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Old 18th March 2013, 23:03   #1
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Default From Honda CBR250R to Duke200 to Ninja250R: Quarter liter ownership story!

<<Disclaimer: These are my viewpoints/perceptions on the bikes based on how my ownership has panned out. They are not necessarily right or wrong. So don't dunk me for it>>

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Ninja 250R
M4 Exhaust with no baffles
LED taillights
LED turnlights+brakelights (on their way)
Frame sliders and tank stickers
Current Odo: 13.5k

Duke 200
KTM orange handguards
KTM tank and fuel cap stickers
Akra exhaust planned but depends on upgrading this to Duke390
Current Odo: 8.5k

CBR 250r
Tank stickers
Now gone! :-( My ownership lasted for about 5k kms only


Let me start with a comparo straight off and then get into the details:

CBR250r

What works:
1) Relaxed tourer. Can cruise at 120 all day on those boring straight highways
2) Soft suspension eats up bad roads well
3) Comfortable riding position for those long rides. Wide and soft cushioned seat is just perfect
4) Nice mid end torque - where most people spend most of their time


What isn't so great:
1) The front suspension is too soft. Just too soft. It pitches on hard braking
2) Handling isn't good enough to challenge the other two. Reason? See above point
3) Brakes aren't very confidence inspiring even with the ABS. Again, in comparison to the other two
4) Top end isn't much joy. No push or love from the engine

Ninja250r
What works:
1) Handling, handling, handling. It truly is one with the rider like no other. Enter the curves and it defines what motorcycling is all about
2) Once you get past 6k rpm, everything else is a blip in the mirror. Sheer joy of revving to 14k rpm. Monstrous top end for a 250
3) Phenomenal braking. Absolutely the best in class
4) The fastest of the three, both in terms of acceleration and top speed

What isn't so great:
1) Low end torque isn't great for city riding - but a good exhaust fixes that
2) The green is an attention magnet. Can't think of parking it in a mall to go watch a movie
3) Hard seats. Long rides (400kms+) will take a toll on your hind-side
4) Old style dash layout for the speedo/tacho seems outdated

Duke200
What works:
1) Flickability! The moto cross riding posture + sharp turn in angles are a boon in the city
2) Fantastic in gear acceleration. Again, nothing will keep up on city streets
3) Heavy duty suspension and build quality take a lot of abuse wit ease
4) Absolute blast to ride. On ghats, bad terrain, no terrain, you name it

What isn't so great:
1) Short gear ratios - too many gear shifts as you hit the rev limiter too quick
2) Hard and narrow seats. Not very comfortable for long rides as they don't give much room for moving around either
3) Upright riding position makes you feel like it's you against the Lord of the Winds at highway speeds
4) Restricted top end. Rev limiter cuts in hard and it would have been nicer to have longer 6th cog

I was a kid when my uncle bought a Hero Puch Shakti. So in the summer holidays of my 9th, I got along a friend who said he knows to ride a 'geared gadi' and we stole the Puch keys. I almost got it into a gutter when I dumped the clutch too soon the first time. But once I got the hang of it, the Puch was fun like nothing else. The first gear wheel'ed for no reason and the 2 stroke torque kept you addicted forever. It might simply be a nostalgic effect, but I still can't think of anything that beats the fun I had on that one. Sure, it made 60 feel like 'ooh so fast' and towards its later years gave me a lot of trouble with a leaking exhaust. But I can still remember the feel of the throttle and miss the darned thing.

Anyways, I digress. Let me start with a few pics of what's to come, just to break the text monotony.
Attached Thumbnails
From Honda CBR250R to Duke200 to Ninja250R: Quarter liter ownership story!-325990_10151376207416803_89190482_o1.jpg  

From Honda CBR250R to Duke200 to Ninja250R: Quarter liter ownership story!-177907_10151107681121803_1864150846_o.jpg  

From Honda CBR250R to Duke200 to Ninja250R: Quarter liter ownership story!-45104_4294912010849_123644860_n.jpg  

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Last edited by niranjanrvce : 19th March 2013 at 18:06. Reason: Added odo readings
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Old 19th March 2013, 18:05   #2
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Default Re: From Honda CBR250R to Duke 200 to the Ninja250R: Quarterlitre ownership story!

