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Monday, February 7, 2011

2011 Honda CBR 250R vs Kawasaki Ninja 250R

Well this was on the cards for eons now and has been a topic of war world over. MotorcycleUSA.com finally conducted the comparison we all have been etching to know and analyze. MotorcycleUSA.com takes out the 2011 Honda CBR 250R and the 2011 Kawasaki Ninja 250R (they have the carburetted 26 PS version and not the fuel injected 33PS version) for a spin around the town and present us with their observations. Well this is the second time in two days, that an international ride report has managed to both surprise me at places and seemed obvious at others.

2011 Honda CBR 250R compared with 2011 Kawasaki Ninja 250R

So, how does it all fair up?? Apples to Apples? What we are talking here, or let me put it like this, what we are trying to talk here is purely motorcycles and not about dictionary words like viability, practicality and affordability. A new motorcycles has been released and has very worthily created a lot of buzz around it. So, the best way to find out as to what are the pros and cons of both the bikes when pitted against each other is to set them rolling.

2011 Kawasaki Ninja 250R compared with 2011 Honda CBR 250R

So, having seen the comparo, what are the points which seemed obvious and what are the points which surprised me?

The obvious observations

1) The Kawasaki Ninja 250R seems a lot bigger than the Honda when you are on the saddle. The Honda on the other hand, plays true to it's Honda legacy. It feels compact and relaxed and feels a lot smaller from the saddle.

2) In outright performance, the Kawasaki is ahead of the Honda. Note the special observation that's mentioned about the clutch "There's almost no play". Well again, it's a true Honda spirit and it would make the ride easy if you are first time rider. Don't bother about anything else, just ride. The Kawasaki on the other hand has a busy clutch comparatively and offers a lot of feedback.

3) The Honda handles better and is much easier to ride in traffic conditions, credits to it's compactness and better low end torque than the Kawasaki.

Some of the observations of MotorcycleUSA, like throttle response and cold starts, were matted because of the fact that in USA Kawasaki Ninja is available as carburetted and not Fi, which has a major effect on both the factors.

The surprising observations

1) MotorcycleUSA testers found that the C-ABS on the Honda was rather dangerous as when you slam on the rear, it engages the front caliper and the light front of the Honda dives as a result rather quickly, which given an odd condition could prove rather dangerous. This comes as a big big surprise to me as having read and seen the performance of the C-ABS on the Honda Fireblade, I was sure that it would be the biggest factor to lure. But MotorcycleUSA suggests, go for the cheaper non-ABS version.

2) It's a known fact that the Kawasaki has reserve rev range as compared to the Honda. But what's more astonishing is that majority of the testers found the Honda to have annoying vibrations between 5k and 7k rev range, which the Kawasaki does not have. Going by Honda's standards this is truly a big surprise again.

Overall MotrocycleUSA's verdict does not surprise me. As per them, if you are a beginner, Honda (non C-ABS) is the way to go. But for more experienced rider, who want more performance from their steed and who like to cruise at relatively higher speeds on highways, it has to be their group test winner, the Kawasaki Ninja 250R.

For a more detailed analysis, please refer to the MotorcycleUSA website.
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Item Reviewed: 2011 Honda CBR 250R vs Kawasaki Ninja 250R Description: Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Sajal
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