2011 Honda CBR250R | Doin' Time

Photography by Ari Henning

WRIST: Ari Henning
MSRP (2011): $3999
MILES: 2446
MODS: Cush drive inserts

There’s a page on every CBR250R forum documenting what worried owners have dubbed the “death rattle.” Before I converted the CBR250R into a racebike, it exhibited the same ticking clicking sound at low rpm that people on the Internet are concerned about. With the bodywork removed, however, the sound was gone and the valve clearances were within spec, so it wasn’t the sound of excess valve lash. Our collective theory is that the noise is being produced by vibrating bodywork (as documented on Kawasaki’s ER-6N and Ninja 650) or that the bodywork is amplifying normal valvetrain noise. I haven’t noticed the sound since installing the Hotbodies race bodywork, but that may be because of the booming sound of the Leo Vince exhaust pipe!

One thing I did notice was an increase in driveline lash, which I initially attributed to chain wear. Upon investigation, however, I found that the cush drive inserts in the rear hub had compressed, allowing the sprocket carrier to rotate nearly a quarter of an inch. I replaced the five rubbers with new ones from a dealership for $35.27, and I’ll keep an eye on their condition to see if this second set wears as quickly as the first.

The bike is still at JETT Tuning (www.jetttuning.com) in Camarillo, CA, getting the engine worked on in an effort to find more power. JETT’s John Ethell says that preliminary work with intake, fuel and ignition tweaks have been fruitful, and that he should have my CBR250R pumping out a solid 30 horsepower by the time he’s done with it. If John gives me 30 bhp, I’ll give these Ninja 250s hell! Stay tuned for a full list of engine work and a report on the bike’s performance.

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