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Discussion Starter #1
Well I have been riding and testing my CBR125R recently following a 2011 CBR150Ri engine swap. Just a bit of background - I received the 150R engine from Tyga Motorsports in June 2011 - they purchased the bike to dyno test their new CBR150R exhaust. Once they were done, the bike was just sitting around, so they agreed to sell the engine and related accessories to me and ship it to my home. Interestingly, it only took about 5 days to arrive at my door! I have high expectations and have to admit - they were a first-class company to deal with.

Well. What can I say? First of all, each time I climb aboard I suddenly realize how much smaller it feels compared to the CBR250R. Physically, it isn't as comfortable - but it feels more intimate - and its light-weight nature (280 lbs wet) probably comes a little closer to matching what a 125cc GP bike must feel like to ride. This bike is addictive. The CBR150R clearly doesn't have as much torque as the CBR250R, but ups the 125R in this area - just like you'd expect from having 24cc's more displacement. I noticed the transmission seems much improved compared to my old 2009 CBR125R. There is a certain fluidity to the shifts that seems to match the refinement of my 250R. People have commented about how easy the clutch pull is on the CBR250R. They really need to try the CBR125/150R. It had been a while since I last rode my CBR125R and I immediately noticed that the brakes were also less responsive and brake pedal travel was considerably longer than on my CBR250R.

But these concerns immediately vanished once I accelerated to merge onto the expressway. The feel - the character - of the old 125R came right back in all of its high rpm glory. This bike now feels like a 125R that has been tuned for the track. In fact, the expressway felt like a race track - with the bike singing in the upper registers the entire time, making use of its narrow powerband and making great sounds. It seems to sing more smoothly in the upper register and exudes more hooligan character than the CBR250R. Alternatively, the 250R is so refined in the way it goes about its business - so torquey - so calm - it can accelerate more rapidly than the 150R - but it doesn't excite you aurally like the 150R does - and you don't have to play at 9000 rpm to dip into the power, which makes it less involving than the 150R.

Memories of riding the 125R came rushing back - that raw feel of the 125R was there and reminded me why the weeBR is so much fun to ride hard. This bike really embodies the "It is more fun to ride a slow bike fast, than a fast bike slow" motto. It produces a sense of urgency from the exhaust note (full Giannelli exhaust) that feels really GP-like in both sound and viceral feel. As I was frantically shifting to keep the bike in the meat of its powerband - the CBR150R sounded like it was accelerating for its life down the back straight of Laguna Seca, yet I was only accelerating up to 110km/hr. If you have ever driven a 1994 Del Sol V-tec or any older DOHC V-tec equipped Hondas - when the higher lift changeover occurs - the car takes on a very different character - it goes from a docile, streetable civic, to a screaming F1-like racer. This is what the 150R feels like. There is a sudden sense of urgency produced by the exhaust note. Many have lamented Honda's decision to tone down the abrupt V-tec changeover sound and feel from these earlier versions, and I can see why.

The weather has been hovering around 21 C (70F) over the past couple of weeks and is expected to continue for the rest of the week so I've been busy breaking in the 150R. I took it on a 150 km trip route that I frequently take on my WR250R and CBR250R. The route includes some Trans-Canada highway, some city, and some rural country riding. When I filled up again afterwards, the bike took 4.23 litres of fuel to travel 147 kms. That works out to 98 mpg (Imperial). Wow. Great fuel economy!
How have my other bikes fared after travelling the same route, under similar temperatures, wind, and roughly the same speeds?

See below:

CBR150R.............98 mpg
CBR250R.............88 mpg
WR250R..............70 mpg

What can I say about the CBR150R out on the highway? I did have some opportunities to overtake vehicles on some passing lanes. I brought the bike close to redline in 5th and passed a vehicle uphill (in a tuck) with the speedo indicating 120km/hr (about 115km/hr or 72 mph GPS). For comparison purposes - the best I could ever do with my stock CBR125R in a similar passing scenario was about 100km/hr and would slowly lose speed as I ascended the hill. On another passing lane on a long flat stretch of road, I passed a couple of vehicles (in full tuck) in 6th with the speedo indicating 130km/hr (GPS about 125 km/hr or about 80 mph). This was the bike's effective top speed for me. The bike felt very stable at this speed though.

Downsides? Yes. The chassis. It just feels soft and less substantial compared to the 250R. I am left wondering about the new 2011 CBR150R. The 150cc engine in the updated frame would be interesting to try out.

So what about my CBR250R? I still love my CBR250R. And while it has less character than the 150R - it is still lots of fun to ride (isn't that what riding's all about?). And its more grown-up, relaxed nature makes it a favourite for highway riding, touring, or taking a passenger. But when it comes to that addictive feeling like you are racing at a track while running around town - relishing the aural delights of that high rpm symphony - it is really hard to beat the 150R.

Mike
 

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Sounds awesome, Mike; we need pics! :)

I know it'll look just like the older 125r, but hey, it's a great-looking bike (dare I say, moreso even than the 250R... <-- that'll get 'em stirred up). :D
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I Just ordered some Rizoma mirrors and some new turn signals (that resemble the ones from the CBR250R). I think it is still a good looking bike. But to me at least - it just doesn't look as stunning as my CBR250R.:)

Mike
 

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Great report! Like you, I went from a CBR125 to a CBR250. I am very happy with the 250.

For the most part, I haven't looked back. I do occasionally get nostalgic for the different fun factor of the 125, which begged, almost demanded, that the throttle be pinned at all times. That nostalgic feeling goes away when I meet a headwind, the Achilles heel of the 125.

If Honda Canada had picked up the 2011 CBR150, instead of the updated 125, I might have made a different choice. From your report on the 150 motor, I would likely have been equally happy.
 

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Call me ignorant as I still have to wait a month to get a CBR250R, but I thought it was 80mpg not 88? You're telling me I'll be able to save even more on gas? :O
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Call me ignorant as I still have to wait a month to get a CBR250R, but I thought it was 80mpg not 88? You're telling me I'll be able to save even more on gas? :O
Hi Sheddy,

The figure I obtained was about 88 mpg (Imperial) or about 73 mpg (U.S.) for the CBR250R. And that includes a lot of highway riding (sitting up) - so the figures would probably be higher if it included more conventional rural and city riding. Some others have been reporting better fuel economy numbers.

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Great report! Like you, I went from a CBR125 to a CBR250. I am very happy with the 250.

For the most part, I haven't looked back. I do occasionally get nostalgic for the different fun factor of the 125, which begged, almost demanded, that the throttle be pinned at all times. That nostalgic feeling goes away when I meet a headwind, the Achilles heel of the 125.

If Honda Canada had picked up the 2011 CBR150, instead of the updated 125, I might have made a different choice. From your report on the 150 motor, I would likely have been equally happy.
Hi Geastman,

Very true about the wind and the CBR125R. I installed a 14T (stock is 15T) countershaft sprocket on the CBR150R to give it a bit more give at highway speeds and it seems to be doing the job. I've been able to cruise at an indicated 110km/hr (68 mph) @ about 9000 rpm (redline is 11,500 rpm) sitting up under windy conditions with the 14T so I've been quite happy.

Mike
 
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