For bikers of my generation, the Honda CBR250RR has a special place in our hearts. Being an Australian learner in the 1990s, the biggest capacity bike you were allowed was a 250cc - and short of two-stroke death missiles like the Suzuki RGV250 and Aprilia RS250, the quickest and coolest looking thing you could get was a Honda CBR RR.
They weren't generally official imports, either – typically they were ex-Japanese machines that had gone past their use-by date and been shipped over in crates. Months at sea tended to let salty sea air into their electrics, causing all sorts of gremlins and making them a nightmare to work on. One guy I knew called his the Pirate Bike, because it went "Arr Arr" and one of the headlights never worked.
But they were cheap, they revved to 19,000 rpm like a frickin' formula one car, and they looked like proper sportsbikes. With an aftermarket pipe on, they would absolutely howl. I fondly remember standing watching friends take off at full throttle, engines shrieking like banshees. Bemused onlookers would comment on the broad chasm between how fast they sounded and how fast they actually went – you'd scream your way to the top of third by the end of the street and still be overtaken by old ladies walking daschunds.
Truthfully, they weren't bad little performers at the end of the day – 45 horsepower and 150-odd kilos – but their rev-hungry character made them the perfect bike for future sportsbike enthusiasts, and their proper twin-disc brakes gave us a decent chance of getting ourselves out of the kinds of trouble you get in when you never quite know if your indicator is going to work or not.
Excuse the nostalgia trip, I only bring this up because it looks like Honda's getting set to pull the trigger on a new CBR250RR, probably not far off what it showed with its Lightweight Supersports concept in Tokyo in 2015.
A video released (or perhaps leaked) through Honda's Indonesian importer shows a new Arr Arr that looks as aggressive and racy as the old ones did, but vastly updated for our time.
Honda, of course, has been rolling out a CBR250R since 2011, but with its friendly, low-output single cylinder engine and conservative looks, it's a totally different proposition to the old bikes, and one that's tended to leave people a bit cold.
People who've seen the new RR are saying it's got a parallel twin engine instead of that famous inline four, and that it revs closer to 14,000rpm than 19,000, but there's every chance it'll hit a similar power output to the old bike, and a gruntier twin should prevent a lot of the embarrassing stalling the old bike used to cause with its gutless low-end.
Interestingly, they're also saying it's got an Öhlins shock on the back end, which starts making it look like a very interesting and uncompromising bike indeed. Small capacity bikes are hard work on the road, but they're excellent training tools on a racetrack, and bloody fun race bikes to boot. You really need to hone your technique to get the most out of them in a way that teaches great habits for when you step up to a 600 or 1000cc bike - and they burn fewer tires along the way.
We assume we'll hear more about this thing in the coming months, but it seems there will soon be a new Pirate Bike on the market, and that's going to make a lot of people very happy. Check out the teaser video below!
Via: Asphalt & Rubber