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Old 30th June 2011, 19:17   #1
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Default Honda CBR 250R Review

First, I'd like to Thank my good friend n_aditya who called me up last evening when he heard what I was undergoing & encouraged me to put up what I'd been undergoing. Tks n_aditya

This is certainly not a complaint or anything negative about HMSI. A few around here know my writing style - Simply plain facts; nothing more, nothing less.

Its just the 13th day of my ownership on my CBR250R & all the first 10-12 days passed with full of events. Keeping things simple & easy to read, I'm narrating the timelines & experience in few short words.

I'd made a booking during first week of February 2011 at JSP Honda Chennai & then the long painful waiting period started until the month of June.

Pre Purchase

11-June - I go to buy a new helmet & also take an opportunity to meet a friend & his new purchase White ZMAR. After the meet, I casually drop in at the dealership to ask when I would get my bike. They give me a shock saying, they can get it by 17th, provided I pay by 13th. They only have RED STD in stock; Black's ETA is not known.

13-June - I go, make a payment of the balance of the booking amount that I paid earlier (5K) in cash & was assured of delivery by 17th evening. I'm little paranoid on numbers, so I ask them what series is running on the RTO's applicable to me. Lucky me, I'm able to choose 3 RTO's, Poonamalle, Ambattur (TN 18 Z 5K series) & Red Hills (TN 18 F 9K+ series) (TN 20 BP 8K series). After much discussion, they decided they'll do in Redhills as TN 18 H series is about to be opened. So I choose 0050 or 0500.

14-June - I order a set of number plates from Utsav, just like what my Rx has

15-June - They register the number 0050 for me as well as first C250R to be endorsed (or approval or something) in Redhills RTO

Post Purchase

17-June - Called up by 3:00 PM & they ask me to come; I was there by 4:30 & they hand over me the invoice & insurance copy. Meanwhile, I'd my own set of check lists. They carry out PDI in front of me & I also check up for few things. I found they missed out one piece of tool & noticed the fuel is blinking a bar indicating less than 3L of fuel. They oblige to both topping the fuel as well as the tool. By 5:30 I leave to home, get the number plates fixed by myself, take Wifey & go out to Padavattamman temple at Lucas TVS, Padi. Get the regular Puja done; fill to brim & take a short spin from Puzhal to Ambattur through Chennai Byepass keeping my rev under 4K which is actually 60 Kmph. End of the day have done about 99 Kms.

18-June - I could hardly sleep the previous night; woke up at 5:30 in the morning, got geared up & took out the bike for completing the paining run-in. The route I choose was Chennai-Krishnagiri-Chennai for its butter smooth, less traffic, which becomes easy for a person like me, who has better control on wrist. I kept the RPMs at 4K RPM, with a break for 5-7 minutes for every 50 Kms. Once I completed 300 Kms, the RPM limit was about 5K RPM. After 500 kms, it was raised to 6K & then gradually increased. End of the day, I'd completed 596 Kms on ODO in 10:30 hours.

19-June - After the first day's run in, I was more confident enough, but for a small pain in the wrist, which I was sure to go away in long run (and yes it did as we speak). Today's plan was to run about 300 Kms to make the final ODO 900 for the first service. Since I already did NH4, I wanted to try NH45. So the trip was from Chennai-Villupuram-Chennai & when I completed the day, the ODO was 938 Kms

20-June - I already had applied leave to office on 20 & 21st June to enjoy riding C250R to full as I always wanted to ride my Rx to office. I used this day to get the bike serviced. Had called up the SM at JSP Honda in advance & all of us were in sync that the bike would be serviced in 2-3 hours & handed over to me. They'd also done a good job by changing the engine oil to 20W-40 (which can also be used as an alternative to 10W-30), changed engine oil filter & lubed the chain. Costed about Rs 586. All done, checked & I rode back home as a happy customer. I was riding solo all the way during the run-in, so, I took an opportunity to show Wifey about the capability of the bike as soon as the first service was over.

So I & Wifey took a ride to Vellore which is 120 Kms from Chennai. But everything shattered to pieces.

Last edited by aargee : 30th June 2011 at 19:21. Reason: Splitting up the long post
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Old 30th June 2011, 19:21   #2
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Default Re: CBR250R - Sharing my traumatic ownership experience for first 12 days

Thanks for sharing the experience.

