Honda CBR 250R Ownership Review by Shiva

by Kannan on March 16, 2013

“My name is Shiva, I was born on June 6th 2012 in Chennai, and drive a Honda CBR 250R”. I believe in birth as the value of one learning to attain complete satisfaction of life, understanding love and experience eternal power.

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This I have experience only by June 6th 2012 when I bought a “Rocket” from my own pocket called the Honda CBR 250R (standard); and I was really born on 1984 and am a 29 year old mad crack who will just spend all of his savings as a Visual Designer in an IT company + sell his iPhone to buy this machine that keeps you young and also takes you to office every day.

It started for me from at the age of 9, the time when I used to wait for a chance for my big brothers to let me bring some water to the playground where they play cricket by driving their tiny little TVS 50 and after that it never stopped. I have owned a Yamaha Enticer, Super Splendor and a Pulsar 220 FI.

And as every other guy who has a good job, I also got married and my parents said its time to get your own car. And so I did buy an i20 and after 2 months of driving a car, I could not do it anymore because the biker inside me just kicked my behind and said “be true to yourselves” and thus came the time to take home a friend in red who would never let me down.

First Sight – Styling

It was a site that was even more extraordinary than the day I first met my wife (hope she is not reading this). A fully grown animal cast in red and silver, carved by the Samurais of Honda, so beautifully that even the shadows of them on the ground is love at first sight. The tank that pulls up like a camels hump, the fairing like the ones on Optimus Prime, the tail light is that of a sharks fin, all smooth of art yet having aggressive projection headlamps that looks so wicked cool.

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And that cholesterol on the tiresmakes me feel to smoke em up on fresh asphalt. Damn, that’s one beautiful bike! I had no regrets of spending all that money for such a wonderful work of art. And I am very proud to have been riding it for the past 7+ months.

Break in Period

Like every bikers curse, this was the period that I ran out of patience. It was like I was chained on a throne and was asked to be the king of Planet Road. Well, but like a baby, I had to feed her power step by step until I reach the first 2000 or some KMS. But, “Sometimes you gotta run, before you could walk”. So after just 150 KMs on the ODO, I could not wait to see the 3 digit figure on that LCD.

Oh, yes! I did not follow the rules of “break in” and it felt good? I did not repeat that very often, because I want to keep this bike for a very long time. I used the rest of the slow rides, to understand the power delivery and braking of the bike. And one thing that awestruck me was how smooth it could glide on high gear. It was near airborne experience. I love Honda for that!

ItsSmokin Time (After First Service) – Top Speed, Tires and Braking

At this time I was more worried about the small rattles within, the mirror screw that came out all-of-a sudden, a “ticking” noise that came from under the hood and most importantly the question that goes round my nut head, “how fast can it go?” This of course is mostly because of all those blogs and Youtube videos that post 156, 164 and even 173 kmph speed records, and I really wanted to find that out my selves.

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Before that the service guys at Thiruvanmiyur, Chennai, took good care of the bike, very opposite to the reviews I read about the after sales service of Honda. It was clear and I can hear the humming of the engine at 8000 RPMs so well and composed like Beethoven after the service was done.

I know for sure that I can’t do anything more than 100 to 115 KMPH in the city, so we decided to make a short trip to Yelagiri Hills, 245 KMs away from Chennai with long stretches of good and bad roads, the best place to see how your machine could take bumps, soiled corners and wide open stretches. It was a fantastic experience when I reached close to 142 KMPH in an open road (no traffic, monitored on both ends by my friends and with semi riding gear).

You may ask, what was great about that 145 KMPH and I would say about how fast it came up on that speedo and the RPM read on 9000 or sort. And yes I did not try it more than that because of lack of clearer road ahead of me. Another amazing fact is how aerodynamic and stable and confident the bike was and felt to me.

