As manufacturers strive to give the consumer the best possible deal on motorcycles by adding several innovations, it becomes more difficult for the buyer to make a decision from the number of options available. Join us as we take a detailed look at the best 250cc motorcycles.
The 9 best 250cc motorcycles are:
- Aprilia GPR 250
- Kawasaki Ninja 25R
- Honda CB300R
- Yamaha V-Star 250
- Honda Rebel 300
- Suzuki TU250
- Kawasaki Versys-X 300
- Suzuki GSX-250R
- DF250RTS 250cc Sport Bike
To help you make an informed decision, all the motorcycles are reviewed in depth, with all the specs you would want to know more about. But first, let’s discuss who should buy a 250cc bike in the first place, and the key things to look for when choosing one.
Who Are 250cc Motorcycles For?
250cc motorcycles are best for beginners that want more power than what a 125cc bike can offer, or for those used to higher capacity bikes that need a lighter, less powerful bike for fun or practicality. They’re not the best for absolute beginners, and may not be enough for very experienced riders.
From the flyweight 50cc bike to the heavyweight 1000cc motorcycle, each class of motorcycle is made to appeal to a certain type of rider. The exception to this is the 250cc bike that cuts across all lines with its universal appeal as the most general-purpose motorcycle of all. It has more than enough speed to appeal to the weekend racer with enough power to carry two people on a weekend trip.
Even though a 50cc bike can carry two people, it would be starved for power going uphill. The 100cc bike is better off although still in the lightweight class, without much charm to the weekend rider who likes to go on weekend trips with another person. It has plenty of speed with power to take two people comfortably with the added benefit of fuel efficiency.
100cc Isn’t Always Enough
Despite these advantages, the 100cc bike is still too light and needs to be maintained regularly to ensure that its speed and power are at their maximum. The 250cc bike is at the sweet spot where speed, power, price, and other factors converge to make it an all-rounder with mass appeal. As a first bike for a new rider, the 250cc is usually very forgiving.
For those who think that 250cc is too low, the next step is the 350cc bike which has more than enough power than the weekend rider could ever need. Speed is a bit higher compared to the 250cc, but it comes at the cost of higher weight. A 250cc bike normally weighs in at about 240 lbs (110 kg), which is ideal for the average rider to control and isn’t going to be a struggle to control in a high wind.
250cc Bikes Are Ideal In Many Ways
Taking into account all the factors that can affect this decision, the clear winner is the 250cc bike on many counts. With enough speed and power to carry two people comfortably and fuel efficiency as well, it is a good first choice for the weekend rider, or for those commuting to work every day. These bikes need minimal maintenance and work well as long as they are not abused.
Riders who are used to heavy bikes will find 250cc a bit light but with enough power to give the heavier bikes a run for their money. In terms of pricing, these bikes are light on the pocket as well, ranging from $4,000 to $7,000 for newer bikes with more advanced features. Obviously this varies a lot between manufacturers and bike condition, but it’s still a reasonable range.
What To Look For In A 250cc Motorcycle
Value For Money
Since you’ve decided to go for a 250cc bike and not one of the higher capacity engines, it’s a safe bet to say that you’re eyeing the prices as well. A 250cc bike provides great value for money without sacrificing power or speed. All the bikes reviewed below are the best or most popular models from their respective manufacturers worthy of a second look.
Fuel Economy & Durability
The most important factors for a budget 250cc bike are its fuel economy and durability, so that it requires minimal maintenance. As a commuter bike, you need a workhorse that is going to take you to work and back, day in and day out. Generally, bikes with lower power and lower speed also require less maintenance as well.
All the 250cc bikes reviewed below are fuel efficient, but you should double-check their fuel consumption as specs can change over time. If you are a beginner rider looking for a weekend bike, there are several classic bikes that are time-tested and have proved their performance. We have also looked at a few bikes that are right for a seasoned biker who wants something with a bit more zip.
Weight Of The Bike
As long as you aren’t looking for a bike that can travel at very high speed or one with high power output, the safe bets are the bikes in the 250cc to 300cc range, as they last much longer than the high performers and cost less as well. As a first bike for a beginner, look for a bike ideally below 286 lbs / 130 kg.
