As much as the death of two-stroke road racing is painful, the rise of small-capacity four-strokes is seriously exciting. It’s not so much that they offer some sort of performance or character that two-strokes don’t, but more the relevance to current and future production products. With Moto3 replacing 125GP in 2012 and the Honda NRS250 (“Next Racing Standard”) being developed for that class, is the American release of the Honda CBR250R really just a coincidence?
Sure, there’s likely no mechanical similarity (beyond single-cylinder engines) between the two bikes, but watching 250cc four-strokes racing alongside 1,000cc MotoGP bikes on TV is going to help Honda sell bikes like the little CBR to historically size-obsessed Americans.
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.