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Who Says a 250cc Single Has to be Slow? Honda NRS 250 Video

When Moto3 takes over from 125 GP in 2012, Honda powered bikes will be on the grid (along with bikes powered by KTM and other manufacturers).  These new single-cylinder 250cc race engines can rev to 14,000 rpm, and should make close to 50 bhp.  Honda has released the following video of its prototype NRS 250 Moto3 machine making some glorious music.


  1. Scott in the UK says:

    I must be one of the few people that don’t mind them – but then I have always supported thumper racing. After all, once we through real capacity limits out the window by allowing 4-T bikes to be 2x capacity of 500s, and then it was fiddled to 800, and now to be fiddled BACK to 1000, we have essentially thrown away all the history since 1949 anyway (plus the 600 thing as well…). The beautiful symmetry of 500 – 250 – 125 2 or 4 stroke take yer pick is dead and buried. So it SHOULD have been (though this will never satisfy everyone) either;


    and it can be 2 or 4 stroke, blown for all I care or turbo. OR more sensibly;

    1000 4t any number of cylinder you like
    750 twins
    500 singles

    That would have provided good racing, a variety of bikes, and encouraged more manufacturers in.

  2. Trpldog says:

    What a joke.
    I’m gonna go eat.

  3. CWOWW says:

    gee 50hp, too bad the 125’s are putting out 55. this whole 4 stroke thing is pretty pathetic, you need twice the engine and 3 times the cost to do the same thing. except this bike sounds like complete crap – the 2 strokes don’t need any background music

    • joe2d says:

      Not only does 125 2-stroke has more hp, it also delivers them in a more frantic fashion, 4 stroke single cylinder are just lazy and it does sounds like crap too. They should use 2 stroke sound as the background music, then it’ll sound alot better LOL

  4. sultanofslide says:

    wow!i think grandpas electric scooter will get u there faster lol!! kill off 2 stroke race bikes and you just kill off ‘REAL’ road racing.anyone can race a 4-stroke,it takes talent to tame a 2-stroke.real men race real bikes!!keep those 4-strokes in those cruisers or better yet cars!

  5. mxs says:

    You mean this comment???
    “One of my bikes are slow and underpowered,but I refuse to hype it into something it is not.”

    Why to waste time. I said what I had to say. It looks to be like a great year for people who get small cc bikes. For chaps like you, oh well, just get another liter bike to be quick on a straight hwy.

    BTW, what is the bike you own and call underpowered. Just curious.

    • Joe says:

      What do you think, only small bikes can hustle on curvy backroads, sorry chap. And dont get me wrong, a low hp. bike that can handle can be great fun, but lets not get over the top with the HYPE. And if you most know my smallest bike is a Husqvarna SM610 576cc single cyl.

  6. Dave says:

    This clip and article have almost nothing to do with the release of a 250cc steet bike. It is a video of the bike Honda will field in the 125cc GP replacement class. Did anyone read the first sentence?

    “When Moto3 takes over from 125 GP in 2012,…”

  7. ziggy says:

    Why do the writers and editorial staff at MD keep pushing this class like they’re the new religion?

    No, these will not inject new life into moribund North American markets.

    The cure for boredom is excitement, not more boredom.

    Give us CUTTING EDGE sportbikes with Japanese reliability, light weight, and comfortable ergos.

    Bikes like that are the top sellers in all first world markets. Kawasaki and Yamaha have made recent forays into this area, but these first-draft attempts are not enough to get me fired up.

    How about Suzuki gives us a full-power sport tourer / standard based on 750 GSX-R at the same weight as the sport bike?

    How about Honda builds something with a pulse–you know–something a red-blooded man might like to ride? Start with an “engine” put a “rider” in the middle, and finish with an “exhaust note”. It’s a motorcycle for heaven’s sake, not rocket surgery!

    Can any of the big 4 figure out how to build a real, modern dual sport in the 400 and 650 classes that isn’t an outdated bloat pig with limited capabilities?

