Sep 13, 2011

32 Honda CBR250R (India) Ride Review [+ Photos]

Review of the new "fastest made in India" bike.. the Honda CBR250R

The CBR250R from Honda was a sweet surprise to the bikers of India. Manufactured in both Thailand and India and sold all over the world, the CBR250R is a clear sign of the serious Intent that Honda has for the Indian market.

For a price sensitive but burgeoning market like ours, this is the way forward that other companies like Yamaha & Suzuki need to follow. i.e.

"Develop: By keeping the Indian customer in the mind, Manufacture: In India to keep costs down & Sell: In India at a reasonable price and export to other markets and still make a good margin".

Posted below is my Review of the Honda CBR250R after spending one full day with the bike.

Styling: “It’s a mini VFR but with a CBR branding

Before the CBR250R made it to India physically, there were many guys who posted on xBhp.Com (India’s premier motorcycle online community) that they had spotted the CBR250R in Mumbai..!! It later became clear that what those enthusiastic guys spotted was the Honda VFR 1200F. Yep, the CBR250R is that identical to the VFR1200F..!!

Honda VFR 1200F

The VFR1200F is a 4 cylinder, 1200 cc, behemoth Sports Touring bike which by the way has been launched in India for sometime now for anyone who cares to shell out around 18-20 lakhs of Indian Rupees.

Coming back to the CBR250R, it really is a miniaturized VFR1200F. The shape and proportions of the headlamp, fairing and the rest of the bike and even the “Red+Silver” color combo is anything but a miniature Honda VFR1200F. Honda is even promoting the CBR250R as a touring bike. More about that later but in that case the “CBR” branding on the bike is a bit confusing.

Till now Honda had globally reserved the “CBR” branding for the “Super Sports” category of bikes from its stables. Therefore it is surprising why Honda would want to name a bike which looks like a VFR1200F replica with the CBR tag.

But at the end of the day.. CBR is a brand that belongs Honda, the bike has been developed by Honda, so they (Honda) can do whatever they like with the bike or its branding.

Styling is subjective what might appear unpalatable to someone might appear irresistible to someone else. But fit & finish is something which anyone can appreciate.

Fit & Finish: “Disappointing for a Rs. 1.6-1.8 Lakh bike

The CBR250R retails for 1.6-1.8 lakhs which (in 2011) for a middle class Indian is a princely sum. After all one can get a brand new Tata Nano car (Top Variant) or a well maintained used Maruti Alto for that same amount.

The CBR250R might be considered an entry level bike in developed countries like the U.S.A (even at nearly double the price at India) but in India it is considered nothing less than a “premium” product. An Indian customer would expect nothing less than “premium” touch and feel from the product.

It is here that the CBR250R “surprisingly” disappoints. When seen from a distance and in photos, the lack of quality on certain parts is not apparent. But when seen closely, the lack of quality finish certainly did disappoint me.

I had posted earlier on how the black plastic on the side panels of the bike looks and feels hard, how the material of the seat cover appears a cost cutting exercise. After spending a day with the CBR250R I could even notice other details like the foot peg rubber looks from a bike 1/5 th the price of the CBR250R. Even the fit of the fuel cap was uneven. In a nut shell the CBR250R did not give me the feel of a “Premium” product from its “touch and feel”.

But my disappointment soon evaporated after swinging my leg over the bike, switching on the ignition key and giving a twist of the throttle.

Ergonomics, Riding Stance: “Sportier than the Pulsar 220 but relaxed than the R15

The handlebars on the CBR250R are set close to the body and one doesn’t have to extend one’s arms too much. Coupled with rearset footpegs, the riding stance is not as committed as the Yamaha R15 but nevertheless it is towards the sportier side.

The seat is slightly firm which a good thing as it would be comfortable over longer riding hours. The seat height of the CBR250R is taller than that of the Ninja250R. At 5 ft 5, I can ride the Ninja250R with both feet flat on the ground, but on the CBR250R, I had to kind of tip-toe slightly.

