This is Thailand’s new CBR150R, a budget sportsbike from Honda that clearly draws inspiration from both the VFR1200 and CBR1000RR. Word is, the European and Canadian market 2011 Honda CBR125R will look just like this, as will the all-new Honda CBR250R.
The CBR125R is a significant motorcycle because, in countries with a sensible approach to regulating motorcycle licenses, it’s learner legal, incredibly cheap, very well made and almost looks the business. Add in the naming and graphical relationship to Honda’s flagship sportsbike (clearly we’re talking about the CBR1000RR, not Shamu) and they’ve been on to a significant sales winner. It’s perennially the best selling bike of any kind in many of the markets it’s sold in. According to Visordown, the 2011 model won’t feature substantial mechanical changes, but will adopt these new looks.
Perhaps more interesting to riders in North America is the 2011 Honda CBR250R, a more or less direct rival to the Kawasaki Ninja 250. According to Canadian Motorcycle Guide, it’ll also look just like this and even stands a good chance of reaching Canuckistan next year.
Where the CBR125R makes a puny 12.5bhp in order to comply with European learner regulations, Motoroids reports that the CBR250R will use a 249cc, liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine capable of putting out 33bhp. Again, that power output is precisely pegged to Europe’s tiered licenses, 33bhp is the next step after 125cc. That bike will reportedly weigh around 140kg/308lbs meaning it’ll be appreciably lighter than the two-cylinder Ninja 250, which weighs in at 169kg/373lbs. Speculation indicates the CBR250R will be priced, in Europe at least, to directly compete with the Ninja. We guess Thai manufacturing can compete on cost with Kawasaki’s decades-old tooling.
Maybe more interesting than the promise of practical, desirable entry-level bikes is the design direction these bikes are taking. While we understand the appeal delivering a replica of a flagship sportsbike to teenagers holds, the mass appeal of $16,000, 591lbs “sport” tourers is slightly more questionable, especially ones as amorphously designed as the VFR. The presence of its flaccid headlight shape here probably indicates that some impressionable manager within Honda actually considers Shamu a legitimate flagship for the company that once made the RC30.