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Happened to come across this detailed review on Motoroids.com Posting it here for those who have the patience to read it all!

"Wanted a whole day with the bike before posting this first impression as stuff like suspension, seat, riding position etc can have VERY different perceptions, depending on whether a machine has been ridden for 20 minutes or 12 hrs.

I don't work for any auto mag, don't need to suck up to anybody for their ad revenue so am not going to go goo goo gaga over stuff that does not merit it - instead this will be a very critical look at the bike.

LOOKS:

Like it or leave it. Personally I don't much like the front end treatment but the rest of it looks nice. This bike also boasts the ugliest saree guard on the planet, bar none. It looks like a bent piece of railing bolted onto the frame, with the designers having taken pains to ensure it is in COMPLETE and ABSOLUTE disharmony with the rest of the bike. It isn't even the right size.....about 20% bigger overall than it needs to be. Next to this abomination, the guard on the R1 looks good.

Sadly, unlike the ZMA the mount points are fitted only on one side, so any ideas of fitting anything else (racks etc) bilaterally will not work unless you are prepared to weld on the frame on the other side.

What I really like about the looks: It draws very little attention only a handful of people even noticed it until somebody recognised it and pointed it out. I still remember seeing a new Comet where the owner had to shoo away a bunch of ugly little morons who were trying to pass their time rubbing every available surface with their grubby fingers smeared with body fluids, which till just a few moments ago had obviously been in some body orifice or the other. Every time the owner would turn away to talk to us the ULMs would be at it, the switchgear being their clear favourite.

It's been 2 days, but I've not had to shoo anybody away yet. I think the silver looks cool, but again, thats a personal thing. I know exclusivity is important to some, it's just that I prefer to blend in


FIT and FINISH:

Not impressed.

I rolled out of the showroom and opened the throttle expecting to hear the engine what I heard instead was something rattly and vibratory in the front fairing instead, which instantly took away the otherwise smooth and refined feel of the bike. I got the chance to listen to it throughout the trip. I'm sure it is a small, easily adjusted thing, but it is a shame.

The front panels seem quite good, but the rear panels appear to have been put on as some kind of afterthought, complete with gaps.

The clip ons too have a somewhat cheap and unfinished appearance. The instrument panel looks nice and has most of the information one would need (km to empty would have been nice, but budgets.... I guess). However the angulation is not good as you get to see your own reflection in it when the sun is shining on you, but this is nit picking.


HOW IS IT IN TRAFFIC?:

I was a bit worried about this initially. Need not have. Those two mirrors act like a cats whiskers, as the bike is a rather narrower than them. Get into a gap, crack the throttle open - and the gap is now behind you. The torque from this engine is everywhere, so even if you are in the wrong gear at that moment, the bike will still pull without you having to rev it to the moon. Something like the 220DTS Fi, but in larger doses. Added to this is the extreme flick ability of the bike, equal to or better than the RTR, and this makes for a very potent traffic cutter. You could be pootling around at 4K rpm, but the moment you see that gap, it's just point and squirt. Don't bother to downshift. If anybody else has the same idea about that gap, he will follow you. It's that simple. Having shot through the gap, you can then resume loafing the engine, until the next gap comes up. The wide tyres also allow the bike to keep it's composure over bad surfaces, it's one less thing to worry about.

The mirrors do not vibrate, however they do move a bit at speed, but the image is still usable. One of my mirrors was loose, it kept losing the setting, but as the other one worked flawlessly, I guess it would just be a simple adjustment to rectify things. Visibility is good, with very almost no blind spot astern. Very useful in traffic.

Id say the bike far exceeded my expectations as far as handling in traffic is concerned.

The power starts to come in from about 3.5K itself, though the real thrust begins around 5. I think the setup for the new bike is such that the engine cannot be revved too high - I did not cross 8.5 k which is still 2K short of the redline.

BRAKES and TYRES:

The big disc in front scrubs off speed without any drama, having a R 15ish feel to it. It does not have the sharpness and modulation of the old 220 Fi unit (the present ones are far inferior), but the end result is still sharp and precise braking as desired. I did not lock up even once, and travelled over a lot of crappy surfaces. Confidence inspiring. This bike is the non ABS version. The ABS version has the huge disadvantage that it cannot be switched off and considering our roadbuilding practices such as covering the newly built road with a layer of gravel, it could be a big problem as the bike will simply not brake properly on it. I covered at least 20 km of such surfaces on this trip itself.

