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Honda CBR250R vs Kawasaki Ninja 250R : Comparison
Now before we get into the battle of these quarter-litre motorcycles, let’s delve a bit deeper into the popular 250cc segment and find out why the Kawasaki Ninja 250R or previously known as the GPZ-250R until 2007 has ruled this class of bikes since it first turned a wheel back in 1983. Essentially there were two chief reasons that significantly helped the Ninja to remain on top of the game for over two decades – lack of a sporty-looking yet comfortable 250cc sports model and the global focus shifting to high capacity sport models in search of impressive lap times, almost ignoring the average road user.
This made the baby Ninja’s position even stronger in the global motorcycle market as it remained unchallenged through the ages with regular fresh updates to the engine as well as the design. The likes of the Suzuki GSX-R750 and Honda’s CBR900RR Fireblade changed the rules of the motorcycle world in the nineties and that was the era when the super-light and ultra-fast superbikes were born. With all the other motorcycle manufacturers vying for top honours in the supersports (600cc) and the superbike (1000cc) classes, the lower-end of the spectrum was totally ignored. Those who wanted to go up the motorcycling ranks gradually (and might I add, sensibly) but without having to compromise for a rather dull looking street-spec 250, for them the Kawasaki Ninja 250R was an absolute no-brainer.
Push forward to 2011 and the motorcycle industry is waking up to the importance of street-users than only focusing on trackday-goers. The recent global economic slowdown has made it difficult for many to pursue their passion for two-wheels and the obvious as well as the cheapest option is to take it to the street – a little less safe and less fun then, but for an average Joe rider it is certainly more attainable without having to disrupt the monthly budget to fit in a trackday or two. With such a seismic shift in the market trends, it is obvious that the companies will now hunt for a more street-worthy tool than a track scorcher. And when it comes to the streets, a 250cc machine is just the right thing especially for our Indian roads where any of the superbikes make very little sense and there aren’t too many affordable street-friendly middleweights on sale either, yet.
This was reason enough for us to pit two of the current quarter-litre motorcycles in the market, the veteran Kawasaki Ninja 250R which has enjoyed a strong following for over two decades the world over against the spunky young Honda CBR250R, which brings some really exciting technologies to the street like Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) at a phenomenal price advantage that the Ninja cannot match up to. So will the baby-CBR bring an end to the legend of the Ninja or will the Ninja continue its reign? The results are surprising.