I currently alternate between the Ninja and the Duke as my office ride and my younger brother uses whichever one I am not On highway/long rides, it's almost always the Ninja that gets picked. The baby CBR is no longer with me as mentioned earlier.

Now for the details:

The Looks
Very subjective area this, so just my preferences: the Duke200 hands down. It's the hooligan in the midst of 2 suited up gentlemen. The martians wouldn't look out of place riding it. It is sharp, chiseled and carries off that orange with aplomb. See one and there's no mistaking what it's built for - pure forbidden fun. Its rule breaking nature isn't limited to its looks though but more on it later.
The Ninja carries an old school but elegant shape that will stand the test of time. Nothing's overdone, the fairing suits it to the T and it looks and feels like a proper sportsbike. The twin headlights upfront are now a trademark and so is the ninja green. It looks brilliant in motion, when the lines really flow and seeing a ninja take a fast corner is a thing of beauty. Part of that ofcourse, is how well it lets you take the corner but the striking green helps too!
The CBR carries a much more modern look with its two piece fairing and well sculpted headlight design. The overall effect is very pleasing to the eye. This baby ceeber is actually a baby VFR in more than one way but most overwhelmingly in the looks department. It's got a nice big bike feel to it and the only grouse I have is the overly large exhaust muffler - the CBR150R's short muffler would have looked better on this one IMO.

Engine and Gearbox
The Ninja is tuned like a track machine and in a good way. It seems happier at 13-14k rpm than anywhere else in the rev band! The first few times I opened her up it went something like this: 3-5k she's moving and I can sense the power building up, 6-9k there it comes and ooh she's gathering pace quickly, 9-14k she's picking up serious pace now and getting happier and happier, 14.5k wait, where did that rev limiter come in from! The engine seriously is the single most revv happy thing I have ever experienced. And packs a lot of punch in the mid-top end. The low end isn't anything to write home about - the M4 exhaust definitely has improved it but not quite to the levels of the Duke200. On the open road though, this machine will fill you with joy like no other. Keep it one gear lower than usual on ghats, twisties and bends and you will find yourself going from one fruit loop to another in a string of treats with a big grin plastered on your face. The engine braking is spot one and the big overlap between gears helps in minimal use of the brakes. The gearbox is really sweet - no false neutrals and sure shot shifts.
The Duke200 is very different machine to the other two here. It's torquey in the low-mid with a decent shove in the top end. The revs build up real quick and even a sedate shift will see upwards of 6-7k rpm. It is fantastic off the block in any gear and that makes it an absolute joy in traffic and city conditions. At 40 in 4th? No problem, open her up and she will prance. The way the revs build and the gear ratios associated with it make it impossible to ride the D200 sedately. There is just so much happening in any gear at any speed that once you wring her open, there's no going back. You get addicted to keeping her wrung open. And she loves that. What you need to watch is the downshifts to engage engine braking. There is less than normal overlap between gears, which means that it is easy to get a badly judged downshift and spike the engine past the rev limiter. The gearshifts slot in well but there seems to be problem getting to neutral from first - you can do so easily from the second. Not sure if it is my bike specific.
The CBR is a very mature engine. It isn't a track scorching, high-revving mad machine and it isn't meant to be. As a relaxed tourer there isn't a better option below the Ninja 650 today. The engine packs a better low end than the Ninja and a strong mid range that makes everyday riding and overtaking a breeze. In fact, once the mid range kicks in, it will smoke everything else below 250cc, including the Duke but only just. It is only the top end that is a bit short of what you expect after riding that mid range torque wave. It's very much at home both in the city and the highway and is a perfect all round bike. The gearshifts though aren't as smooth as you would expect of a Honda - no neutral issues like the Duke though. In essence, it is a baby VFR-like tourer despite the moniker.

