Honda CBR250R vs. Hyosung GT250R vs. Kawasaki Ninja 250R | MC Comparison

Flight Simulators

By Ari Henning, Photography by Kevin Wing

Conclusion

Whether you’re a burgeoning knee-dragger or just looking for a practical commuter, there has never been a better time to investigate the quarter-liter sportbike class. From the Honda’s flickability and peppy engine to the Hyosung’s extensive features list to the Kawasaki’s spicy 13,000-rpm redline, the current crop of 250s is a fine one.

With its larger profile and 2000-era GSX-R lookalike bodywork, Hyosung’s GT250R receives a wave from every passing sportbike rider while the smaller Ninja and CBR are often snubbed.

Parked next to its peers, the Hyosung looks like it has all the right stuff to be the most proficient sporting machine of the group, but things aren’t always what they seem.

The brakes are severely lacking and there’s simply too much bike for the motor. And the fact that it had some mechanical hiccups and needs frequent maintenance can’t be overlooked.

Kawasaki’s Ninja 250R does the best impersonation of a full-sized sportbike. It’s the fastest of the bunch but requires a fair amount of concentration and clutch finesse to keep it singing. Other issues include fickle off-idle fueling, a hard seat and a too-upright riding position for a sportbike. The Ninja has potential, but it’s not the best right out of the box.

Which makes Honda’s new CBR250R the leader of the pack. Aside from some high-rpm vibration, there’s nary a nit to populate our cons list. The bike’s low seat height and featherweight feel are ideal for smaller riders, yet the cockpit doesn’t exclude taller folks. It’s got great wind protection, well-balanced suspension and a frisky motor that excels at cut-and-thrust riding, in the city or the canyons. Efficient, flawless fuel injection is a major plus, as is a maintenance schedule that lets you log 8000 miles before you have to pick up a wrench.

If you’re still drawn to the Hyosung’s full-size stature or the Ninja’s sporty styling, check out the CBR250R in black. That looks a lot more like a bigger CBR.


2011 Honda CBR250R | Price $3999
Dyno
The most torque off idle means the single-cylinder Honda is easy to get under-way, and its 22.3 ponies are only 0.3 bhp shy of the Hyosung twin. You feel that power spike at 5000 rpm, but redline comes too soon. Tech Spec

Engine type: l-c single
Valve train: DOHC, 4v
Displacement: 249cc
Bore x stroke: 76.0 x 55.0mm
Compression: 10.7:1
Fuel system: EFI
Clutch: Wet, multi-plate
Transmission: 6-speed
Frame: Tubular-steel twin-spar
Front suspension: Showa 37mm fork
Rear suspension: Showa shock with adj. spring preload
Front brake: Nissin two-piston caliper, 296mm disc
Rear brake: Nissin two-piston caliper, 220mm disc
Front tire: 110/70R-17 IRC Road Winner RX01F
Rear tire: 140/70R-17 IRC Road Winner RX01R
Rake/trail: 25.0°/3.7 in.
Seat height: 30.5 in.
Wheelbase: 53.9 in.
Fuel capacity: 3.4 gal.
Weight (tank full/empty): 355/335 lbs.
Measured horsepower: 22.3 bhp @ 9000 rpm
Measured torque: 15.0 lb.-ft. @ 6750 rpm
Corrected ¼-mile: 16.20 sec. @ 77.6 mph
Top-gear roll-on 60-80 mph: 8.2 sec.
Fuel mileage (high/low/avg.): 71/61/66 mpg
Colors: Red/silver, metallic black
Availability: Now
Warranty: 12 mo., unlimited mi.
Contact: American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
PO Box 2200
Torrance, CA 90509
866.784.1870
www.powersports.honda.com
Ergos
The Honda feels similar to the Kawasaki, but it’s got a tad more legroom and a much softer seat. Well-balanced suspension and a decent windscreen make it the most comfortable of these three bikes to ride.


