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Ninja 300 vs CBR 250R - test ride impressions

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by dima, Feb 18, 2013.

  1. Hi,

    Just thought it could be useful for someone.

    Test rode ninja 300 today (1600km, after-market exhaust) comparing it to my CBR 250R (18000km, stock).
    So the observations are:

    • still relatively upright position. Sitting a little higher. Almost on the bike rather than in the bike.
    • Had a little more room to move on it. Could move a little further back and tuck in a little more.
    • Steering was more "feelable". Pushing the handlebars actually steered the bike vs a little smoother turning on CBR. I'd say more positive, more decisive (counter) steering if that makes sense.
    • Much less vibration. Really enjoyed it.
    • Wind screen is pretty small, got a fair bit of wind drag at 100kmh. CBR is definitely much better here. New 300s come with higher screen as a deal - should be standard IMO.
    • Clutch engagement zone is a little stupid IMO. Somewhere in 4/5. So I never pulled the clutch even half way through. A little softer and more sensitive than CBR, but no major diff otherwise.
    • Couldn't feel the gear lever. Felt small and I had to spend time finding it. I reckon it could just be a matter of adjusting it.
    • Throttle seemed to be smoother than CBR. Wasn't jerky at all in low revs zone (something I complain with the CBR).
    • No clunks when changing the gears (with or without clutch, upshifts only). A little smoother than CBR.
    • 300 pulls and accelerates better, smoother and faster than CBR. But I could take off and get to 60 much quicker on the CBR. Could be because of the clutch and just getting used to the bike though,
    • Strangely enough the CBR seemed to have more torque very down low (when launching for example). But otherwise 300 kills it.
    • CBR wanted me to body steer it due to my laziness (I know it's bad). 300 wanted me to counter steer to turn. This is not a "fact" but the feeling I've got so don't take my word for it.

    Overall ninja 300 was a little smoother, more pleasant bike to ride. Kept pulling even in a lower gear.
    I think the CBR is a little more forgiving and better bike for a new-new learner. 300 will be better for someone who feels a little more confident than that.

    If I would be choosing a new bike for myself now, I would definitely go with 300 (actually maybe I will if I'll sell my CBR for any descent price, anyone ha-ha?).

    Hope that will help some of you guys.
    • Like Like x 3
  2. Thanks for the information. I'm in a similar position to yourself. I'm looking for something that feels a little more solid, does the 300 offer that?

    Also, this might just be a small capacity thing, but the CBR250R really can feel like it putters always wants a gear change (I find the smooth spot about 6-8k RPM, how does the 300 feel?
  3. I feel like Ninja is a little more solid. It isn't just better everywhere, but was a little more exciting all around.

    As for solid, I crashed my CBR 250R badly a few times. And it survived it all. Still happily running. So it might not be as solid as we all want, but it is pretty solid for the price if you see what I mean.

    300 was much smoother for me. Especially in those moments when I go from fully closed throttle to opening it. CBR is jerky, 300 is smooth.

    Yes, 6-8k RPM is a good range to keep it in. Generally anything over 5-6 is smooth on CBR. But a little more eager in higher rev range (closer to red line).

    So I avoid going into corners revving too high or too low and choosing the right gear can sometimes be a challenge (especially on the downhills).

    I didn't ride ninja a lot to tell exactly how it behaves, but I tried to use lower gear a few times on purpose and it still was pulling. It redlines at about 13k PRM so there's plenty of choice.

    And definitely I needed to change the gears less often than on CBR.

    So no question, if I would be buying a new bike it would be Ninja.
    It is just that little bit more exciting and gave me a smile.

    But CBR now gives me a smile too with new Pirelli Rosso 2s :)

    Upgrading from CBR to Ninja is much of a muchness, unless you are ready to pay for that little bit of excitement.

    And honestly saying, I would :)

    In any case do make sure you test ride it. You can get totally different feelings.
  4. I'm sure nina wouldn't appreciate you saying that about her. ;)

    FYI: the clutch friction point should be adjustable. On my bike there's a knob next to the lever for minor adjustment and the major adjustment is at the other end of the clutch cable (requires spanners).
  5. If you're off restrictions why limit your upgrade to another LAMS bike with an extra 50cc.
    For the money of a new Ninja you could get a good secondhand 600cc+ that will give you that "little bit of excitment"and you wont be looking to upgrade in another 12 months.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. LOL. Fixed that :) Hope she doesn't see this :facepalm:

    I suspected it should be. But didn't bother with it during the ride. Ta.