I would like to say once again - I am happy to see the outcome. Look forward to a happy future, insha allah. All The Best!
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Old 30th June 2011, 19:25   #3
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1. First the bike found hard to cross 90 Kmph mark.
2. Then on empty stretches I couldn't cross beyond 110 Kmph. Trust me it took a little while to cross from 90-110
3. Initially I thought I didn't accelerate hard & since I'd done my 1st service & by then I'd clocked over 1000 Kms on ODO, I thought, may be I should near the redline in every gear.
4. But beyond 3rd gear, I couldn't cross 8K RPM & worst thing was, no matter how you accelerate, it wouldn't cross 7.5K RPM in 6th gear. So the top speed was now between 115-119 Kmph
5. After a while (crouching under the windshield), the bike did 123 Kmph with great efforts, but then all of a sudden the engine dies during that speed.

Initially I thought it was seizure, so I engaged the clutch, but then it struck that I didn't hear any loud burst. Anyway, I pulled over & tried to start. It cranked up, but didn't start. There were no malfunction light glowing nor did the temp bar cross beyond 3 bars. We pushed the bike to a near by hotel, had cold drinks & waited for 10-15 minutes & tried starting & we couldn't. We followed the engine flooding method mentioned in owner's manual, but still it didn't start.

Then I called up the dealer, explained my situation, who in turn called up HMSI official, who calls up the nearest HMSI ASC from where I've been struck. All these happens in 10-15 minutes. By then I try the flooding method once again & noticed the RPM goes up to 3K RPM & that moment, I open up the throttle & the bike starts with a grunt. After that, the bike behaved normally. We didn't have much use on the HMSI's call because the bike had started by then. After the vehicle started, we observed additional tappet noise.

We drove back at good speeds at times able to touch 120 Kmph & most of the time staying above 100 Kmph. Since we'd reported this to dealer, we were asked to bring the vehicle to ASC. I was also given the contact of a HMSI personnel incase the issue happens again. But then nothing happened.

After coming back home, I called up the HMSI personnel. He initially said he would not be available, but later agreed to come by afternoon to the ASC. By now the ODO has clocked a little over 1100 Kms.

End of the day...
- Our entire expectation that the bike could do 120+ effortless when most people reported they could do 135 with pillion easily was completely shattered
- More than a disappointment, it was a great embarrassment with Wifey. The kind of looks you get means, oh!!! did you pay so much to get struck here? And not to mention that women are good at recollecting & associating things of past for any issues in future
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Old 30th June 2011, 19:27   #4
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21-June - Most of the day, I didn't have to do anything just for short rides for about 10-15 Kms. I'd been riding solo with the tappet noise. However, I couldn't notice much different in the pickup, however, the punch was lacking (which I understand now). Afternoon, I went to ASC & had met the SM & HMSI personnel. They took a small spin (say 2-3 Kms), but they didn't want to give any statement. They didn't even want to hint what could be the issue. I really felt sorry for them; I'd rather expect them to atleast give some hints as where the issues could be. When I hinted about the SHIM issues, then, they agreed that it MAY be with the faulty SHIMs. When I asked if they checked for top speed, they said they didn't check. I really felt annoyed because, not only they listen to all the issues, but, doesn't even test things completely. So I took the HMSI personnel as pillion & took a test ride on Chennai bye-pass road. During the test we could touch 120 with extreme efforts & just like previous day, anything beyond 90 felt little difficult. I'd also showed him another issue of false neutrals between 6-5, 5-4, 4-3 & 3-2 gears. They wanted me to leave the vehicle with ASC, but, I insisited that I would come the next day & they carry out anything in my presence.

22-June - I left the bike by morning 8:45 AM; the ASC waited for the engine to cool down until about 11:30 AM. They had a brand new paddock that barely was sufficient to hold the bike on swing arms. They said, that's the kind of paddock HMSI supplied. Glad that the bike didn't fall from paddock!!! By 1:00 PM they'd checked the size of valve clearances & found it was only 0.2 mm & they themselves concluded that for this kind of variation, the tappet noise shouldn't be heard. They wanted to open up the cylinder. By 3:00 PM, they'd opened up the cylinder & what we saw was total shock!!!

