We got a bit of seat time on a 2012 Honda CBR250 last week. When we first stepped astride it, it felt tiny and a sluggish (especially since it’s still in the break-in period–we didn’t want to rev it over 7k). After getting a few miles under our belts, we’ve come to appreciate the light weight, conservative riding position, and the great brakes.
While some of these will end up as race bikes, the majority will be for commuting or first motorcycles for new riders. When you think of the bike in that context, it excels.
There are nice details like pretty, easy-to-read gauges. The turn signals are incandescent and they “breathe” like classic turn signals, rather than clicking on and off brutally like LED lights.
The suspension is compliant and has sufficient damping to cope with big shocks. On the bumpiest cobble-stone street on our route, the suspension performed admirably, and never dealt a gut-punch that caused us to wince. The bike just rolled on down the street.
The mirrors compliment the bike’s maneuverability, and likely help make the ride experience comforting for a new riser. For us, however, the mirrors felt like big antennae that wanted to give every car a kiss. Splitting lanes gets nervewracking when you’re stuck behind the two wide mirrors, and the articulation on the mirror stalks doesn’t allow much in the way of repositioning.
ABS may seem like a strange inclusion on a 250, but it’s a welcome one. The single front disk is strong enough to stand the bike on its nose, and the eventual ABS intrusion just feels like the headset bearing is clicking, rather than a jittery reaction that upsets the bike.
The bike is a doddle to ride around town—the only letdown is the lack of a manic engine—keep in mind that the original CBR 250RR was an inline four with a redline of 19.5k RPM. That’d be more our style.