Ride and Handling
There simply is no contest to the Ninja here. You sit on it, get it moving and the bike is now a part of you. You lean, she leans, you lean harder, she leans harder still. The sense of control you get is phenomenal. The front never gives up on you and it's almost like point and shoot really. You know you are not pushing the bike to its limits. Your limit defines how hard you take the corner. The bike will do whatever with ease. I am ofcourse talking about average Joe riders like me and not a professional Rossi. It is a very natural riding posture to corner hard and you find yourself hanging off the bike with minimal effort. Every corner, every turn, becomes a little scoop of ice cream to get to. And you can never have enough. The ride is harsh over bad roads though and a patch of badly broken roads on some of the state highways will really test you. It's like the hard seat is repeatedly slapping your behind.
The Duke shouldn't be looked at in the same view as the other two again. The upright, almost 90 degree moto cross riding position is fantastic fun! You sit with almost no weight on your wrists, and flick and turn the handle depending on what takes your fancy. It is a lot of fun on the twisties with its torque and short gears but in a more 'I don't care about the lines' way. Not that it can't hold its line, it certainly can and very well at that. But the riding posture encourages you to have a different kind of fun really.The Duke really shines on mud roads and no terrain though. Although not a proper dirt bike, the lightweight body and torquey engine let you enjoy those rides through fields and mud roads without scaring the hell out of you. Even the occasional skid or rear lock up is easily handled. The ride is again hard, though not as much as the Ninja. But there's a solution to it - wring the throttle open. The suspension eats up bad roads once you quicken the pace a little. You might prefer to stand on the pegs on the really broken patches though.
The CBR doesn't quite match up on the handling part. Its tendency to lose its line on a corner+undulation combo might end up catching you off guard. When riding hard through twisties, you get the feeling you are fighting the bike as much as you are fighting the corner. But then the limits of the bike are very gradually reached and that helps you sense just how much you are pushing it. And not to mistake the CBR to be a bad handler, it still is a better handler than most bikes out there save for the R15 apart from these two maybe. The ride on the other hand, is fantastic. It takes broken tarmac very well and suspension+soft seat combo gives you the best chance of crossing a bad state highway with minimal strain.

Practicality
The Duke200 has the best MID of the three. Loads of info in a very crisp display. DTE, avg speed, KMPL, KMs to next service, travel time, clock, low fuel indicator, side stand indicator, two trip meters and the list goes on. The CBR is the next best with a clear digital display that shows you the important stuff and in far larger font size than the Duke. The Ninja carries an ancient analog speedometer and tachometer set.
The CBR has the best riding posture with a slight forward lean and minimal wight on the wrists. The Duke's upright posture is fun as long as you don't hit a straight highway. You have to fight the winds too much then. The Ninja's posture is a little more committed and keeps you more involved but takes a slightly higher toll on longer rides.
The Duke and Ninja have excellent plastic quality all round and the switches and panels feel sturdy. The CBR has disappointing plastic quality overall and everything including the faring seem flimsy. However, the plus side to that is the panels are all very VFM to replace.
The CBR has by far the best pillion seat of the three. The one the Duke is too small and on the Ninja has nothing to hold on to, apart from being too small.
The rear view mirrors of the Duke are a joke. You need to chose which big bad blind spot you prefer. Way too small. The mirrors on the Ninja and CBR are adequate with the ones the Ninja very well built as well with no vibes at all.
In service costs, the CBR is the easiest to maintain followed closely by the Duke. The Ninja is a bit on the costlier side and I just paid a service bill of Rs. 8800 that included brake pad (front and back) change among other minor things. Needing to replace a part on the ninja will burn a hole - the front brake disc is 13k, the chain sprocket is 16k and so on.
I haven't measured the FE properly - the Duke MID shows 28-29 kmpl usually and I think I get 22-24 on the Ninja. The CBR would give around 28-30 as well.

