2011 Honda CBR250R | Doin’ Time

Staffers' Rides

Photography by Ari Henning

MSRP (2011): $3999
MILES: 1967
MPG: 59
MODS: Hotbodies bodywork, Tyga rearsets and muffler bracket, Woodcraft clip-ons, Bazzaz EFI module, R&G frame and swingarm sliders, Leo Vince exhaust, Colorrite paint, Maxima coolant

I put 4000 miles on a stock, ABS-equipped CBR250R before Honda gave us a non-ABS model and permission to modify it. While I was flogging that first loaner, I amassed a sizeable pile of performance parts with which to outfit the bike for track days and racing. Now, it’s time to wrench!

The first order of business when race-prepping a bike is to remove the bodywork to access the vitals. The CBR’s layered fairing is tricky to peel off, but once the bike is stripped it’s beautifully simple; everything is out in the open and easy to work on.

The stock bodywork, headlight, turn- signals and other street parts were shelved and replaced with a set of Hotbodies race plastics ($649.95;www.hotbodiesracing.com). The panels come primered, so I finished them off with OEM-correct Mute Black Metallic spray paint from Colorrite ($33.95 per can; www.colorrite.com). With some red accents and sponsor decals to spice things up, it looks pretty good if I say so myself!

All race organizations require fluid-holding fasteners to be safety-wired and engine coolant to be replaced with a non-glycol variety, since glycol-based coolants are slippery if spilled on the track. I drained the stock green fluid and poured in pink Maxima Cool-Aide ($8.95; www.maximausa.com).

The rules also say the kickstand must be removed, so I installed a set of R&G swingarm hooks ($91; www.twistedthrottle.com) that permit the use of a rear stand and provide crash protection for the swingarm. R&G also supplied frame sliders for $330. That’s expensive, but the quality of the machined-aluminum brackets is a step above and the sliders should pay for themselves if I ever low-side the bike. Installation required drilling holes in the bodywork, but the sliders come with a nifty tool to mark the location for the holes.

The CBR’s upright riding position is great for commuting, but doesn’t work well for roadracing. Woodcraft clip-ons ($179.99; www.woodcraft-cfm.com) lower the grips more than an inch while Tyga rearsets ($176; www.tygausa.com) push the footpegs up and back for increased cornering clearance and a more aggressive riding position.

With the ergonomics taken care of, it was time to address the engine. In stock trim the Honda put out just 23 horsepower. Yikes! Bolting on a Leo Vince Evo II exhaust ($389.99; www.leovinceusa.com) and Bazzaz Z-Fi TC fuel controller ($819.95; www.bazzaz.net) bolstered the midrange, smoothed power delivery and added 2 bhp to the peak output.

But we’re after every last pony, so we removed the muffler’s quiet tip and the air filter (easily accessed by removing the seat) and continued tuning, and unleashed an additional pony for a maximum output of 26 bhp @ 8500 rpm. That’s down 6 bhp compared to a tuned Kawasaki Ninja 250’s 32 bhp, but our CBR250R weighs just 310 lbs. wet—a whopping 45 lbs. less than a similarly prepared Ninja. An old racing rule of thumb says every 7 lbs. you remove from a bike is equivalent to adding 1 bhp, and if that’s true our CBR is right on par with the Ninjas!

Things are looking pretty good for the little 250. All that’s left is to take it to the track for a shakedown run and then sign up for some races… MC

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