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V-twin (VTR250) vs 4 cyl for highway riding

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by danmason, Sep 23, 2012.

  1. Hi all,
    About to get a 250 after getting my Ls. Considering a VTR250 or a few others (bandit, hornet, balius, etc.)

    I'll be mostly riding on weekends, for fun, not to commute, so probably more highway riding than city riding. I'm hardly planning to do any city riding actually.

    Wondering if anyone has any opinions on those bikes for highway. From what I've read, the VTR is sufficient but will be on 7-8k revs at 100k. I'm wondering if the 4 pots will sit lower, and hence have less wear on the engine, feel more comfortable, less vibration, etc?

    Anyone own a 250cc 4 cylinder can tell me if they're better sitting at 100k? I'm not particularly interested in acceleration, but would like to be comfortable. I've never owned a bike before and 7000rpm just sounds like a lot of revs to sit on for a long time.

    Also consider that the VTR is a 5 speed whereas most other bikes are 6.

    Keen to hear your opinions before i take the plunge this week!
  2. This is the key as far as I am concerned - gearing is more important than the number of cylinders. I would want something with an overdrive 6th gear for more relaxed feeling at highway speeds.
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  3. You said fun and highway---wtf
    • Like Like x 3
  4. The 4-cylinder bikes will typically sit at higher revs (10-11,000rpm), but produce less vibration.

    Of course if comfort is your main priority you'd be a lot better off with a LAMs restricted 650 than a 250. Even a GS500 would be an improvement.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. Nah, 8k isn't really a problem, though I suspect it will be closer to 9k . You quickly get used to the rev's a bike will do. As I understand it, a cbr250rrrr will be on roughly 10-11k at 100km/h (actual 100km/h rather than indicated) too. The 5 speed gearbox shouldn't bother you either, though fourth might be a bit longer than it needs to be.

    That said, the motor is pretty smooth and vibes are not bad. A twin is a half decently balanced design and the pistons aren't big enough to cause a huge rocking. I would be surprised if the vibrations are significantly worse than an i4.
  6. I take my VTR250 on the freeway quite often. I don't find the fact that it's doing 8000 revs/min such a bad thing, it honestly needs to be around there or else it wouldn't make enough power.

    The lack of power in absolute terms is a bit annoying for freeway use. Around town up to about 80 km/h the bike is plenty quick enough. It's perfect for city riding, very small and zippy. But on the freeway, too much of it's power is used up just overcoming the air resistance and what not. The lack of fairings probably do not help either (although I have only ridden a bike with fairings once). You can actually notice the aerodynamic penalty of wearing a bulky backpack. And the bike actually does start going faster if you tuck down into it.

    I don't notice the vibrations too much, although I do notice I am opening the throttle pretty much all the way, far too often for my liking. I am not tall (172cm) but I do find the bike a little cramped for long rides (although very very good and confidence inspiring for stuff like low speed riding, riding on slippery gravel)

    The kind of upright riding position gives me a sore lower back. Maybe I could fix this with lower bars?

    I am thinking about upgrading sometime soon, maybe to a restricted SV650 (or even a faired bike, even though I never used to like the look of them)
  7. That being said though, if you can't have fun with a VTR250 as your first bike, then you probably have problems. They are heaps of fun.

    When you take your bike out for a fun ride, you avoid the freeways, so it's crappy freeway performance isn't that bad.
  8. i did a 12 hour 780km trip on my hornet 250 and it was great, you need earplugs on the highway anyway and the 4cyl are extremely smooth even though they rev harder, so its not tiring.
  9. I'm not sure what revs my vtr250 uses at 100 as I don't have a tacho, but it sits at 100 pretty easily and quietly and there's less vibration than my aprilia and it's a lot comfier. Could be the upright position and squishy seat on the vtr. I'm 185cm and 100kg. I think the extra torque of the v-twin helps a lot and as highway speed you're in the meat of it. Round town it's lugged me and my gf pretty easily, i dont think a 4cyl would do as well. It won't get up and overtake like a big bike but u can still pass, I've only had mine to about 140ish. As for the gearing thing, don't stress too much, bikes are happy at those revs, and a 5 speed gearbox can give you the same top gear as a 6 speed and u can always change the sprockets. I think the vtr only has 5 gears cause it doesn't need 6 with the torque spread, it's less peaky.