The tyres are Continental. Never having used this brand, I was a bit cautious, but am glad to say that they feel as planted as the best I have used so far. Great dry grip and they do not tramline over broken surfaces either. Their width means than they iron out road irregularities pretty well too, something that a bike with narrow tyres just cannot do. There were only a few times that I felt the rear drifting - while turning with a very stiff crosswind. The bike holds it's line superbly no matter what the crosswind, there is no twitchiness, but take it around a corner and you know that the rear is not tracking true... not really a problem, but there.

The rear brakes feel slightly "weak" but then thats how I prefer it anyways as it reduces the chance of lockup

A thumbs up to both these systems.


THE TOURING PERSPECTIVE:

RIDING POSITION:

The low seat and clip ons allied with the high footpegs means the riding postion is definitely more cramped than most bikes with the exception of the R15. Is it a dealbreaker. No. You get used to it. But after a day of riding it becomes clear that bad surfaces tend to be rather heavy on the arms and shoulders. Different people have different perceptions on this (ride comfort) so it is a bit difficult to say whether it will suit you. The big plus of the low seat - putting both feet flat on the ground is no issue for somebody of average height. The other plus with the position is my perception that the slight forward lean makes for better control.

WIND BLAST:

Once tucked in, and crouched, aerodynamics are fair. However, nobody tours like that, and when upright, the wind hits at helmet level. At 120 kph there is a lot of wind noise. Not good. This bike needs a more effective screen, existing one not upto the mark for managing the wind at speed when upright.

haven't yet had time to read the manual again or even look at the toolkit and the full day today got wasted trying to get the thing serviced (couldn't!). You'll get all the pics you want on Sunday, but for shots in motion it will only be next weekend as it appears that the service is not going to happen till Wednesday. I'll come to that later.

Coming back to the riding impressions. Having had a test ride himself, Deepak (Pulsurge) was not too thrilled with the riding positions as the knees are bent more than say, the ZMA. While highway pegs would definitely be a welcome addition (have to find a hardpoint once the fairing comes off for maintainance), I think a large part of the problem is the increased pressure from the kneeguards on the kneecap, perhaps making an annular insert out of heatlon or EVA foam should solve that problem to a great degree - I'll only come to know when I test it out...


ELECTRICALS:

With 294W of power being produced at 5K rpm, this is far higher than the output of the ZMA (188) or any other DC bike, RE included. The dashboard lights are clearly visible even in direct sunlight and visibility of the brake lights and indicators is not an issue at all. The 55W headlight is OK in terms of throw as a 55W unit goes, but it is just about barely adequate on a dual carriageway at night, and hopelessly inadequate if oncoming traffic is on the same side of the road. How does it compare to other bikes here? I'd say it is a bit better than the stock ZMA (35W) and definitely inferior to the projector setup on the P220. As with all Indian bikes, the light is way too dim for even the flasher to convice oncoming Mr dual headlights to dip. This is the third thing that needs to be modded on the bike in the interests of safety.

After careful search of the lowest bidders, some Honda engineer (possibly the proud designer of the saree guard) finally picked the most apologetic horn he could find in the interests of reducing noise pollution. I mean, a little more sloppiness and the fairinng could probable have been designed to rattle louder than the horn! Ok, I'm kidding, but this horn sucks big time, that apologetic 'dweeb" sound is not going to be heard by a truck driver any which way, and even pedestrians have to be within 3 feet before they realize that something behind them is making these wierd bleeping noises.

This will be the second thing to go, in the interests of safety.



THE SEAT:

Ok for city running, the rear portion is quite wide. It's quite flat unlike most other bikes here where the broad base tapers to something narrow on top to create the sitting on a wall (narrow) kind of experience. Unfortunately this is the only plus point it has, and you are not going to notice it's deficiencies if you plan to ride just 5km daily, over smooth roads. Any more distance than that or bad roads and you realize how thin the foam is as it slaps your bottom savagely and continuously, This is not a suspension issue - it's just a horribly inadequately padded seat. Sliding onto the front portion is no help as there is a raised hump there inside, which competes with the RTR experience. This is the FIRST thing I will change - I like to enjoy my ride!!!