Other Stuff
The M4 exhaust on the Ninja is real loud. You can't enter a parking lot without a few car alarms going off. (OT: I noticed Ritz and WagonRs to be the most likely candidates - anything with the alarms on them?)
The plus side to the M4 is that everyone gives you way on the highway, even the big trucks. Even when I have no intention of overtaking!
The longest ride on the Ninja was to the IBW; B'lore-Goa-B'lore. Fell in love with it, if I wasn't already. But couldn't walk straight for a few days afterwards
So I went and bought those B-Twin cycling shorts with padded bottoms. They are perfect! Did a 500km day ride on the Ninja with them later and no pain whatsoever.
The Duke and CBR saw a lot of the western ghats on rides. The longest being 600kms+ in a day.
My younger brother joins me on some of them but he is still young and new so I am cautious taking him for the longer rides. He used to take the car to college but now is bitten by the bike bug!
The headlights on all three are fantastic with the ninja getting a slight edge due to its twin bulbs.
I plan on upgrading the 130/70/17 rear tyre on the Ninja to the 150/60/17 rear tyre that's on the Duke. If that doesn't fit, I might go 140/70/17.
The rear tyres on the Ninja and Duke have a rounded profile while the CBR's rear is much more flat.
I currently use a Technic Riding Jacket, Knoxx knee guards and Cramster TRG2 gloves. Will be replacing the gloves and buying a new riding shoe pair soon.


So what's the crux of it all then?
The Duke is for the little boy in you. Pulls at your heart with whispered tales of hooliganism. It is also the best city bike on sale right now.
The CBR is a perfect upgrade for all those with a bullet who ride long and ride often. It is a tourer that can take you anywhere and everywhere.
The Ninja is proper sportsbike in its own right and has everything you need to scorch a track or scream through a highway. It is quick, fun and addictive.

The last set of pics:
Attached Thumbnails
From Honda CBR250R to Duke200 to Ninja250R: Quarter liter ownership story!-169300_10151107682691803_1949277672_o.jpg  

From Honda CBR250R to Duke200 to Ninja250R: Quarter liter ownership story!-170404_10151107683856803_1175075334_o.jpg  

From Honda CBR250R to Duke200 to Ninja250R: Quarter liter ownership story!-416301_10151376210051803_1811505419_o.jpg  

From Honda CBR250R to Duke200 to Ninja250R: Quarter liter ownership story!-256451_10151107672461803_1155812232_o.jpg  

From Honda CBR250R to Duke200 to Ninja250R: Quarter liter ownership story!-256488_10151107676181803_1809684117_o.jpg  

From Honda CBR250R to Duke200 to Ninja250R: Quarter liter ownership story!-413674_10151107684581803_1073516665_o.jpg  

From Honda CBR250R to Duke200 to Ninja250R: Quarter liter ownership story!-imag0775.jpg  

From Honda CBR250R to Duke200 to Ninja250R: Quarter liter ownership story!-556989_3693557977374_1042704045_n.jpg  

From Honda CBR250R to Duke200 to Ninja250R: Quarter liter ownership story!-imag0773.jpg  

From Honda CBR250R to Duke200 to Ninja250R: Quarter liter ownership story!-imag0777.jpg  


Last edited by niranjanrvce : 20th March 2013 at 13:14.
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Old 20th March 2013, 13:33   #3
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Default Re: From Honda CBR250R to Duke 200 to the Ninja250R: Quarterlitre ownership story!

Mods note: Thread moved from Assembly section to Motorbikes. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 20th March 2013, 14:02   #4
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Default Re: From Honda CBR250R to Duke 200 to the Ninja250R: Quarterlitre ownership story!