The fairing mounted rear view mirrors are functional and provides a good view of what might be creeping up behind you. The switchgear is comprehensive and the CBR250R becomes the first made in India Honda to feature an “Engine Kill Switch”..!!

Since Honda is promoting this bike as a “Touring” bike, I would not have minded the bike getting slightly taller handlebars which would have been the ride more comfortable over longer distances. Especially when riding continuously for 2-3 weeks or when riding downhill, an upright riding stance is most preferred even on a “Sports Touring” bike.

Nevertheless the slightly sporty stance does put you in a “ride faster” attitude.

Clutch & Gearbox: “Ultra light clutch, gearbox feel could improve

The CBR250R doesn’t have a kick start. On thumb starting the bike the bike settles into a hassle free idle, the credit for which goes to the PGM-Fi (Fuel Injection) system. The clutch on the CBR250R is very light. Am not sure if a very light clutch is detrimental from a performance point of view but for someone riding in traffic there won’t be any complaints.

The gearbox on the CBR250R had a slight lifeless feel. Not that it was bad in any way or that there were any false neutrals but compared to the gearbox on bikes like the Yamaha FZ16, it could certainly improve in terms of positive feel.

Engine performance: “Smooth & Torquey gem, makes the CBR250R the new Fastest Made in India bike

Despite having a 4 valve per cylinder (like the Pulsar 135LS, R15 and the Ninja250R) the engine of the CBR250R has been tuned for a better mid range response than top end rush. The engine snatches slightly below 3000 rpm but once it crosses that mark, the rush of torque is thick till around 9000 rpm.

Due to the generous amount of torque available in the mid rpm range, overtaking other vehicles is a breeze. But unlike the Pulsar 135LS, R15 and the Ninja 250R which have an engine that feels like they have "power in reserve" at high rpm levels, the CBR250R feels a bit out of breadth at the high rpm range. But by then the bike will be easily doing 130 kmph plus speeds..!! Although the twin cylinder Ninja250R feels slightly more refined, the refinement of the CBR250R’s engine is quite good as well for a single cylinder thumper.

I managed to see a speedo reading of 141 kmph on the CBR250R and it felt like the bike could do a few kmph more given a straight patch of road. The CBR250R certainly beats the Pulsar 220F in straight line speed. Thus becoming the “Fastest Made in India Bike”..!!

Mileage/Average/Fuel Efficiency: “More than acceptable for a new Fastest Indian

I did not check out the fuel efficiency of the CBR250R that I got to ride but guys who are riding the CBR250R are quoting fuel efficiency figures of around 35-40 kmpl. Which I have to say is pretty good for a fast (by Indian standards) bike like the CBR250R.

Handling: “Surprisingly flickable in traffic but not as sharp as the (benchmark) Yamaha R15 around corners

On paper the CBR250R has a Kerb weight of 167 Kgs and a long (by Indian standards) wheelbase of 1369 mm. I was therefore expecting a slow turning but stable bike. But I was surprised by the way the CBR250R handled in traffic.

Maybe it’s got something to do with the steering geometry of the bike but it was almost like riding any other street bike. The bike was very flickable in traffic. Also thanks to the torque spread at mid rpm levels, the weight of the bike is not felt at all.

The CBR treads stable in a straight line but unlike on the Ninja 250R, where the bike remains so stable that there is almost no sensation of high speed till you hit 120-130 kmph, on the CBR250R once you cross 100 kmph you do feel that you are beginning to ride fast.

Also the CBR250R doesn’t inspire the same confidence around corners like the Ninja 250R and the R15. Not that handling is bad, it’s just that it is not as confidence inspiring as the other two bikes both in a straight line at high speeds or around corners.

