Last night, I attended the official U.S. press unveiling of the new-for-2011 Honda CBR250R in Hermosa Beach, California. Next week, Road Test Editor Don Canet will get to throw a leg over the bike for the first time and give us a “First Ride” impression. But in the meantime, here is a bit more information about that interesting new model, and you can find many more photos of the bike in the gallery.
A couple of things immediately stand out about the CBR250R: First, it is very Honda-like—that is, the fit and finish are as good as, if not better than, anything we’ve seen in this price range. And speaking of price, Honda was not only able to match the $3999 MSRP of Kawasaki’s Ninja 250R, Big Red will even offer an ABS model for just $500 more. To put that into perspective, $3999 is almost exactly half the price of Honda’s own CRF450R motocrosser and one-quarter of the price of the VFR1200F, which the baby CBR strongly resembles.
If you’re a more-experienced rider who likes to play GP racer, the CBR250R should offer something for you.
From a technology standpoint, the CBR250R really packs a punch: Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI), the aforementioned optional ABS and a very sophisticated, liquid-cooled, 249cc single-cylinder engine with dual overhead camshafts, a four-valve head, shim-style valve adjustment and a crankshaft-driven counterbalancer. It also has a slick, modern instrument panel that includes speedometer, tachometer, engine temperature display, fuel gauge, clock, odometer and tripmeter.
Compared to Honda’s own CBR600RR, the 250 has the same 53.9-inch wheelbase, but the mini CBR has more-relaxed steering geometry (25 degrees compared to 23.5) and weighs just 359 pounds with a full tank of fuel (368 with ABS), 50 pounds less than that middleweight repli-racer. For riders just getting into to motorcycling, the lower weight will afford them a lot of confidence, as will the low, 30.5-inch seat height and the manageable power of the 250 Single.
On the other hand, if you’re a more-experienced rider who likes to play GP racer, the CBR250R should offer something for you, too. Honda hasn’t released any horsepower numbers, but revving the 250 to its 10,500-rpm redline should be entertaining; and the combination of a diamond-pattern steel-tube frame, Pro-Link rear suspenion and 17-inch cast aluminum wheels shod with appropriately sized (110-70 front, 140-70 rear) sport rubber promises to offer excellent grip, snappy steering response and surprisingly capable corner-carving.
The CBR250R will be offered in Metallic Black or red-and-silver and should hit showrooms this coming spring.