THE ENGINE:

I think the engine is still performing below it's full potential as it seems reluctant to go beyond 8500 rpm, whereas it should not have a problem going till at least 10000. I suspect things will change once the valves are set (after bedding in during the run in period). All the same, it is pretty grunty at low rpm, and happy to haul the bike along at 120kph without much strain. Overtaking even on the highway is not a big deal as the power slingshots you out ahead of other bikes and cars. Munching miles at 120kph, the only fly in the ointment is the wind noise. There is still grunt in reserve, and you can pick up very cleanly again as low as 60kph without having to shift down.

Overall the engine has a very ZMA ish feel about it - except that it packs a much harder wallop when you twist the throttle and feels a lot smoother and less strained above 6K rpm. Coincidentally 100kph comes up at 6200rpm... High rpm vibes are small enough not to matter - they are there, and have an RTRish feel to it but it is less in amplitude, the engine just lets you know that it is working, and of course the vibes are almost nonexistent at idling rpm which stays rock steady at 1500 rpm regardless of the heat, how long you have been running, etc. The heat the engine throws out gets noticeable once you get stuck in traffic, but the temp indicator stays in exactly the same spot, regardless of what you have been up to. Once you start moving though, that sensation of having a heater for your ankles is no longer there.

While it can no doubt cruise faster if flogged, 125 kph should be maintainable all day without difficulty. I was not trying to do any speed testing but could easily go up to 132 (ran out of road), while accelerating in 6th from 90kph, Im sure it can pick up a lot faster in 5th, but I was not interested in revving that high for the time being.

I like this engine. Flexible and good for both city and highway, though the lack of horses means it will not really be too fast on the highway, but enough to move safely at a decent clip.



THE SUSPENSION AND CHASSIS:

The bike comes with the suspension set as soft (one step away from softest) from the factory, but make no mistake, it is pretty firm even at that setting. It's not hard, just firm, and you need that at speed = a soggy suspension will not follow the road as well as this does. As speeds pick up it feels a lot more pliant, but low speed running - it's not the softest. Ditto the front end. The chassis is petty rigid too, and I discovered this unintentionally when I suddenly ran into a collection of potholes at 80 kph. Where most of our regular bikes would have started to hop around a bit, this ate up the potholes as though they were just minor irregularities and remained rock stable and did not even hint at changing direction, But then, a trellis type frame that the CBR has is bound to be a lot better than the development of the bicycle frame that most of our other bikes come with.

In a few words, the ride is firm, but gets better with speed, and the frame is a large improvement over what we have been used to so far.


THE TANK:

13L. WHY!!!? 3.5L is supposedly left when the last bar on the gauge comes on and that should be good for at least 100km. My run was not geared towards economy, and included rush hour type stop and go traffic for at least 150 km of the total, but I think I'll get about 30 kpl. Perhaps running at 125kph on a sustained basis will turn out worse mileage figures, but the FI is a miser with the fuel....

All the same, another 5L capacity would have been very very welcome

improvement in power is not even 30%. Its more in the tune of 20% over the 220.

However, the tyre suspension chassis combo is 80 - 90% better. The refinement and poise at 125kph is 100% better. "chuckability" is a lot better too, can't descibe in percentages. End of the day, it's whether you feel the increase in cost is worth the improvement. A 1000cc superbike at 5.5L is not going to run at 840kph (7x) the speed of the 220, no way at all. But the feel at 130kph, the active safety at that speed, the behaviour when it hits a pothole at that speed, now that will be very different, Again, not 7x better.

Studying 7x times for your exam is not going to give you 7x the marks, its like that with machines too. :)

I had been looking for a replacement for the ZMA for the past 3 years and had been tempted to go in for the 220 Fi. If you look at the engine specs and power, there was no doubt that it was a much "improved" bike. It was also about the same price (allowing for inflation). Riding impressions confimed the same. But was it a sufficient improvement? I did not think so, besides, I had put in a lot of my time improving the ZMA, and I would have had to do the same for the 220. I decided to wait for the Ninja, but the price was ridiculous IMO, and while I would like a better bike, I'm not prepared to pay silly amounts for the same.


