40 replies to this topic
Posted 2011-03-24 18:58:57
OK, a few of us went to BRC today and I rode a 2009 DTX250, 2010 Ninja250, and 2011 CBR250 (non abs).
Cut to the chase, the Ninja250 is the far superior track bike, not even close in comparison.
DTX250 (2009), 2000 Kms, FMF megabomb header, Two Bros M7 muffler, open airbox, race footpegs.
CBR250 (2011), 300 Kms, completely stock.
Ninja250 (2010), 4000 Kms, Yoshimura muffler and race footpegs.
All 3 bikes have the stock IRC RX-01 tires with identical tread pattern.
Only the DTX has an innertube carcass version.
Air pressure was set low for traction with the DTX at 22psi, CBR 25psi, but the Ninja was set at a street 35psi (not good for racing BTW).
My DTX suspension is fully dialed in for my weight.
Both Ninja and CBR have unadjustable front suspension and the rear shocks were already set stiff for my 95KG weight.
I started the day on my DTX250.
Did 2 warm up laps and then rode faster and faster the next 5 laps.
My best lap time on the DTX was a 1:01.6
Being a motard, it's simply hard to get this bike around the track for me.
Although the long travel suspension is supple, it wallows aand the bike pitches back and forth a lot.
The DTX has good brakes though.
Only my performance mods allowed it to come close to the other bikes in lap times.
A stock DTX would be glacier slow I think in comparison.
Then I hopped on the CBR250.
Same deal, did 2 warm up laps and then went for it.
My best lap time on the CBR was a 1:00.6
The single cylinder had a good amount of torque and it comes on fast, very little lag in power.
Brakes were good but not as good compared to the Kawis, I had to squeeze them harder.
They're totally acceptable on the track, no need to worry.
I scraped both pegs a few times as the stock pegs are low.
What kills this bike is the horrendous suspension.
I'm 200 pounds and the bike felt so stiff going over the small bumps in the first and last turns of BRC that is was downright dangerous.
It was like riding a horse entering turn 1, the CBR wanted to throw me off unless I reduced my entry speed.
Maybe the damping is too slow so the tire hits a bump and simply skips over the pavement.
This bike is not worthy of being called a track capable bike unless you've never ridden a 600+cc sportbike before.
I think it is fine for city driving but it will never come close to the Ninja250's track performance unless you swap out the front forks.
Lastly I hopped on the Ninja250.
Same deal, did 2 warm up laps and then went for it.
My best lap time on the Ninja was a 0:59.2
Like the DTX the brakes are good in initial bite and modulation.
I couldn't scrape the pegs as they are higher aftermarket pegs but I did manage to scrape my toes.
This bike is easy to ride fast and asks to be ridden harder.
The engine needs time to rev up but it's fastest in the end.
There were parts of the track where I thought about hitting 3rd gear that I would not consider doing so on the other bikes.
Even with the high street tire pressure, the bike's suspension was superior to the other bikes.
While the DTX has too much travel and wallows, the CBR is too stiff and dangerous, the Ninja just asks to be ridden faster.
The CBR and Ninja have poor ergos compared to real sportbikes.
It was hard for me to get my weight over the front tire on both bikes.
The seating posture just makes you want to have your weight back and relax.
It's clear these bikes were designed for commutes and not races.
As you know, the DTX has a picnic chair ergo so unless you have a lot of dirtbike experience this is a hard bike to ride fast.
With all the hype on the CBR250 threads here I was expecting the CBR to be the best bike since its the newest design.
Wrong, you get what you pay for.
Although the Ninja250 may cost 30% more than a regular CBR250, I'd say it's 300% better on the track.
The price difference is reflected in the smooth engine and supple suspension.
I was scared to ride the CBR hard because the ride was rough and I was losing grip over the bumps.
The Ninja was smooth all around the track and inspired so much confidence that I crashed.
I kept pushing it and rode it past the edge of the IRC tire's capability into a slow lowside.
I think the combination of me sucking, laidback street ergos, high tire pressure, and crappy stock tires all led me to have the front tire wash out on me.
The Ninja's frame sliders did their job, but I bent the frame a little because of the solid footpeg.
Not sure if it was the weight of me and the bike coming down on it or maybe it caught in the mud, but it was pushed back a little from the force an no longer perpendicular to the frame.