Braking: “Outstanding + ABS experience an eye-opener

The braking on the CBR250R was simply outstanding. Thanks to the CBS (Combined Braking System), the front brakes gets activated if the rear is engaged. Moreover the ABS unit remains “ON” at all times, which makes locking either the front or rear wheel near impossible. Making the CBR250R one of the safest made in India motorcycle to ride.

I intentionally tried to slide the rear wheel and also tried to lock the front wheels on a road with gravel and loose surface. The ABS does it job well and it just doesn’t allow the bike get out of line. I could feel the typical ABS “pulsations” on the front brake level as the ABS unit was doing its job of keeping the bike in line while braking on a gravel filled road.

But I also felt that if I become too used to riding with ABS, riding and braking on non-ABS bikes might become a bit dangerous.

Conclusion: “It’s a Fast (by desi standards) Street Bike with a Full Fairing

The Honda CBR250R packs quite a punch for its pricing. The lack of finish on certain cycle parts is a bit disappointing but then the smooth, torquey and fuel efficient engine makes up for it. Handling is flickable in traffic but the special feeling of riding a “Big/Stable” bike which the Ninja 250R and even the R15 (thanks to its “Deltabox” perimeter frame) provides is certainly missing in the CBR250R.

Agreed that Honda is promoting the CB250R as a Sports Touring bike not as a Super Sports bike, but the feeling that I got after spending a day zipping up and down the city + highway roads was that..

"The CBR250R essentially is a fast city bike with a full fairing..!!"

Honda CBR250R Photos:

Honda CBR250RHonda CBR250RHonda CBR250R
Honda CBR250RHonda CBR250RHonda CBR250R
Honda CBR250RHonda CBR250RHonda CBR250R

Honda CBR250R Price:

Around 1.60 lakhs (on road) for the non ABS variant and
Around 1.85 lakhs (on road) for the C-ABS variant

Honda CBR250R Technical Specifications

Type: Liquid-cooled 4-stroke 4-valve DOHC single
Displacement: 249.4 cm3
Bore x Stroke: 76 x 55mm
Compression Ratio: 10.7: 1
Max. Power Output: 25.36 Ps (25 bhp) @ 8,500 rpm
Max. Torque: 22.9Nm @ 7,000 rpm

PGM-FI electronic fuel injection
Throttle Bore: 38mm
Fuel Tank Capacity: 13 litres (including LCD-indicated reserve)

Ignition System Computer-controlled digital transistorised with electronic advance
Starter: Electric
Battery Capacity: 12V/6AH
Headlights: 60/55W (H4)

Clutch: Wet, multi-plate with coil springs
Clutch Operation: Mechanical, cable-actuated
Transmission Type: 6-speed
Final Drive: ‘O’-ring sealed chain

Type: Diamond; steel twin-spar

Dimensions (L x W x H): 2,030mm x 709.5mm x 1,1p27mm
Wheelbase: 1,369mm
Caster Angle; 25°
Trail: 95mm
Seat Height: 784mm
Ground Clearance; 148mm
Kerb Weight: 167kgs

Type Front: 37mm telescopic fork, 130mm stroke
Tye Rear: Pro-Link Monoshock damper, 104mm axle travel

Tyre Size Front: 110/70-17
Tyre Size Rear: 140/70-17

Front: 296 mm disc
Rear: 220 mm disc

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This is to remind that the Views or Opinions in the blog are entirely mine unless explicitly stated. The Views and Opinions published in this blog should in no way be related to any other person or organization associated -- directly or indirectly -- with me.


sunny said...

do you fined it better than R15 as an overall package......!pls no diplomatic ans just a straight forward ans yes or no.......!

Anonymous said...

The CBR250R certainly beats the Pulsar 220F in straight line speed. Thus becoming the “Fastest Made in India Bike”..!! ok...but pulsar 220F will still be the Fastest offence honda....cbr is also cool...

Anonymous said...

east or west 220 is the best...

Deepak said...