    Edit: for the record I reckon the vtr is one of the best learner bikes you can get. I got it for my gf to learn but I have a ball on it, just ask the guys fom last weeks Tuesday learner ride.

    However, if all you want to do is sit on 100 on the highway (which you won't when you start to ride) then getting something bigger might help if your state allows it.
  10. just skip the 250 crap
    you wont be happy
  11. I ride a VTR250 (2004) on the highway and freeway regularly. It's fine. The buzzyness gets a bit tiring after a while and some of those big hills require flat out in 3rd to keep up 110* but it works ok.

    * I say this with the 50 litre Ventura pack on the back, that thing is not exactly aerodynamic. Without the pack 4th is usually OK.

    Having said that, when off my P's I'm upgrading to a VFR800.
  12. Wish i skipped the 250 and went for a 400 or so back then.

    Its an interesting sensation, couple hours on a buzzy 250 and you suddenly cant feel your nuts anymore.
    Usually involves reaching down to check they are still there because all sensations otherwise are gone, and the next visit to the toilet sitting down like a lady because you are doubting... :D
  13. skip the 250. you will want to upgrade as soon as you can. so if you get a restricted 650, once your off your P's you can just pay to de-restrict it. a lot cheaper. and you will have no problems with enough power for anything you want to do. I went with a restricted 650, and never once doubted it. good weight, good power, good fuel consumption and I cruise at 110 with 4600 RPM. with the 250 you will be screaming down the highway and have no extra power for speeding out of a bad situation. and on top of that, the 250's use about the same amount of fuel per Km as the 650's because you don't have to sit at higher rev's. just my opinion.
  14. If I was on L and had the cash, I would look at CB400. Four cylinder 400cc and very new model, available with ABS. Full powered and would handle highways like a breeze.
  15. ^^ this.

    He may be in a state that requires a 250cc bike. His question was about 2 or 4 cylinder bikes not 250s and 650's.

    If you're allowed and u have the cash to lose then a cb400 would be hard to beat but if your staying 250cc then the vtr is a great bike to ride.

    It's worth noting that the vtr and cb400 are both highish performance bikes for their capacity and will punch above their weight relative to larger, lower cost bikes, particularly the cb400 with its vvt.
  16. This. It's actually not as noisy as I was worried it was going to be, vibration is a complete non-issue, and as soon as you hit hills or sweeping bends, you need those high revs on a 250. Edit to add: For reference, my bike shows 7000rpm at 100 km/h.

    I did the Great Ocean Road and back on my VTR250 the other day. Maybe 350km on straight highways + 200km of twisties, over 10 hours from when I left to when I got back home and most of those spent on the bike. The bike was great, and it really wasn't until the final hour heading back along Princes Freeway that my shoulders really started hurting. And remember I'm still a beginner - I've only had my bike for six weeks - and this was the first long bike trip I've ever done!
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  17. Pfft vibrations on a 250 twin. Reallly?

    The pistons must weigh like 100g each. This is such a non issue. Get a car if you want to be removed from your machine.
  18. well i will give my 2 cents worth. i started on 250 vtwin, moved to 800vtwin and now got another 250 vtwin for the lady.

    the first 250 (kawaski Eliminator) was geared for town. VERY buzzy on freeway. this current 250 is geared for freeway, so less poky round town, but can pizz in 130kph before it gets buzzy. at 100kph it is totally at ease and comfortable (redline still 4500rpm away!!!). like an 250...only hills are a worry and you have to start kicking back gears.

    there is ONE thing that have a 250 will always be better than a big engined bike......they are much more chuckable into tight corners. Every time i ride the GV250...then swithc to the M50, it feels like i am riding the QE2 around corners.
    • Like Like x 1
  19. And the fuel economy doesn't actually suffer for having the throttle fairly open, revving pretty high and cruising along at 110km/h. I still get about 3.5L/100km.

    I remember my shoulders would hurt after riding long distances when I first got the bike. It's like anything. You get much better "bike riding endurance" doing it again and again. Horse riding is the same.

    Is there some reason the OP can't get more than a 250?