Because most manufacturers don’t adhere to 250cc as an exact measure, many of the motorcycles we list below are slightly above 250cc and some are slightly below. You should bear this in mind, although engine capacity isn’t always the most important factor when you’re dealing with slight differences. But let’s take a look at the best 250cc motorcycles!
The 9 Best 250cc Motorcycles
1. Aprilia GPR 250
Engine Type: V-twin | Engine Capacity: 249cc | Top Speed: 123 mph / 198 kph | Max Power: 26.5 HP | Max Torque: 27.3 lb-ft / 37.0 Nm | Wet Weight: 275 lbs / 128 kg | Seat Height: 32.4 inches / 81 cm
The Aprilia GPR 250 was released in 2021 as a sports bike and is BS6 emission regulation compliant. The bike comes in a number of flavors and the SP version, which is built for the racetrack, costs about $10,000. The normal version costs about $4,000, making this one of the best value-for-money bikes in this review.
The V-twin liquid-cooled 249.2cc engine drives a gearbox with five gears and a quick shifter, with electronic fuel injection, and highway fuel consumption is outstanding at 91 mpg with a fuel tank holding 3.69 gallons (14 liters). The instrument console has all digital instruments, and a halogen headlight with an LED tail lamp.
The front wheel has a 12 inch (300 mm) hydraulic single disc brake, and the rear wheel has an 8.7 inch (218 mm) hydraulic single disc brake. Both wheels have ABS and are made of alloy fitted with tubeless tires, and the front suspension is a USD telescopic fork with a rear monoshock. Overall, this bike is an excellent 250cc option for beginner riders and those with more experience too.
- Great value for money
- Both wheels have hydraulic disc brakes with ABS
- Has a quick shifter
- No slipper clutch
- Seat height may be unsuitable for a short rider
2. Kawasaki Ninja 25R
Engine Type: Inline-4 | Engine Capacity: 249cc | Top Speed: 116 mph / 187 kph | Max Power: 51 HP | Max Torque: 16.9 lb-ft / 22.9 Nm | Wet Weight: 405 lbs / 184 kg | Seat Height: 30.9 inches / 79 cm
From the famous Ninja sport bike series, the Kawasaki Ninja 25R was first launched in 2019. Priced at about $6,700, this bike is a little pricier than others on this list. The 43.5 horsepower engine output is the first sign that this bike is far ahead of the crowd in more ways than one. It also features Kawasaki Traction Control which has 3 different modes, depending on the conditions.
For the style conscious, the Ninja 25R is available in Passion Red, Lime Green, Blizzard White, and Metallic Spark Black.
The 249cc inline-4 engine is liquid-cooled with a double overhead camshaft that offers extreme efficiency. Six gears coupled with an assist and slipper clutch make this a bike that even a beginner can get comfortable with. Both wheels have hydraulic disc brakes, with each wheel having a single-disc setup.
The suspension is a high-performance USD telescopic fork on the front with a monoshock for the rear. Fuel economy is decent, although not the best, coming in at 58.8 mpg, with its 3.96 gallon (15 liter) tank giving an approximate range of 233 miles (375 km). The instrument panel has all digital instruments except the analog tachometer.
The seat height of 31.4 inches combined with the 400-lb weight might be difficult to handle for anyone not used to a heavier bike. If you can, take a test ride with a pillion rider for a few miles, stopping at traffic lights to get a feel of the stationary weight. It may not be near what you expect, but when you’re spending this much on a bike, you want to be sure you can handle it!
- Very high power output
- Comes with great Kawasaki Traction Control
- Both wheels have hydraulic disc brakes with ABS
- Very expensive
- Weight may prove too heavy for some
- Small pillion seat
3. Honda CB300R
Engine Type: Single cylinder | Engine Capacity: 286cc | Top Speed: 116 mph / 187 kph | Max Power: 30.7 HP | Max Torque: 20.3 lb-ft / 27.5 Nm | Wet Weight: 317 lbs / 144 kg | Seat Height: 31.5 inches / 80 cm
The Honda CB300R was launched in 2017, discontinued in April 2020 after BS6 pollution regulations came in, and again relaunched at the end of 2021 with modifications to comply with them. Priced at close to $5,000, it has a number of features that justify that price. The CBR 300R is one of the more popular models of the CB series from Honda which has retained its demand over the years.
