Honda will take a stab at the entry-level sportbike market with its 2011 CBR250R. The 250 CBR gets its first taste of American shores where it will directly challenge Kawasaki’s genre-defining Ninja 250R.
A liquid-cooled 249.4cc Single powers the CBR250R (Ninja 250 is a Parallel Twin), with a 76mm bore and 55mm stroke. A four-valve head tops the Single, actuated by dual overhead cams. Smoothing out the Single’s inherent vibes is a counterbalanced shaft. Where the Ninja 250R is carbureted (to reduce costs and keep price as low as possible), the CBR will utilize Honda’s programmed fuel injection (PGM-FI). A six-speed gear box will divvy out the power, with a final chain drive.
The new CBR’s chassis features a non-adjustable 37mm fork, with Honda’s Pro-link rear suspension offering five-position preload adjustment. Steering geometry consists of a 25-degree rake and 95mm (3.74 inches) trail. Wheelbase is 53.9 inches, while seat height rings in at 30.9 inches. A small bike, the CBR250 rolls on street standard 17-inch wheels, with a claimed curb weight of 359 pounds (Ninja 250 375 pounds).
Braking comes via a single 296mm front disc with a two-piston floating Nissin caliper. Out back a second disc, 220mm, has a single-piston caliper putting on the squeeze. The big news in the braking, however, is the 2011 CBR250R’s optional combined ABS. The combined ABS system adds another piston to the front braking arrangement, with the rear pedal actuating a combined braking force front and rear. The front brake operates independently.
The new CBR250R mimics the lines of its sporting Honda kin, like the VFR1200, but the big question remains: How much will the entry-level CBR cost?
Stylewise the new CBR looks an awful lot like the new VFR1200, particularly the layered fairing. Instrumentation behind the tallish windscreen is an analog tach sitting atop a digital speedo, which is centered on the blue backlit LCD area.
The biggest question mark with the little Honda is its price tag, which is still to be determined. Kawasaki’s Ninja 250R retails for $3999. Recently speaking with Kawasaki reps, we learned the Japanese marque is willing to break even on the 250 with the rationale that a Ninja 250 purchase today equals a Ninja ZX-6R or ZX-10R purchase tomorrow. And how integral is the Ninja 250 in the Kawasaki lineup? It’s the top-selling unit!
“This is really an amazing machine we’re adding to Honda’s list of models for 2011,” said Honda Powersports Press Manager Bill Savino. “The CBR250R is specifically aimed at new riders, yet it’s packed full of high-tech features and offers great performance, all in a lightweight, affordable package. This new model expands another segment of the market for Honda buyers.”
True, the 250 power and performance may not generate as much excitement as near 200 horsepower production Superbikes, but the little CBR250R is Honda’s biggest news in the 2011 sportbike model lineup. The CBR250R will be built in Thailand and launched globally in November.
2011 Honda CBR250R Specifications
Engine Type: Liquid-cooled, four-stroke single-cylinder four-stroke
Bore and Stroke: 76mm x 55mm
Compression ratio: 10.7:1
Valve Train: DOHC; four valves per cylinder
Fueling: PGM-FI, 38mm throttle body
Ignition: Computer-controlled digital transistorized with electronic advance
Suspension Front: 37mm fork
Suspension Rear: Pro-Link single shock with five-position preload adjustment
Brakes Front: Single 296mm disc with two-piston Nissin calipers
Brakes Rear: Single 220mm disc with single-piston caliper
Tires Front: 110/70-17 radial
Tires Rear: 140/70-17 radial
Rake/Trail: 25.0 degrees / 95mm (3.74 inches)
Wheelbase: 53.9 inches
Seat Height: 30.9 inches
Fuel Capacity: 3.4 gallons
Colors: Metallic Black, Red/Silver
Curb Weight: 359 pounds / 368 pounds (ABS)