That's a really nice post man :)

softwareprabhu said...


when i read your post, i really have the feeling that i had a conversation with my next door guy. nice, keep it up.

[once you cross 100 kmph you do feel that you are beginning to ride fast.] - so this is definitely not a sport tourers or sport category bike but slightly with a forward lean riding position.

focused on mid-range torque and has an always ON ABS. may be this is a street/commuter type.

got my point?. the confusion is not only happened in “CBR” branding on the bike but also happened in specification,category,design,etc... (lol)

honda did not studied well about the indian marker as bajaj(best value for money) or yamaha (distinctly separate from the crowd) did.

who need a bike like this for 1.60 lakhs?!. we already have a very powerful(commuter) p220. almost same power at half of the price.

but too many commuters. we need something different like ktm duke 250cc or BMW R 250cc GS Adventure at reasonable price.

what do you say...?

S.P - Biker Next Door said...

@Sunny, have to check out the new R15 V2.0 to answer your query.. but even then the handling of the old R15 was definitely more stable than the CBR250R.

@Deepak, thanks man


a BMW R250GS would be PERFECT bike for tourers and one which would definitely be on my Must Buy list.. but then I guess BMW won't come down to 250 cc.

Never mind we'll get the 200 Duke which will definitely be a good one as well.

Shaiju B said...

Payeng, Seems like you are addicted to Duke 200.

I also test rode the CBR, I agreed to your observations. I was not that much impressed with the bike considering the fact that it prices above 1.5lac. May be because my expectation was too high and I havent rode any 250cc bike. But overall its a good bike. Lets wait for the Duke.

S.P - Biker Next Door said...


hope the 200 Duke is good and is resonably priced for India. European brands are usually priced at a premium compared to the Japanese brands.

Sajal said...

did you tried hard braking the rear?? what was your feeling. I'm asking this because we use the rear more often than the front and since in the CBR 250R the rear is connected to the front and not vice versa, a hard rear has it's drastic effects on the front (I mean nose diving). I did experience this and I was left a wee bit uncomfortable from that feel.

What say??

Sam said...

For what it's worth, the "VF" designation only goes on Honda's V-Four motorcycles. It's not their tour-bike designator, since it also went on the VF-C Magna and the old sport-oriented interceptors. That's why, even though the CB-R looks like the big VFR, it gets the CB name.

S.P - Biker Next Door said...

@Sajal, the braking does takes some time to get used to.. even I would have liked the font and rear to be independent and not linked because of the "Combined Braking System".


am aware that the "V" in the "VFR" stands for the "V-engine configuration".. but Honda could have named the bike bike as "CBF" instead of the hallowed "CBR" which has so far been reserved for its top of the line Super Sports range.

But then liked I had mentioned.. its a Honda product and they have the liberty to name it as they prefer

Anil Anupam said...

I was surprised to see you reviewing the CBR so late (blame it on the standard you have set for yourself in this very blog). Anyway it was very informative and precise as always.
Somehow I feel the CBR250 is the right kind of evolution from zma after 8 long years in terms of product and technology.
I do feel it isn't exactly a fast city motorcycle as you have mentioned in the review going by the proportion and shape of the bike. It is more like what ZM-R,P220F and zma-R belong to. Sports-tourer,albeit some more power.

I would like to know your opinion about CBR250 as you have been a P220 Fi owner.

Can a P220 owner think of CBR250 as a proper upgrade or look/wait for something different (Ninja for instance) ?

Does Ninja 250 actually belong to a class higher compared to CBR in terms of engineering and performance ?

Anonymous said...

> After all one can get a brand new Tata Nano car (Top Variant)

Since when did you start getting Top variant of Nano for 1.8L?
It is 1.89L EX-SHOWROOM.. comes home(on road) for almost 2.25L

Wake up Sid.

S.P - Biker Next Door said...


