SINNIS RETROSTAR 250 (2015 - on) Review

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4.4 out of 5 (4.4/5)
Annual servicing cost: £90
Power: 21 bhp
Seat height: Low (30.3 in / 770 mm)
Weight: Low (287 lbs / 130 kg)


New £2,200
Used N/A

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
3 out of 5 (3/5)

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 & brakes

Next up: Engine
3 out of 5 (3/5)

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.


Next up: Reliability
3 out of 5 (3/5)

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 quality

Next up: Value
3 out of 5 (3/5)

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 rivals

Next up: Equipment
4 out of 5 (4/5)

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.


2 out of 5 (2/5)

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 size 249cc
Engine type Air-cooled, four-stroke single
Frame type -
Fuel capacity 10 litres
Seat height 770mm
Bike weight 130kg
Front suspension Telescopic
Rear suspension Dual coil Spring
Front brake Single disc
Rear brake -
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
New price £2,200
Used price -
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term 2 years

Top speed & performance

Max power 21 bhp
Max torque -
Top speed -
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range -

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.

Review your SINNIS RETROSTAR 250 (2015 - on)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4.3 out of 5 (4.3/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 3.7 out of 5 (3.7/5)
Engine: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4.4 out of 5 (4.4/5)
Value vs rivals: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Equipment: 2.6 out of 5 (2.6/5)
Annual servicing cost: £90
5 out of 5 Granny's Delight
13 September 2021 by Charlie N

Year: 2015

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.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

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 4 out of 5

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

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

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.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

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

Equipment 5 out of 5

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.

4 out of 5 For its price it's good value.
16 November 2019 by Dave

Year: 2017

It's a cheap bike to buy. So I wasn't expecting a great deal, but anyone considering buying, I would recommend.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

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.

Engine 3 out of 5

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.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

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.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

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.

Equipment 2 out of 5

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.

4 out of 5 Fun cheap bike
16 September 2019 by Tom

Year: 2016

Annual servicing cost: £75

Love it!

Ride quality & brakes 3 out of 5

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.

Engine 5 out of 5

This is a 125 size bike with 20 horse power so very nippy, will hold 70 on the motorway.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

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.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Avg 75mpg. Easy to get at everything. Just change the oil, keep the tyres inflated, job done!

Equipment 2 out of 5

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!

5 out of 5 Old man happy
22 June 2018 by Tony Wyatt

Version: 250 -2x

Year: 2018

Annual servicing cost: £125

For an old man, this bike is perfect.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

I must get used to a small bike.

Engine 5 out of 5

No oil leaks.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

So far against it on my old 250s it's very good.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Cheap to insure at my age.

Equipment 1 out of 5

For the money it's ok.

Buying experience: Dealer very good: Sinnis On The Wheel.

4 out of 5 Cheap and very cheerful!
13 May 2016 by Badger17

Year: 2015

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.

Ride quality & brakes 3 out of 5

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!

Engine 4 out of 5

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.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

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.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Cheap as chips

Equipment 3 out of 5

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.

4 out of 5 Chinese Takeaway
10 May 2016 by Mike Crome

Year: 2015

Annual servicing cost: £82

Quite a bit better than you would expect for a bike this cheap.

Ride quality & brakes 3 out of 5

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.

Engine 3 out of 5

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.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

Have owned it for a year now and have not experienced any problems at all.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Cheap and easy to service as not much to it. I am getting around 88 miles to the gallon! So cheap to run.

Equipment 2 out of 5

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).

4 out of 5 The Chinese Bike that Could!
02 February 2016 by Colin Castle

Year: 2015

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.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

no problems at 3000km - except tail light bulb needed replacing

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5

some components I would replace - maybe some new tyres too

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