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ASC confirms it was an engine seizure at one side of piston & cylinder that happened after first service. I still cannot believe how this could happen. During this entire process, the HMSI personnel didn't show up at the ASC. The ASC, took pics & sent to HMSI & said they would get back to me next day.

23-June - I'd called up twice, one in the morning & evening to ASC. By evening, ASC confirmed that HMSI would be sending a new cylinder+piston kit by evening flight of 24-June.

24-June - Had done about 2-3 calls to ASC; end of the day, ASC says that HMSI has not done the shipment. However, HMSI had agreed to send a brand new engine block by flight on 25-June.

25-June - Once again had done about 2-3 calls to ASC & the day was wasted without HMSI having sent the shipment

26-June - After a call to ASC in the evening, it was quite a good news. Despite being Sunday, HMSI had shipped the engine block by evening flight that should reach Chennai by 27-June by DTDC courier.

27-June - After 2-3 calls to ASC, I understand that the courier guys take their own sweet time to get the engine block delivered only by evening of 28-June

28-June - After 2-3 calls, ASC gives a confirmation that the bike would be delivered by 29-June around 4:00 PM

29-June - Quite surprising that, ASC had worked over the night to replace the engine block & they'd everything ready by 10:00 AM. Despite their promise of 4:00 PM delivery, they gave me a delivery by 11:45 AM. Commedable job from JSP Honda ASC

Last edited by aargee : 30th June 2011 at 19:37.
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Old 30th June 2011, 19:30   #5
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Default re: Honda CBR 250R Review

Concluding notes...
- I'd ensured that the oil quantity was adequate, quality was 20W-40 supplied by HMSI
- When the engine stalled, the temperature was at 3 bars
- Regarding the run-in, I'd followed the RPM limit very religiously & not to exceed 4K RPM until 200 Kms, 4.5K RPM until 300 Kms & 5K RPM until 500 Kms.
- Only after 500 kms I started opening upto 6K RPM & by the time I completed 900+ Kms, I'd not exceeded 8.5K RPM
- In addition to this seizure, I'd false gears from, say, day 2 or may be even 3
- While I did mention (not complain) during 1st service, I'd expected it to get away after 1st oil change, which eventually didn't happen.

So what did HMSI do?
- They did acknowledge the issue & shipped a complete brand new engine (including clutch assy, tranny), which basically means, a new engine number & they also agreed to provide a letter stating the change of engine number
- HMSI took about 2 days to decide whether they need to supply the cylinder+piston kit OR an entire new engine & finally they shipped by air on Sunday night.
- They took away the old engine for R&D
- The dealership, JSP Honda, did a good job; they were quick enough to attend my issues & coordinate things. They worked over the night on Tuesday to deliver the bike on Wednesday. They committed the delivery by 4PM, but they delivered by 11:45 AM.

What HMSI could've done better?
- HMSI could've employed some good & knowledgable engineer who can directly work on this issue with the customer; instead they'd some HMSI official who'd to get back to me for most of the question.
- They allocated all the work to dealership & probably the HMSI personnel only had a overlook on the issue over the phone. They could've had someone at the dealership to supervise on top of this issue, which would've given more confidence. The one, who was available over the phone, had to get back for every question I ask. Most of the time my repeated calls would get the answer. Clear negligence is exhibited, which could've been avoided.
- While they took my old engine, there's no ETA or no explanation provided to me as when or will they share the reason as why the issue happened in the first place
- They could've used a better method to courier the engine. They shipped the engine from Gurgaon office on Saturday evening, which reached Chennai by Monday morning. However to get that delivered to the dealer, it took until Tuesday evening. So pathetic DTDC courier service.
- The HMSI personnel to whom I've been interacting said y'day that the engine was already run in & hence I can open up, but not so suddenly. Had it not been our friends & xBhp, I would've certainly believed him. Anyway, I asked him to get a confirmed answer & today he gives me a call to say that the run in is required.
- Finally it appears like HMSI did their job, but, just one call from the upper management would've helped to gain me some confidence.
- It was clear that the ASC did take utmost care & except for one single scratch at the exhaust shield, the bike is still in mint shape.

