Monday, October 7, 2013

Ridden: Honda CBX 250 Twister

The Honda CBX 250 Twister is branded as a commuter bike, but I think it can be much more than that if you let it take you in to it’s unique and special character.
However, you’ll find that somewhat hard to do if you’re used to more powerful bikes because at the end of the day, it is a 250cc. For a 250cc single cylinder, performance is actually quite good, this four valve, DOHC, air & oil cooled motor as it produces 17.5kW of power at 8000rpm and 24Nm of torque at 6000rpm, surprising considering that the compression ratio is fairly low at 9.3 : 1.
CBX 250 Twister 1
The speedometer stops at Honda’s claimed top end of 160km/h but the actual GPS measured top end is 145km/h. This means that you could take it on the highway, but it’s not advisable due to the sluggish acceleration above ± 110km/h and the lack of any form of wind deflector. Thankfully the 0-100km/h is quite decent with a claimed 8.5 seconds, although I’ve noticed that from 80-100 the acceleration slows a little.
Here are the full stats:
EngineAir & oil cooled, single cylinder, four stroke
Bore x Stroke75 x 56.5mm
Compression Ratio9.3 : 1
Ignition  /  StartingCDI 12v / Electric
Max Power24 hp / 17.5 kW @ 8000 rpm
Max Torque24 Nm / @ 6000 rpm
Transmission  /  Drive6 Speed manual  /  chain
Front Suspension130 mm telescopic forks
Rear SuspensionMonoshock
Front BrakesSingle 276mm disc 2 piston calliper
Rear Brakes180mm drum
Front Tyre100/80-17
Rear Tyre130/70-17
Dry-Weight139.7 kg
Fuel Capacity16.5 Litres (2.5 Reserve)


It comes with many features that some smaller bikes don’t come with, such as an electric starter, a semi-digital instrument panel, and a 2 piston 240mm disc on the front. The back is stopped by a somewhat antiquated drum, but it provides enough stopping power. Optional extras can include a centre stand and heated handgrips. Technologically there is a mix of old and new, with a rear monoshock, aluminium frame, and the other aforementioned items accounting for the new; a drum brake and carburettor accounting for the old.
These features will definitely appeal to the CBX’s primary market, which as said before, are mostly commuters. Although I believe there are two other categories of riders who would love this bike; newer riders, and riders who can’t afford a bigger bike. Once again these extras will surely be welcome additions to such riders.
The design is that of a typical standard or naked form, without any front panels or plastic. On the sides of the tank there are small hard plastic fairings which add to the aesthetic appeal of the Honda. The seat is a single moulded piece and is quite comfortable, but it tends to make the rider sit just a bit too far forward, meaning one must make a conscious effort to sit a bit back as it’s more comfortable that way. The back end is quite stunning and flows beautifully, it’s a pity they didn’t style the front with the same flair.
In practicality terms there are two minor issues, the first being that the side mirrors are a bit too small and sometimes require the rider to tuck in his arms in order to see properly, the other is that the seat does become uncomfortable after 50-60km of riding. Thankfully you only require a two or three minute break and you should be able to carry on.

The ride itself is comfortable, but the vibration from a single cylinder is hard to erase, the tone of the motor is quite nice and I genuinely enjoy the sounds it produces which is quite rare for such a small bike. The bike feels stable in a straight line but is surprisingly agile around corners with riders actually able to lean quite a bit further than expected, meaning that the CBX 250 can provide you with a decent bit of fun when the mood takes you.
Maintenance is rather simple because there’s not too much to go wrong. Most items such as the spark plug, air filter, brakes and chain are easily accessible and can be serviced with your typical spanners or wrenches. The only items which may require dealer assistance would be valve clearances and any electrical glitches which may arise.

Where this bike really comes into it’s own is in the cities and congested roads, which is surprising because that’s usually the type of situation any reasonable person tries to avoid like the plague. The reason the CBX 250 is so great in these areas is due to it’s naked design and 140kg weight, it’s extremely narrow and on many occasions I have found myself able to lane-split between cars that many other riders had to wait for due to the tightness being like a nun’s chastity… Okay, bad analogy but you get the point, it was tight.
This is a real traffic beater, and certainly much cheaper than armouring a bull dozer to take out your frustrations. Admittedly you end up feeling a bit smug as you ride past all the standstill traffic, but there’s one more reason why you should be; the cost. The Honda CBX 250 Twister is actually quite affordable, with low mileage 2nd hand models going for around R20 000 and you can expect to fork out R33 000 for a new one, available in either red or silver. (2010 pricing & colours)
You’ll save again in the fuel economy section because the CBX 250 is very light on fuel even if you’re having quite a bit of speedy fun when you ride. Take it easy and you can expect at best about 25-30 km/l.
I really like this bike a lot, it’s nippy in traffic, light on fuel, affordable, styling is good especially around the back, and maintenance is easy. It comes with great features to make your life easier, it isn’t intimidating to new riders but at the same time even more experienced riders will be able to have some fun with it.
I truly believe that anyone will be satisfied with this fantastic little bike, especially if you manage to pick one up in good nick for a bargain.

CBX 250 twister engine

HONDA-CBX-250-TWISTER 3gallery_large_03

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