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Honda CBR250R vs Kawasaki Ninja 250R

Friday, February 4, 2011

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2011 Honda CBR250R Comparison Video
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Discover how the Honda CBR250R stacks up against the Kawasaki Ninja 250R in the 2011 Honda CBR250R Comparison Video.
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!
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2011 Kawasaki Ninja 250R Comparison Video
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Find out how the Kawasaki Ninja 250R stacks up against the Honda CBR250R in the 2011 Kawasaki Ninja 250R Comparison Video.

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…

2011 250 Sportbike Shootout Gallery
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Mike Moland   February 5, 2011 03:47 PM
The performance numbers were suprising, as preliminary reports have suggested that the 2011 CBR250R is consistently quicker from 0-60mph. While these reports tend to be informal, and largely ancedotal, they are at least tentatively backed up by some video evidence (see CBR250R 0-100km/hr http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zedjh39y9nQ) and (Ninja 250R 0-100km/hr http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOrZiVkIC20)for some reference to stock 0-60mph times between the CBR250R and the Ninja250R.

While such informal testing evidence might not be the most compelling - a better controlled comparison conducted recently by a Japanese magazine (see below) appears to support these performance numbers as well.

.........CBR250R ...... Ninja 250R
0-50m.....4.26 ........... 4.68
0-100m....6.46 ........... 6.91
0-200m....9.99 ........... 10.38
0-400m...15.95 ........... 16.04

Top Speed...CBR250R ...... Ninja 250R

............151.38 kph.......159.02 kph

It will be interesting to see if other comparos reveal the same puzzling performance differences that Motorycle USA have found in their testing.
Moto Craze   February 5, 2011 01:57 PM
Very good article Steve. This seem to be the first real comparison test of these two bikes and the result is pretty much as I expected. I just don't understand why Kawasaki still use carbs on the US version of Ninja 250R while the version for Europe got EFI. I mean, even a lot cheaper Hyosung's 250 bikes got EFI. Do you have any explanation for this ? Btw, next time involve Hyosung's 250s and Honda VTR 250 if you can get one (somehow) in USA, will be fun. @ Paul T: I believe CBS was the problem, not the ABS.
Martin Owings   February 5, 2011 12:07 PM
If your going to do any really long trips there is only one choice. Either bike would be great for a beginner. The Honda is probably easier to ride so if you are really worried about that first time rider it might be the way to go. I have owned the new ninja for a couple years now and it could use a bit more power. Why does a 250 have to weigh 375 pounds? Oh well, come on Yamaha and Suzuki let's see what you can do for the biginner. For now though I agree team green has the best all around beginner bike. Fuel injection would be nice on those sub 50 degree mornings though :)
Paul T   February 5, 2011 07:31 AM
Just to clarify, i am talking what is said on the video not what was written in the article.
Paul T   February 5, 2011 07:12 AM
You trash the ABS because you made a mistake. The problem is the rider acting like an idiot, not a problem with the equipment. Watch the Ninja comparison video (there are 2, one for the CBR and one for the Ninja) at 1:54 one of the guys does a brake/power rear wheel slide through a corner. The same guy, on the same corner obviously tries it with the CBR and you see the bike wobble (2:09 on the CBR vid). This is the same guy that trashes the ABS. Then to warn people off buying the ABS because of your own irresponsibility is almost criminal. ABS saves lives. Oh, and both videos are 'Presented by Kawasaki'!