, thats it

    Not much else to say about the bike. I personally dont like its looks though fit and finish seem decent enough. Good value for money for the tourer folks? yes...good for anything else? in my opinion...not really

    The Mirrors

    Rear on the CBR250

    The CBR Ergos

    The Indicators

    The Bybre on the CBR:

    Ninja's Brakes

    The exhaust looks sweet on the CBR, much better than the Ninja

    The Seats

    The Ninja

    The CBR

    The Tanks

    The CBR

    The Consoles



    The big brother with the smaller one

    The VFR1200

    and the CBR250R

    Last edited by The Monk; 11-15-2013, 04:03 PM.
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  • #2
    Awesome.. and very fast I'd say


    • #3

      the much awaited review is up...nice click
      sigpicIf you ride like there's no tomorrow, there won't be


      • #4
        Finally we have wat we have been waiting for!!!Awesome work!

        Am goin to book the green mean kwacker in a couple of days!!!CBR luks like a tempitin choice,especially wit that pricing!But am more into power and performance!Hence, The Ninja!!!!
        Last edited by milancherian; 04-26-2011, 08:19 PM.
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        • #5
          Nice! The CBR looks stunning in those pictures, even as compared to the tweaked looks on ninja. At a price gap of 1.4Lakhs the CBR is SO much more tempting that the Ninja.

          Comparing them is like comparing the r15 with say a pulsar 150.... chalk and cheese!

          Nice pics though!
          Super CommuTOURer� - Talk less, Ride more

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          #Give thy opinion, write em, dont throw em
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          #Write. Think. If relevant hit submit. If not hit yourself
          #Be kind in your choice of words, you never know who would make you gulp em
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          • #6
            Nice review there....Thanks Sunny

            One who gets onto the road is never alone.


            • #7
              Even without going through the review just by looking at the pictures and the way its covered I can say superb work done
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              My photography page: Gourab Das Photography


              • #8
                Finally the thread to look forward to... rest assured, its not gonna be a calm and peaceful thread...


                • #9
                  Nice review. You guys forgot to compare one more thing. The under seat storage space
                  Skill is what keeps you on a Motorcycle
                  Awareness + Skill is what keeps you out of harm's way
                  ATGATT + Awareness + Skill means you might Live To Ride another day


                  • #10
                    fantastic review.much awaited
                    CRAP Blog


                    • #11
                      Awesome pics!! Just can't my eyes off them. Wonder when will I be able to read the text.


                      • #12
                        Concise and to the point.
                        Makes taking a decision on either so much easier.

                        "But then as comparisons go, both I and Arnold Schwarzenegger are men."

                        How much more better can you put it?


                        • #13
                          tried my best to like the cbr...... but couldnt.. from any angle.
                          for me the ninja absolutely rocks.
                          i know its not a comparison but, since there are the 2 bikes mentioned here,and having ridden both the bikes, the ninja is better looking better performing, better handling and better value for me.

                          my 200000000000000 zim dollars !!
                          drive safely... if not for you then for the sake of others!!


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by kachhhing View Post
                            tried my best to like the cbr...... but couldnt.. from any angle.
                            for me the ninja absolutely rocks.
                            i know its not a comparison but, since there are the 2 bikes mentioned here,and having ridden both the bikes, the ninja is better looking better performing, better handling and better value for me.

                            my 200000000000000 zim dollars !!
                            awesome pics... nice review ... its time for bajaj to bring 600 CC's in the market or may bring down the price for ninja ...


                            • #15
                              Superb pictorial review. Two thumps up!!!

                              Sunny, your pics are making the the beauty look more beautiful. Thanks for sharing.
                              HH Karizma (Current) || CBF Stunner PGM-FI || Honda CB Unicorn Dazzler
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