- It took one day for the HMSI personnel to confirm if the brand new engine requires a run in or not. He asks me to simply run the vehicle, but not to rev certain limit. Pls don't ask me what's the limit, he himself doesn't know.
- The heights was that, HMSI personnel says that the engine oil doesn't need to be changed for the first 1000 Kms & incase if I feel some discomfort, I need to bring the vehicle to ASC. Whoa!!! What a great answer. It took a day for him to get back to me to clearly say that, the run in needs to be done and the labour for the first service will be waived off, but not the consumables. Really frustrating!!! I'd just finished off my first service last week as well as run in last week. Now, I've to complete the run-in once again as well pay up for consumables once again. I should probably call this my fate!!!
- Now HMSI has washed off their hands saying that they'd dispatch the change in engine number letter would be sent to dealer duly & the dealer says he'll hand over the letter to me once he receives from HMSI. Now no one knows if the dealer will take care of the RTO work or should I take care of it. Now its my turn to keep following up with HMSI & the dealer on that letter
- Isn't it a very dangerous situation? God forbid, but, if there's any accident involved, wouldn't the insurance company would simply wash off their hands? Has HMSI thought anything in these lines?
- Isn't also quite dangerous situation that the engine number & frame number is quite different from what it is actually endorsed in the RC? If anyone checks, the cops have every right to simply tow away my bike to their custody. Now imagine this happening in one of our neighbouring state.
- Very clearly, there's no ETA on when the letter would be provided.

The way forward
- The one week of traumatic experience cannot be explained by words. If you'd been married & if your newly wed Wife had been separated forcefully from you for over a week, that's the kind of situation I feel is more apt. Total miserable, felt paralyzed most of the time.
- Most of my friends say, I should've opted for a new bike instead of this. Yes, I should have, but, my thought was that, mistakes do happen & this is one of the kind. So why not give a chance to HMSI to correct their mistakes?
- Should the replaced engine does have any more issues, then, its no further looking back, like most of you PMd & spoke over the phone, I certainly agree - Demand for a refund

There were so many of my friends who had been empathetic on this issue & gave me over the through phone both who're on this forum as well as others. I immensely Thank You all from my bottom of my heart. Thanks a lot.

Am I happy? Not really to say a very happy ending, but still, the ending is smooth enough, which could've been done better. Like one of my friend says, the memories of this one bad incident keeps haunting all the time. Everytime you take the bike out, the mind always is in fear if the trip, be it short or long, will ever succeed. Basically the trust on the Honda reliability is lost. When I did ride to Munnar this year, I didn't have a single thought if the Rx would let me down. It would take several 1000 Kms & probably years to get that kind of confidence & trust with my C250R.

Last edited by aargee : 30th June 2011 at 19:42.
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Old 30th June 2011, 19:37   #6
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Default re: Honda CBR 250R Review

No need to thank me Aargee. It was only in public interest that i asked you to put up this thread. HMSI needs to seriously reorganize the way it has been handling the CBR 250 customers.

First it was shocking for me to learn that a lot of folks who bought the bike and run the engines in within the first couple of days landed up at the service center for an oil change, only to find that there was no stock of the oil filter. Its been more than a month or two since the bike has been launched and still this issue has not been resolved.

Now the engine seizure is another hammer in the coffin for HMSI's brand image.

I can understand how you feel. Speak with the dealer and ask for a confirmation on the date when they can give you the letter. Go even further and ask them to help you with the new engine number endorsement in your RC book and insurance policy.

Getting your trust back on the reliability will take some time. Hang in there. I hope all the issues are rectified soon and you have a long cherished relationship with this bike.

All the best !!!

HMSI needs to relook at its strategy if it wants to be one of the leaders in this segment or it wont be long before the bookings start vanishing into thin air.

P.S. Thread title edited accordingly.

Last edited by n_aditya : 30th June 2011 at 19:40.
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Old 30th June 2011, 20:19   #7
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Default re: Honda CBR 250R Review

This is just pathetic,i would not expect this to happen to a brand new premium bike from Honda.
Running in or not,this shouldnt have happened.
I have seen bikes,that have been ripped hard right after they were delivered and they have been going fine.
Now,it can be one off case but still.
PS:Just a shot in dark,was the engine oil changed in your presence?

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Old 30th June 2011, 20:34   #8
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Default re: Honda CBR 250R Review

Although all is fine in the end, I'm sure the incident isn't going to be a pleasant one to remember.

Good at least the dealer/A.S.S. did their limited bit.

