Where Honda’s CBR excels is it big-bike looks and pleasing ride quality. Providing you haven’t got giraffe-like legs it has a roomy seating position. Legs can be picked up and moved about the pegs and there’s enough seat room to move backwards to accommodate long arms. Comfort is guaranteed and, all-in, gives the comforting sensations of sitting astride a high-barred 600 rather than a pumped up 125. Suspension is plush rather than budget soft and soggy – how the chassis will handle a pillion is difficult to say because this test wasn’t possible at the CBR’s world launch.
The CBR isn’t fast-fast. With 26bhp at the crank it was never going to be furious. Instead it’s all about pleasure riding, looking good and, more importantly, gaining experience before moving further up the capacity ladder. But it would have been good if Honda eked out another 7bhp to meet the 33bhp limit. It’s happy to sit at 75mph for mile after mile and there’s not much in the way of vibration considering it’s a single-cylinder. Clutch, gearbox and fuelling are of the usual Honda quality, proving cheap doesn’t always mean cheap and nasty. Honda has made big claims about the 250’s fuel consumption, quoting 75mpg from rolling road tests. Doubtful this figure can be replicated on the open road, but if it does 60mpg we won’t complain.
Honda has earned a reputation for making solid, reliable products. There’s no reason to think the CBR250R will be any different to the other models in its range even though it is built in Thailand – Honda quality is the same all over the world.
To design a complete new bike, from frame to engine to the info dash, costs money. So how Honda is making money out of the keenly priced CBR is a mystery to us – Kawasaki’s Ninja 250R costs £861 more at £4549 and even Hyosung’s capable GT250R is £3799. Ok, so production costs are lower in Thailand, but a sports-styled Honda for only £3688? Blimey.
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For £3688 Honda has delivered a bike that is extremely basic but extremely functional. Everything that’s needed to make a modern motorcycle is attached ie catalyser, steering lock, digital dash etc. There is an ABS version but as yet no date has been set for UK shipping if indeed it happens.