The fuel consumption is reasonable at 71 mpg with a tank capacity of 2.64 gallons (10 liters) that gives it a range of about 187 miles (300 km) on a full tank. Several colors are available, but you’ll need to check with your dealer first if you have a specific color in mind for yours.
The CB300R’s liquid cooled DOHC 286cc engine is the first clue that we are looking at a high-performance bike. Six gears with an assist slipper clutch are at the heart of the CB300R, with enough power for city commutes or the weekend rider. The headlight and tail light are LED, with an LCD instrument console to supply digital readouts of speed, rpm, and fuel remaining.
Both wheels use Honda ABS with hydraulic disc brakes at the back and the front. The front suspension is a USD telescopic fork with 5.2 inches (130 mm) stroke and the rear wheel uses a monoshock damper with 4.28 inches (107 mm) of travel, which is a good enough cushion for riding on country roads as well.
The pillion rider’s seat is smaller than expected, which could be uncomfortable on a long trip. Most of the parts are the same that are used on the higher capacity bikes that Honda makes, so you are getting good value for money with the CB300R.
- Both wheels have hydraulic disc brakes with Honda ABS
- Decent power output
- Good weight for beginner riders
- A bit expensive
- Small pillion seat
4. Yamaha V-Star 250
Engine Type: Air-cooled V-Twin | Engine Capacity: 249cc | Top Speed: 85 mph / 136 kph | Max Power: Unspecified | Max Torque: 15.2 lb-ft / 20.6 Nm | Wet Weight: 324 lbs / 147 kg | Seat Height: 27 inches / 69 cm
This bike was introduced in 2008, and the fact that it is still in demand speaks volumes for its reputation and popularity. While it has been called a cruiser bike, it is equally at home as a commuter bike with its fuel economy of 78 mpg. This bike is ideal for the beginner without too much power or speed that could get out of control, and has the right price tag for a first motorcycle.
The Yamaha V-Star 250 has a 249cc, single overhead camshaft V-twin engine. For its engine capacity, the bike is a bit on the heavier side at 324 lbs (147 kg), although the extra weight may prove to be a help in improving its stability. Selling for around $4,500, which is easier on the pocket compared to some of the others we are looking at, it has a number of interesting features.
The V-twin engine is not normally found on lower-capacity engines and can power the bike to its top speed of 85 mph. It has a low seat at 27 inches, which is comfortable for most, although tall riders may find this a drawback. It has disc brakes at the front, but the rear wheel still uses the old-fashioned drum brake.
A Mikuni 1 inch carburetor complements the electric starter with a multiplate wet clutch and five gears. The rear suspension has dual shock absorbers with adjustable preload and 3.9 inches of travel. The front suspension has a 1.3-inch fork, with 5.5 inches of travel. The front and rear lights are LED with electronic ignition that is now pretty standard.
The dual long chrome-plated exhausts on the side of the bike give it a stylish look while reducing the engine sound to acceptable levels. It uses an automatic cam chain tensioner to reduce maintenance and extend the engine’s life. This scores as one of the best bikes in this review at a great price, with the only real negative being the rear drum brake that could have been updated to a disc.
- Reasonable fuel economy
- Mikuni carburetor
- Dual chrome-plated exhausts
- Rear wheel uses a drum brake
- Tall riders may find the seat uncomfortable
5. Honda Rebel 300
Engine Type: Single cylinder | Engine Capacity: 286cc | Top Speed: 95 mph / 137 kph | Max Power: 25 HP | Max Torque: 17.6 lb-ft / 23.9 Nm| Wet Weight: 382 lbs / 174 kg | Seat Height: 27.2 inches / 69 cm
The Honda Rebel 300 is one of the bestselling bikes of the brand. The bike offers value for money, selling at about $4,600 with features that the other bikes don’t have.
Honda sells the bike without the anti-lock brake system (ABS), but for an extra $300 it can be fitted. For the beginning biker, ABS is preferable as it prevents over braking when learning to ride, and for the experienced biker, it is a backup to help keep control of the bike in a tight spot. The bike churns out 27 HP, which is more than enough to carry two people with power to spare.
This is another bike with a low seat that may not be suitable for the taller rider. Its 364-pound weight is on the heavy side but contributes to its stability. It uses a double overhead camshaft with 4 valves and a slipper clutch that is normally found on the more expensive bikes. It has an electric starter with an O-ring sealed chain and six gears.
