Dimensions – Kawasaki Z250 and Honda CBR 250R are more or less the same size. Honda’s length and height are indeed more than the Kawasaki’s but the latter has longer wheelbase, making the former more flickable in theory. Z250 is actually wider by 30 mm; ground clearance of both bikes are identical at 145 mm, and seat height of CBR 250R is marginally shorter, by 5 mm, at 780 mm. Both models fit well in dense traffic and easily cuts between auto rickshaws, busses and other fellow automobiles that charge on roads like the troops in Gladiator.
Suspension & Handling – Honda CBR 250R, despite belonging to sports bike category, is designed to be a good partner on streets, favourable to Indian roads at that. The bike is easily flickable, but not with great immediacy due to its 167 kg weight and sport-style riding position with clip-on handlebars and rear-set foot-pegs. But that is no way a shortcoming, it is just the way sports bikes are. This is brought up because it is being compared to a naked bike here and the Kawasaki Z250 is a better charm when it comes to tactical manoeuvres.
Important difference here is the state of suspension in both bikes. Both have characteristics what each other should have had. Honda CBR 250R is not as good on circuits as it is on general roads and Kawasaki Z250 is a superb track tool better than the CBR.
CBR 250R has softer suspension that absorbs irregularities on roads very well, while Z250 is not too stiff, but does not fare as comfortable on speed bumps and rough patches. Honda CBR 250R has eventually become to be known as a comfortable tourer because of its suspension characteristics and expansive seats. Z250 also has good seat spread and it also makes for a good bike to take on a cross country trip, but a pillion would be more confident and happier to sit on a CBR, even on short commutes.
So the soft dampening has made CBR 250R quite a bit of a challenge to carve hills as it tends to make the rider a tad nervous at mid-corner. Rest assured, it does not fail to function; it is only a matter of getting used to. While, Z250 is very inspiring to sway at bends and come out of sharp turns more gallantly.
Also Read – Kawasaki Z250 Review
Engine & Performance – Speaking of coming out gallantly, Kawasaki Z250 is statistically a fraction of a second faster than Honda CBR250R, but that seems to be only under standard test conditions or on a flat-out zero-disturbance road.
This is because Kawasaki Z250 needs to be revved close to redline to feel any sense of power, while CBR 250R has appreciable low-end grunt and great mid-range that doesn’t fade quickly through higher engine speeds. Inside city, CBR250R would easily outpace the Z250.
The 249 cc parallel-twin engine of Kawasaki Z250 producing 32 PS @ 11,000 rpm and 21 Nm @ 10,000 rpm is silky smooth and amazingly calm even at redline. But the 249 cc single barrel motor churning out 26.5 PS @ 8,500 rpm and 22.9 Nm @ 7,000 rpm is quick on the feet and leaves little vibration behind at high-range which does not go beyond comfort zone.
The clean shaven ride quality during long tours on Z250 could get a little humdrum after a few hours, while the stubbly sensation on CBR 250R while accelerating and cruising would keep the rider alive and excited for a longer period.
Like engine quality, gearshift smoothness and precision are way better in Z250 than CBR 250R. Exhaust note of the former is classier and sportier, as a testimony to Kawasaki’s superior engineering and quality.
Braking & Tyres – Both bikes wear 110/70-17 on front and 140/70-17 at rear. The difference is that Kawasaki Z250 uses IRC Road Winner and Honda CBR 250R has chosen Metro Continental Conti Go (rear tyre in photos is MRF REVZ 150/60-17, fitted for other tests).
Both tyre models are not radial, they have bias ply construction, ideal for rough roading and long life for self and rims. Although both tyres are facing mild criticism in online communities and by word of mouth, in reality there is not much to complain. Dry performance is good and wet performance is decent enough. There is no problem while cornering and life span is between 12,000 and 15,000 km for CBR, which is probably the same for Z250 as well.
On braking front, Honda CBR 250R gets optional dual channel ABS, while Kawasaki Z250 has no ABS here. Both brake rather softly with no sense of urgency to halt. Extra force is required in both to feel the brakes bite.
Price & Verdict – Kawasaki Z250 and Honda CBR 250R, both of which despite being brought into India via CKD route are priced at over Rs. 1 lakh apart. Z250 wears price tag of Rs. 3.08 lakhs, while CBR 250R is sold at starting price of Rs. 1.56 lakhs. There are 5 variants of CBR 250R, top end Repsol edition with ABS is priced at Rs. 1.92 lakhs (ex-showroom Delhi).
To end the review in the simplest terms, we say Z250 is a machine to lust after, while CBR 250R is a machine to grow on and live with. In other words, Kawasaki Z250 has better snob value and Honda CBR 250R does better justice for money.
Below is a detailed tech specs comparison of the two above, with other probable rivals in the segment.