Whatever happened to the 250cc scooter class? Until the early 80s it was the machine to have – motorcycles got faster and accident rates escalated things began to change. In most countries around the world the laws were tightened up, then motorcycles, like the Yamaha RD250 LC came out and governments finally spat their rules out and limited learner riders to, for most countries around the world, 125cc machines (and for some countries with horsepower limitations). It was also the time that most countries introduced the two part test, effectively killing off the 250cc market overnight.
With the changes in ASEAN, in which the member countries work toward standardization of the motorcycle rules, they have selected 250cc as the maximum engine volume to be classified as small engine.
Also, manufacturers have seen the fact that not everybody can afford to buy and insure the latest supersport motorcycle, and a big 500cc maxi scooter doesn't appeal to everybody either. The price tag of 555,000 Baht for the Yamaha Tmax may have something to do with it.
But, something with a bit more power than a 125 or 135cc would often fill the gap. So, over the past couple of years, the class has slowly reinvented itself, with many of the leading names thinking of introducing more powerful scooters.
The first 250cc scooter offering in Thailand is the stylish Lifan LF250T-6B, the name surely doesn't sound exciting...
The Lifan LF250T-5B shares some parts with its 150cc younger brother, but a few minor aesthetic changes set the 250cc Lifan LF250T-6B apart from its little brother. The Lifan LF250T-6B is quite a big machine, the Lifan is about 20cm longer then a Honda Airblade, but once you're sat comfortably astride the beast, size soon becomes irrelevant – so, if you're fairly new to two-wheels don't be intimidated by it. The 795mm seat height makes it an easy job to put your feet down even if you are not Asian build in height and it's a piece-of-cake to put the scooter onto its well designed center-stand too, much easier than many smaller scooters we have seen.
The Lifan LF250T-6B has an all-analogue instrument layout, which includes temperature and fuel gauges, and of course a speedo with separate trip functions. Not much else we can say about the dash...
The major selling feature for this scooter is the frisky engine, it's the most powerful small engine scooter available in Thailand. The Lifan LF250T-6B is fitted with Lifan's excellent single-cylinder, four-stroke, high-compression-ratio, liquid-cooled engine. The Lifan LF250T-6B puts just below 17 horsepower on the road at 6,500rpm, this with 19.5Nm@5,000rpm toque power, which is impressive for a automatic scooter.
Enough of the technical jargon though, what's it like on the road? In a word, brilliant. To say the scooter was new, and hadn't even been run in, the engine was chomping at the bit and couldn't wait to be let off the leash. From a standing start, the machine soon forgets it size and leaps forward like a cannon ball. Up to 116km/h the scooter is fairly rapid and the highest speed I recorded was an indicated 154km/h. The torque engine and excellent automatic transmission means rolling on the throttle at 50km/h still gives instant results, even rolling at 80km/h the accelerating performance is impressive, which helps to keep overtaking fast and safe. Given a few hundred kilometer more and the engine would be out of the running-in period, the engine should loosen up even more, so expect to have plenty of fun if you buy one.
The riding position is comfortable and whether you prefer to keep your legs in the conventional seated position or the 'cruiser' position, feet forward style it's still roomy enough. Pillions are also well catered for with an integrated grab rail which doubles as a rear luggage frame, this aluminum rear luggage frame is excellent for mounting a hardtop luggage case.