It has electronic ignition, and both front and rear wheels have hydraulic disc brakes, with LED lights at the front and rear as well. Its fuel economy of 78 mpg with the 2.9-gallon fuel tank gives it a range of about 230 miles (370 km), which should be enough for a weekend trip. The passenger seat is optional along with passenger footpegs.
The Honda Rebel 300 offers excellent value for money, and customization is possible making it one of the top contenders for the best overall 250cc bike. The commuter rider and weekend rider will get the benefit of its many features and find the price easy on their pockets compared to some of the other bikes on this list.
- Reasonably priced
- Comes with a slipper clutch
- Both wheels have hydraulic disc brakes
- Bike is heavy for a beginner
- Tall riders may find the low seat uncomfortable
6. Suzuki TU250
Engine Type: Single cylinder | Engine Capacity: 249cc | Top Speed: 75 mph / 121 kph | Max Power: 16.1 HP | Max Torque: 15.5 lb-ft / 21.1 Nm | Wet Weight: 326 lbs / 149 kg | Seat Height: 30.3 inches / 77 cm
The TU250 has been manufactured by Suzuki since 1994 and sold in Asia, Oceania, and North America. Priced at about $4,400, which gets it a lot of attention from cost-conscious buyers, the bike has plenty of features that make it worth a second look. It might be too heavy for absolute beginners, but it has just enough power for the rider and a passenger.
The TU250 has a retro look with its round headlight, spoked wheels, and indicator lights. This is an ideal street bike for commuting to work with excellent mileage, but you might find the going difficult on an open country road with a crosswind blowing. The fuel tank is also relatively small, holding just 3.2 gallons (12 liters), but sufficient for riding in the city.
This bike has a 249cc air-cooled engine with a single overhead camshaft and five gears. This is one of the few bikes that use electronic fuel injection along with electronic ignition. The engine cranks out 16.1 HP, which is much less than some of the other bikes we list here, with a top speed of 75 mph.
The lack of LED lights for the headlight and tail lamp is surprising, but the instruments are easy to read. There is plenty of silver on the bike with its chromed wheel rims, silencer pipe, and polished crankcase side covers. The electric starter is standard, and a diamond-shaped steel tube frame gives it a base of strength.
The front suspension is a telescopic fork with a coil spring that is oil damped, and the rear suspension is the swing arm type with coil spring and oil damping, which is adequate for city riding on good roads. This adds to maintenance though, as the oil has to be checked and changed at regular intervals with oil seals. Despite a few disadvantages, the bike is still great value for money.
- Good value for money
- Has electronic fuel injection
- Good mileage
- Rear wheel uses a drum brake
- Low power output
- A bit heavy for a beginner
7. Kawasaki Versys-X 300
Engine Type: Parallel twin | Engine Capacity: 296cc | Top Speed: 100 mph / 121 kph | Max Power: 39 HP | Max Torque: 19.2 lb-ft / 26.0 Nm | Wet Weight: 386 lbs / 175 kg | Seat Height: 32.1 inches / 82 cm
The Kawasaki Versys-X 300 was first launched in 2017. This is one of the most powerful bikes in this review and sells for about $6,100, and so is on the expensive side. The 4.5 gallon fuel tank (about 17 liters) is enough for a weekend trip of 315 miles (510 km) at its fuel consumption of 70 mpg.
The windshield is high enough to keep the wind off your chest and helmet and a luggage rack is fitted at the rear with the option of fitting a box behind the pillion rider seat. The Versys-X 300 boasts excellent looks, probably the best of all the bikes in this review. This bike is equally at home in the city or on country dirt roads with its wide tires and high-powered engine.
The 2-cylinder 296cc engine has a double overhead camshaft and is liquid-cooled with 6 gears and an assist slipper clutch. This will come in handy should the rider decide to use the bike on a dirt road. This is one of the few bikes to use a dual throttle valve that smooths out the throttle response, especially helpful for beginners that are prone to opening the throttle too fast.
Both wheels have ABS and hydraulic disc brakes, which is to be expected, given the power this engine can deliver. The spoked wheels are a disappointment because, at this price, mag wheels could have easily been provided.