    To say these types of bikes don’t or won’t sell in North America is a flat out lie. It’s just KTM, Triumph and the “innovators” are making the sales, while the conservative Japanese try to keep their stranglehold on the mass market.

    In the correction, pretty much everything went down save for KTM and Triumph who continued to push the boundaries in terms of style, function, application, and product line expansion. Guess what? They grew, with robust sales and increased market share.

    Motorcycling is about excitement and passion. You cannot manufacture this kind of market. It knows what it wants, and it damn sure isn’t getting it.

    When the big 4 start taking chances, they’ve got a chance at getting my money!

  8. joe2d says:

    Sad, sad, sad, the death of 2 stroke is finally here, 125GP replaced by MOTO3, Aprilia RS125 replaced by RS4 125. All this “green business” is bullshit, a cow farts more ‘green’ gas than a 125 2-stroke, so does that mean we should exterminate all the cows? Ridiculous excuse to kill the fun off small displacement sports bikes. The HONDA 250 a race bike? Puhhhlease, this is an insult to small displacement sport bikes, my old 2-stroke 150cc Yamaha will blast it into the middle of next year!

    • Norm G. says:

      what i don’t get is why the complete kill off…? it’s seems heavy handed. why not add variety and just open up the baby class to 4 strokes…? then let the manu’s and teams decide what cycle they want to run…? of course this would deny big red the opportunity to have complete influence over grandprix racing. 🙁

  9. Steve Ducharme says:

    also, I’ve never seen a better advertisement for the return of small cc 2-stroke street bikes than these anemic 250 4 strokes turds. 22 HP for a totally modern Honda 4 stroke “sport bike”. Give me a break. Yamaha was doing twice that with 2 strokes 35 years ago. Even if you factored in the slightly higher cost of orbital technology and direct injection you could put an emissions legal 2 stroke that would mop the floor with his thin on the street and in the hands of the next gen of riders for a VERY affordable price. Racebikes would be all the more improved. Greed technology is BullS#it. Small cc bike don’t pollute anyway so what the frick is the point.

  10. Steve Ducharme says:

    Are you kidding. A well tuned 30 year old vintage TZ250 2 stroke would mop the floor with this thing. Stylish video’s and soundtracks are a sorry excuse for performance. If anyone thinks this is an improvement then they’re idiots. Sorry but you are.

  11. Cpsmith58 says:

    Is this bike underpowered? It’s all relative. Compared to my literbikes, absolutely. But if I actually open the throttle on mine (which I love to do, because it’s FUN), I could hit 40 mph over the speed limit, which is as of January 1, 2011 here in IL a year in jail and a $2500 fine. That’s NOT fun.

    One of my favorite sayings is, “I’d rather ride a slow bike fast than a fast bike slow”. I’m pretty quick but compared to the guys I love to watch on TV, I’m glacial. I used to race MX. I’m a bit quicker now, (still glacial compared to the TV guys) but my buddies and I would have the time of our lives racing for all we were worth and still get lapped by the A riders. It’s all relative. On the right track, you’d be surprised how much fun you’d have on that bike that farts.

  12. John A. Kuzmenko says:

    Sure doesn’t sound too fast when I close my eyes and just listen.
    I think my own WR-250F and WR-250X sound meaner, really.
    The bike in the video sounds too much like a wet fart all over the place, especially on the uphill at the end. @_@

    I wonder if it would sound better as a 250cc twin-cylinder?

  13. Mick says:

    Oh goody. Finally they have made GP all retro all the time. I can’t wait until they make it all steam powered and really get cooking. They sail bikes! Why move forward when you can spend so much money moving back!

  14. Mr. Mean Man says:

    I myself am looking to purchase a motorcycle for transportation. I will mostly be riding on the streets an sometimes in heavy traffic. For me the ideal bike wood be a scooter or a small displacement bike like the CBR250. I am not an aging baby boomer with an inferiority complex or a squid who feels he needs to let the world know what a bad ass he is. I really get get tired of comments like, “Only fags ride scooters” and ” Your a big guy get a big bike”. These sorts of comments are thickheaded and moronic. I say ride what you like

    • Joe says:

      I have a slow and underpowered motorcycle and have never witness comments like those. Thats outrages.