OTHER IMPRESSIONS:

At speed, unless tucked in, the wind is your enemy. The buffeting about the helmet gets worse as speed picks up, and there is some real force on the helmet. I've never had neck discomfort ever but did have some at the end of the day and it is a combination of posture + wind blast. Not something that you cannot get used to after some days, but something nevertheless. Ditto my shoulders after some of the bad sections , but again I think one will get used to this different position.

950km are done and as I can go for the service only on Wednesday, I went back to the ZMA for my usual commute to town. Felt smooth as always, and very plush with the sofa seat (NON STOCK!!) and the softly sprung linked monoshock (NON STOCK!!), but riding the two back to back, there s no doubt that the chassis is vastly inferior, it simply does not have the taut feel of the CBR. Engine...the ZMA is not a slouch, but the lively, happy to rev CBR engine is in a different league.

The gearbox is very smooth and while shifting up, trying to use the clutch above third gear actually makes for sloppier shifting than going off the throttle momentarily and moving up the box. It is that smooth, and blipping the engine while downshifting makes for equally smooth shifts, accompanied by a snarl from the engine. Pulling in the clutch while shifting up , unless done very quickly actually allows the rpm to drop to an extent that here is a jerk when the box re engages - it's got to be done quickly to be smooth. Getting the bike from 1st to neutral is also a bit tricky, you are more likely to go into second. Neutral comes in very positively when shifting down the box, maybe this is a design feature such that a light left foot does not leave you out of drive when moving up the box from first....

OWNERSHIP EXPERIENCE TILL DATE:

I had a very very smooth experience regarding the booking and delivery from Jhaveri Honda. The sales staff were courteous and helpful, and in my case managed to cobble together all the documents including the service book (which other owners will receive only after a few days) in time for the delivery, things unfortunately started to unravel after that. As I rolled up the day after the for the service the snotty little creature at the counter informed me "no appt, no service". This was new to me. Apparently a coupon needs to be collected when the snotty little creature occupies her workstation.

As soon as she is spotted all the gathered Activa and Unicorn owners scramble to be the first to collect the coupon as job cards will be filled in that order. After that there is another mad rush to start the vehicle and drive off (reminiscent of GP races of old where the drivers would race to their cars on the grid and drive off for the race) another 200m to the place where the supervisor (who is late) fills the job cards.

Anyways, since the snotty creature had brushed me off, I had to bring up this grave injustice with the guys at the sales counter and have the appointment policy reversed. I was prepared to spend the morning at the service station, but being last on the grid, I was now informed that the bike would be back only in the evening. The question of leaving it in their hands unsupervised simply did not arise, and I refused the service and drove back. I would have had to come again anyways because they had no CBR specific parts yet including the oil filter that needs to be replaced at the first service - the idea of leaving the bike unsupervised, then coming multiple times (with appt!!) to get everything finished was not at all appealing. I'll be going elsewhere on Wednesday (Venetian Honda).

I guess the service staff have got used to dealing with craven and miserable Activa owners...

Nearer home the Om Sai Honda dealer informed me that they have not yet taking CBRs for service - apparently they have not started deliveries either.


VERDICT:

Used stock, this is a great bike - for city usage. It's peppy, torquey, very nimble and has well sorted handling and great tyres and brakes. The seat will not be a bother for short rides. The mileage appears par for the course too, though that requires further research. The plastics though are a disapointment.

Where the package starts to unravel a bit is when you think of touring use. The seat, though easily modded is uncomfortably hard. The horn is downright useless and considering our highways, the headlight, though DC, is not much better than mediocre, though a bump up to 100W or even 130W should not be too difficult, and get it up to adequate. These are all easy things to alter, however, the 13L tank capacity, lack of wind protection at speed unless lying on the tank and the lack of provision for carrying luggage - these are much more difficult to rectify. That said, none of these are dealbreakers, but if you plan to buy this bike, er, book it, no harm in going into it with your eyes wide open. All these modifications can definitely be done, but it will not be in the same league as say, changing the horn.

So how does it stack up in the face of the competition? In terms of pricing, it is at least 40K away from the nearest competitor (I don't classify the bullet as a modern bike so I will not compare the Classic EFI with this). However if you look at the "upgrade scene", here's my take:

ZMA: This is a super ZMA if you wish, a big improvement, does it all better, except for the posture. I think the ZMR is a horible creation, several notches below the ZMA in design, with very little tangible benefits for the increase in cost, unless that welcome message is what sends the sunshine up your a** when you start the vehicle. If you don't believe me, you could always go to any HH service centre and ask any mech as to whether to buy the ZMA or the ZMR.

