Honda CBR 250R VS Kawasaki Ninja 250R


The new Honda CBR 250R is here. But, it is good enough to command right of way over the original stalwart, the Kawasaki Ninja 250R? We fi nd out.

Here we are then to answer today’s most important question for the motorcycle enthusiast without pockets deep enough to afford a full blown sportsbike. And the question is - should you buy the new and promising Honda CBR 250R? Or should you still get yourself the very capable Kawasaki Ninja 250R? The pretext for choosing the winner here is quite straight forward. We are looking, like you would too, for the motorcycle that has presence, performance, dynamic ability to keep you involved and ahead, and of course, is easy to live with. The latter is important because you might just end up riding it everyday to work for both lack of options or for sheer fun.

One’s bright green and the other, a sober red. And that alone should have kept the stares on the Ninja. But, no, the public at large – the Blackberry teenagers, the aunties and even the pretty young girls out with their boyfriends, seem to prefer the CBR. Maybe, because it’s new. Or maybe it looks unique. But, whatever the reason, it’s guaranteed to get you the eyeballs. The Ninja, though a tad traditional to the tall and edgy CBR, is still a very handsome motorcycle, and honestly does get heads to turn as well.

Once astride, the Ninja clearly feels like the bigger motorcycle, there’s more motorcycle between your legs and arms. The tank and side fairing are chunkier and there’s more motorcycle ahead of you as well. The only downside here is that the rider’s view is that of an old school bike. The Ninja still runs analogue clocks, and though these are easy to read, especially at speed, they don’t evoke too much emotion.


The CBR clocks are better. There’s a large central tachometer, digital speedo and it gets more vibrant colours too making CBR’s instrumentation more inviting. It also gets a fuel gauge which is missing on the Ninja.

Get the engines running and one can instantly tell that the Ninja has something superior. Compared to the slightly hollow large capacity sound of the CBR’s single cylinder engine, the Kawasaki has a stronger, more purposeful rhythm to its twin cylinder unit. The Ninja is also more powerful, but is high strung compared to the torque-packed CBR.

The Honda is quite the opposite. It feels fantastic in the low and mid range, which makes it not just easy to ride, but fun too, especially in the city and even for short commutes on the high way.

As is the case with the engines of the two bikes - the Ninja’s being more for hard and fast riding and long distance commute while the CBR’s being the easier, more comfortable and more userfriendly of the two – the dynamics too follow a similar path.

The Kawasaki is clearly the better handling of the two, especially at the limit. Be it going around fast sweeping bends at three digit speeds or hard charging into tighter corners, it feels sharper, easy and more stable. It also feels more planted in a straight line and even though it doesn’t get ABS as on the CBR, brake bite, progression, feel, you name it, are so good, one can bring the Ninja to a stop in almost the same distance.

But there’s just no way one can play down the benefi ts of ABS on a bike. On the Honda, one can just grab the brakes without caution, and the bike sorts things out by itself and comes to a clean stop be it on dry or wet tarmac, gravel or dirt, or even around a corner! Though, it’s best to avoid the last bit, as it can be very scary.

As for the CBR’s handling, it turns in well, doesn’t feel nervous and its chassis manages the power well too. But, after the Ninja, it’s easy to pick up the Honda’s wallowing nature, the twitchiness of its handlebar and the slight lack of feel from its chassis and tyres. All of which doesn’t allow you to push as hard as you can on the Kawasaki.


CBR 250R-Single cylinder engine not as powerful, but manages to keep the Ninja in its sight.

Throttle response is crisp, and, as is typical of most Honda bikes, the engine is refi ned and easy revving. It’s only towards the top of the rpm range that it begins to lose potency, turning vibey. There’s some let off in pull too.


Ninja 250R -There’s an engine kill switch but you can’t turn off the lights.

On the road, one has to keep the Ninja singing at a high note to actually enjoy it. It really comes into its own past 7000rpm. Then on, the engine feels more willing, it sounds nice and more refi ned and the vibrations smoothen out as well. At low rpms though, the Kawasaki isn’t all that great. Pull through the gears is lim- ited, the engine feels a tad coarse and there are more vibrations too.



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