By Byron Wilson, Associate Editor

A brand new design for a proven bike

The Honda CBR250R, added to Honda’s roster in 2011 to challenge the lightweight, small-displacement Kawasaki Ninja 250R in the new/novice rider market, returns in 2013 virtually unchanged from its first iteration two years ago. The highlighted changes are all cosmetic, including a new black exhaust cover and black wheels on any of the available color schemes, which are pearl white, blue, red, red and black, and a new Repsol treatment.

Anti-lock brakes are an option on all 2013 Honda CBR250R models except for the Repsol edition. The 249.4cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine makes the 250R a sporty yet manageable machine for new riders. The front end features a 37mm fork with 4.65 inches of travel and a single 296mm disc brake with twin piston calipers. The rear suspension features a Pro-Link single shock with five-position spring preload adjustability and 4.07 inches of travel, and the rear brake is a single-caliper gripping a 220mm disc. The 3.4-gallon fuel tank averaged 64.7 mpg in 2011 during the road comparison test we conducted when the CBR250R was brand new, and it’s fuel-efficiency makes it an attractive machine for daily commuters and weekend enthusiasts alike in 2013.

Since its inception, the Honda CBR250R has sold successfully in Europe and Asia, where small-displacement, high-mpg bikes often meet with a warmer reception than in the United States. These are the motorcycles that compete, albeit heavily modified, in the Moto 3 class of MotoGP. With Repsol’s presence in all three tiers of the premier international race series, it’s no wonder they added the race team’s color and logo to the bike. What better way to fuel the dreams of the novice rider than to deck out a bike in GP livery ridden by global stars like Dani Pedrosa, Casey Stoner and Marc Marquez?

Ultimately though, the bright orange permeating the tank and wheels just looks cool and will likely be a conversation starter. There’s more style and personality to the Repsol scheme compared to the other stock options available, and even if riders aren’t throwing a leg over the 2013 Honda CBR250R with hopes of racing glory, it’s a great way for fans of the team to show their love.