The 220: An improvement, though not huge in terms of power but in a different league as regards all else especially refinement and handling. The price differential is big, and the pulsar undeniably has the better lighting, you could take this onto the highway at night, and live to tell the tale :p. It all depends on how important refinement is to you. That is not cheap. Ride it to see if it makes sense. What are the alternatives? None, unless somebody comes up with a cheap, unrefined, aircooled 300 - 350 (maybe bajaj???)

Ninja: Haven't ridden, can't compare. Hope to be able to do that soon (and mercilessly dissect that too :p)

R15: Again, my time on the R15 has been short, but my impressions - the R15 may have an equivalent suspension but will be significantly the inferior vehicle on bad roads due to it's narrow tyres. In addition, at least the CBR can be adjusted for rear preload, the R15 cannot. Enginewise the R15 suffers very badly due to it's lack of cubes (and the ensuing torque figures). The overtaking pass that does not require a thought on the CBR will require a downshift on the R15, maybe 2. The lighting is not much of an improvement. It's even more cramped and there is not much to recommend it over the CBR - except price. Actually that is a big difference, and it's only grounds for competing with the CBR. If 40K is not a deal breaker, then you'd have to think very hard to justify the purchase of the R 15. But 40K after all, is 40K.

RTR: Sorry TVS, give us something better to go head on with this. Merely cheap is not gonna do the job. And kindly eliminate that pointy centre section on your seat while doing that.... "
 

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Now that is a meaty review. All thanks go out to Arnob Gupta for his brutal honesty. ...And thanks for posting this here KenJacob. Where ever it came from, I doubt I would have ran across it.
 

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Good review, as you said, honest! As I was reading it, a few comments crossed my mind:

- Thank goodness most of us won't have to worry about the ugly saree guard! :)

- Having used a few Made in India products in my time, I actually burst out laughing when I read he was not impressed with fit and finish! To me the bike I rode definitely seemed better put together than a Kawasaki Ninja, with better quality paint. Some issues he had, like a loose mirror, seem like issues with quality of pre-delivery preparation rather than the bike as such. Which doesn't excuse it at all, though - pre-delivery preparation is an important part of customers experience as far as I am concerned. If my brand new toy starts to fall apart I really don't care whether the manufacturer or the dealer was to blame...

- wind blast... I don't know, I think I would want to tuck-in at around 120km anyway. Is there any bike that gives you good wind protection at 120 while sitting bolt upright? Gold Wing perhaps... I have not been lucky enough to ride one.

- small tank... Sure, everyone wants bigger tank, but nobody wants the extra weight and bulk! Unfortunately larger tank size comes with that penalty so the designers have to compromise. I think 13l is more than sufficient since on this bike it should give you a range of around 350km, easy.
 

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Yea, the tank size is more or less right for this bike...and its price point trying to meet the Kawasaki....Bigger tank equals more dry weight and more wet weight plus more expense...negative effect on handling...also the esthetics of a bigger tank might not be right. And a big consideration: it has very acceptable range due to the excellent fuel economy. You can always carry a liter or two spare along if , for some reason, you needed extra range..........
 

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That saree guard, no offense I hope to the people of India, is a disaster! It does make one...er...smile.. when you see this sculptured work of art CBR with these apparel guards. I am thinking the engineers feel like this is the first thing to come off when the new owner gets home............
 

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Thank you for your review. Yes, the horn is a complete joke, especially considering that this bike is to be made in India! My scooter has a better horn.

The wind is a limiting factor for highway use, the screen just dumps it on your chest. But, I will say if you duck down, when big trucks blast past you on the two lane, you don't even feel a puff of wind. It's not really blown around very much.

I do hear the rattle sometimes, but have ignored it so far. Thanks again for your review.
 

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Thank you for your review. Yes, the horn is a complete joke, especially considering that this bike is to be made in India! My scooter has a better horn.

The wind is a limiting factor for highway use, the screen just dumps it on your chest. But, I will say if you duck down, when big trucks blast past you on the two lane, you don't even feel a puff of wind. It's not really blown around very much.