Easily bent back, but if this was a high speed crash, the solid peg would have bent the steel frame badly.
Minimal damge to me, my helmet never even touched the ground.
This comparison had 2 constants, the rider and the tires.
The Ninja with the Yosh exhaust and high pegs is naturally the fastest around BRC, but even if the CBR250 had 100HP, the suspension is so bad it would be a dangerous ride.
Seriously, if you don't swap the CBR's front forks, you will dump the bike at any track that isn't glass smooth.
I'm not a Honda hater, I've owned a CBR600F4i, Ruckus, Z50, and CT70; but I'm only on my second Kawasaki.
I'm no expert reviewer, these are just one guy's opinions (who crashed), but I predict you won't see too many CBR250s beating Ninja250s at the local track.
No matter which bike you have, swap the stock tires if you plan to push it at the track.
So in my opinion if you want a good bike to do track days, the Ninja is the clear winner.
For city and recreational use, the CBR has the torque needed and is a great bargain.
Whatever, I'm taking my DTX on some dirt trails this weekend so I may have some more crash pictures next week.
Posted 2011-03-24 20:35:29
Very interesting reading ttakata, I think the two penultimate ones are the most important though.
'So in my opinion if you want a good bike to do track days, the Ninja is the clear winner.
For city and recreational use, the CBR has the torque needed and is a great bargain'
No surprise that the Ninja is the quickest on a track but how many owners of those three bikes are likely to ever race them on a track? I'd guess at 1-2% at most!
Posted 2011-03-24 22:06:52
Just asking here since i am dumb... I paid 104k for my bike... The ninja is 147k... How is that 30 percent? Good report though- hope the owner of the ninja was not upset with you... And that you are ok... Good luck this weekend...
Posted 2011-03-24 22:17:20
Good honest review and lends support to what a lot of us have been saying for a few months that the CBR is a good value commuter bike with some fairings attached - whereas the Ninja is more of a sportsbike. Not only the engine, but the whole package.
The high quality dealer support network from Kawasaki vs. the price gouging/incompetent servicing from APe Honda is the icing on the cake for me but I realize that's subjective - you pay your money and you take your choice. For some it's worth the money and for some it isn't - same as most things.
Once again, I should clarify that I'm not knocking the Honda I'm just calling a spade a spade. Sorry if that offends.
Posted 2011-03-24 22:23:27
I paid 139 for my Ninja - that's pretty close to 30%. It's gone up since then, same as the CBR seems to be increasing in price weekly. Only difference is Kawasaki did it over the table and Honda did it under the table. Who would you rather deal with for the next x years?
Posted 2011-03-24 22:27:42
Nice report thanks.
Interesting that the ninja with aftermarket yoshimura was only 1.4 secs faster than the stock CBR, and that was with you not riding the CBR hard.
Sounds like changing the CBR suspension for the track would allow you to ride it like you did the ninja, wonder what the time difference would be then... and in which order.
Edited by appropriate, 2011-03-24 22:31:35.
Posted 2011-03-24 22:58:40
Not making excuses for the Honda bike but 300 km? Is that broken in already? Manual says the engine at 500km if I recall right. Mechanics say wait until 1000km.
As far as utilization is concerned Honda has marketed the bike as more of a sport tourer/commuter and never as a track bike.
The price gouging on the CBR250 is really going worse, I've heard some dealers are selling non-ABS for 150k now, with that price I'd rather get a Ninja. Honda retailers are hurting Honda with what their doing, but yeah TiT. Hopefully the management realizes the damage the price gouging is going to do with the product sales and do something about it.
Interesting talk with a riding buddy this evening while having some moo kata, he says he'd rather skip the whole 250cc phase, save his money and get a 600cc later.
Edited by RED21, 2011-03-24 23:04:04.
