Road Test: 2011 Honda CBR250R
Will the all-new 2011 Honda CBR250R be the new heavyweight super star in its debut year? Varad More leaves the ringside and jumps into the fight for the answer
Whizzing past cars on the national highway, the Honda CBR 250R is gulping down kilometers with surprising ease. The trip meter is indicating about 271 kilometers since my last stop. Not a big number then, but the defining fact here is I am feeling good to go for another 200-odd kilometers before stopping for rest. A huge part of this fatigue-free riding has to be attributed to the Honda’s fantastically configured ergonomics suited for fast paced sport-touring. It is indeed a sport-tourer’s delight – relaxed posture, comfortable saddle with lots of space for the rider to move around and fairly decent wind protection. Riding under the scorching sun, it’s a bit difficult to keep one’s cool but the breeze flowing through the helmet is doing a pretty good job letting me to enjoy this new steed from Honda.
Even though the handlebars are dropped for a sporty posture, the saddle is positioned further below in order to reduce stress from reaching the rider’s arms under hard riding and braking. The footpegs too aren’t positioned fully at the back but are placed just right to achieve a balanced riding stance. This hugely helps when one is going to spend a lot of time on the saddle over our tricky Indian road conditions. The ride planned ahead is about 900km in total and it includes major highway hauling as well as some winding roads. In my rather brief outing on the CBR250R in the cityscape the previous night, the quarter-litre Honda felt extremely easy-going and forgiving especially in Pune’s harrowing traffic conditions. Trademark Honda, the composed and dignified manners of the CBR250R instantly win the heart but somehow the bike does not quite excite or instigate the madness that’s expected from a fast fun-to-ride motorcycle. But the interesting part here is that the bike is significantly quick for a single cylinder machine and also an able handler for the street, which ideally should make it a very fun ride. Strange isn’t it?
Over 800km into the ride and the Honda did manage to change my opinion. I stand corrected then. It does excite you but after a particular point, which is chiefly above the 7,000rpm mark on the tachometer! The CBR250R is not an instantly ready-to-brawl storm-raiser but a more sedate and introvert machine which requires a little bit more time-spending before it begins to offer thrills that one usually seeks from fast bikes. Riding on the open road, potential of the 249.6cc liquid-cooled DOHC single cylinder powerplant of the CBR was evident with the bike comfortably cruising at about 100-110km/h in sixth gear with enough juice in it to flick the throttle and make that quick overtake without wasting precious seconds. Not only does the CBR offer strong in-gear acceleration but it is also pretty quick off-the-line with a 0-100km/h time of 8.6seconds and a top whack of over 150km/h. And despite fairly impressive performance numbers, the fuel efficiency is not entirely compromised with an overall fuel consumption figure adding up to 28.1kmpl under mixed riding conditions. One of the chief reasons behind the Honda’s fine balance between performance and frugality is the spot on fuelling from Honda’s PGM-Fi fuel injection system presenting the rider with superb throttle control abilities and greatly enhancing the overall ride experience. While many would question why a single cylinder and not a twin cylinder engine like most of the CBR’s rivals in the market, the answer lies in the fact that ‘bigger the better’ need not always be beneficial for a versatile bike like the CBR250R which has too many things to achieve and which it does fairly well.
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