The tool for the job

The tool for the job
Buell Ulysses XB12xr In North Eastern Arizona

Sunday, September 7, 2014

2011 Honda CBR250R Ride test ...

I am considering building a new bike for my long distance riding, My current 2006 Buell Ulysses has shown an inability to go more than 5-6,000 miles without a major failure of some sorts. 
After a good thrash though the West in August has got my bike leaking lots of oil from multiple areas of the engine. It started leaking oil on the way out, and got worse after crossing Kansas in 105 degree heat.

So, Having decided that the 2006 Buell will not hold together for 11-1000 miles days in a row a new machine must be picked...

My search begins and this is the first bike I have done a lot of research on and have gone as far as to go and ride the bike.
The thought of it being a rally bike started as a joke to me from the owner of a shop in North Syracuse NY named Micro bore inc. I had seen it in the show room while on a parts mission for the Buell
He told me I should try and do my LD riding on the little CBR250R, I joked back I know a guy who spent 22 days flogging a CBR125 doing an Ultimate Coast To Coast to Coast ride. 
Key West to Prudhoe Bay and back to Key West

Bob's ride report for the UCCC...

Bob Munden's CB125

I also had ridden with him for over 600 miles while he was on a Honda NSR50. 
There is something about the minimalism of running a small bike that I find refreshing. 

Me trying the 50cc endurance bike

Another event that kept this idea of riding a small bike in my head was the chance meeting with Kurt Worden at the IBA National Meet. Kurt has run in the Iron Butt Rally on a Kawasaki 250 Ninja and other LD rides on those small bikes, Our meeting spilled over into dinner and I came away with many questions answered in my head. 

So... Let's introduce the Honda CBR250R !

How fun is it to ride in on a Liter bike and ride off on a quarter liter bike!

The shop was busy the day I came to ride it, So I did the trip prep on it, Put about a quart of gas in the fuel tank and unplugged the battery tender. Pushed it out into the service bays and set the tire pressures on the new Battlax tires it has and checked the adjustment of the new chain and I noted little brake pad wear. This being on my hands and knees thing let me really check this bike out. It is in perfect condition, A few scuffs on the fuel tank and scratches on the muffler are minor.

Start the bike and it has the exhaust note of a fart, sorry I got no better description, Rev it up and it still sounds like my lawn mower. 
Very underwhelming sound .

To the gas station a 1/4 mile down the road.

Notes from the first qtr mile, The mirrors give my the same view as my CBX, So it has so... so mirrors for me, I have a great view of my shoulders, The side view is wide and clear and the mirrors are rock steady. 
The first thing I do not like, The fuel filler has a restriction to prevent the insertion of the fuel filler nozzle, It also has a baffle at the top of the tank that splashes fuel all over. I had to fill it very slowly to keep gas from running over the tank.

The second item is the small tank, I have read that when pushed flat out this bike can get as low as 45mpg Looks like it has a 2 1/2 gallon fuel tank, A couple of websites stated 4.1 gallons. (?)

The road test, 
I went another qtr mile down the road and got on I-81 heading south towards Syracuse during rush hour, The traffic runs really fast through downtown and this will give me a lot of interaction with interstate highway traffic.

From the moment I twisted it to the throttle stop it took right off and is very willing, The ultra light clutch and precise shifter are a joy to saw through and you find this bike accelerates faster than most traffic and you are constantly slowing due to traffic holding you up.
 I was heading towards a steep up hill grind complete with slow lane for big trucks. 
As I approach the hill the traffic slows to 40 and I see a trooper with a car pulled over and I needed to get into the left lane quickly. Kicked it down two gears and just put the bike in the hole I wanted to be in. Keep the bike at 7 to 8,000 rpm and it is smooth and happy.
I get to my exit where I am going to run up a hill with about a 1500 foot elevation and is very steep.
I stop at the bottom and try to get a picture of the hill, But I also took a few of the bike, I like the styling, The fit and finish is real good and a lot of attention to detail on the bike from Honda.

That is the steepest hill I can get to on this test drive.

Again twist the throttle to the stop and shift it at 9,000 and it goes up the hill, I tried to carry the rev's higher but it just seems to fall off the power above 9,000. I topped out at 65mph ( 10 over the speed limit) and I could have gone faster if I had more hill. Plus I started at the base with no head of speed. 

I start heading back to the bike shop and I take a 2 lane state road that has a few twists in it and I cannot even begin to get close to the limit on this bike, It just goes anywhere you think about going, One of the best chassis I have ever ridden, Plus on a 55 mph road the motor is much more relaxed and the aero package works very well. The temps were in the mid 90's and I got no engine heat to my legs.

Hop back on the interstate and run about 20 miles to get back to the bike shop, Again I am very comfortable with being in traffic with this bike. It has an easy to read instrument panel, good wind flow and low engines vibrations in the controls in the 6-8000 rpm range. 

So in conclusion 

After 50 miles I am having neck issues riding this bike, I need to try the bike with a taller bar riser and a better windshield. The aftermarket does support the bike and it is getting stronger.
The next issue is there is no room for my GPS without blocking the view of the  instrument panel.

The area that is open along side of the instrument panel is in the swing area for the handle bars. 

So I am passing on this bike and going to try and ride a Ninja next.

All of the items I would need to change for LD use. 
Aux Fuel 
Better windshield 
Bar risers
Hard bag systems are not yet available, but many soft bag systems are available 
GPS mounting ??
A way to make a crash bar and forward foot pegs 

Another thing is the bike was very sensitive to buffeting, this could be very draining on long rides. I wonder how this bike would have been in North East Utah with a hard cross wind that blasted me the last time I had ridden there.

If I was in the market for a track day bike, I would buy this bike in an instant. Fun little package and I have heard from a few very happy owners about their love of the bike. 
It is not off the short list for my next rally bike yet, But I need to ride some other bikes and get some of the issues like a bag system and GPS mounting figured out.

I have attached some links to road test reports that represent the bike well. 

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