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Arnob's Cbr250R Detailed Long Term Review


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#16 arn

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Posted 06 May 2011 - 11:43 PM

View PostrazorBlades, on 06 May 2011 - 11:20 PM, said:



so when are your customizations starting :D

VERY soon! Seat first, horns second. Unfortunately, horn mods will have to be co ordinated with other electrical mods (supply /fuse issues) so that may be a bit delayed.

#17 amitv

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Posted 07 May 2011 - 11:44 AM

A great review from the most experienced rider as always. But somehow get the feeling that the CBR leaves a lot to be desired for. Haven't seen it in flesh yet. but don't think it justifies double the price of lets say a 220 for a 30% improvement overall.

Have ridden my the 220 at 120kph for a long time and didn't find it all the bad..

#18 spinz

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Posted 07 May 2011 - 12:35 PM

Good review, thanx doc.

#19 arn

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Posted 07 May 2011 - 03:11 PM

View Postamitv, on 07 May 2011 - 11:44 AM, said:

but don't think it justifies double the price of lets say a 220 for a 30% improvement overall.



Umm, improvement in power is not even 30%. Its more in the tune of 20% over the 220.

However, the tyre suspension chassis combo is 80 - 90% better. The refinement and poise at 125kph is 100% better. "chuckability" is a lot better too, can't descibe in percentages. End of the day, it's whether you feel the increase in cost is worth the improvement. A 1000cc superbike at 5.5L is not going to run at 840kph (7x) the speed of the 220, no way at all. But the feel at 130kph, the active safety at that speed, the behaviour when it hits a pothole at that speed, now that will be very different, Again, not 7x better.

Studying 7x times for your exam is not going to give you 7x the marks, its like that with machines too.  :)

I had been looking for a replacement for the ZMA for the past 3 years and had been tempted to go in for the 220 Fi. If you look at the engine specs and power, there was no doubt that it was a much "improved" bike. It was also about the same price (allowing for inflation). Riding impressions confimed the same. But was it a sufficient improvement? I did not think so, besides, I had put in a lot of my time improving the ZMA, and I would have had to do the same for the 220. I decided to wait for the Ninja, but the price was ridiculous IMO, and while I would like a better bike, I'm not prepared to pay silly amounts for the same.

@ Anup: I think you have your heart set on the ZMA, No doubt it's a smooth and refined bike, but if you buy new,with the idea of using only for a year or two, be aware that it loses value horrendously. After that, you will be paying very high costs for the maintainance, as HH pricing, I suspect is meant to recover Mr Hroshans multicrore endorsement fee, and sponsor the parts of at least 10 splendor customers.  Comparisons between the ZMA and the CBR is like comparing the Pulsar 150 and the R15, and I feel that price is a big factor to be considered when making any comparison.

#20 arn

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Posted 07 May 2011 - 07:01 PM

OTHER IMPRESSIONS:

At speed, unless tucked in, the wind is your enemy. The buffeting about the helmet gets worse as speed picks up, and there is some real force on the helmet. I've never had neck discomfort ever but did have some at the end of the day and it is a combination of posture + wind blast. Not something that you cannot get used to after some days, but something nevertheless. Ditto my shoulders after some of the bad sections , but again I think one will get used to this different position.

950km are done and as I can go for the service only on Wednesday, I went back to the ZMA for my usual commute to town. Felt smooth as always, and very plush with the sofa seat (NON STOCK!!) and the softly sprung linked monoshock (NON STOCK!!), but riding the two back to back, there s no doubt that the chassis is vastly inferior, it simply does not have the taut feel of the CBR. Engine...the ZMA is not a slouch, but the lively, happy to rev CBR engine is in a different league.

The gearbox is very smooth and while shifting up, trying to use the clutch above third gear actually makes for sloppier shifting than going off the throttle momentarily and moving up the box. It is that smooth, and blipping the engine while downshifting makes for equally smooth shifts, accompanied by a snarl from the engine. Pulling in the clutch while shifting up , unless done very quickly actually allows the rpm to drop to an extent that here is a jerk when the box re engages - it's got to be done quickly to be smooth. Getting the bike from 1st to neutral is also a bit tricky, you are more likely to go into second. Neutral comes in very positively when shifting down the box, maybe this is a design feature such that a light left foot does not leave you out of drive when moving up the box from first....

