Making heads turn with the new Honda

Honda CBR 250RIts latest offering, the all new CBR 250R, which was recently launched in the country, is Honda’s answer to the 250cc four-stroke bike segment. Made in Thailand and India, the CBR 250R has made a new wave worldwide, much appreciated for its sleek design and comfortable smooth riding.

Parked next to its compatriot rival, Kawasaki Ninja 250R in the engine displacement category, it is not a twin cylinder omnipotent racer. Instead, it is a ‘take it everywhere’, daily bike with good looks, smooth 6-speed gear-box and is loaded with miles of good handling, smart- cruising and seems to be a practical bike in a congested country. Promising a lot of power and punch, it was only natural that we get a taste of the machine.

The company, having formally launched the bike in Bangalore recently, gave the city scribes an opportunity to test the CBR 250R, which culminated into a long test ride that made us understand Honda’s latest entrant considerably.

We geared up for the test ride starting from the Taj West End all the way up to Hebbal and back, roughly covering a total distance of 30 km. As we approached our allotted bike, the first aspect we noticed was styling.

Design

The design of the CBR 250R is sleek and the body paint looks premium, which is embraced from its big brother VFR 1200F, whose stance is massive and majestic. The CBR 250R comes with a dual-colour body with localised plastic parts and lies amidst the heavy-priced Kawasaki Ninja 250R and the 150cc Yamaha R15, but is more an elegant piece of ‘appliance’.

As we sat on it, the ergonomics felt just right. The high seating and conveniently designed specifications, seemed to prove Honda’s promise, which claims that its bikes are ‘accessible’, and this quarter-litre powered motorcycle evidently is just that, which your realise the moment you sit on it.

The ride, which was flagged off by HMSI Operating Head (South & West) Makato Yoshii, gave the feeling that though the bike is powerful, it is well-suited for city travel.
Its liquid cooled 4-stroke, 250cc engine seems to be made with commuting in mind. It was only when we approached Sankey Road that we were able to get a full sense of its performance. The straight road, beginning from the golf course all the way beyond, provided enough room to not only have a jolly ride, but test the CBR 250R’s potential.

The bike confronted certain logger jams of vehicles, with curious motorists gaping at the journalists who passed them by on the mean machines. We were given the bike for a good amount of time and distance, but with a lesser room to exploit it to the sweet spot on the rpm meter. The real test was: “How does it perform in each gear?”

“Well, it has three short gears and the fourth and fifth never ends! Oh! Wait there is another! Oh no, there comes a curve in the road.” It graphically means that this is a bike with a very good amount of well-displaced torque produced by the quarter-litre engine. It is aerodynamically designed to glide through vehicles in traffic. The gear response is illustrious; with a tweak of the throttle, the horses unleash their torque.

The road was one straight highway, with lots of room. We reached a little beyond Hebbal and turned back. By now, we had almost figured out the essence of the bike, which does justice to the bad traffic on city roads and is a smooth cruiser on highways.

Safety features

Maneuverability is moderate and gets messy at curves especially with a pillion behind, but does well in bottleneck situations of daily commuting. It seemed to promise an ease to hit the road and cruise with a sense of confidence that the tyres wouldn’t jam at the time of braking, as the Combined-ABS (C-ABS) does its trick to slower the front wheel by fifty per cent, when rear brake is depressed.

Long and stress-free riding is easy on the CBR 250R with impeccable rear mono shock absorbers. Hands on the clip handle soar after a while but the response of the throttle and the positioning of the rider are upright and easy.

The CBR 250R is so light that you sometimes don’t feel you are riding it. Even the position of the pillion is well-placed. Another important observation is the less noise that the engine emits. It feels like the bike is running silent, which only adds to its comfort and ease of travel.

Back in the chaos of the city traffic, the bike was responding well. The CBR 250R surprises with the lower cruising ability in traffic with a speed of 40 kmph, with less or no jerks even in the top gear, very much needed for city travel.

And on the highways, full throttle can stoke you with noise-free engine and very little vibrations, on the foot pegs. But the question is will it touch the 100 mph or 160 kmph on the speedometer? Is its 25 BHP enough?

When we dismounted at the West End, one thing was certain. The new Honda is a complete package of fun, practicality, style and speed. Though costing Rs 1.46 lakh for standard variant and C-ABS variant Rs 1.72 lakh (both ex-showroom Bangalore), pricy among its competitors, it still definitely succeeds in adding more promise.

It tends to raise eyebrows with superior comfortable riding and also for its compact yet, efficient motor. With its variance of stylish accessories and exhausts, and off-course, the after-market parts, the CBR 250R is a well-bred contender for bike of the year.


(With inputs from Hrithik Kiran Bagade)

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