I have made it a point to only publish "Reviews" only after getting a proper ride experience.. the Honda dealers in my locality weren't interested in providing me with a test ride.. so I took my time till one of my friend got the CBR250R.

After all it's just a personal blog and I am not making it a "breaking news" kinda stuff

For a Pulsar 220 owner like myself, I wouldn't be really keen on the CBR250R.. it is not a significant jump in the ride experience. The Ninja 250R is definitely in a league above the CBR but so too is the price. I would have loved to get the Ninja250R.. but then i can't afford it right now.

@Sid ka rakhwala,

if it bothers you so much then make it the "mid variant" of the Nano.. or maybe the "entry level" variant.. happy?

Anonymous said...

Grt Review Buddy ..... Truely your one day experiance review ... :)
Surely its a upgrade from Zma ( Indian's 1st Sports Tourer & a Honda's engine itself ).... Zma had ruled the touring section in India for last 8 yrs .... Records like Iron Butt, Kanyakumari to Leh etc etc ..... all done in Zama
It was time 2 replace Zama and Honda itself came up with answer as CBR 250R with Gobal Launch.... It is already stating to make some serious tours .... ( Check out 32 hrs ride from Delhi to Leh in CBR in BCMT ) .... Amazing Solo ride without any Backup .... :)
Any as wisely said by payeng ..... CBR 250R is a different breed from R15 & Ninja ( Super Sports type... High Revving Engine & Proper Track Tool )...... So its obivious dat R15 & Ninja lovers will never like the output & performance of CBR 250R ..... :)
Payeng ur choice of Ninja and KTM 200 is confussiong .... One Super Sports kind & other Street Bike ..... But i also can't understand y u don't like R15 when u like Ninja's Handling & High Revving Engine ... U always said dat R15 pricing to be high but Ninja itself is also about 3 lakh which is way too high w.r.t performance .... But its just my thought ..... :) Like ..... Its my diary .... :)

Anonymous said...

yedzavi wattte bike

Anonymous said...

i own cbr 250r , its the best , looks are 100 times better than p220 or r15.

cbr rules !!

Anonymous said...

Heeeeeee ....... Wat a foolish quote

" who need a bike like this for 1.60 lakhs?!. we already have a very powerful(commuter) p220. almost same power at half of the price "

Even honda can claim that it gives 90% performance & handling like Ninja with only HALF PRICE TAG in INDIA

Why dis HERO is not comparing his Pulsar with Ninja ? Pulsar gives almost 75% performance & Handling w.r.t Ninja with just 1/4 price tag.Tell him why did he choose Pulsar when Discover have 90% performance w.r.t Pulsar at 15-20k lesser tag.

Hello Bro, Let the Japanese Fight for its exsistance ( HONDA & KAWASAKI ) in india. Not some desi brand trying to coupe up with international brand.

Keep da "Desi Boys" away from dis high tech bikes.Bajaj is 5 generation behind this Japanese Hotties.

Its grt that Bajaj is having joint ventures with KTM & Kawasaki but it will be digrace to compare KTM 200 & Ninja 250R with desi Pulsar's / RTR's / Zama's.

I don't know why are you allowing this Jokers to post such comments on your blog. It makes dirty & ppl don't feel like visiting again.

Sorry if i have written something wrong in your blog COMMENT

Anonymous said...

CBR 250 havn't tried test ride, but it doesn't look great on road,
when is saw it first time on road i just uttered "ohh...CBR" thats it... nothing like "OMG, awesome bike"....

Anonymous said...

CBR killer on its way on Jan 2012.
Bajaj is unleashing KTM 200 with 25bhp @ 137kg kerb weight.
Which means KTM will smoke out any indian made bike head on in a drag race. QUICKEST indian is the next MANTRA of bajaj :)

But how will that KTM rider feel when a punny R15 will pull away @ 145 kmph and being watched in R15 rear view mirror struggling to make past 135kmph mark.

