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Honda Race CBR 250R Review

A track day with a race bike. What more could one ask for? Meet the race-prepped Honda CBR 250R. It's faster, more committed and thoroughly enjoyable. For more one the Honda CBR 250R - prices, specifications and pictures - visit
Honda Race CBR 250R
The first time I rode the race prepped Honda CBR 250R, it was at the Chennai race track. And I remember pulling into the pits after just two laps. I had scared myself silly and then hid throughout the remaining session to avoid answering uncomfortable questions about why after dying to get on the bike was I now sitting in a dark corner and not riding. You see the bike’s rear end was sliding around everywhere and I just wasn’t prepared to fall! It’s been a couple of years since; enough time really to give the CBR experience another shot. So here I am, again, at the Chennai track with the race-prepped Honda CBR 250R at my disposal. But today, there’s no pressure. No Honda officials, no colleagues and no fellow motoring journalists. Just the bike and me and a day of track riding.
Honda Race CBR 250R  front
Now before I tell you how it all went, let’s just take a closer look at the machine itself. The race CBR 250R is pretty close to the road going version. Well, for one it looks the same. But because it doesn’t need an ergonomic seat or carry a pillion, it uses a race body and thin foam for a seat. It also doesn’t get lights or mirrors or the saree guard for that matter all of which helps cut down on the weight. The race bike, as a result, weighs around 14kg less.
Honda Race CBR 250R rear
On the more technical side, even though the race CBR uses the exact same engine and gearbox as the road going 250R, the race bike uses a different sprocket set to improve acceleration. It also gets revised intake and exhaust systems, which are modified enough to give the race bike a 15 per cent bump in power compared to the road going bike. There’s also an adjustable steering damper for added stability especially when coming down the bridge flat out leading into the last right hander. And, there’s an open timing ECU complete with a new wiring harness to give the race teams flexibility in setting up the bike.

Honda Race CBR 250R  cornering shot
The cycle parts see a bit of revision too. The front forks have been lowered and the spring and oil rating is now on the firmer side. The rear monoshock too gets a higher damping co-efficient. Furthermore, the race Honda CBR 250R gets soft compound MRF rubber to help increase lean angles. And just so the riders can exploit this, the rearsets on the bike have been moved higher and further back. And how does all of this translate onto the track? Now for a professional racer, the feeling will obviously be very different, but for an average rider like me, the race CBR feels fantastic. The sliding rear did raise its ugly head the first time I went out this time as well. But since I was prepared to fall, I just kept the gas on. And surprise-surprise; the faster I went on the race CBR 250R, the better and more stable the bike felt! If this isn’t motivation enough to push hard, I wouldn’t know what is.
Honda Race CBR 250R tyre
Now compared to the road going version, the race CBR 250R – thanks to the suspension setup and the loss in weight – handles so much better. It tips into corners more readily and when leant over, there’s hardly any weave or flex. And it just seems to have way more grip, be it the chassis or the lovely MRF race rubber. The throttle response on the race CBR 250R is more alert, the bike sounds nicer and it feels torquier too. Plus, the engine revs rise in such an effortless and quick manner, I ended up bouncing off the limiter when I least expected.
Now to imagine most of these changes have been done in-house by Honda’s Indian engineers is a great achievement. And honestly, if the next Honda CBR 250R turns out like this on the performance and handling front, it would be sensational.

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