SINNIS RETROSTAR 250 (2015 - on) Review
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£90|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
There’s no getting away from the fact that it’s a basic Chinese roadster in retro clothing, but it’s been done better than most and is lavished with all the right styling touches. More essentially, it’s an honest ride and is cheap.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
It’s not going to set your undercrackers aflame, of course; brakes and tyres are basic and slightly crude. But in this retro guise that seems to matter less and the ride was always going to be some kind of pleasing, charming trip down memory lane rather than anything demanding performance. You can quite happily bimble across town on a weekly commute or purr through this green and pleasant land aboard it on a mild summer’s Sunday ride-out.
EngineNext up: Reliability
It’s powered by a simple 249cc, carb fed single cylinder that is based on an old Suzuki design. Seventy-odd mph is the top whack from the air-cooled, 20bhp motor, still, despite its size; it delivers a punchy performance, helped in part by the bikes low weight.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
Sinnis have proved with the Retrostar that it was only a matter of time before the much-maligned Chinese-built bikes improved their spec and quality. While the bike is relatively nicely finished, the overall reliability is still unproven as it’s still early days for the machine.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
The Retrostar offers good value and comes in considerably cheaper than both Herald’s and Francis-Barnett’s variant models, which are essentially the same bike with mild tweaks in either the styling or consumable parts. It’s a simple bike using technology that is largely out-dated now, making parts cheap and fairly straightforward to fit.
Essentially, it’s a bike built and sold at a low price and as such, doesn’t come with many extras at all. The speedo, though having an MPH dial, is clearly a crudely converted KPH item (the analogue odometer still displays kilometres) while the suspension and brakes are a little crude, too. There’s no denying that you get an awful lot of retro style for your money though.
|Engine type||Air-cooled, four-stroke single|
|Fuel capacity||10 litres|
|Rear suspension||Dual coil Spring|
|Front brake||Single disc|
|Front tyre size||110/70-17|
|Rear tyre size||130/70-17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||-|
|Annual road tax||£45|
|Annual service cost||£90|
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||2 years|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||21 bhp|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
Owners' reviews for the SINNIS RETROSTAR 250 (2015 - on)
7 owners have reviewed their SINNIS RETROSTAR 250 (2015 - on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£90|
Being a 5 ft 3" tall, 60+year old woman I wanted something small in size, lightweight (only 130 kg), nippy enough to keep up with the traffic, and not look like it has just escaped from a race track. The Retrostar is just spot on for me. I am delighted with it and I would recommend it to anyone. Maybe a bit on the small size if you are tall.
Best on B roads and country tracksA roads are alright but it looks small and other traffic tends to muscle past even though it is travelling at the legal speed limit Seat is comfortable but not been on a really long trip to find its limits.Brakes work well with no problems encountered
Engine very peppy. Power delivery was a bit too vigorous so I have had the front sprocket changed from 15 to 16 teeth which I have found has made it slightly easier to control. Still takes off like a rocket though if I am not super smooth on the throttle
Very well built. The only part to have failed to date is the headlight bulb and that has only failed once.Wiring is all tidy with no exposed bits. Very well built, nothing looks cheapNo corrosion so far.
It does not do high mileage so it only goes to the garage for a service when the brake fluid needs changing The rest of the time it is home fettled so can't really comment on annual costs
Its looks. Lovely alloy and chrome.I have put a small screen and panniers on it which works well. Keeps off the worst of the weather and makes it useable for shopping etcThe tyres fitted currently are Heidenau road tyres which work well
Buying experience: Bought from a dealer as a 3 year old and paid £1799 which was advertised price.
It's a cheap bike to buy. So I wasn't expecting a great deal, but anyone considering buying, I would recommend.
It's typically a 1970/80''s twin shock feel, and I remember the 250 class bikes from this era.. I never expected anything else. Brakes are a tad wooden but will stop you safely. Only real complaint is the seat is too firm giving a range comfortably of around 10 miles before you get a numb posterior.