Yes, you read right. KTM 200 is Monster in Low End & Mid Range but horrible at top end. 127 kmph @ 10000 rpm at peak power and 135 kmph @ 11500 rpm. These is all because of Short Gearing / Bigger Rear Sproket and ZERO aerodynamices.

But college boys ignore it coz KTM cant make his GF sit at his rear seat but surely Sharp R15 can make her more closer at his back :D

S.P - Biker Next Door said...


the R15 doesn't do 140 kmph

You obviously have had too much dose of bakwass blogs/sites and a bit too much of armchair biking :-)

Anonymous said...

i m a R15 old version owner.....but it has been almost 3yrs m ridin it nd nw i wanna hav a new machine....but i m confused weather to go for r15 version 2.0 or cbr 250r...please help me...
frm my point i thot of goin 4 the honda cbr 250r....what i shud do??

Anonymous said...

i own a r15 v2.0.
its superb...but powerwise nothing different from the V1.0.

so if u Really want something different...go for other tnan r15 as it would give give u almost the same feeling.

i am not sure abt cbr-250 as its more of a tourer than a racing bike. so if different means that then go for it...

Anonymous said...

Do you really own a R15 ???
I got it and this baby has done more than 140kmph on speedo many times on highways (STOCK Machine ). I weigh 72 kgs and i am 5ft9inch tall.R15 owners don't need a prove that. But others will obviously go through many reviews and youtube videos.
Even my P220 buddy owners have done 140+ kmph many times.
But we should except that D200 can't do that. Many reasons short gearing, no wind blast protection / aerodynamics, very light weight. But offcourse its a different breed at all :)
For our group Speed means more den sheer acceleration.

Second Hand Cars in Mumbai said...

Honda CBR 250R is designed and engineered with the potential for active and even aggressive enjoyment of around-town street riding and styling.

Anonymous said...

Had a great laugh after reading all those bogus comments about how R15 and P220 are beating CBR. Firstly CBR is a different breed of bike. And R15 riders, try speeding against a CBR and you'll know what it is. Many a time have I myself thrashed R15s on highways, they stay along till 135 kmph then that's it. You can watch them fade away in the rear view mirror ! P220 has similar lower end, but lack the grunt in mid and high end.

Gunawan MS said...

Yep, only morons can claim that R15 and P220F can match CBR 250 (all standard bikes) on even term, ceteris paribus, if you really put them into a circuit to do a race. But on certain condition, i think R15 can give CBR 150 some run of its money, as daily streetfighter bike.

P220 F ? Outside of straight line speed & stability, not much can be said about this bike performance, but FOR THE MONEY, this is one heck of a sport touring bike in my book.

Kamlesh said...

No offence to any one but i can make out that you(S.P.Biker Next door) like Ninja 250r compared to Honda CBR250r. You just made the great things in bike look nothing. again no offence to anyone, just wrote what i thought reading the review. it may be because i am planning to buy Honda CBR250R. Peace

Kamlesh shetty

Gunawan MS said...

Well, to be honest, if you have the budget and the need for a supersport bike in quarter litre engine package, Honda CBR 250 R got jack sh!t compared to the new Kawasaki Ninja 250 FI, simply an inferior bike for that kinda purpose. Too bad its price in India is astronomical, that will clearly skew the comparison.

Anonymous said...

Guys I have been highly disappointed with the HONDA CBR250... The bike broke down on the first day of delivery... Then after a 3months period the Crank shaft developed a noise and needs a replacement... Such a shame the company dealers don't have spare parts for over 2 weeks now... I am in shambles... I will never recommend this bike to anyone...

Anonymous said...

Cbr 250r is a superb bike i hav crossd 170kmph on Nh7 u cant compare 220 with it... of no comparison

Anonymous said...

Cbr250 is an awesom bike it gives u great mileage upto 30 kmpl and not lesser than 25 kmpl...its a good bike to ride on and it croses the 100kmph mark in the 3rd gear itself..

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