I do hear the rattle sometimes, but have ignored it so far. Thanks again for your review.
I was just about to mention the cbr250 horn until i saw this thread.

i heard the horn on it just the other day and i just laughed, it doesn't suit the bike. is there any way to change the cbr250r horn? is it something we can do or just go to the dealer?
 

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I was just about to mention the cbr250 horn until i saw this thread.

i heard the horn on it just the other day and i just laughed, it doesn't suit the bike. is there any way to change the cbr250r horn? is it something we can do or just go to the dealer?
I haven't heard the horn...but the consensus seems to be that it is ...er..feeble. This was a cost-cutting item ..most likely for Honda. You will have to go aftermarket for a better, louder horn. And someday you may be very glad you upgraded.......in order to get the attention of an oblivious cage.........
 

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My Vstar will get a BadBoy airhorn, like I have on my CM450c. I wonder if there is room under the plastic to mount one on this CBR. I suspect there is.
 

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I have to disagree with large protions of this review. It seems to read as though his mind was made up even before the review was executed. Poor form.
 

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that review was written by a moron,lol,just saying,i dont like any negative comments about my bike dammit,lol,lol:eek:
That was a super-sick comment from you my friend. Just coz you won't accept any negative remarks about the bike doesn't make the other person a moron. Its my humble request to check the credentials about the person before you pass a comment.

Its no wrong to be a critic where its due- its far from being a perfect bike anyways...when one's putting in his hard earned money into a product and this bike is a so-called flagship machine from the Honda stable in India- for you guys it might seem a moped. Disregarding the cost factor- do try to have a look at the differences in build quality between the Ninja 250 and this bike.

Can put in many more points that I observed on my test ride of this machine- the negatives I mean starting right from the ultra cheap plastic of the windscreen. But then I'll restrain here- might hurt you high and others as well who think on similar terms.
 

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do try to have a look at the differences in build quality between the Ninja 250 and this bike.



I don’t get your point? I’ve owned both a 2009 Ninja and now the CBR. The CBR wins hands down against the Ninja as far as build quality for money you pay. Ninja's have been over priced for years hence Kawa slashing the price here in Aus to try and compete with Honda. The price of a new Ninja went from $7500 + ORC to $5990 + ORC overnight. If that doesn’t leave a bad taste in the mouth of anyone that owns a Ninja then I don’t what would. Specially if you have bought one in the last 6 months. Watch this space to see if there will be further reductions in the price as I suspect there will.

You only need to spend 15 minutes reading reviews on the comparison between the Ninja and the CBR to see that the community is closely divided against which one is the better bike. Some expert riders say the Ninja and some say the CBR. Either way it goes they have all said they are very closely matched. Hence for me the decision was based on 2 things. The CBR is quicker of the mark with a lot better torque than the Ninja (great for riding in Sydney) and second was what you get for your money.

Anyway IMO riding any bike is better than not riding at all......
 

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I think Jersey CBR was joking around, hence his LOL's.
I actually was out looking at my Thailand made CBR and noticed how flawless everything is. From the perfect paint to every body panel that fits and lines up perfect. I never have owned a Ninja but the lil CBR is a quality work of art. Especially at the price.
My Canadian made Civic is the same way. I think its a great company, so far.
 

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thank you maddtrapper,i was only kidding,i respect people opinions,thats why i put lol at the end of my statement,BUT,now i can honestly say pulsurge is screwed up,talking about a plastic windscreen,lots of things are made of plastic these days,and most owners change out the stock windscreen with a new tinted PLASTIC ONE ANYWAY,i think pulsurge is pulling you know what TOO MUCH:p:eek:
 

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When I read this review I went and read some of this writers other reviews and discovered he is one of those long distance riders almost like an iron butt guy. He has a community of followers that read his reviews for this particular perspective. Everyone uses their bikes differently so you have to take his comments with a grain of salt. From his perspective and his expectations based on the way he rides, I think he was fair enough.

The CBR250R can certainly be a long distance companion.

Don't believe me? Check out the detailed report on what forum member "CBR250R" pulled off on a Honda CBR125R. His report ends on page 5, so you really have to keep going to get the whole picture. It isn't around the world but WOW, what a nice trip.

Trip Report: 3200 KM Camping Trip - Part I - Honda CBR125R Community Forum

Warning: lots of pictures.
 
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