Memories, oh-so sweet memories. Swinging a leg over the 2011 Kawasaki Ninja 250R for this test brought back a tidal wave-like rush of emotions. My first-ever street bike was a Ninja 250, bought when I was 16 in 1998. I had to work multiple jobs to pay for it, but all I remember was being so stoked to finally have a bike that I could handle which was actually decent-looking and sporty. It was a match made in heaven; a match that Kawasaki has been making for over 20 years.
But there’s finally a new kid in town from another of the major Japanese bands – Honda’s all-new CBR250R (be sure to check out the 2011 Honda CBR250R First Ride review). The big question that arose after riding the Honda a month back was: Can it challenge the tried-and-true Kawasaki, or will Honda come up short? Only one surefire way to find out – it’s shootout time!
These bikes are designed for the streets and for those less-experienced riders (that’s not saying a more versed rider can’t have fun on them), which is why we stuck to the open road for this comparison, piling on loads of streets miles and weeks spent commuting to and from the office, while also performing a series of objective performance tests (0-60mph acceleration and braking, fuel mileage and dyno numbers).
And the final result was somewhat surprising. What wasn’t a surprise was how evenly matched these two bikes are, right down to the $3999 base sticker price. Choosing a winner would be no easy task, but, then again, it rarely is. So, without further ado, we give you the 2011 MotorcycleUSA 250 Sportbike Shootout…