2012 250cc Cruiser Shootout - Video

2012 Cleveland CycleWerks tha Heist vs. 2012 Honda Rebel vs. 2012 Star V Star 250

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Summary of Small Cruisers

If this shootout was weighted heavily on cool factor, tha Heist would score big, perhaps big enough to slide into first position overall. As Tom states, “tha Heist certainly projects a ruffian biker image its Japanese competitors can’t match, at a price below that of comparable used bikes.”

An MSRP of $3200 is way cheap for a motorcycle with a custom style found on cruisers costing thousands more. Melisa recognized straight away the visual value of tha Heist, saying it’s “the coolest bike here.” But no way would she pay cold cash for this scoot as her first choice as the bike to reintroduce her to riding. We agree this isn’t the best choice for beginners.

2012 Cleveland Cyclewerks tha Heist Profile Right

We applaud Cleveland CycleWerks for gracing tha Heist with a minimalist ethos that generates a remarkably clean look. Yet we were disappointed to see yellowed chrome on the muffler, the seepage of oil from an engine cover, and any number of non-crucial components that vibrated free during Tom’s initial testing. These issues combined with the floppy feeling front-end, excessively harsh ride from the rear half, and questionable build quality present too many points of contention for us to consider placing tha Heist in any spot other than last in this trio.

But, for the rider with a tight billfold and a strong mechanical aptitude that easily envisions ways around the above issues, tha Heist might be an unbeatable bargain.

2012 V Star 250 Profile Right

The duel between the Star V Star 250 and Honda Rebel simply comes down to a matter of which best fits your physical frame. Both brands have decades of reliable Japanese engineering and quality control to give us peace-of-mind, and their identical price of $4190 painlessly removes cost from the decision-making process.

For Tom (and yours truly) the Star makes the most sense because of its better fit for someone standing 5-feet 6-inches or taller. For riders fitting this criterion, and who are ambitious enough to assimilate the Star’s challenging clutch, the V Star 250 is the right ride. Furthermore, the Star adds a highly sought-after quality in the cruiser world not found on the Honda or CCW: a burly sounding exhaust note.

“The V Star 250, with its V-Twin engine and stacked, staggered dual mufflers looks the part of a full-size cruiser and is more appealing both visually and acoustically compared to the Rebel,” Tom says as he summarizes his top pick.

2012 Honda Rebel Front Right

So then we come to the venerable Honda Rebel. This thing’s been around so long it’s achieved icon status, a default choice for new riders. Melisa, the quintessential, petite female beginner rider, routinely gravitated to the Rebel for one encompassing reason: user-friendliness. “I felt at ease on that bike,” she summarizes.

A welcoming environment is a badge of honor, a hallmark of Honda motorcycles. We’ve testified of this fact time and again, whether discussing the effortless ride-ability of the hypersport CBR1000RR, the surprising agility of the plump and long-in-the tooth sport-tourer ST1300, or on Honda’s highly stylized foray into customized cruisers, The Fury.

Indeed, this signature Honda attribute of user-friendliness even finds its way to the entry-level Rebel.

2012 250cc Cruiser Motorcycles

Related Reading
2012 Cleveland CycleWerks tha Heist Review
2012 Honda Rebel Review
2012 Star V Star 250 Review
2011 Beginner Bike Shootout
2009 250cc Streetbike Shootout
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Motorcycle Beginner Series on Motorcycle.com
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