Honda CBR250R


Ever since the Honda CBR250R came on the scene, the beginner sportbike war has been hotly contested between it and the Kawasaki Ninja 250/300. While the latest Ninja has a bigger engine and an extra cylinder, the CBR20R has a nicer price. At $4,199, it undercuts the green machine by $800 – a not insignificant amount of change. For just over four large, the Honda provides a sprightly fuel-injected, liquid-cooled 249.6cc single-cylinder engine.

Motorcycle Beginner: 2011 Honda CBR250R Newbie Review

During our time with one, it put out 22.5 hp and 15.2 ft-lbs of torque to the wheel, the latter of which is only three ft-lbs less than the twin-lunged Kawasaki with more displacement. Now that Honda has announced a CBR300R (which sounds cooler than the CBR286R it might’ve been) will be coming to the U.S. in 2015, the performance gap between the two should be closer.

The Honda CBR250R may be inspired by its 600 and 1000 CBR siblings, but its riding position is not nearly as aggressive and suits new, or newer, riders well.

The Honda CBR250R may be inspired by its 600 and 1000 CBR siblings, but its riding position is not nearly as aggressive and suits new, or newer, riders well.

Throwing a leg over the CBR is simple, as the 30.5-inch seat height isn’t too high. For those with short legs, the narrow dimensions of the single-cylinder engine means the legs aren’t spread very far, making flat-footing easy. Honda is known for its refinement, and we found the CBR to be incredibly smooth, even at highway speeds, with little vibration and excellent fuel metering. New riders, which the bike is targeted towards, may not realize it, as they are likely more concerned with mastering the fundamentals, but those positive qualities go a long way towards instilling confidence as skills improve.

2013 Beginner Sportbike Shootout + Video

Those with more experience, like your esteemed MO testers, were also highly impressed with the CBR’s agile handling. At just 357 pounds, and with a tight 53.9-inch wheelbase, carving canyons with the 250 is a blast. Turn-in is achieved with a mere thought, and carrying momentum is the name of the game since power is limited. The single 296mm front disc and 220mm rear stop the bike well enough, but an extra $500 will get you linked ABS. To us, this is a safety feature especially beneficial for new riders.

Beginner bikes can still be fun for experienced riders, as the CBR250R is plenty capable of cutting up a twisty road.

Beginner bikes can still be fun for experienced riders, as the CBR250R is plenty capable of cutting up a twisty road.

Of course, a value proposition involves more than just the sticker price, as motorcycles inevitably need fuel to keep going. Honda says the CBR250R returns a whopping 77 miles to the gallon, and during our time with one we were shocked to see our test bike average a mightily impressive 74.4 mpg! It’s cheap to buy, cheap to own, fun to ride and backed by Honda reliability. At the end of the day, it’s hard to go wrong with the CBR250R.

2011 Honda CBR250R Tech Review

+ Highs

  • Affordable
  • Great gas mileage
  • Fantastic handling
– Sighs

  • Least amount of power in the class
  • Riders may outgrow it quickly
  • Honda just announced the CBR300R
Honda CBR250R Specs
MSRP $4,199 / $4,599 Repsol edition / $4,699 w/ABS
Engine Capacity 249.6cc
Engine Type Liquid-cooled, SOHC, four-valve, single cylinder
Bore x Stroke 76.0mm x 55.0mm
Compression 10.7:1
Fuel System EFI
Transmission 6-speed
Clutch Wet, multi-plate
Final Drive Chain
Frame Steel
Front Suspension Telescopic, 37mm fork, 4.65 in. travel
Rear Suspension Single shock, adjustable for spring preload, 4.07 in. travel
Front Brakes 296mm disc with two-piston caliper (three w/ABS)
Rear Brakes 220mm disc with single-piston caliper
Front Tire 110/70R17
Rear Tire 140/70R17
Seat Height 30.5 inches
Wheelbase 53.9 inches
Curb Weight (claimed) 357.0 pounds
Fuel Capacity 3.4 gal
Colors Black, Red, Pearl White/Blue/Red, Blue/Orange/White/Red
Warranty NA
  • Craig Hoffman

    Yamaha is giving Honda good competition in some areas. The new FZ09 has a gem of an engine for 700X money and they are just coming out now with their twin. Hopefully Yamaha take a cue from Honda and offers their new bikes in a variety of formats. An FZ09 powered ADV variant with a roomier feel and more fuel capacity could be a big winner. Yamaha needs to get with it and produce a WR450R version of it’s excellent 250R already too.