Posted 2011-03-25 02:24:03
First post. Thanks for sharing your experience and personal opinion in your track report. I have a 2009 Yamaha WR250R and a CBR125R. I purchased both last year when I decided to get into riding again. Small displacement bikes are incredible fun. I also rode a Ninja 250R in a riders course last year and had great fun on it - I thought it was a terrific bike. However, the Ninja 250R is NOT fuel-injected here in North America and that is one reason why I opted for the CBR125R. I currently have a 2011 CBR250R (Black with ABS) on order and expect it to arrive this April. One thing I can say is that I have no desire to ride at the track so my CBR250R will never see a track day. What I am more concerned about is fuel economy. Most of the online reviews so far show that the CBR250R is yielding mileage in the upper 50s (U.S. mpg) while the Ninja 250R is showing mileage in the lower 40s (U.S. mpg). Both being run hard in testing. I have been spoiled with the fuel-economy of the WR250R and particularly the CBR125R. I would NEVER buy a Ninja 250R simply due to the relatively poor fuel economy that has been reported in a variety of online magazine reviews. Perhaps the fuel-injected iteration of the Ninja 250R yields better fuel economy numbers in testing.
Edited by CBR250R, 2011-03-25 02:26:14.
Posted 2011-03-25 04:12:28
Thanks for the posting. I am a n00b on bikes (and don't get that much seat time either working overseas) and also low sided at BRC (on my CBR 150--turn one; was that what got you?). As someone who doesn't have much experience I found the 'softness' (we're the same weight) of the Ninja un-nerving and got a set of RaceTech springs. Have not sprung for the rear shock because I can honestly say that I'm not taking full advantage of the bike's capabilities and to have the hubris of thinking that such an upgrade would make me an instant pro is breathtaking. Perhaps once the bike (CBR) is released in the States RaceTech will come up with an upgrade option?
Looking at your times, is it safe to assume that you were taking the 'high speed' route rather than the inner twisty bits?
Also interesting that with the superior midrange that a Yoshi pipe offers (according to this chart an aerage of some 5% more HP between 6-9000 RPM) and your admitted greater confidence on it resulted in only a 2.3% decrease in times.
There's also a bit of dissonance in your report; you failed to list the control mods for the Ninja also. Don't you suppose that the aftermarket levers and braided line helped out the Ninja's stopping poweress? Only reason I mentioned it is because that was a point you made sure you made and full disclosure would be good for everyone.
Don't get me wrong; I appreciate your candor and the fact that you're an outsider who has, to date, been the only one who's been able to test both bikes and remain fairly unbiased (comment about the Ninja being 300% better not withstanding). I've remained silent on the issue of price gouging by Honda dealers and have made sure to point out that the ~40K THB dearer Ninja (using the MSRP for both bikes) would get you a lot of mods on the CBR. However I need to face the facts. At the ~125K THB price that seems to be what most dealers are charging you get a lot less bang for your buck. HOWEVER, that's still ~24K THB that you could spend on mods. Once the bike is released in the States a fork kit will cost you some 3000THB (don't buy direct from RaceTech, it's some 25% more expensive than dealers). Exhaust from Yoshi is going to be what, 15K THB? And the DBS version is only 9000 THB. And replacement brake lines are ~3000 THB. So I'm just wondering whether after 15K to 21K worth of upgrades if the CBR wouldn't be a better bike; on the track as well as continuing to offer its advantage on the street.
CBR250R; not exactly sure what the CBR is getting, but on my last road trip up through the mountains the Ninja was putting out ~24 km/L (~56 MPG) with a mix of 100 to 130 km/h (62 to 80 MPH) on the straights, climbing and twisting through corners at ~100 down to 40 km/h (62 down to 25 MPH) and full throttle closure on downhill areas watching a Honda Phantom's rear get kicked out as the owner tried to pivot on his crash bar on the slow corners. In full disclosure though I am an amatuer rider who is in too high of gear more often than not and that undoubtably helps those milage numbers.
Posted 2011-03-25 09:03:36
Average mileage on the CBR is 30-33 kmpl.
Interesting again that the ninja has more mods than only the 5% performance increasing yoshi previously mentioned, and while ridden to its limits it can't go round 1.5 secs faster than a softly ridden, stock, unbroken in CBR.
Certainly reads like CBR -1. Ninjette - 0.
Thanks again fo the detailed report.
Edited by appropriate, 2011-03-25 09:04:30.
Posted 2011-03-25 09:15:18
I noticed that I didn't link to a full system but rather a slip on (but I'm assuming that the Ninja pictured has only a slip on since that looks like stock header); also we don't know if the bike was kept above 9k RPM. If it was the disparity between it and a stocker would be larger.
