£4100 OTR I 249cc 4-stroke single I 26bhp I 17.6 lb-ft@ 7000rpm
Honda introduced the CBR250R with the idea of fusing the handling and styling of their iconic, large capacity CBR range, with a smaller engine for riders after a first bike, better fuel economy, or just something nimble to chuck around town. With brand new colours being introduced this year, including the iconic Repsol racing livery, we decided it was time to put the little race-rep through its paces.
Many bikers are looking for more affordable options for transport, or something that fits into the new licencing rules. It’s come to be expected that smaller bikes have the benefits of low running costs, but many riders, understandably, don’t want to give up striking looks and the excitement that comes with the machine’s bigger brothers.
The CBR250R fits the bill perfectly – wrapped up in a weather-beating full fairing, emblazoned in this stunning paint scheme, it makes the you feel like Moto GP stars, Pedrosa or Marquez when you pass a shop window…
Tell me about the engine
The liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine has plenty of grunt for a 250 four-stroke, ready to perform at any speed in town, or out and about on country roads. I didn’t have to worry about changing gear a million times through the 6-speed transmission, just to find some extra power to overtake. Where I found it particularly good was filtering through town – the CBR gave me the grunt I needed when I wanted it, without playing hard to get.
Honda chose a single-cylinder configuration, limiting the number of moving parts, with the aim of reducing internal friction, which should mean better fuel economy and lower running costs.
A steel diamond twin-spar frame houses the engine – its lightweight construction makes it easy to manhandle the bike, which reacts quickly when you shift your weight even slightly around. It’s a sporty riding position, with your legs pinned to the side of the bike and weight forwards onto your wrists. This gives great control, but as with all sports bikes, the constant pressure on your wrists can be quite tiring after a longer ride.
The little CBR is the first of its kind to include the option of Combined ABS, which uses a three-pot caliper on the front (two-pot on the non-ABS version). When you grab the front lever, two of the front caliper’s pistons push against the brake pads. Push the foot pedal down, and the rear brake is applied, before a mechanical delay valve actuates the third piston at the front. The ABS is controlled by a small, lightweight electronic unit which all adds an extra £150 onto the RRP and 4kg onto the weight, but I’d say it was worth it as a great way to inspire confidence, particularly in new riders.
If you’re looking for a stepping stone to a larger bike, or you’re after something that looks the business, but is cheap to run, then I’d say yes. At 26bph, it fits firmly into the 47bhp A2 licence limit, so it’s a great alternative to a scooter or more classic looking smaller capacity set of wheels. One of the biggest things I noticed was the amount of confusion on people’s faces when I told them it was a 250, many had been fooled that it was packing more cc under the full fairings than it was.
So what’s it like to ride?
I’m a big fan of the CBR250R, it doesn’t just look the part – it delivers too. It’s a confidence inspiring ride that makes you feel comfortable, but at the same time you get the thrills and fun of riding something that feels sportier than a 250. It’s easy to forget that you’re not on its 600cc brother, though you soon remember when you’re overly ambitious and don’t plan your overtakes, but it still has enough poke for nipping through town, or enjoying B roads.
Riding the Honda, I was taken back to when I first passed my test, and the freedom of getting out on the road for the first time without an instructor behind me (my first bike was an old, used CBR6). It’s at home in the town and the country, but really it felt like it was in its natural habitat on the open road with bends to twist round – that’s when the bike and handling came to life and made me smile the most.
Tested by: Carli Ann Smith Photos: Joe Dick
Price: £3950 (£4100 with ABS)
Engine: Liquid cooled, 4-stroke, 4-valve single cylinder
Power: 26bhp (19.4kW) @ 8500rpm
Torque: 17.6 lb-ft (23.8Nm) @ 7000rpm
Weight: 161kg (165kg C-ABS version)
Seat height: 780mm
Tank size: 13 litres