    Good to see the manufacturers realizing we are not all made of money. The auto manufacturers seem to have completely lost the plot. Unlike cars, motorcycles are not vehicles to lease. There has to be an affordable value oriented option in the new market, or the used market becomes the whole market.

    • Jason

      The FZ-09 and FZ-07 are interesting bikes but they have one glaring omission: no ABS. This is 2014 and ABS should at least be offered as an option especially considering that ABS is standard on these models in Europe.

      • The People’s Champion

        i heard the FZ09 is limited to a 132mph… that’s N650 territory and the bike is shod with poor suspension for its engine.

        • Jason

          Limited to only double the speed limit? I think that should be adequate for public roads.

          • The People’s Champion

            by that logic we should all be riding those 80-90mph capable 250s no?

          • Jason

            Top speed, engine displacement, power, and acceleration are all very different things. I have no need to go more than 132 mph but that doesn’t mean that I want to ride a 250.

  • octodad

    purchased CTX700n w/ABS-DCT. having a blast on this scoot. pal w/ the street glide always wants to take mine for a spin. I enjoy riding his cycle, but prefer my little Honda. slow speed handling is superlative, and it can snap my head back as I roll on the throttle. get a lot of compliments on the cool look and ergonomic seating. big Red is dominant force w/awesome motorcycles. I am a fan…

    • Sarang Borude

      How does it do on freeway speeds, Is it easy enough to pass vehicles?

      • Michele Amason

        I have the CTX700D w/ABS-DCT and have no problems on the freeway. It is heavier than the Naked and is very stable when trucks fly by.

  • sgray44444

    Thinly veiled advertising? Not hardly- there’s no veil at all!

    • Steven Holmes

      Advertisement or not, it’s pretty nice to see that “Big Red” has so many cost effective options out there for me to try. Be nice if the other major manufacturers had similar lines to choose from. It’d make for good competition if the rest of ’em had comparably cost effective product lines.
      Something to be said about Honda’s reliability and longevity though… that’s pretty hard to beat.

    • You see many negative observations in advertisements? Like slow to accelerate, limitations of its suspension, etc? How about actual measured MPG instead of OEM claims? I see them in this set of short reviews, which also happen to echo the full reviews done previously on when Honda wasn’t an advertiser at all.

      • sgray44444

        That’s what is so distasteful about the whole article. It has the appearance of genuine journalism, but it really is just an advertisement for Honda.
        Of course you can find negatives for any motorcycle. They are all built to a price point and application, so saying a cheap motorcycle does not have good suspension is just stating the obvious. Everyone knows manufacturer’s MPG claims are done under more ideal conditions.
        Hey, I don’t care if Honda is a huge sponsor and you take this route. I still like to read about motorcycles of all kinds. It doesn’t speak well to your credibility though.
        Do I believe the reviews were biased? No, actually I don’t. But, I do think that the review being about a single manufacturer’s entire product line says something.
        Everyone knows that Honda makes a good reliable bike. It’s just odd for a magazine to focus completely on one manufacturer’s product line without the word “advertisement” being on the top of each page.
        The word disingenuous comes to mind as I read this thread and the article.

        • I have yet to obtain Honda’s specified fuel economy on either of my two Hondas. I always get much better! (no kidding)

    • JP

      Reading this again, part of me agrees with you. Honda is obviously advertising all over the website.

      Then again, I really haven’t heard anything bad about the new Honda bikes either. Everything I’m reading about the new 250, the 500’s, the NC700x, and the new VFR are very positive. I’m actually impressed by Honda being “all-in” with all of the new models they are selling here in the states.

      A good friend of mine has a CBR250 and a ZX6r and he still rides the 250 because of how well made it is.

      Creating the CBR650F and the VFR800 takes a lot of balls in my opinion. They are obviously not sportbikes, but they are also not cruisers. They are basically just well built motorcycles without a lot of the new gizmos like traction control.

      I tip my hat to them, but again, this is definitely a little brand friendly.

      • sgray44444

        Good points, JP. I agree with you. I’m not big on Honda’s non-sport models (ugly to the hilt), but the 250’s and the 500’s are really great bikes for reasonable money. I would seriously consider a VFR800 or CBR650F, but I don’t think the value is really there on those models, as good as they are. I’ve already said my peace about the apparent conflict of interest, so I’ll leave that alone.

  • Piglet2010

    Will a Rebel really go 80-mph – most reports I have seen put top speed at less than 75-mph?

  • fastfreddie

    Best value hondas were in the early ninties when you could get a honda nt 650 gt hawk ridicilouly cheap after it bombed in the sale room.Had one,and am kicking myself still for selling it.