  15. mxs says:

    Why is it that small bikes always have the largest discussion audience here. Yet it has also ton of negative and many times ridiculous comments from people who have never anything near 250cc and never plan to. Really strange, if you don’t like “slow and underpowered” bikes why don’t you take your act to another article nd have a ball there. Nobody is forcing you to read it, or do they???

    • Joe says:

      One of my bikes are slow and underpowered,but I refuse to hype it into something it is not.

    • Mickey says:

      Slow and under powered depends on what you’re riding at the time. When I rode a 50cc streetbike it was fine until I rode a buddy’s S-90. Then my 50 was slow and underpowered. I got a 160 and his 90 seemed slow and under powered. Then I got a the 305, then the 350, 450, 650, 750, 850 and 1000’s. Each made the previous models seem slow and under powered. There is no way you can go from a liter bike back to a 250 and not think you’re riding a slug. Riding something puts riding something else in perspective and experience teaches you things. 250cc bikes are good for beginners… for a little while… or until they ride somebody elses larger motorcycle and find out how slow and under powered their bike is. As far as watching 250’s race, once you’ve watched 1000’s race, 250’s are slow and under powered and boring to watch. You might as well watch a toddlers crawling race.

      We comment on the articles because they are what MC dailey puts before us to read and comment on. If only people who rode 250’s were allowed to comment on them, this article would have maybe 3 comments.

      • Bud says:

        Some of the best GP races I’ve ever seen were 250s. Certainly not boring.

        • Mickey says:

          What do you think it would take to get Rossi, Lorenzo, Stoner, Divisioso etc to give up their big bikes and go back to racing 250’s again? I can tell you…they’d have to outlaw anything bigger than 250cc’s. 250’s are the beginners class for future Moto GP riders. In perspective, they are slow and boring.

          You could say some amature races were some of the most exciting you’ve seen, but in perspective they are slow and boring.

          It’s the same thing in Moto X. The 125’s may put on some exciting races, but other than their parents the fans are there to see the Open class riders, cause in perspective the 125’s are slow and boring.

          • Bud says:

            250 GP is an amateur class? No.

          • Dave says:

            “What do you think it would take to get Rossi, Lorenzo, Stoner, Divisioso etc to give up their big bikes and go back to racing 250’s again? I can tell you…”

            I can tell you- The biggest available paycheck. If the money was the best in 250cc, then that’s where the best riders would go.

  16. Joe says:

    The video has selected and edited clips showing a pro rider on a track. There are little to no straitaways and the rider is relying on serious momentum to show speed in the corners, a must on a small displacement machine with little hp. The video is supplied by Honda who also added music to inhance the apperance of speed. And it is forwarded shortly after the release of a new 250cc street machine to the public. The video is what it is, HYPE to sell a 22hp. bike to the public.

  17. jeffster says:

    Sorry, but a thumper is still a thumper. Doesn’t sound exciting to me.

  18. Norm G. says:

    2 words… moriwaki MD250. a model purchased for a princely sum and used en masse for domestic USGPRU racing for the past few seasons (if you follow that sort of thing). who says the youth aren’t into motorcycles? armed with one, a young garrett gerloff recently put on a clinic in front the world this past year at indy. RIP though both to peter and the mosquito foggers.

  19. John says:

    So, are they limited to 6 engines a year too? These will be high maintenance with that type of tune.

    • Gabe says:

      Agreed, but probably no higher maint. than your basic 125cc racing two-stroke motor. I found this repair manual for the Yamaha TZ125:

      You basically have to strip the top end every race and totally rebuild the engine every 600 miles. I’ll bet they are easier and cheaper to maintain than 125 smokers.

      • Justin says:

        Easier and cheaper to maintain? Hardly. I’ve got four bikes in the garage. One of ’em is a smoker. It’s by far the easiest bike to strip down and rebuild. I can have the whole top end off inside of ten minutes. That’s not happening with a four stroke. Maintenence on a two stroke is far easier than maintenence on a four stroke.

