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Kawasaki Ninja 250R v Honda VTR250

By Keiichiro Miyazaki and Yasuhar Ota -

First rides & tests

 22 April 2009 14:15

Honda’s revised ‘mini-Monster’ VTR250 will be in Europe this autumn, giving another shot in the arm to the rejuvenated 250 class.

But it’s already in Japan – where the VTR has existed in all its guises for the last 12 years.

MCN spoke to journalists at Auto-By magazine who have just tested it against the current class leader, Kawasaki’s 250R Ninja.

Auto-By’s Miyazaki told MCN:  “This new VTR looks very much like the former one, but many points have changed – most importantly that it’s now fuel injected to meet ever-more severe Japanese emissions controls.

"But while on some sports bikes adding EFI has made them delicate and revving heavily, the new VTR has got back its sharpness and vivid power feeling, which has been virtue of Honda VT series.
 
 “The Honda engine is good, too. It is very torquey from 4000rpm and its throttle response is very linear and it revs straight through to the redline. Although Honda only claim 29bhp the way it’s delivered means it feels like more.

Compared to the Ninja, the new Honda came out best around town, according to Miyazaki.

“When you talk about city riding, the VTR is better,” he told MCN.

“Its engine has superb low-mid range torque, its handling is more neutral and it’s easier to manouvere.

“But if you want sportier riding, the Ninja is the better choice.

"Although the new Honda responds better low down, from the mid-range up the DOHC, parallel twin motor of the Kawasaki revs quickly and smoothly and its power increases more and more and its suspension has enough stroke to enjoy sport riding.”

Read the full test in MCN, April 29.

The facts

Honda VTR250 £TBA

Torque (claimed): 16ftlb
Power: 29bhp
Kerb weight: 139kg
Colours: Blue. white, red, silver
Contact: www.honda.co.uk

Pros/cons
Pros:
Great ergonomics, rider-friendly, flexible engine, quality build, ‘Italian’ style
Cons: Can’t match Kawa’s speed, the fact that it’ll always be thought of as something of a copy.


Kawasaki Ninja 250R £3899

Torque (claimed): 16ftlb
Power: 32bhp
Kerb weight: 169kg
Colours: Green, black
Contact: www.kawasaki.co.uk (0845 600 2442)

Pros/cons
Pros:
Great package and useful fairing style, well equipped, respectably brisk
Cons: Too dinky for some, styling not as mouth-watering as Honda