We also don't know if the rear sprocket was changed; a popular mod for those Ninjette riders who spend time on the open road is to make their gearing taller to reduce engine RPM at cruising speeds. If the gearing was taller that would have affected response on the track compared to a stock or one ready to race that track. IIRC it's common to go with a 45 (verus the 43 stock) rear sprocket; this would have made the gearing some 4,5% taller and thus the 2,3% reduction in time is pretty good....
Edited by dave_boo, 2011-03-25 09:17:50.
Posted 2011-03-25 09:50:21
It seems to me that with a few mods the CBR will be equal if not faster but still cheaper.
Posted 2011-03-25 21:51:15
I read the three motorcycle track review, and I wonder about one thing... how much hours/days/months/kilometers experience you have on all motorcycle models.
It's too simple as you think, because you own a Kawasaki Ninja 250R you could race on a Honda CBR250R and actual can compare lap times. (sorry I not know if you own a Kawasaki Ninja 250R, but it's just an example). Motorcycle suspension is as personal as a fingerprint, I can tell that even in the MotoGP, two identical Honda race bikes have different suspension settings... completely fine-tuned to the rider.
Posted 2011-03-26 00:32:18
I could be wrong, but from the way I read the post it seems that the compression dampening was set too soft. Not really surprising considering that a large expat was riding the bike rather than a Somchai of 1/2-2/3 the weight. I don't remember reading that preload was adjusted on the CBR, but I'd imagine that someone that spent what they did on the mods for the Ninja would have adjusted that setting and a 300km CBR may not have (and that could have been part of the issue also if the suspension was not allowed full travel).
Posted 2011-03-26 11:35:16
Both suspensions were factory set, and not altered.
Posted 2011-03-26 11:39:31
I really could not give you an accurate liter per kilo on the usage of gas on the Ninja But i can tell you , i rev her high, and usually top up, or start to keep an eye out for a petrol station here in Thailand at about every 200km.
Posted 2011-03-26 11:46:32
Disclosure on the Ninja 250 ( Yoshi slip on, hel brake lines, air pressure f28/b32, factory set suspension); Honda 250 No mods, air pressure ttakata will have to comment on as it was take down a bit prior to testing.
Posted 2011-03-26 11:58:40
Dave, I ask this as a serious question - have you looked at the 2 bikes side by side?
I'm not talking about the fairings or the gauge cluster, I mean the things that matter. The forks, the swingarm, the brakes, the shock. Have you compared them? I have, and it's no surprise that the reviewer rates the Ninja as far superior (I doubt 300% as well - but he was making a point) on the track to the CBR.
And let's not forget that "everyday riding" involves going around corners and stopping, not only overtaking Fino's from 3000 rpm in sixth gear.
Posted 2011-03-26 12:01:54
Engine slider/rear slider paid off, thank goodness. Personally I think this should be one of the first mods any ridre makes to his bike. No front slider however the bike front never touched pavement. Replaced parts out of kwacker at the end of the day were just a tad over 3000 bht.
I do question the holdup of mesh, as it was a very low speed lowside. However they were a pretty old pair of mesh pants that he has had for years. Not sure of the Make/model. I do find it highly suspect that none of the manufacturers of mesh jackets/pants are not heald to some safety standard. No videos/ data provided on revit, komine, alpinestars etc. Good for another discussion I suspect.
Posted 2011-03-26 12:02:17
I'm assuming from your last few posts that you're the owner of the Ninja? And you're still running stock tyres? Even cheap charlie no. 1 switched over (although it took quite some persuading-gentle heckling-by certain members of this forum to get that done)!
Did you get some seat time on the CBR? Care to offer the forum your view on it?
Posted 2011-03-26 12:36:46
And with all the aftermarket parts (and a genuine yoshi is quite a nice mod) and being ridden to the limit the ninjette couldn't get around 1.5 secs faster than a stock CBR that was being driven slow.
Could just be me, but that is a little embarrassing.
Edited by appropriate, 2011-03-26 12:41:47.
Posted 2011-03-27 01:01:32
My total experience time on the CBR was 7 laps, this was the first time I rode one. Maybe 14 laps on the Ninja, 7 laps this day and 7 laps a few months back.