  20. Bud says:

    I can’t go along with your idea of glorious music. I prefer the sound of angry bumblebees in a can!

  21. agent55 says:

    That’s an impressive amount of power they’ve wrung from that thing, a 450 motocrosser puts out similar peak hp. I’m not seeing a connection to the CBR 250, are readers just making that themselves? I certainly don’t think Honda is trying to create a link between them. Besides, your average CBR 250 buyer likely isn’t a MotoGP fan, let alone it’s (still in development) support classes.

  22. Chris says:

    Ummmm. So let me guess… The next article/video is going to be “Who says that a push rod V-twin has to be slow”.

    Huge, huge gulf between a $50k+ Moto3 bike and the CBR250R.

  23. Kevin says:

    NSR250 to CBR250 is apples to oranges. They are only remotely related. High strung 250’s are great fun to watch on the track but pretty miserable to ride on the street. 22bhp 250’s may be fun in town but are a death wish on US highways. Where’s the brain trust here? Are the manufacturers out to lunch or is it us? Give us torque, please sir!

    As a sidebar the NSR engine will almost certainly not be based on the CRF series. The Unicam design was never intended for sustained high RPM’s. Even the factory owners manual for the CRF250 recommends piston replacement every 10 hours for offroad race use and I’ve seen valves frequently replaced as well.

    • Wilson R says:

      If you read the article you will see that the CBR makes better torque down low/midrange than the Ninja, so it’s at least as safe as the Kawi. I don’t recall seeing a lot of dead bodies of Ninja 250 riders strewn about the streets, so it’s probably safe to say that the CBR will be fine. Also, if you’re reading this article you’re a good prospect for modifying the CBR to make a little more HP which would make it an even more fun to ride on the street.

    • Gabe says:

      Death wish? I’ve spent a lot of time on low-powered bikes, so I must be Bronson hisself. There is absolutely nothing inherently dangerous about a 22-hp bike cruising at 75-80 mph, and this is from a guy who has ridden on very dense, high-speed freeways in California.

      In fact, most of the streetbikes built in the 60s and early 70s made less power than that.

      • MGNorge says:

        I think that very last point of yours Gabe gets lost today. I was riding in the early 70’s and remember all kinds of bikes and displacements lower than 500cc, heck, lower than 350cc and those bikes were used everywhere! We undoubtedly have more dense traffic today but we all rode everywhere, even on freeways. But the real beauty of many of those bikes was how they rode around town. As I mentioned before, I had an XL250 that I rode everywhere and it produced fewer HP than this CBR.

  24. Scott says:

    I’m sure the CBR has very little in common with this bike, but that won’t stop Honda from selling the CBR to people with the vague impression that it is a de-tuned version of the Moto3 bike . . . just look at the timing of their releases to see what their game is.

    A de-tuned version of the Moto3 bike would be something I would be very interested in. Sure, they wouldn’t be able to offer all the performance reliably, but shared components (engine, suspension, brakes etc.) and a reduced red-line (say 12,500) should produce a 40+ HP street-bike that would be reliable and a lot of fun.

    But rather than doing that, they produced a cheap, low performance street-bike that they made look like a sport-bike and they’ll sell it by racing a completely different bike in Moto3 while giving people the impression that they’re much more similar than they are.

    As I’ve said before, give me a cheap, basic bike that doesn’t pretend to be anything else or give me a high performance featherweight. I’d be interested in either of those, but I’m not at all interested in a cheap, basic bike tarted up to look like a performer.

  25. MGNorge says:

    I’m not sure a 50hp 125 would live long on the street, not to mention there is little noise muffling or emmission control. By the way, isn’t the CBR listed at 26hp? The comment on “too much music and what does Honda have to hide” I can say this, through just sound a good ear can tell quite a bit about an engine. They may actually not want too much sound to get through so that competitors can tell the direction their developement went.