I read a lot of blogs that talk about the bad aerodynamics of the fairing. But personally, I feel it is to do with how you align with the bike at top speeds and how you become a part of the machine to achieve what many have done. Others can beat the bush though. One disappointing fact that did become true from the blog reads is the tires of the CBR. The factory Contigo does no good on corners and I have really tested that part on the hills with its 14 hairpin bends. I was totally not confident to pull more flight into it.

The brakes however was good, I really did not feel the need for the ABS and you would not also, if, you would change your tires for a better alternative. I am a track person and I’m sure it’s got decent braking power, although I would not say that it is extraordinary, but it’s apt and good. There was a time exactly during my 2nd free service when Honda recalled 1500 standard units for a brake replacement and mine got changed first in Chennai, at least which is what the service guy told. And I felt no difference about it. It was good as it always was.

The Long Service Intervals – Minor Mechanical Problems

These are testing time for machines like the CBR where not all mechanics could handle minor repairs that come off those gut feelings that you would have in your stomach saying “something is wrong with my baby”. Well I had many of those instances. Once it was a small video shoot we had for an assignment about bikers ( I wrote the script though :P) and there was a Burnout scene planned among other Pulsars.

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It was a day I was very much upset because I never knew that I did not kick the first gear to hold up a burnout for 60 seconds and revving the engine at 9000 and 10000 RPMS only for the director to come and shout that “the tires are not rotating”. I was broke, not realizing that the fault was on me that I did not hit the gear. The clutch gave no action and there was no release of rotation of the wheels in the first gear.

The local mechanic washed off his hands saying that he cannot handle the bike for these repairs. Devastated yet confident I pulled out the user manual and figured out how simple it was to adjust the clutch back to its optimal positions and did it my selves perfectly. A proud moment arrived and it was all smoke then onwards. My pity was more on the co-stars who managed to mock with dust only, instead of real rubber.

So, as I said you will experience such minor setbacks at times and all you have to do is keep cool and read the user manual for minor adjustments that you can do yourselves with the supplied tools.

The Bouncer – Suspension

Everyone know what the mono shock is on the CBR, but do you guys know that it can carry a 120 Kgs on it through tough traffic, bending small streets, road less roads and hollow pot holes. This is possible only by that fantastic spring in the middle and trust me, Shiva knows best? One thing that was always in my mind was how much of a difference the 5 step settings of the suspension could make.

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So I went to the service center to ask him to set it up on step 5 from the default position of 3. To be honest with you, I never felt any difference, may be its different for a more light diet person. However, when I glide on the many mini flyovers in Chennai that has patch to patch road, instead of a smooth curve uphill and downhill, I always experienced a good throw from the bike at speeds of 80 KMPH and more. So that’s something people at their 60 Kgs and 70 Kgs should really be worried of.

The Rear Seat – Halwa Carrier

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I just love the rear seat space, just because of the fact that one day I managed to carry half kg of ThirunelvelliHalwa (A famous South Indian sweet) in there and had it all by my selves? But other than that I always keep an elastic rope to tie in my luggage to the rear fender for my trips, bike documentation papers, tool kit, and the useless helmet holder. Sometimes I just pop open the seat and push back in and repeat it to amuse my selves when I wait to pick up my wife from work.

The Open Chain – Makes me sweat!

Yes, it does make me sweat, not because of its performance but because of the number of times I have to bend down and crunch in my tummy to spray some chain clean and lube whenever I go through sand made roads, which you can see every time in the suburbs of the city. Other than that it had never cast any trouble for me so far.

And I would really recommend to get a rear paddock stand for the CBR from other retailers online for Rs.2500, if you feel spending close to Rs.5000 is too much from Honda dealers. It makes it easy to clean and lube the chains and also to wash and wax your bike.

The Radiator – Fragile and a Dust eating bugger!

I was so scared the first time to hear the fan going “wheee” when I stopped in a signal, only to realize later that it’s very common as the fans help in cooling them. What was very irritating was how fragile the sleek aluminum thingies that form the radiator are. You could easily bend a few of them every time you try to clear of the sand form these vents. A good solution is to put on a radiator guard because I’m sure they cost some good money if damaged.

