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Honda CBR250RR India Launch - Yay or Nay?

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  • Jun 26, 2020
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This one’s a real head-scratcher: does it make sense for Honda to bring the CBR250RR to India?

 

Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India Pvt. Ltd has been riding the budget-friendly commuter train for a while now. The strategy has worked wonders for the brand but it has left a gaping hole in the performance segment. Sure, Honda has been competing in the performance segment of late but it still has nothing to offer in between the CB Hornet 160R and the CB300R. Neither does it have a fully-faired supersport now that the age-old CBR250R has been pulled off the shelf.

We believe the Japanese manufacturer could plug this gap with the CBR250RR. The only real threat to Honda in the sub-400cc supersport segment is the BS6 TVS Apache RR 310, KTM RC 390, and the Kawasaki Ninja 300. Two of which are single-cylinder motorcycles. The CB250RR, on the other hand, has a parallel-twin motor, a sinister design language and a ton of features to offer.  

So here’s why the CBR250RR makes sense for the Indian market and why it may not: 

Why It Makes Sense:

The CBR250R Replacement India Deserves:

Honda launched its most powerful motorcycle, the CBR250R, back in 2011 for the Indian two-wheeler space. It was the only affordable, performance-centric 250cc motorcycle available in the market until the KTM RC 390 came along and smashed all hopes for Honda. Since then, we haven’t seen a good performance bike from the Japanese brand. Yes, Honda does have the CB300R but it doesn't quite match up to the current breed of sub-400cc motorcycles in terms of performance. 

To put things into perspective, the CB300R’s 286.01cc single-cylinder engine puts out a peak power of 30.45PS and a maximum torque output of 27.4 Nm. The table below should give you an idea of where the segment actually stands.

Model

TVS Apache RR 310

Kawasaki Ninja 300

Honda CBR250RR

KTM RC 390

Engine

312.2cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder

296cc, liquid-cooled, parallel-twin

249.7cc liquid-cooled parallel-twin

373cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder

Power

34PS @ 9700rpm

39PS @ 11,000rpm

41.7PS approx.

43.5 PS @ 9,000rpm

Torque

27.3Nm @ 7700rpm

27.0Nm @ 10,000rpm

-

36Nm @ 7,000rpm

Wings To Fly:

Honda has said that its Indian portfolio would comprise of more performance bikes, and the CBR250RR would be a great start. It packs a powerful 249.7cc parallel-twin motor that makes 41.7PS of peak power, mated to a 6-speed transmission. This puts it smack in between the Kawasaki Ninja 300 and the KTM RC 390 on the performance front. It also redlines at 14,000rpm (1,000rpm more than Ninja 300) and gets a bi-directional quickshifter as an option. The CBR250RR's X-factor and stunning looks could surely give the brand the boost it needs.

Racing Pedigree:

We’re not done yet, the CBR250RR has yet another card to play: its feature list. The bike is a purebred supersport meant to tame tracks. It features three ride modes (Comfort, Sport and Sport+) which alter the tune of the engine based on the riding conditions, ride-by-wire throttle, upside-down forks, a monoshock, and petal disc brakes at both ends with ABS. Honda could offer Metzeler Sportec M5s, which have decent grip and are easily available in India, as standard. 

Honda also uses the CBR250RR as its weapon of choice in the Asia Road Racing Championship to promote and nurture upcoming talent. We believe the bike maker could use the same strategy for budding India riders.

Why It Doesn't Make Sense:

Twin Trouble:

Most components like the bodywork chassis, suspension, brakes and tyres of the CBR250RR could be developed in India. The biggest hurdle for Honda is manufacturing the engine which won’t come cheap. Royal Enfield tackled the problem by manufacturing its 650cc twin in India. But you also need to keep in mind that its manufacturing plants in India act as a global production hub. Honda, on the other hand, uses Southeastern countries like Thailand and Indonesia (now also the biggest two-wheeler biggest consumers) to manufacture its products.

For that reason, the CBR250RR costs Rp. 72,700,000 (approx. Rs 3.74 lakh on-road) in its home country, Indonesia, which is an exorbitant amount to pay for a price-sensitive market like India.

Size Matters:

A quarter-litre motorcycle for such a high price will be a big psychological battle for the brand. While it has the performance, displacement is a big criterion for Indian buyers and could go against the bike.

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  • Soumyajit
    Soumyajit | 2 weeks ago CBR250RR can be compared with ZX25R only. TVS or KTM are single p*t budget sports tourer. These two only pure racing breed. I would love to ride both before deciding town one of them. Honda is definitely ...Read More 0 Reply
    thangboi
    thangboi | 2 weeks ago I would like to own one CBR 250RR but as ZX-25 R arrived in among its rivals, I wish to wait so as it to see it myself.. we wait to see both of these bikes.. Sometimes my hope faded as I don't think it ...Read More 1 Reply
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