The engine is good, but the carb is a potential archillies heel. My bike came running too lean, popping and back firing through the airbix and exhaust, and no amount of adjusting would compensate. I rejetted the carb, also finding the valve clearences too tight, and upgraded the spark plug to a hotter grade and the bike has run faultlessly since. It'll do 70mph, but more comfy at 60mph.
It's good. I can't say it'll ever be exceptional, simply because it's not a £3k plus bike and it doesn't pretend to be either. I've clocked up 38000km in my ownership using it every single day, and apart from chain and sprockets, tyres, oil and filter and plug changes, it's never failed to start, or get me too and from work.
It's cheap as chips and allowing for oil and other items connected with servicing, it's as cheap as you can get. Fuel costs are the best bit. I'm averaging around 70 mpg and I'm not complaining as I do ride it hard at times.
Nothing to shout home about. It comes with a basic tool kit, and very little else. So can't give it a higher score.
Buying experience: From a dealer new and at £2350 otr was in my view good value.
Annual servicing cost: £75
Budget rear shocks not a biggie as the bikes so light. Excellent front disc, poor rear. OE tyres surprisingly good though rear worn out after just 4k.
This is a 125 size bike with 20 horse power so very nippy, will hold 70 on the motorway.
Def a match for Japanese quality except for cheap bouncy rear shocks and quick wear chain and sprockets though these parts can easily up graded. I'm impressed by the usd forks and stainless exhaust.
Avg 75mpg. Easy to get at everything. Just change the oil, keep the tyres inflated, job done!
Price and weight kept down having no rev counter or mainstand but the latter is available after market for just £40.Std mirrors not great either. Not keen on the km odometer.
Buying experience: Paid a grand for this bike in vgc with just 2k on the clock. Bargain!
Version: 250 -2x
Annual servicing cost: £125
For an old man, this bike is perfect.
I must get used to a small bike.
No oil leaks.
So far against it on my old 250s it's very good.
Cheap to insure at my age.
For the money it's ok.
Buying experience: Dealer very good: Sinnis On The Wheel.
A great little bike for not much money. It looks good, sounds good and for what it is, goes well too. For a ride out on a sunny day on twisty little back roads it's perfect.
At its best going for a blast on small back roads. Everything is good enough and I have a lot of fun every time I take it out. It doesn't weigh much and is easy to throw around. I enjoy having to work it to get the most out of it. You get a real sense of speed when you're going relatively slowly compared to bigger bikes I've had when it can feel like you're hardly moving at 70mph. At 70 on this you're nearly flat out but this is all good!
It pulls well from low down and though it's no sports machine it easily keeps up with traffic. The exhaust note is great. It pops and bangs on over run which I love and although it's not quiet, personally I would prefer it if it was even louder.
Quality seems fine. I only use it on nice days though and I do look after it. The only thing that I would pick on is the seat which looks a bit like it's made to a price but it's not bad.
Cheap as chips
It's basic but I find that to be part of the charm.
Buying experience: I bought it privately. They are very good value for money and spares are cheap too.
Annual servicing cost: £82
Quite a bit better than you would expect for a bike this cheap.
A little bit bouncy on our local roads, good riding position up to about 55mph. Brakes are ok as the combined weight of bike and rider is low.
Fair bit of torque but if you want to go above 60mph you have to work the engine fairly hard. Gearbox is good but could do with 6 speeds instead of 5 with closer ratios which might help a bit with performance - but it is only about 20bhp.
Have owned it for a year now and have not experienced any problems at all.
Cheap and easy to service as not much to it. I am getting around 88 miles to the gallon! So cheap to run.
Very basic, time clock and fuel gauge would be useful (does have conventional tap with on/off and reserve), tyres are better than I expected offering reasonable grip in the wet.
Buying experience: Bought new from a Sinnis dealer at list price (£2200 plus OTR cost).
Great little bike for green lanes and short commutes - looks and sounds great - 3000km on the clock and still looks brand new except for exhaust heat stains.
no problems at 3000km - except tail light bulb needed replacing
some components I would replace - maybe some new tyres too