Rode my new CBR250R home today. 160 miles up route 17. Break in, shmake in. Now my Ninja has a stable mate. I hope they will get along well.
The Honda has 21hp and can go to 23 with a slip on. The Ninja has 23 and can easily go up close to 30 with nothing more than air filter, pipes and jets. The ninja also has 3000 more rpm so there are power and gearing advantages. I'm sure there will be spec racing classes with the Honda which will give us the availability of some good parts but no modified CBR250R can race on the same track with a built up Ninja 250R. The higher revving, cammy twin just has a lot more potential to make power. On the other hand for fuel economy, the CBR is injected and the big single has 25% less piston crown surface area and 25% less combustion chamber roof area. So, much less heat energy loss. Look at the tiny radiator. It's cam is tuned to make it's power down low so less friction losses. The Honda will beat the Ninja on fuel economy.great write up thanks. Is there a lot more acceleration rush on the ninja and that's why you'll keep it as your fuel hog?
I don't want to jump to conclusions on the first day but here are some impressions. I rode the Honda 180 miles. Rode the Ninja through town to pick up the Chinese food. But I have been out on it for hours over the last few weekends as it finally quit raining every day. They are very different in the engine but both are fast enough for freeway travel up to 80 where the Ninja will pull away and wave goodbye. The Honda is much roomier around the knees for taller riders but the stylists have over stepped their bounds with the body work. Better to let the aerodynamic engineers lead the design. It is much noisier. The Kawi with a Zero Gravity Sport Touring windscreen will really spoil you. They should call their company Zero Windnoise. Maybe ZG can step in to improve the Honda. I am wondering though if any of the noise comes from the bikini nose at the side panels. This will be harder to deal with if that is the case. The red/ silver is beautiful in real life. Pictures don't do it justice. All my friends that I visited today catagorically agree that the Honda is much better looking Than the Kawi which is more "all buisness". The tanks of both bikes are comfortable to lay down on and upright riding is comfortable too.
I hope the fuel economy of the CBR will improve with more miles. The first tank only went 134 miles and 2.2 gallons for 60.1 mpg. Ridden full tuck. That does include some rpm cycling up and down from 8,000 to 6,000. Gassing it and winding back down for break in.
Both bikes are good in fast sweepers. The Honda is a little easier to change lines. The front is a little soft but still carves accurately and the over all comfort of the ride quality is very nice over broken pavement. Less jolt than the Honda fit that I rode down in. Cross winds are no problem at 70mph when tucked. I felt that the bike actually tended to turn into the wind somehow. The big ZG screen on the Ninja throws a bubble that the winds can use to move the bike to the side more. Or, the front of the Kawasaki got lighter with the bigger screen. It is more easily moved around by wind now but the quietness is worth it. I hope to get the CBR to this level even if I have to diy a windscreen.
Fuel injection is a big step up during cold start. It was 85*F today and the Ninja still needs a couple minutes of warm up before it will take any throttle even though I have adjusted the idle mixture. The Honda's engine felt slow for the first five minutes. Break in? or maybe the fuel injection computer needed to learn for the first time after the O2 sensor came on line so it could start building a map.
The Honda shifts much better. First gear is not as low people say. Speed at redline is somewhere around 24mph? although I usually shift right out of first at 10. 66mph is exactly 7000 so this rpm is a bit higher than other youtubes I have watched showing standing start to top speed pulls of the tach and speedo. Possibly because my odometer reads 1% LOWER than actual. Very rare in the bike world. I haven't verified the Ninja yet but it seems to be way off by almost 10% fast.
The Honda doesn't lug better at 3000 even though the torque curves show that it should. The single piston has a chugging feel when it lugs whereas the Ninja doesn't really buck as much but it just doesn't pull. The rear brake of the CBR is very weak but I don't use the rear much anyway. The front feels good on both bikes. There is zero vibration in the seat of the Honda. Very little in the pegs and the left grip is also almost dead. The throttle hand buzzes some but every rider will have some pain in the right hand on any bike unless it is equiped with some sort of throttle holding aid.
I really like the front running lights in the CBR and the fact that the front turn signals also stay lit up low for running lights. This always catches my attention more when I see a big touring bike come at me with four lights in the front. Maybe oncoming cars will quit turning left right in front of me. Perfect weather today. I rode off and on all day and into the evening to get a quick look at the lights. The Ninja's low beam is terrible. Should be illegal to put something like that on the road. I found a way to tip the high beam bulb back by bending one tab which lowers the vertical cut off so that bike's lights are more like two low beams now. Much better and I can leave the high beam on most of the time even if there is a car up the road in front of me. Shining the lights on a wall side by side, maybe the Honda is better? I didn't take it back out after dark as I was on the Ninja for that trip but I will.
More comments later I'm sure.
Drivetrain lash is much worse with the Honda CBR250R even though the chain is a bit on the tight side of the spec. I wonder if there is a way to improve this. Around town, the torque advantage of the Honda makes it nicer than the Ninja 250R and I also feel that the ergonomics are better. There seems to be more leverage in the handle bars with the Honda and your head height is higher for better vision down the road even though the spec for the seat height is the same, I think the CBR sits a little higher. It looks and feels like a bigger bike. Except when it comes to turning or dodging pot holes, The Honda is quicker handling. And the ride is a little more plush. Same exact tires. Strangely enough, my 6'1" brother said he like his position on the Ninja better even though he was wishing for lower pegs to make room for his knees under the tank flair. My knod would go to the Honda around townbut the ZG screen on the Kawasaki is fantastic on the highway if you want to tuck.
CBR rear brake pads are very weak.