Honda NSF250R ready for Moto3 dominance

Dailies -


This is the first image of Honda’s Moto3 competitor in “production” trim. Retailing for €26,500 ($38,200), the Honda NSF250R will give teams a turn-key entry to the 125GP-replacing four-stroke class. The highlight technical feature is a reverse cylinder, which locates the intakes at the front and exhaust at the rear to maximize gas flow through the engine. It’s the same size as the outgoing RS125R.

Update: 17 images live from the unveiling in Spain. Man, that thing is tiny.

Where the four-stroke NSF250R can’t match the two-stroke RS125R is, unsurprisingly, weight. The old bike weighed 71kg, this new 250 weighs 84kg or 185lbs. The minimum total weight for bike and rider in Moto3 is 184kg, leaving room for a 220lbs rider or, more likely, a fair amount of ballast.

To centralize that mass, that single cylinder is canted back at a 15-degree angle. It develops 47.6bhp at 13,000rpm and 20.6lb/ft of torque at 10,500rpm. Rules limit maximum revs to 14,000rpm. That compares favorably to the 43.3bhp at 12,200rpm and 18lb/ft at 12,225 of the old 125. That’s right, a four-stroke 250 makes power at higher revs than a two-stroke, 125 GP bike. This class should be pretty exciting after all.

As you’d expect, that engine is pretty high-tech. Titanium valves are claimed to reduce friction as well as weight and the cylinder is offset to decrease frictional losses. You can read more about offset cylinders here. Friction is further reduced by a nickel silicon carbide cylinder coating. The gearbox is a stacked cassette item, reducing engine length and allowing easy ratio swaps.

Honda is also claiming significant aerodynamic gains for both efficiency and cooling.

  • Ben Rowland

    Is there a possibility of an affordable road version?

    • Wes Siler

      No, this is a GP racer.

      • Ben Rowland

        I mean, will they develop a mass-produced version based off this bike? Will any of the design trickle down to an affordable bike for Joe Public?

        • Ducky

          Your best bet is the CBR250R. Which is not anywhere close to this bike.

    • Case

      It’s Moto3. This IS the affordable version.

  • fasterfaster

    Holy shit, I want one of these NOW as my track bike. $40g is very affordable for a gp level bike and as a mortal human I can’t think of any bike on the planet I’d rather turn laps on. When I’m rich (bitch!), this is high on the list.

  • aristurtle

    I kinda wish they made the CBR250R look like this, instead of the weird Civic-like appearance it ended up with.

    Granted, the first-timer crowd would probably not enjoy having the handlebars that low and the footpegs that far back.

  • Jeff

    I think I might be in love.

  • David

    Put this paintjob on a regular CBR 600 RR and I’ll finally be able to make up my mind about which sportsbike to buy.

  • Gene

    I think for the first time I’m looking forward to watching Moto3 now! I wonder what it sounds like?

    • Wes Siler

      On my phone, but if you follow the kink to the tag page in the article, there’s a video with sound.

    • Wes Siler

      Added a video to the article for you.

  • Xenophya

    R.I.P 2T racing, a very sad day.

    Twice the capacity, 20% more weight…. Progress!!!

    • fasterfaster

      Was it a sad day when bias-ply racing ended? what about steel frames and right side up forks?

      I get the folksy nostalgia for two-smokes, but I don’t get the hatred for evolving beyond them. Meaty, predictable torque curves of four strokes gave us the era of epic rear wheel power slides (until traction control took them away again).

      This bike will be faster than the old ones and should provide the same quality of racing or better. It has more power and torque, likely more usable everywhere. It will be cleaner and lower maintenance. Some of that weight gain may be in the chassis, as given the minimum weight, Honda may as well make the chassis stiffer and more robust. Not to mention it’s beautiful.

  • Cajun58

    Unfortunately less maintenance then a 125 2-stroke will not be the case. As evidenced by a CRF250F for example the maintenance schedule is measured in hours and if not strictly adhered to will result in major damage. And with so many more moving parts then a 2-stroke it’s going to cost a lot more.

  • pinkyracer

    honda schmonda. so next will they find a way to convince Carmelo to only run hondas in the premier class as well? I forget, is Moto3 going to be another Honda Cup like Moto2? Everyone knows innovation dies without competition. Well, at least there’s TTXGP for a series with actual innovation.

  • Jens

    Kalex Engineering anounced yesterday their deal with KTM for Engine Supply for a Kalex Moto 3 Bike.

  • Charles

    Good luck with the “reducing costs and emissions” deal. No way in the world is that going to happen.

    A 4-stroke 250MX engine lasts about 15 hours between rebuilds. They make 32 horsepower on a good day. To make 50% more power? It’ll be a case of changing pistons and valves between every session, and throwing the engine away every weekend. As for emissions, they’ll be running all sorts of nasty additives to get the thing to not detonate and last to the end of the race, and everybody who can’t really afford to contend will have the mixture nice and rich.

    Meanwhile, stick a two-stroke and you splash some muriatic acid on the cylinder, wipe it down, throw a new $25-90 piston in it and get out for the next heat…