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Track! CBR250R vs Ninja 250R

6181 Views 6 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Wynne G Oldman
Just finished reading a new article that compares the CBR250R with the Ninja 250R at the track. Here is the link to the Motorcycle-USA article.

2011 250 Sportbike Shootout Track - Motorcycle USA


1. Where are the lap times? I couldn't find them in the review.

2. I generally agree with the following, even though we've seen on this forum some evidence that the CBR250R - at least when setup for the track - can be competitive with the Ninja 250R.

"While both bikes offer great platforms as all-around entry-level sportbikes, when considered purely for track use, the Kawasaki’s extra power simply can’t be ignored. It revs hard and the extra horsepower can be put to use at all times on a closed-circuit environment."

3. I wonder... if the CBR250R was geared lower like the Ninja 250R - if this might improve the CBR250R's grunt on the racetrack - particularly accelerating in the upper end of the rev range?

“I liked the acceleration power of the Kawasaki best,” admits Sorensen. “I felt like the power came on quicker and as I shifted and accelerated the power was there in midrange also. The Honda felt a little slower in the high end.”

4. The next two tidbits were surprising to me. Many online comments I've read from larger riders is that they found the CBR250R more roomy and more comfortable. The following comments from the article disagree with this.

"A slightly longer 55.1-inch wheelbase and more spread-out ergonomics make the Kawasaki a little easier to pilot for big riders, but the 30.5-inch seat height is still incredibly easy to mount for women or beginners. At 5’11” I was more comfortable on the Kawasaki with more room for my torso and comfortable reach to the pegs, but it doesn’t take a tall rider to appreciate the versatile layout."

"The Honda’s small fuel tank helps make room for the pilot down below the small windscreen. Ergonomics are excellent for our 5’2”, 112-pound female rider, but the men were slightly more scrunched."

5. The comment below is interesting. I've read reviews which suggest the CBR250R emits less vibration than the Ninja 250R. Then again - they don't comment on how it compares with the Ninja 250R in terms of vibration in the article.

"A single-cylinder engine powers the CBR with dual overhead camshafts and four valves. The 249.4cc Single use shim-style valve adjustment and a gear-driven counterbalance positioned lower than the mainshaft which keeps the ride smooth despite the Single’s penchant for vibrations."

Any other thoughts to add to the comparo?

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I'm a former Ninja 250 owner, and I felt way more cramped on the Ninja than on my new CBR. So I don't agree with that. I found the Ninja to be more uncomfortable at high speeds with a lot of vibrations. But I did find it to have much more high end power and if I was on the track I think the Ninja would be superior, also I preferred the brakes on the Ninja. But I mostly commute so that doesn't matter too much for me. I'm really happy with my CBR.
At 6' 2" and 200 pounds that's one thing I liked about the CBR vs the Ninja was the extra room on the Honda. I concur the Ninja is the better track bike though.
And this recent long-term review of the CBR250R from Canadian Motorcycle Guide Online is pretty glowing - including consensus about how roomy the bike is.

Such as:

"The good news is that lanky sods can celebrate as the CBR250R’s spacious ergos and relatively high bars make for a surprisingly comfortable riding position. No sore wrists, craned neck, knees around the head. Throw in the well-designed seat and it’s actually one of the most comfortable sport-ish bikes I’ve ridden."


"For starters, where the 125R felt diminutive, the bigger 250R feels … well exactly that … bigger. It looks and feels like a full-size sport bike. Even the ergos on the bike (footpeg/seat/handlebar) felt downright roomier than some 600s I’ve been on."

CBR250R Long Termer - Wrap Up - CMG OnlineCMG Online

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I had a 94 Pre-Gen Ninja last summer before I bought the CBR.

The Ninja I think would whoop the CBR in a straight line race. But only on the top end. After I rebuilt the carbs (idle mixture screw was seated tight in the bore from the factory, still had the anti-tamper caps on it!) and did a carb sync on it, it was electric motor smooth. Very cold blooded though requiring lots of choke even on warm days. Took a while to warm up too. I liked the screw type adjusters for the valves too. Ya, you need to do it more often, but it's a 2 hr job with no parts required.

The big downfall with me for the Ninja was the ergo's. I'm not a big guy (5'9" 170lbs) and found the seat the absolute worst seat of any bike I've ever owned (I dunno, 25 different bikes?!). Peg to seat distance felt non-existant. Oddly enough, the reach to the bars felt more comfortable than the CBR. But the slope of that horrid seat had you ramming your nuggets into the tank every time you hit a bump.

Handling the CBR has it all over my Ninja. The front of the CBR is undersprung/underdamped, but I could completely collapse the forks on the Ninja with only moderate braking. Changing the spacer and oil made only a bit of diff.

Build quaility on the CBR is MUCH higher (granted, the Ninja was a 94), and to my eye, I like the styling of the CBR much better than than the old/new Ninja.

Driveability. When I first got the Ninja I was constantly laughing at the 7500 rpm hwy speed on the tach. The first day I had it I had to pass and transport. I ended up having to kick it down to 3rd and make that little bitch wail like an F1 car to have it pass with any authority. You don't have to do that on the CBR, it's got a much more useable powerband on the street. The best fuel economy I got out of the Ninja was 72mpg/Imp. I've never got less than 85 from the CBR. With a best tank of 104!

I still have some nits about the CBR, but those are only because I have ridden a lot of bikes to compare too. The seat. I've got a Russell Day-Long on my FJR. Riding a 1000 miles with only gas stops for a break is no problem. The CBR seat is actually pretty good for what it is. But after a 500km day. I want off. It could use some better wind protection, but it's **** good from the factory.

Brakes are a mix. Front is strong and progressive. The back breke is weak.Though it's gotten better as the miles have accumulated.

Otherwise. Great bike!
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Mine pulls away easy in a 3rd, 4th, 5th gear uphill at the track,
And I'm 80kg vs a lighter rider.. so dont believe the **** that the Ninja is faster.
maybe downhill on a long straight yes but its usable power that matters.
cbr outhandles it too as its a single.
Also the strong engine braking is an asset using less brakes.

Its a sweet thing, will be even better with lower gearing.

Going again this Sunday so hopefully there will be other 250's there to guage against.
And I'm starting to learn the track a bit more now, then i will work at lap times at the march meeting if I get up into the next group... still a bit rusty.
I've owned both bikes, and in my opinion, the Honda is better as a regular, every day road bike, but the Ninja should beat it hands down around a circuit.
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