This is the definitive 'comparo' review for these 3 bikes! Someone who has owned and ridden all three for a considerable distance! How come you ended up buying all 3? That must be an interesting story.

Thank you very much for putting this up. Helped clear up a lot of things for me.

Last edited by am1m : 20th March 2013 at 14:04. Reason: Adding question
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Old 20th March 2013, 14:10   #5
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Default Re: From Honda CBR250R to Duke 200 to the Ninja250R: Quarterlitre ownership story!

Lovely comparison. I think you must be one of very few who have owned all three of these bikes. Thanks for sharing your feedback.

CHEERS.
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Old 20th March 2013, 14:16   #6
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Default Re: From Honda CBR250R to Duke 200 to the Ninja250R: Quarterlitre ownership story!

Very nice comparo and in my opinion, the most definitive one ever - since you have owned all three. When i was upgrading from my pulsar, Ninja was very aspirational but its maintenance costs and parts replacement costs kept me away from it. Duke was the crazy unpractical bike which made me feel atleast 5 years younger while the CBR was the "intelligent" choice considering my touring requirements - wifey being pillion.
I do enjoy the CBR apart from its shoddy tyres, but a ninja zipping by gives a good workout to my neck muscles.
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Old 20th March 2013, 14:31   #7
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Default Re: From Honda CBR250R to Duke200 to Ninja250R: Quarterlitre ownership story! (CBR So

Straight-from-the-heart review there.You have a set of wheels which most of us riders would love to own in India. Best of both worlds. The hooliagan(read KTM200) and the track-champ(Ninja). What's missing I would say is a cruiser(if atall you like them, i dont).

BTW with the new ninja around any plans to upgrade? As most of the issues have been sorted out and now it sports a digital speedo plus looks MEANer.

About the loud exhaust, all you can do is learn to live with it.
I have pimped up my 2007 RTR160 with a big bore(172cc) and a FreeFlowExhaust from Joel. And thanks to the exhaust, my neighbors usually give me that dirty look. Add to that the gazillion street dogs in Bangalore who make merry whenever am around

P.S : Am super jealous of you
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Old 20th March 2013, 14:54   #8
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Default Re: From Honda CBR250R to Duke200 to Ninja250R: Quarterlitre ownership story! (CBR So

Forgot to ask one very important question, which of the 3 had the most hassle-free after-sales service experience? You've already indicated that the Ninja was the most expensive to maintain, but which brand offers the best service in terms of paying attention to specific issues, fixing issues, capability, availability of spares, competence of service technicians, etc.?
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Old 20th March 2013, 15:05   #9
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Default Re: From Honda CBR250R to Duke 200 to the Ninja250R: Quarterlitre ownership story!

Quote:
Originally Posted by niranjanrvce View Post

So what's the crux of it all then?
The Duke is for the little boy in you. Pulls at your heart with whispered tales of hooliganism. It is also the best city bike on sale right now.
The CBR is a perfect upgrade for all those with a bullet who ride long and ride often. It is a tourer that can take you anywhere and everywhere.
The Ninja is proper sportsbike in its own right and has everything you need to scorch a track or scream through a highway. It is quick, fun and addictive.
Perfect conclusion, I say!

On the service and spares cost though, I reckon the Duke beats the CBR.

P.S. I'd like your view on the Korean 250 as well.
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Old 20th March 2013, 15:49   #10
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Default Re: From Honda CBR250R to Duke200 to Ninja250R: Quarter liter ownership story!

Nice comparo. And I agree to the lines - "The CBR is a perfect upgrade for all those with a bullet who ride long and ride often. It is a tourer that can take you anywhere and everywhere". The CBR for me, is the perfect tourer - no troubles, hassle-free riding. And she will maintain that 120 kmph without even straining! Awesome machine.
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Old 20th March 2013, 16:48   #11
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Default Re: From Honda CBR250R to Duke200 to Ninja250R: Quarter liter ownership story!