    True, but supersport won't be a "little bit of excitement" it will be probably be "holly shit, too much of excitement" for me :)

    Depends on person I guess, I'd rather ride a few more different bikes then settling on one for a long time. Prefer to take smaller baby steps into supersport rather then jumping into it.

    But yeah, you're definitely right there.
  7. 600cc and higher doesn't only mean supersport. There are some good sport tourers you could look at, maybe VFR800, Suzuki GSXF650, Triumph Sprint, etc.

    Up until a month ago I was like you. I had my ZZR250 for four years and thought I'd be happy on it for ever. In January while working at the Tour Down Under in Adelaide I was pillion on a Yamaha FJR1300 for the first two stages and then a Yamaha TDM900 for the rest of the Tour. To be on a bigger bike that is being ridden by a good rider really opened my eyes as to what I was missing out on.

    I could only afford an upgrade to an '97 Honda CBR1000F but even at that age is a far better bike in every way to the ZZR250. You start to appreciate little things like being able to overtake a car without having to start planning it 2km's back and also sitting on 110km/h at 4000rpm instead of 9000rpm.

    If you know some people on here that would be willing to take you pillion on their bigger bike you should jump at it and see how much enjoyable a bigger bike would be.
    1 cyl vs 2cyl.

    very similar thread to your 675 vs 600 thread, less cylinders creates more power lower in the revs.. it also means more vibration.... more cylinders makes the 300 smoother, and helps it achive more power up top... the extra 50cc helps it across the whole rev range.
    the "jerky" response from the CBR is a side effect of the less cylinders thing.. not so bad on a 250 but on a bigger bike it's different.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. fwiw a 600cc inline 4 MIGHT be a good option. they aren't savage on the throttle and provide heaps of room to grow into... it would last you a LOT longer than a 300, and the build quality and R&D on them is miles ahead of a cheap and cheerful ninja 300, regardless of how pretty the plastic is. There's tons of good second hand ones around, and any of the "big 4" would be a good option... for 5-6 grand you could get onto a really nice 600, or you could get on a 300 that will last you another 6 months...maybe.

    personally i'd stick with the CBR250 till you're ready to make a proper jump to the next level of bike.
    • Like Like x 1
    You know what I'm going to say don't you :D - that's not the bike, it's you! :p

    Throttle control. Having had the pleasure of punting it through the cones last Sat (thanks D) I didn't find it jerky at all. That's not to say I'm any great shakes on throttle control, but that more practice is in order - it's a reflection of where you're at in skills development.

    Goal is to be smooth, whatever the bike. And then when you think you're nailing this smooth feeling, stick an experienced pillion on the back, that'll really test how smooth you are. The better you refine it on this one, the easier the transition to an upgrade.

    No it doesn't. That's what you want.

    Your CBR (to me) is a light and somewhat dainty little bike (not too different from the CB250), and I think you're overwhelming it with the strength of your various inputs. That upper body "man strength" of yours. ;)

    The Ninja being heavier I think offers more resistance off-setting that strength and as a result I think that would help you better feel the result of your inputs in terms of what you're aiming for. Once able get a sense of that it becomes easier to refine.

    I think it's great you're getting out and trying different bikes. Great stuff. (y)

    BTW, have you had a chance to sort out those brakes yet? There's talk of another spanner day coming up again very soon, so can probably get them sorted out then if you haven't already (but sooner would really be better than later).
    • Like Like x 2
  9. Sure I do :)
    Of course that's me on both CBR and Ninja. Me on CBR - more jerky, me on Ninja - not really.

    I see what you're saying, but does that mean that people riding ninja 300 aren't smooth enough because it isn't jerky and more forgiving (thus Ninja riders will never know when/if they aren't smooth)?

    In any case point still stands I belive. Same ride two different responses from different bikes.

    Yeah, pillion does highlight it a lot. I sometimes practise throttle with the pillion around the block :)

    I asked guys to take a look at the brakes today when changing the tyres. They didn't notice anything.
    But I will gladly bleed them when I'll have time and learn how to do it. Or at the spanner day.
    But it is high priority on my list :)
  10. No, that doesn't necessarily follow ... and it's also something that will get put to the test when they change bikes. :)

    Every person's sensory abilities are different, we're all individuals eg. some have a light, firm touch, others can be a bit heavy handed (strong hands), others strangle their bikes.