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Nevertheless the radiator does its job just so perfectly as I never had any overheating issues so far. Mind that I shift gears only at 8000 RPMs all the time and drive the bike every time on high RPMs. It may not be good practice to do so, but I just like to make some sound. Speaking about sound Phew!

Exhaust Note –Cat’s Meow on a Dragon

If there is one thing that will make me shout back to Honda, then it would be about the way the CBR250R sounds. Yes, the only thing that I don’t like is it sounds. It’s a perfect design combination adding value to the overall look and feel of the bike. But it just makes me cry? Now you know why I like to drive it at high RPMs.

There are fantastic aftermarket exhaust systems that are not easily available in Chennai, but if you have someone in Bangalore or other neighboring states, you can get a Akropovic, Yoshimura or other aftermarket pieces for anything from around 17K to 26K. You can get local exhausts from Chennai for about 6K and I seriously doubt if it would do any good. These things suit aptly for the sound and say to increase HP by a bit and also lose a lot of weight from the original 8Kgs of the stock exhaust. I will try one soon after the next service and hopefully enjoy the sound.

Eyes on the Road – Headlights

As the title suggests, it is a good system and the light has a wide spread coverage of the road. I love the high beam when I use it, to shoot back on oncoming traffic, idiots with high beam on. It has a well-designed casing adorning the front cowl and the mini pilot lights ads to the wickedness. Sometime I like to leave them on after 3PM and would like to feel on par with the BMW’s and Audi’s in the city?

There seems to be a way to adjust the angle of the headlight by sending your fingers through the bottom of the front cowl which is handy if you have to adjust over the alignment after an unfortunate drop or damage. I have seen bikes with HID, Angel Eyes and Demon Eyes on them. But I simply don’t believe in playing with the electronics of such a bike that has many sensors and a whole lot of fuses under the seat.

Fuel Tank Cover – Tap Dancer

For some reason I have been having a lot of trouble with the Fuel Tank Cover. It gives a fine tapping sound at high RPMs and feels like the bike is taking a lot of feedback from vibrations. I solved this by pushing in and turning the cap alignment marker to the right till it will budge and then the tapping sound stopped.

Sometimes I have to jimmy it a little bit more to set it out of vibrations. Yes, it will look a bit out of alignment from the 90 degree angle. And for a designer like me, it’s even more irritating. Hope others won’t mind, if you have such a problem.

Summary

I am not a deep down engineer to understand every aspect of such a complex machine. So whatever I have written is my heartfelt experience of a fellow biker who loves bikes, dreams bikes and rides one. Although I would have mentioned a few setbacks, they really don’t count in my world of a high performance motorcycle in the 250 CC categories that gives a mileage of 25 KMPL in City driving conditions and anything around 35 KMPL on highways.

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So, should you buy a CBR250R Standard or ABS. If you love bikes and if that’s all you care about then you should just go and buy one and experience it yourselves.Standard or ABS, doesn’t really matter to me, but however experts suggest you buy the ABS version for added protection.

Leave everything else behind, because the bond between man and machine is unique for every rider. You will not understand it, if you would not experience it.

Overall the CBR250R has been the best thing that has happened to me next to my love. It’s like a time machine for those who can experience it and appreciate the brilliance of the design and what it can offer us. You go forth and back on time, by speed, through emotions that flow free when you ride on two wheels and leave the rest to your senses and forget the world behind and journey forward to know the unknown. Hope you enjoyed reading this as I have enjoyed typing! With lots of Vrooom! Ride Safe!