The front suspension has a telescopic fork with 5.1 inches (128 mm) of travel and the rear suspension has 5.8 inches (145 mm) of travel, making for a very smooth riding experience. As long suspensions go, it is enough to smooth out the worst pothole that the pillion rider would have taken the brunt of. Overall, this is a decent bike for riders with a bit more experience looking for a 250cc option.
- Both wheels have hydraulic disc brakes with ABS
- High power output
- Longer suspension compared to others
- Pretty expensive
- Spoked wheels
- Bike might be too heavy for a beginner
8. Suzuki GSX-250R
Engine Type: Parallel twin | Engine Capacity: 248cc | Top Speed: 85 mph / 121 kph | Max Power: 24.7 HP | Max Torque: 17 lb-ft / 23.0 Nm | Wet Weight: 392 lbs / 178 kg | Seat Height: 31.1 inches / 79 cm
The Suzuki GSX-250R was first launched in 2017 with a 248cc parallel-twin engine and a multiplate clutch six-gear transmission. This bike is priced at about $5,000, which is a bit on the high side. Both position lamps and tail lamp are LED, with a backlit LCD instrument cluster and a bright halogen headlight.
The 10-spoke alloy wheels are supported by a front telescopic fork and rear monoshock. The bike has a lot less chrome and a lot more black on it than others, but its modernized styling makes up for it. The fairing is designed to route the airflow toward the engine to carry away the heat generated by it. Fuel consumption is 76 mpg, with a 250 mile (402 km) range on a full tank.
The liquid-cooled single overhead camshaft 248cc engine packs enough power to carry two people easily. It has good disc brakes on the front and rear wheels. The colors available are Pearl Nebular Black and Metallic Crystal Blue.
Every possible instrument that a rider could ask for is on the LCD panel, including an odometer, speedometer, tachometer, dual trip meters, gear position, fuel gauge, and rpm indicator. The front and rear suspensions are from KBY that are far better than most stock suspensions. For riders concerned about safety, an ABS model that costs a little extra is available.
- Both wheels have hydraulic disc brakes
- Reasonably high power output
- Has KYB suspension
- Priced on the higher side
- Suited more toward city riding (could be an advantage for some)
9. DF250RTS 250cc Sport Bike
Engine Type: Single cylinder | Engine Capacity: 229cc | Top Speed: 90 mph / 145 kph | Max Power: 18 HP | Max Torque: 12.9 lb-ft / 17.5 Nm | Wet Weight: 340 lbs / 154 kg | Seat Height: 30.5 inches / 76 cm
The final bike on our list is the little-known Dong Fang DF250RTS 250cc Sport Bike made in China. This bike is sure to grab a lot of eyeballs as it is priced at about $2,400 – about half the price of the other bikes reviewed so far. As far as competition goes, this looks like the future of motorcycles as it has quite a few of the features available on premium bikes despite its low cost.
The DF250RTS has all the looks of the big Japanese brands and is an ideal bike for the beginner to learn on. Available in two colors, red and green, the bike has 2-tone aluminum wheels and a dual-halogen headlight that many $6,000+ bikes don’t have.
The disadvantage here is that the manufacturer Dong Fang does not have showrooms for sales or nationwide service centers in case you need to have a problem fixed fast, but most of the problems you are likely to encounter in a new bike can be set right at your local motorcycle repair shop. They do have one service center located in Southern California.
The DF250RTS has an air-cooled 250cc engine with five gears and manual transmission. Both wheels have hydraulic disc brakes without ABS. Its black aluminum wheels are the standard 17 inches (425 mm). The instrument cluster has all digital instruments including a speedometer, tachometer, fuel gauge indicator, and gear position indicator. Its fuel tank holds 4.5 gallons (17 liters).
The bike has an electric starter, electronic ignition, and a carbon fiber exhaust. It also has a short windshield that is more for style than utility with dual LED headlights. While this bike can be hard to find and isn’t from as well-known a brand as the others, it may still be an ideal choice for beginners that want to learn to ride on a budget.
- Very cheap
- Both wheels have hydraulic disc brakes
- Adequate power for most purposes
- Hard to find
- Only one service center in the USA
- No ABS
The 250cc motorcycle market has a good number of models that can meet the requirement of any rider, from cruisers to commuter bikes. First, you need to decide exactly what you want to use the bike for. From there, it’s largely down to personal preference, but the Aprilia GPR 250, Kawasaki Ninja 25R, and Honda CB300R are all great choices.