Nice comparison. I agree with your observation about CBR. It is comfortable, good torque for city riding and an awesome tourer. The front suspension spoils the fun on the track.
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Old 20th March 2013, 18:12   #12
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Default Re: From Honda CBR250R to Duke200 to Ninja250R: Quarter liter ownership story!

Quote:
Originally Posted by am1m View Post
How come you ended up buying all 3? That must be an interesting story.
Thanks! I wanted to start off with how I ended up with all 3 story but it was a lot of boring text so skipped right to the bikes! There is no real 'need' for 2 bikes but now that my brother has gotten into it as well, I ended up with these.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mik View Post
the CBR was the "intelligent" choice considering my touring requirements - wifey being pillion.
Thanks. If you have a pillion then there is no option other than the CBR. The other 2 are just too much torture. My wife refuses to sit on either on the Ninja or the Duke. Not that I am complaining

Quote:
Originally Posted by SoumenD View Post
BTW with the new ninja around any plans to upgrade? As most of the issues have been sorted out and now it sports a digital speedo plus looks MEANer.
Thanks again. No intention to upgrade to the new Ninja. I will end up spending 1.5L+ for not much more value IMO. The looks are definitely meaner and better though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by am1m View Post
Forgot to ask one very important question, which of the 3 had the most hassle-free after-sales service experience? You've already indicated that the Ninja was the most expensive to maintain, but which brand offers the best service in terms of paying attention to specific issues, fixing issues, capability, availability of spares, competence of service technicians, etc.?
Well Bajaj probiking has been miles ahead of Honda in this. I used to go to Haiku Honda in Domlur and now go to Probiking/KTM service at Indiranagar or Kasturba road. Honda needs constant follow up on issues/timeslines etc. The probiking/KTM guys are very prompt, tell you exactly what is needed, are very clear on delivery times and elaborate on any queries you have. Only grouse with them is that they don't accept cards and you need to carry cash.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamseller View Post
P.S. I'd like your view on the Korean 250 as well.
Thanks! I have not had a chance to ride the Comet so can't really comment.
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Old 20th March 2013, 18:37   #13
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Default Re: From Honda CBR250R to Duke200 to Ninja250R: Quarter liter ownership story!

Quote:
Originally Posted by naveenroy View Post
Nice comparo. And I agree to the lines - "The CBR is a perfect upgrade for all those with a bullet who ride long and ride often. It is a tourer that can take you anywhere and everywhere". The CBR for me, is the perfect tourer - no troubles, hassle-free riding. And she will maintain that 120 kmph without even straining! Awesome machine.
There is a new king of this hill now. Try the new TB500. Indicated 120 at about 4k rpm or so, tops out at 140ish. Nice cruiser (harley clone) seating, and the rider seat is just perfect for 500km/day rides.
The bullet engine never felt so alive in other bullets or before, this thing has a nice roar and revs quickly and builds up speed more like a pulsar.
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Old 20th March 2013, 18:45   #14
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Default Re: From Honda CBR250R to Duke200 to Ninja250R: Quarter liter ownership story!

Quote:
Originally Posted by apachelongbow View Post
There is a new king of this hill now. Try the new TB500. Indicated 120 at about 4k rpm or so, tops out at 140ish. Nice cruiser (harley clone) seating, and the rider seat is just perfect for 500km/day rides.
The bullet engine never felt so alive in other bullets or before, this thing has a nice roar and revs quickly and builds up speed more like a pulsar.
Thanks but no thanks. No offense either

But am done with the Royal Enfields. I don't think I want to own another Enfield for many, many years to come.
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Old 20th March 2013, 19:36   #15
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Default Re: From Honda CBR250R to Duke200 to Ninja250R: Quarter liter ownership story!

Excellent review Niranjan. What i like more about the crisp and clear review is because it comes out practical usage of all the 3 bikes for months and not just mere test ride of the bikes.
Happy riding on your new green hornet.
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