2010 Hyosung GT250 | Price $3999
Dyno
The GT250R has decent thrust off idle and a respectable midrange that makes it easy to get moving, but fueling gets funky in the upper revs and power begins to decline after 8500 rpm.
Tech Spec

Engine type: a/o-c 75-deg. V-twin
Valve train: DOHC, 8v
Displacement:  249cc
Bore x stroke: 57.0 x 48.8mm
Compression: 10.3:1
Fuel system: EFI
Clutch: Wet, multi-plate
Transmission: 5-speed
Frame: Steel twin-spar
Front suspension: S&T 41mm fork
Rear suspension: S&T shock with adj. spring preload
Front brake: Dual Hyosung two-piston calipers, 300mm discs
Rear brake: Hyosung two-piston caliper, 230mm disc
Front tire: 110/70-17 Shinko SR740
Rear tire: 150/70-17 Shinko SR741
Rake/trail: 25.0°/3.7 in.
Seat height: 32.7 in.
Wheelbase: 56.5 in.
Fuel capacity: 4.5 gal.
Weight (tank full/empty): 414/387 lbs.
Measured horsepower: 22.6 bhp @ 10,250 rpm
Measured torque: 13.8 lb.-ft. @ 6750 rpm
Corrected ¼-mile: 16.80 sec @ 75.7 mph
Top-gear roll-on 60-80 mph: 8.6 sec.
Fuel mileage (high/low/avg.): 68/52/62 mpg
Colors: Red, black, gray/black, white/black, red/black
Availability: Now
Warranty: 2 yrs., unlimited mi.
Contact : Hyosung Motors America, Inc.
5815 Brook Hollow Pkwy. #B
Norcross, GA 30071
770.447.5571
www.hyosungmotorsusa.com
Ergos
The Hyosung’s ergonomics fall right in line with those of 600cc sportbikes. The reach to the bars is 3.5 inches farther than on the Honda and there’s an inch less legroom. Comfortable, it is not.


2011 Kawasaki Ninja 250R | Price (as tested) $4249
Dyno
The Ninja’s low-rev anemia means you flog it or bog it. The bike’s parallel-twin makes the most power but the least torque, and there isn’t much of either until the tach needle swings past 6000 rpm.
Tech Spec

Engine type: l-c parallel-twin
Valve train : DOHC, 8v
Displacement: 249cc
Bore x stroke: 62.0 x 41.2mm
Compression: 11.6:1
Fuel system: (2) 30mm Keihin
Clutch: Wet, multi-plate
Transmission: 6-speed
Frame: Steel semi-double-cradle
Front suspension: Showa 37mm fork
Rear suspension: Kayaba shock with adj. spring preload
Front brake: Nissin two-piston caliper, 290mm disc
Rear brake: Nissin two-piston caliper, 220mm disc
Front tire: 110/70R-17 IRC Road Winner RX01F
Rear tire: 130/70R-17 IRC Road Winner RX01R
Rake/trail: 26.0º/3.2 in.
Seat height: 30.5 in.
Wheelbase: 55.1 in.
Fuel capacity: 4.8 gal.
Weight (tank full/empty): 383/355 lbs.
Measured horsepower: 24.6 bhp @ 10,250 rpm
Measured torque: 12.8 lb.-ft. @ 9500 rpm
Corrected ¼-mile: 15.30 sec. @ 84.15 mph
Top-gear roll-on 60-80 mph: 6.3 sec.
Fuel mileage (high/low/avg.): 61/46/52 mpg
Colors : Black, Sunbeam Red, Candy Thunder Blue, Green/Metallic Diablo Black
Availability: Now
Warranty: 12 mo.,unlimited mi.
Contact: Kawasaki Motors Corp., USA
PO Box 25252
Santa Ana, CA 92799
800.661.7433
www.kawasaki.com
Ergos
A low, 30.5-inch seat height is the Ninja’s claim to fame. High, clip-on bars give the bike the most upright riding position, but a hard, slanted seat and stiff shock offset that comfort.

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