OWNERSHIP EXPERIENCE TILL DATE:

I had a very very smooth experience regarding the booking and delivery from Jhaveri Honda. The sales staff were courteous and helpful, and in my case managed to cobble together all the documents including the service book (which other owners will receive only after a few days) in time for the delivery, things unfortunately started to unravel after that. As I rolled up the day after the for the service the snotty little creature at the counter  informed me "no appt, no service". This was new to me. Apparently a coupon needs to be collected when the snotty little creature occupies her workstation.

As soon as she is spotted all the gathered Activa and Unicorn owners scramble to be the first to collect the coupon as job cards will be filled in that order. After that there is another mad rush to start the vehicle and drive off (reminiscent of GP races of old where the drivers would race to their cars on the grid and drive off for the race) another 200m to the place where the supervisor (who is late) fills the job cards.

Anyways, since the snotty creature had brushed me off, I had to bring up this grave injustice with the guys at the sales counter and have the appointment policy reversed. I was prepared to spend the morning at the service station, but being last on the grid, I was now informed that the bike would be back only in the evening. The question of leaving it in their hands unsupervised simply did not arise, and I refused the service and drove back. I would have had to come again anyways because they had no CBR specific parts yet including the oil filter that needs to be replaced at the first service - the idea of leaving the bike unsupervised, then coming multiple times (with appt!!) to get everything finished was not at all appealing. I'll be going elsewhere on Wednesday (Venetian Honda).

I guess the service staff have got used to dealing with craven and miserable Activa owners...

Nearer home the Om Sai Honda dealer informed me that they have not yet taking CBRs for service - apparently they have not started deliveries either.


VERDICT:

Used stock, this is a great bike  - for city usage.  It's peppy, torquey, very nimble and has well sorted handling and great tyres and brakes. The seat will not be a bother for short rides. The mileage appears par for the course too, though that requires further research. The plastics though are a disapointment.

Where the package starts to unravel a bit is when you think of touring use. The seat, though easily modded is uncomfortably hard. The horn is downright useless and considering our highways, the headlight, though DC, is not much better than mediocre, though a bump up to 100W or even 130W should not be too difficult, and get it up to adequate. These are all easy things to alter, however, the 13L tank capacity, lack of wind protection at speed unless lying on the tank and the lack of provision for carrying luggage - these are much more difficult to rectify. That said, none of these are dealbreakers, but if you plan to buy this bike, er, book it, no harm in going into it with your eyes wide open. All these modifications can definitely be done, but it will not be in the same league as say, changing the horn.

So how does it stack up in the face of the competition? In terms of pricing, it is at least 40K away from the nearest competitor (I don't classify the bullet as a modern bike so I will not compare the Classic EFI with this). However if you  look at the "upgrade scene", here's my take:

ZMA: This is a super ZMA if you wish, a big improvement, does it all better, except for the posture. I think the ZMR is a horible creation, several notches below the ZMA in design, with very little tangible benefits for the increase in cost, unless that welcome message is what sends the sunshine up your a** when you start the vehicle. If you don't believe me, you could always go to any HH service centre and ask any mech as to whether to buy the ZMA or the ZMR.

The 220: An improvement, though not huge in terms of power but in a different league as regards all else especially refinement and handling. The price differential is big, and the pulsar undeniably has the better lighting, you could take this onto the highway at night, and live to tell the tale :P. It all depends on how important refinement is to you. That is not cheap. Ride it to see if it makes sense. What are the alternatives? None, unless somebody comes up with a cheap, unrefined, aircooled 300 - 350 (maybe bajaj???)

Ninja: Haven't ridden, can't compare. Hope to be able to do that soon (and mercilessly dissect that too :P)

R15: Again, my time on the R15 has been short, but my impressions - the R15 may have an equivalent suspension but will be significantly the inferior vehicle on bad roads due to it's narrow tyres. In addition, at least the CBR can be adjusted for rear preload, the R15 cannot. Enginewise the R15 suffers very badly due to it's lack of cubes  (and the ensuing torque figures). The overtaking pass that does not require a thought on the CBR will require a downshift on the R15, maybe 2. The lighting is not much of an improvement. It's even more cramped and there is not much to recommend it over the CBR - except price. Actually that is a big difference, and it's only grounds for competing with the CBR. If 40K is not a deal breaker, then you'd have to think very hard to justify the purchase of the R 15. But 40K after all, is 40K.