I tried finding it in the thread but didn't get it; what was the cause for the engine seizure afteral? Sorry if I've missed it. Was it a manufacturing defect or something went wrong later?

Hope the RC update with the new engine no. happens smoothly now.

Wish you a much better ownership experience!
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Old 30th June 2011, 20:42   #9
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Well this was not expected from Honda CBR. Even if it is one of those rare cases but still a brand new bike behaving like this is simply unacceptable. At least Honda SVC did their part in warranty formalities. But I guess this incident has crashed all dreams of enjoying a brand new bike and that too a Honda CBR.

A similar incident happened with me but it was minor in my case. I was having serious starting issues with my Karizma on the first day of ownership itself. However after that there is no problem with the bike and I am enjoying this quarter liter bike for past two years

Thanks for sharing this experience with us, my cousin brother was looking for this bike, I will suggest him to put this idea on hold for a while till Honda rectifies all issues with first lots if any.

Well as everything is OK now I wish you happy and safe riding.
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Old 30th June 2011, 20:45   #10
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Default re: Honda CBR 250R Review

Folks, is this a common problem with CBR250s or more of a one-off? aargee, sorry to hear about your bad experience, did Honda tell you why the entire incident happened? Manufacturing defect or some other reason?
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Old 30th June 2011, 20:50   #11
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Aargee, nice to see you back in T-Bhp. Harrowing experience to say the least. But glad that i has ended well.

Congrats on the bike and wishing you many more trouble free miles with it.

Originally Posted by libranof1987 View Post
I tried finding it in the thread but didn't get it; what was the cause for the engine seizure afteral? Sorry if I've missed it. Was it a manufacturing defect or something went wrong later?
Honda has taken the engine for R&D and they themselves are still not sure for the cause of seizure.
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Old 30th June 2011, 21:11   #12
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RG - Thanks a ton for putting up this thread.

What you have brought to our notice is really shocking and should not have happened with the bike we were considering a feather in HMSI's hat.

I am glad you were able to get things sorted and are back on the road and what they did could have been much better from the kinda of reputation they used to have in the market. I am sure this is going to tarnish their goodwill if it spreads across to masses.

Also, am hoping this was one odd case and no one (buying any bike) should go through this kind of pain in such early phase of their new bike. It's very disheartening.

Please follow up with the ASC guys and have them incorporate the new engine # in your Insurance & RC Book. They owe it to you.

Congratulations on the ride but the experience you had in initial stages has been extremely bitter. Hoping the coming days bring the excitement back to the fullest and you munch miles with a big smile.

Last edited by mantrig : 30th June 2011 at 21:12.
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Old 30th June 2011, 21:23   #13
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aargee,thanks for penning down,my cousin was planning to buy one but advised him to put on hold.From the pic ,looks to me it is a case of piston scuffing.The unicorn(2007 batch) had engine issues too.The engine used to lose compression i.e one of the valves used to get stuck(happened twice in my case) which ultimately lead to replacement of block and piston.

Last edited by rakesh_r : 30th June 2011 at 21:25.
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Old 30th June 2011, 21:28   #14
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Default re: Honda CBR 250R Review

Balanced views, Aargee. I understand that now it will not be easy to be confident about this bike now. Give it a few hundred km and try to open it up again. Best of luck.
Glad that this has been put up as a thread on this forum. Fanboys on some forums will flood the thread with praise worthy posts and any negative feedback is hounded out.
Personally, had booked the CBR250 myself. However, didn't feel that it was a big enough upgrade for a P220 owner. Also, the iffy plastics were an irritant.
Honda really needs to get its act together. First, it was the monstrous waiting period. Then, the very erratic deliveries all over the country. Some guys who booked on 1st jan are yet to get the bike. To top that, dealers are being extremely shady. A guy i know booked from the same dealer as i did, in april and got the bike within a few days. While i had booked in the first week of jan and finally got a call in may first week. Also, its pretty clear that quality has been compromised in India.
I am speculating, but pretty confident that they can't sell such a half baked product in the US.
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Old 30th June 2011, 21:33   #15
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Default re: Honda CBR 250R Review

@ Aargee, is it possible that they sold you a test ride bike? Hard to digest the fact that a brand new bike straight from the factory suffered serious engine damage.
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