    If I look at this a little bit like weight training then for example, the heavier the weight the more direct and clear the response to the effort of one's input.
    This response registers clearly, directly, at a controlled pace, gives a clear baseline on which one can improve.

    Now take a much lighter weight, and using the same effort/input you do with a heavy weight, we then see a faster response to the input (eg. a weight flying out of one's hands :shock: ).
    It's over before it really register's what's taken place.
    Bit like that saying, "doesn't know his/her own strength".

    If it doesn't register it's very hard to learn from. To get it to a point where feedback does register involves more repetition, backing off in one's inputs to a level that does register.

    Does that make sense? (sorry, suffering a bit of sleep deprivation so not sure I'm being clear).

    Sensory abilities are very personal, individual.
    But I do personally think it's good/helpful for learning when a bike is somewhat commensurate with where the rider's at ... that the bike fits.

  11. Yeah, totally. More repetition, basically :)
    More throttle practice. I think I may ask someone to be my pillion this Sat :)

    That's another interesting point. How does one know that the bike matches the rider?
    If the bike+rider aren't smooth on throttle or not steering correctly or anything then there should be just more practice involved until it works perfectly?
    Or there is a point where a mismatch between the rider and the bike is too big to keep improving consistently (in whatever respect/area)?

    In either case, how to know what that really is?

    Geeee, where are we going here :)
    The OP was supposed to be just a comparison of two bikes LOL :)
  12. Good - glad to know it makes some sense, feel like I'm burbling under water here. :)

    That is a really good question.
    It's a mysterious black art known only to experienced riders. ;)

    Seriously though, new riders really don't know what sort/style of rider they'll turn out to be ... often an experienced rider that's been round the traps will be able to size them up within a few minutes of watching them.

    Yes, the things you mention are a matter of practice.

    Bikes are also built for a purpose. Mismatches can occur when the type of riding a rider wants to do (expectations & skill) is at odds with the purpose the bike's designed to fulfil (form & function).

    Yes. There is that too. I've seen it and I've experienced it.

    • Like Like x 1
  13. Stop mucking around and just buy a decent sized bike. Or buy a scooter and be done with it.
  14. I've been wondering that myself quite a few times. I don't think I'll ever be one of those experienced people who just seem to 'know' by watching for a minute.

    Having an experienced pillion tell you how smooth you are is an excellent idea! I need to keep that in mind for when I'm off restrictions. Would love totest my smoothness :)
  15. Those experienced rider know a smooth rider just by watching them. When Dave & Doug don't talk to you and tell you to F'ckn turn your head or relax those arms there still watching you and if need will stop and give you some tips. Whilst you think there not watching they are. I always like listening to Doug talk about riders that are on the course. The Good the bad the ugly and the funny stuff. Whilst having a pillion on board may give you more feedback response on your smoothness I dare say if its yur 1st time pillion you would be more nervous and not focus on smoothness at the time.
  16. Hawklord would probably hop on the back at Saturday practice when the time comes. He's done it before for people wanting to try a pillion on the back.
  17. True, got 'pulled over' once, but never yelled at to turn my head. When you are riding it really does seem as if nobody's watching you and they're all just talking about other stuff. Until you get off the bike and hear that people are commenting on the riders ;)
    It would be a good environment to learn how to ride with a pillion, that's definitely something I have to learn!
  18. Thanks for your review/comparison dnagir .. I agree with everything you said (was going to type a review later on, but now I can't see the purpose)

    It's been 2 weeks of riding tomorrow, and have put just over 700kms on the clock (would be more except for my unfortunate incident and the torrential rain we had).

    The clutch and stalling was my main issue the first day (which is a bit more embarassing on a big girls bike :p), as it is much more responsive compared to my MadAss. My throttle skills took a bit to get under control as well. I was heaps jerky with acceleration. I've only been on a ZZr250 once for a couple hours, so I don't really have anything "with power" to compare my bike to.

    I'm not one to "take off" from the lights (where I ride to work, red light runners are abundant), but I did get an oppourtunity to give it a go today. I've only done this a couple times in 7 months of riding, and I'm sure someone with more experience could do better, but I managed 0 - 65km/h in just under 5 seconds - not sure if that's fast off the mark or not...

    I'm sure I will outgrow this bike, but do plan on keeping him for years to come.