CBR250R vs Ninja 300: high five

Does the Ninja's might make it right, or can the Honda fight back?

WHEN Kawasaki launched the 2013 Ninja 300, it upset the quarter-litre applecart, leaving the Honda CBR250R alone and moving into a class of its own. The Ninja is an excellent piece of engineering; with terrific build quality and grin-making performance, it's more like a proper big bike than any of the 250 crowd (read our full Ninja 300 review here). 

However, that doesn't mean the Honda has been blown into the weeds entirely. Here are five areas where the CBR250R bests the Ninja 300…

1. Price: The CBR is substantially cheaper than the Ninja - to the tune of £849 (non-ABS versions) to £1,099 (ABS version) less. That's up to 21% less dosh needed to buy the Honda! Or put another way, that's your first year's insurance and fuel and maybe even a new lid sorted: not to be sneezed at. Heck, it's even a new Lexmoto Arrow in case you want another pair of wheels to muck about on...

2. Fuel economy: With a smaller and less powerful motor, it's no surprise that the CBR sips fuel more gently than the Ninja. In our tests the Honda returned about 10-12 mpg more than the Ninja. This is borne out on economy comparison site Fuelly, where the CBR250R owners report 55-75mpg while the Ninja 300 registers 45-65 mpg. With fuel at £6/gallon, the Honda saves you £100 if you do 6,000 miles a year. (More kit, yay!)

3. Comfort: The Honda has a softer seat, slightly higher bars and a sit-up riding position that's easier on your bum over an extended session of riding. The Kawasaki's more committed riding position is designed with fast twisties in mind, but unless you're buying a bike purely for Sunday riding, the Honda is a better all-rounder in terms of comfort. 

4. Manoeuvrability: With a tighter turning circle, shorter wheelbase (1369mm vs the Ninja's 1405mm) and weighing 10 kg less (and the seat is a cheeky 1 millimetre lower too!), the Honda is a nimbler beast and thus more at home in the urban jungle, wiggling through dense traffic and parking up with relative ease. 

5. Finance: Honda offers 36 months of finance on the CBR250R at 4.9% APR (£301 deposit, £109 a month), while Kawasaki offers the Ninja on a 10.8% APR three-year scheme that sees you put down a £563 deposit and pay £140 a month for 34 months plus higher initial and final instalments (£175 and £205). The difference between the final sums payable (£4,225 vs £5,703) is a hefty £1,478 in favour of the Honda.