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Review of: 2012 Honda CBR250RA
 
Year, Brand, Model: 2012 Honda CBR250RA
Submitted By: explorer
All reviews by explorer
Review Created: Aug 12, 2012
Last Update: Sep 17, 2012
 
Vehicle Type: Street Bike
Vehicle Subtype(s): Sport
Engine Displacement (cc): 250
 
Ownership: Currently
Evaluation Period: 3 months
Evaluation Distance / Hours: 2700 km
 
Rider Details
Height: 64 in
Inseam: 29 in
Weight: 110 lbs
Same Type Vehicles Owned: 1
Years Riding Vehicle Type: 2

Pros:
Easy to ride and fun on back roads. Fuel economy.

Cons:
Build quality is below typical Honda standard. Poor paint quality on mounting brackets. Buzzing in fairing panels. Assembly issues. Front fender.

Comments:
The following includes the perspective of my husband who has been riding for about 25 years and has owned several motorcycles including a Honda VFR and Honda Hawk GT (he weighs about 150 lbs).

The CBR250R/RA is a fun little bike to ride on the back roads. It’s quite an entertaining little motorcycle even if you’ve been riding for years. Suspension components are budget items, but they work well on this bike. Handling is stable at speed and in the corners. The motor feels strong (for a 250) when riding in town. It seems to have a stronger bottom end than the Ninja 250. At highway speeds there is adequate power, and the bike will cruise on the highway at 120 km/h, but it’s more relaxed at 100 – 110 km/h. It’s not a problem to maintain a modest cruising speed on hills, but a long steep hill or passing will likely require a down shift. At an indicated 100 km/h, the tach is showing about 6100 rpm. The engine is smooth at this speed. Much over that, though, it starts to get a little “buzzy”.

Fuel economy is good. I've had a low of about 33 km/l and a high of 41 km/l. Typically I get about 36 km/l.

In my bike there is a buzzing sound coming from the fairing panels from at least two locations somewhere. We haven’t tracked down the sources yet. It's not too much of an issue when riding on the highway while wearing ear plugs, but it is very annoying if riding in town without ear plugs.

The CBR250R has been compared to the Honda NT650 (Hawk GT) which was first available in 1988. We’ve owned two Hawks over the years. The Hawk is only about 40 pounds heavier than the CBR250RA but makes about twice the power. The Hawk is a blast to ride on the twisty back roads, it makes good power down low, and it sounds cool when rolling on the throttle.

We’ve been disappointed in the assembly and build quality of the little Honda; it’s just not what we would expect from Honda. It’s definitely not up to their usual standards of fit and finish and quality control. The paint on the fuel tank and fairing panels looks fine, but the paint on mounting brackets is not great; after washing the bike once there was minor rust at some of the lower fairing mounting points. The paint on the engine cases seems pretty thin too. After reinstalling the fairing panels after performing maintenance on the bike you notice that the fit of the panels is less than perfect – some mounting holes don’t exactly line up – you have to “persuade” them a bit. If you examine some of the components on the bike you can tell that they are budget items. The frame welds are messy too; some of them look like a high school student welded it in metal shop. You get what you pay for, I guess, but everything works fine. There were a number of assembly issues with my bike – things that should have been picked up during the PDI, but weren’t. Things like hoses not being connected, an incorrectly mounted turn signal and swing arm pivot cap (fell off), the chain was too loose and a fairing panel was incorrectly installed. One of the metal frame loops that the rider seat hooks under is misaligned which makes it a little difficult to remove and reinstall the seat.

The front fender is pretty useless. It does not extend back and down far enough to be effective. You end up with muck in your radiator, on the valve cover and everything in between. Why they didn't put a larger fender on this bike is beyond me. I may put a fender extender on mine.

We performed the break-in maintenance ourselves. The valve clearance check and adjustment procedure is a bit of a pain because the access to the valves is so limited and requires a lot of components to be removed or moved. The procedure is not technically difficult especially since the camshafts do not need to be removed in order to replace valve shims. Oil and filter changes are simple but require that the right side fairing panels (middle and lower) to be removed. It can be a little difficult to remove the middle fairing panel.

All in all I really like my CBR250RA (ABS model); it’s not perfect, but no bike is I guess. It is well suited to smaller and newer riders, but many experienced riders (like my husband) will enjoy the riding experience too. My brother owns a 2011 Kawasaki Ninja 250. It’s his first bike and he hasn’t had any problems with it, but he’s already looking for something to replace it with. Both bikes are good; choose the one you like best.