Honda NSF250R: Moto3, here Honda comes

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This is the first official, full photo of the Honda NSF250R, released just moments ago. The “Next Racing Standard” (it was being called the Honda NRS250) is Honda’s new Moto3 entry and, as such, uses a 250cc, four-stroke, single-cylinder engine with a bore of 81mm and a 14,000cc rev limit. Power is likely in the low to mid-50bhp range and the total rider/machine weight can’t be less than 148kg/326 lbs. It’s kind of crazy to think the EBR 1190RS only weighs 34lbs more or so.

Like 125GP it looks like bikes like the NRS250 are going to be all about corner speed, not outright power. Competitive horsepower from the 81mm bore, four-valve, engines with their 14,000rpm rev limits is predicted to be in the low 50bhp range. Figuring in the 148kg/326lbs minimum weight (including the rider) that gives Moto3 bikes a power-to-weight ratio slightly behind something like a CBR600RR. Figuring a 77kg/170lbs rider, the 118bhp 600 has a power-to-weight ratio of .45bhp:1kg while the (presumably 54bhp) Moto3 bike’s is .36:1. Not exactly shabby for a tiny four-stroke.

Honda says,

“Replacing the current 2-stroke, 125 cc used in the GP125 class, Honda developed the new NSF250R as a machine for entry riders to participate in the battle, seizing the opportunity provided by the opening of the 4-stroke, 250 cc Moto3 category, which begins in 2012.”

“With a mission of broadening the base for motorcycle motorsports cultivated by the RS125R, we aimed for a high-performance, lightweight, and compact racing machine that allows RS125R users to ride with the same sense of comfort and inherits important elements from the RS125R such as the ability to learn the basics for moving up from entry level to the MotoGP.”

“As a leader of the NSF250R development, on top of seeing the NSF250R expand the base for 2-wheel motorsports, as the RS125R did, and sharing dreams and excitement with our customers by revitalizing the Moto3 class, our greatest joy would be for the machine to serve as a springboard in creating future MotoGP champion riders.”


  • R.Sallee

    Where’s my road version? I don’t really aspire to sportbikes but a 40 hp 250 would be too tempting to ignore.

    • tomwito

      You would have to rebuild it with every oil change. The stress a motor of that displacement making power like that is severe. Has to be 15:1 compression and race gas only.

      • Andreas

        The Yamaha WR250X is a nice light engine, not quite 40 hp, but decent service intervals.

    • seanslides

      Just buy a 40hp 650. tomwito is right about the rebuilds. Go look at the maintenance for a 38hp motocross bike, and factor in the added stresses of constant high rpm street riding. I suppose it would be fun if you’re a long time vincent/norton/BSA owner who’s become bored with his bikes, and want’s something that’s more of a challenge.

  • Luke

    A lot of my friends were 125 GP riders. I feel more sentimental about this class being 4-stroked than any of the others.

    The affordability justification never rang true. Sure 2-strokes require more maintenance, but when maintenance is required I can’t think of a single operation I didn’t see performed in the pit garage between sessions. I saw someone glue a new crankcase together in an afternoon – “we may as well freshen her up for tomorrow” (to be fair he was a master at the craft and even the rest of the 125 teams stickybeaked to learn how he did it)

    I hope it will be a success. The absolute worst thing would be if these bikes are more expensive to buy and maintain than the RS125s they’re replacing. 2-stroke GP bikes are the most affordable taste you can get of *real* grand prix racing.

    The talent factory of motorcycle racing is the shambolic family, packing their 14 year old son’s 125 bike into a crowded van and schlepping 15 hours to the nearest race track. Dad is the mechanic and mum wrangles timesheets while the son practices his thousand yard stare in a fold out chair, leathers dangling. Dirt or tarmac this is a real “on any Sunday” that lives on today. If the price of entry level GP style road racing skyrockets, these guys won’t turn up.

    I present the Scott family of Australia for your consideration …

  • holdingfast

    geez it looks so crappy next to the EBR 1190RR, its almost funny.

  • Kyle

    Why didnt they make the CBR250 look like this = (

    • Corey


      • michael uhlarik

        Because then only a small number of hard core squids would buy it, and that is not the market Honda are after.

  • Roman

    Looks like fun. Street version with a 500cc thumper plz?

  • slowestGSXRever

    “bore of 81mm and a 14,000cc rev limit” :)

  • JaHo

    I first read this as the “Honda NSFW250R” and thought “better not click on that at work.”

    • Wes Siler

      Ha, that’d be an awesome name for a bike.

  • brutus

    Somebody more educated than me should take a guess at the price…

  • DoctorNine

    This ought to be interesting to watch people adapt to.

  • tropical ice cube

    [paranoid mode]
    Isn’t that a plot by big makers to get rid of the small players like Derbi?

    I can’t think of any reason to multiply the price of this sport at its ‘entry’ level. MotoGP teams, the really loaded ones here, are complaining. Moto2 made some kind of sense by using mass-produced engines, but I doubt that machine to be just a CRF250R sibling (the CRF has a 76,8 bore for a 43bhp output).

    Wasn’t all this 4-strookes thing about making the learning curve easier for superbike transfuges, cause 500cc 2-strokers where so impossible beasts to tame that only kids that learned on 50cc screamers could?

    What was wrong with that?

    Well, since 2-strokes are being removed from everywhere, I guess it justify itself, chicken-and-egg-problem style.