  26. GMan38 says:

    No, it’s not a CRF250R motor. They use that motor in the Moriwaki class for kidss (16 and under, I think.) Looks cool, but I’m sure going to miss the screaming of the 125cc 2-strokes.

  27. GP says:

    I like the new CBR250. I just think that I will like my Ninja 250 more. This NSR is great, but I can not imagine what the maintenance intervals are like. Squeezing 50 HP out of a street going 250 4 stroke single will likely result in a grenade. Fun to watch, none the less.

  28. John A. Kuzmenko says:

    Does anybody know if this engine is based on the Honda CR-F250R motocross engine?

  29. Joey Wilson says:

    Just imagine what Honda’s 250cc SIX-cylinder racebikes sounded like in the 60’s !

  30. bluemax750 says:

    Doesn’t anyone remember the 1992 Honda CBR250RR? Yeah, it was only available in the US as a grey market import, but it had a 250cc inline 4 making 45 HP and spinning to 19,000+ rpms.

    Or the NSR250 two stroke v-twin of the same year?

    Two fabulous bikes that blow away the stuff they are making today in the class.

  31. Latebraking says:

    Obviously, some commenters here haven’t been following the developments of Moto3. To those people, I recommend performing a Google search. May I suggest using the search terms “moto 3 rules?….

  32. mugwump says:

    I guess I haven’t been paying attention Moto3 is going to be a Honda affair? Oh goody:-(

    • Rich says:

      No – it is not a Honda series. Engines are open as long as they conform to the rules.

      • mugwump says:

        Wow only 3 sentences and I miss read them. I check MotoMatters daily honest. Are we sure they didn’t edit the post? Now where are my car keys….? Am I wearing pants?

  33. jimbo says:

    Bike awesome…video good…so-called “music” (computer generated horse-droppings) accompanying the bike on the track, not so good.

    Video producers adding such sorry excuse for music to the otherwise excellent sound of the highest tuned internal combustion race motors are almost deserving of corporal punishment…almost.

    • capt.blackadder says:

      Hear, hear. Video producers, take note: If the motorcycle is running in the video, kill the music. Immediately.

      Even worse is when motion picture sound engineers use the wrong type of engine sound. Hearing a BMW RT police bike or a Moto Guzzi 1100 Sport sound like some four-cylinder chainsaw is damn near heretical. Talk about buzz kill.

      • jimbo says:

        I have rare background: musician, audio engineering, high-end loudspeaker manufacturing/design, state of the art subwoofer design (5-piece Distributed Subwoofer Array), motorcycle fanatic, musical instrument accessory designer/retailer, etc.

        The first wrong, naive, stupid, pig headed, wrong, concept embedded in the tiny little useless minds of video producers, especially videos produced 100% for marketing purposes only such as Honda’s above (as opposed to modern feature length movies, in which the movie exists to sell F-n hamburgers and other crap, wherein one could reasonably compute the movie’s marketing potential is well over 100%) is that a “straight” video lacking “musical” content has too little sparkle to keep a human’s attention.

        The second fatal producer fallacy is to label the crap they add “music”, when in fact it lacks any iota of musical merit whatsoever. The dear departed Louis Armstrong (he went by both LEW-is and LEW-ee) was known to say he “never knocked a man’s music”. He’d change his “tune” (no pun intended) if he had ever been cursed by hearing computer generated “percussion” effects, an apparently permanent scourge on mankind’s very soul and existence.

  34. Mark says:

    Bah Humbug! I don’t watch Moto2 and I won’t watch this crap, either. Where is the research and development when one company supplies all of the engines? I don’t even like the control tire idea in MotoGP. No competition sucks and reeks of Nascrap.

  35. falcodoug says:

    That pretty cool for a 250.

  36. Mickey says:

    If the CBR 250 was making 50 horsepower, nobody would be saying it was under powered. At 22 horsepower it is underpowered.

  37. bikerrandy says:

    Would have been easier to hear if the music wasn’t playing too. What does Honda have to hide?

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