Regards,
Shiva

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Sai Sandeep March 16, 2013 at 7:00 pm

Nice review of the Honda CBR 250r. You can join the CBR riding group of chennai “Chennai Brotherhood Riders”.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/ChennaiCBR250R/

Reply

Minoo Avari March 17, 2013 at 6:57 am

The Sari guard indicates Shiva’s bike is indeed an ABS model. Surprising he hasn’t spoken about the OEM battery (Exide) and OEM tyres (Continental) because they are a load of crap. My battery died in one and a half years. Needless to say it had a one year guarantee. As for the tyres – the less said the better. The rubber is deteriorating both tyres lose air without the benefit of punctures! Service is crazy. I’ll be trying a new service centre and will submit my report after that.
The bike is magnificent – it’s not for commuting but for long distance rides on good roads.

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Shiva March 17, 2013 at 4:12 pm

Minoo, mine is not an ABS version. I have simply removed the saree guard as i thought it spoils the looks :) and am not sure about the battery, nothing went wrong so far. The tyres though are not up to the mark.

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Shiva March 18, 2013 at 9:19 am

I just removed the saree guard because i thought it spoiled the looks. So its not an ABS version, can assure you that :). Battery din not cause any probles so far, tyres are trouble though.

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faisal March 17, 2013 at 1:09 pm

CBR250R some how does not have the charm of a CBR, Honda went wrong some where.

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Shiva March 18, 2013 at 9:23 am

Design is subjective :) so its understandable that you may not be completely satisfied with the bike.
But comparitively the bigger brothers are more beautiful. I guess people cant deny it. But for me (just me) i love the curves :)

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Dileesh March 18, 2013 at 6:47 pm

Because it really is not one. It is more of a VFR than CBR by looks and behaviour. Instead of christening it as a CBR they could have it called VF1 (Like VFR is called so for its 4 cylinder V type engine, and this one has got a single cylinder, but yes, no V). The comfortable riding posture and a softer suspension (Hence no knee-on corners) setting with a power band coming at lower rpms testifies that this bike by no means is a track machine, but a tourer. Only to satisfy our Indian mindset of counting fully faired bikes with a riased tank and wider wheels as a “SPORTS” Bike, they are positioned so here (eventhough the label CBR250R is global). And for those who complain about the lack of aggressiveness and handilng for this model as compared to Kawasaki ninja 250: There was a CBR250R with an inline 4 cylinder engine capable of revving upto 19000RPM and had a power output of 40PS and reaching a top whack of 200KMPH. That was the REAL CBR250R. In international markets this new CBR is placed as an entry level bike for everyday use and some touring meant for amateur(That explains the ABS option’s relevance) riders.

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prathivas March 18, 2013 at 9:21 am

My name is Shiva, I was born on June 6th 2012 in Chennai, and drive a Honda CBR 250R”. WoW a one year baby driving a BIKE

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meesiah March 18, 2013 at 9:23 am

aapko bullet acha lagtha hai

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Shiva March 18, 2013 at 11:06 pm

I do get that a lot. But I guess I’ll stick to this :)

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Sandeep Nair March 18, 2013 at 9:39 am

Nice review but it’s your personal experience. Ya, 250R is best bike more them all other Indian sport bikes for style, speed and handling as well as mileage. Why can you try YAMAHA R15 V2?

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Shiva March 18, 2013 at 11:08 pm

I would have Sandeep, but just that I was a bit bigger for that bike. I do love the design of the R15 and I’m a huge fan of the R1.

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Bharath March 20, 2013 at 3:19 pm

Hey Shiva, nice review buddy, the review clearly shows your love for bikes.
Yes, you are crazy :)

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Vishnu March 26, 2013 at 2:37 pm

Good review dude, straight from the heart…. burn rubber man… Cheers

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Shanu Kalrs April 10, 2013 at 12:47 am

Awesome review brother. Could u plz give me your mobile number because I am going to buy this bike

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Theophilus September 28, 2013 at 4:02 am

Absolutely loved your review of the CBR250R! yeah. “Sometimes you gotta run, before you could walk” LOL! Glad to know you enjoyed Iron Man, too! Please continue to ride safe! Cheers.

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