I'm enjoying every kilometer on the Lifan Custom V250 or LF250-B as some like to call it, yesterday I left home early and did plot a smooth, cross-country route to Maha Sarakham, avoiding the rubbish B-roads I usually hack down. Time's not an issue so I settle back in the vast saddle and rumble through countryside and villages I never saw before...
Ancient looking temples are backlit by the rising sun and the Lifan cruiser's 250cc V-twin engine is running at a smooth steady speed and the exhaust tone is filling some villages with motorcycle music. The Lifan Custom V250 has a distinct V-twin sound, and the size and engine configuration attracts lots attention of other motorcyclists. A sunny day, a smooth road, life doesn't get much better.
The semi cowhorn handlebars, with a fuel-tank mounted classic analog speedo, the relaxed riding position, there's absolute no adrenaline or excitement, just a warm feeling in my guts that there's no better place to be than in the saddle of the Lifan Custom V250 cruiser.
Perhaps you've had moments like this, maybe when distracted by the beauty of the surrounding country, when speed and corners seem juvenile and superficial. Just riding a motorcycle is enough. The Lifan Custom V250's talent is to conjure these feel-great moments from ordinary life, then extend them. I even had one booming down a sunny highway in the slow lane for all sake. You don't get that on a sport motorcycle.
Does all this make sense? I sincerely hope so because judged on standard road test criteria, the Lifan Custom V250 doesn't scores high. Cornering, for example, is just plain weird. Tip the Lifan LF250-B into a bend and you're in the middle of a physics argument between back and front. The rear tire is wider than the front, and the extra profile, that it desperately wants to pop you back upright. The front, meanwhile is keen to flop over onto full lock. Until you get used to physically bossing the motorcycle about, holding the handlebars at precisely the angle you want and not letting go until you're round safely, it feels deeply worrying. But for people who have more experience with riding a cruiser it wouldn't be something new.
The brakes are better than you'd expect. The weight on the rear, and the size of the contact patch, means stamping on the rear brake slows things down enough to throw you head forward. And the front disc brake is pretty strong too.
'It actually handles very well.' I've let my friend Thanin have a go. He's owned a Honda Phantom TA200 and knows about these things. 'No, really,' he continues. 'Compared to a Honda Phantom TA200 this is is well sorted. The Lifan Custom V250 handles very well. The steering isn't that awkward compared to a Honda Phantom.'
He's also impressed by the level of finish. 'Some people will look down on it because it's a Chinese name, made in Thailand and it's a truly good motorcycle. Components are good quality. It's hard to believe that Lifan sells the Custom V250 for less then 80,000 Baht.'
The Lifan Custom V250 is a feel-good motorcycle, it comes from an new and upcoming corner of the biking world, it delivers a grin any motorcyclist would understand. Plus, the finish and detailing makes even the most dedicated sportsbike look like a uncomfortable two-wheeler.