Some people compare the new Honda CBR250R with the CB250RS from the early '80s. But the new Honda CBR250R shares absolutely no components with the CB250RS of the '80s, but it does have a similar spirit and hopefully, for Honda, a similar commercial appeal.
The old Honda CB250RS made 26 horsepower at 8,500rpm and weighed just 125 kilograms dry, while the new Honda CBR250R makes 26 horsepower at 8,500rpm and weighs 162 kilograms with all fluid and a full tank of fuel (which probably equates to around 140 kilograms dry). The old Honda CB250RS had a 1359, wheelbase, where the new Honda CBR250R is 1369mm. Old Honda CB250RS's castor angle, 63.5 degrees, new one, 65 degrees. Old Honda CB250RS's fuel capacity, 13 liters, new Honda CBR250R's fuel capacity, 13 liters. Old motorcycle's top speed 147km/h, new motorcycle's top speed, a bit faster than 147km/h. Old CB250RS fuel consumption, 3.40 liter per 100km, new Honda CBR250R's fuel consumption, 3.51 liter per 100km.
So, so close in some many ways and yet, very, very different to ride. The old Honda CB250RS was seen as a sporty little number back in 1981, but now it feels upright and a little too wobbly on its skinny crossply tires and ancient suspension. The new Honda CBR250R feels sporty by 2011 standards and runs radial tires, suspension that would have humbled a superbike in 1981 and brakes most racers would have dreamed of back then.
Most CB250Sś ended up as dispatch hacks – most great road motorcycles do in Europe. Their narrow flanks and punchy power delivery made them ideal for cutting up traffic at 3.40 liter per 100km. I've got a sneaking suspicion that in 10 years' time, there'll be more than a few Honda CBR250Rs doing exactly the same thing around the world.