RTR: Sorry TVS, give us something better to go head on with this. Merely cheap is not gonna do the job. And kindly eliminate that pointy centre section on your seat while doing that....

#21 rakesh_r

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Posted 08 May 2011 - 05:04 PM

good goin doc ;) let the mods begin.I had seen a cbr rigged with all the test gears(most prolly belonged to some magazine) last month,the rider was skillfully maneuvering the bike through the heavy powai traffic,so i guess its good for commuting too.And as you rightly said it attracts the least attention,unless you see it from the front cause from the rear it looks like the hh hunk :D .About the sound,yep its dead silent.

#22 Winzeee

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Posted 08 May 2011 - 08:59 PM

Excellent review. i felt like i have test ridden the bike :)

W

#23 arn

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Posted 08 May 2011 - 09:33 PM

Pics coming up soon courtesy Amit! See the saree guard in all it's glory!

#24 Revmaster

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 11:52 AM

And here are the pictures, taken outside Doc's clinic. Note the  legendary saree guard designed by someone who should be awarded the  Nobel Prize in gaudy design.

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#25 pulsurge

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 01:14 PM

Superlative review there Doc...amazingly well written.

Serious stuff with crackers in between....bicycle frames on our bikes, ZMR horrible creation....laughable, but then how true! Be sure that most of the 250R owners would be looking at your mods with a very keen eye :)

All the very best with your new acquisition! Hope to drop into your clinic and check out your new horse...sorry WARHORSE :)

EDIT: Just to add...remove that saree guard and keep it handy...we'll use it on one of our campings as a barbecue grill ;)
LIFE IS TOO SHORT FOR TRAFFIC

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#26 spinz

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 01:17 PM

Great, Cancelling my Booking

#27 nfsnfs

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 01:52 PM

Nice read. Should you have tried the ABS once before ignoring it completely ?

#28 parimal1981

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 02:12 PM

The best, in the face and true review available anywhere till date Doc personified. Waiting for my unit to arrive. I liked this CBR and hope to have long term and cherished partnership with this one soon.

Regards
Parimal

#29 Silver Phantom

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 02:45 PM

Thanks Doc for the Valuable Insight. You just made it easier for me to stick to my Unicorn (hehehe). The review speaks volumes. Thanks for it. Also the Comparo with various models. :D

Might as Well Use the Sareegaurd to attach a Water Cooler, and a First Aid Kit for one-day rides, and remove the necessity of carrying a Tank Bag / Saddle Bag. I have done the same with my Unicorn. Fixed a Cheap Side bag (in fact so cheap that it has already split its seam, and i installed it only a month back). will steal a kids Canvas School bag and attach it instead. ;)
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#30 arn

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 04:15 PM

View Postnfsnfs, on 09 May 2011 - 01:52 PM, said:

Nice read. Should you have tried the ABS once before ignoring it completely ?

I guess somebody needs to hit the brakes on a downhill section of gravel and let us know what happens. I'm not going to be that one. At least without ABS I can hit the rear brakes and slide to a stop in a straight line after digging into the gravel. If this were a bike that can hit 250, AND have an ABS that can be turned off, I might have been tempted. Not in this guise.


View PostSilver Phantom, on 09 May 2011 - 02:45 PM, said:

Thanks Doc for the Valuable Insight. You just made it easier for me to stick to my Unicorn (hehehe). The review speaks volumes. Thanks for it. Also the Comparo with various models. :D

Might as Well Use the Sareegaurd to attach a Water Cooler, and a First Aid Kit for one-day rides, and remove the necessity of carrying a Tank Bag / Saddle Bag. I have done the same with my Unicorn. Fixed a Cheap Side bag (in fact so cheap that it has already split its seam, and i installed it only a month back). will steal a kids Canvas School bag and attach it instead. ;)

This is really something that had occured to me as well. The thing just needs to be detached and bent to shape to form a horizontal section (which will support any load from the bottom too), apart from being bent inward at the rear. There is so much material that it should not be a problem at all.




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