I was lapping the entire newly paved half of BRC which is about 10 turns. Maybe if turns 1 and 10 weren't bumpy, the CBR could have been faster but tracks and the real world have bumps. Yes, if you get new springs and oil in the CBR's front shocks it would be a much more competitive comparison, but then a modded KSR110 would just beat all 3 bikes on this track for less money.
This Ninja has steel brake lines but my DTX has stock lines and 2 year old tires but it still felt better braking than the CBR. I'm curious if the ABS model would be better on the track.
I thought if anywhere I would crash exiting turn 1, but I crashed entering the big left turn 5. It was totally unexpected as this section is smooth. I was just leaned over too far and my weight was back due to the ergos and my laziness.
About 15 minutes after the crash when the tires were cooling off the Ninja's front tire had around 36 psi and the rear was mid 40s. I'm guessing cold they were at spec or a little higher than spec. Had it not been 30 minutes before they kicked us out of there, I would have dropped the pressure as on the Dtx and CBR. If the Ninja tires were around 25 psi it would have been much faster and perhaps I would have kept my friend's bike shiny.
As noted the CBR is a great city/commuter with a great recommended price but you'll have to address those front shocks to make it more confident on the track.
Frankly I think the CBR is a POS in stock form but that's because I would only want it as a track bike.
I prefer my Nouvo Elegance for my daily city riding.
Once again this is just one idiot's opinion.
Posted 2011-03-27 03:23:57
As a serious answer, no I have not compared them side by side.
And since I am a numbers guy, and my previous thoughts on the subject seem to have been borne out by real life, let me provide some elucidation through objective rather than subjective numbers.
The Ninja has 1 degree more rake and trail is 12mm shorter; wheelbase is 30mm longer. While the handling may be a bit quicker due to the slightly less trail, I wonder how much the wheelbase affects handling. Additionally trail is determined by tyre diameter; the less inflated CBR tyre could have brought those numbers much closer together (each percent that a tyre is bigger adds 1mm trail; while I doubt that the 29% less pressure directly translates into an equivalently smaller diameter when loaded there's going to be some difference along with the fact that it would be more pronounced at lean angles).
The Ninja has the exact same diameter 37mm fork as the CBR. It appears that both use a Showa fork; I am not qualified to make an observation as to which is better since I know nothing of the difference in spring rates, dampening rates, etc. Furthermore the Ninja has a whopping 1.89 mm more travel in the front fork.
I'm not sure what you're on about in regards to the swingarm; perhaps you can explain? My measurements seem to indicate that the Ninja has perhaps a 61-62 mm box swingarm compared to the CBR's apparent 59-60. I could be off, but not by much...are you suggesting that the apparently slightly bigger Ninja swingarm is more stiff?
The Ninja's front brakes is 6mm smaller than the CBR's (meaning 2761.5 mm2 less surface disregarding the petals--to be fair that's only 27.6 cm2 or 4.3 in2). Rear discs are the same size on both. How much the petal design of the Ninja's brakes help with overall heat dissapation and thus performance of the brakes is unknown. I also can not find specifications as to the size of the calipers nor the brake pads and their surface composition.
I can not find the specifications for the rear shocks for either bike...however it appears that the Ninja has 26.6mm more travel. This could have been a lot of what the OP was complaining about, but that's just speculation on my part.
In regards to your everyday riding comments; BRC is an extremely tight track; even around the 'fast' section. And yet the OP could not get that much more of an advantage out of the Ninja even after admitting that he did not ride the CBR near its limit. I am not any near an expert rider, and from the post it appears that the OP suggests he's not, so let's take excerpts from people who are. And by experts I mean Cernicky from Cycle World who shames anyone on this forum (even those who seem to revel in blasting lesser riders) and "has won four 450 Supermoto championships & one premier Supermoto Championship".
Posted 2011-03-27 03:31:18
I'm sorry but I had to LOL at this post; not the crashing or your opinion, but the comment about the KSR....it's oh so true. I've seen some fully automatic scooters put some nice times around the track because the ONLY thing the rider had to do was concentrate on his line.
Posted 2011-03-27 08:23:45
Didn't I read somewhere that the stock rear setting on the CBR is for a rider of Asian (or a younger or female) weight, ie 70-75 kg?
I do remember the review Dave talks about as well. And the quotes he has included.