Rumour: Yamaha, Kawasaki about to unveil new 250s

Here's the R25 concept bike that was on the show circuit in the fall.
Here’s the R25 concept bike that was on the show circuit in the fall.

Just when we thought the 250 wars were over, the interwebz rumours are suggesting otherwise.

Now, with a tuning fork logo: Young Machine says Yamaha's R25 is almost ready for production.
Now, with a tuning fork logo: Young Machine says Yamaha’s R25 is almost ready for production.

Kawasaki abandoned their long-running Ninja 250 series in 2012 when they announced they were building a Ninja 300 (developing markets still get a small-bore 250 version of the bike). Then, Honda announced they were replacing the CBR250 with a CBR300 (although we don’t know yet if that bike is coming to North America).

But just when we thought the quarter-litre segment was once again falling from grace, a couple of Asian media outlets are suggesting otherwise.

Japanese mag Young Machine is reporting Yamaha is about to release their R25 sportbike. This twin-cylinder 250 project has been in the background for a while – Yamaha has been keeping their cards very close to the vest on this one – every once in a while we learn a bit more about it, or see a concept bike, but details are slow to emerge.

TMC Blog claims this is a new single-cylinder coming from Kawasaki. Photo: TMC Blog
TMC Blog claims this is a new single-cylinder coming from Kawasaki. Photo: TMC Blog

Now, Young Machine has published a bunch of photos of the R25 in a recent issue. Could it be just around the corner? Fans of the Dawn to Dusk Rally can only hope …

But what about Kawasaki? Team Green looked like they were torpedoing the 250 segment when they released the Ninja 300, but TMC Blog says they are now working on a new quarter-litre machine. Sadly, we don’t have a great grasp of Indonesian, so we can’t decipher the article for you, and Google Translate seems a bit useless as well.

However, the little bit we can figure out seems to indicate they reckon Kawasaki is planning to build a new single-cylinder 250 sportbike. If true, it would be a smart move; many buyers in developing markets would love to own a Ninja, but simply don’t have the dosh (or lakh, or dong, or rand, or birr, or whatever) to spring for a water-cooled 300 cc twin. A Keep-It-Simple-Stupid bike built to low specs could keep the price down, and allow Kawasaki to dominate in markets where manufacturers are selling bikes in the hundreds of thousands, instead of hundreds.

It’s hard to imagine them importing the machine to Canada, though, when sales of the Ninja 300 were reportedly very strong in 2013.


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4 thoughts on “Rumour: Yamaha, Kawasaki about to unveil new 250s”

  1. The Kawasaki of Indonesia is anticipating the very competitive market of the quarter-litre bike here since it’s the top class legal streetbike.. bikes above 250cc will be charge extra tax so it can be very expensive (like $ 20.000 for a ZX6R). Kawasaki is “forcing” ato make a different class between single cylinder and twin cylinder bikes and the Kawasaki Ninja 250 SL was the answer. Sorry my english is quite rusty..

  2. At the Supershow this weekend, Honda was handing out their “Ride Guide” magazine…no sign of the CBR300, just the 2013 CBR250…and a 2014 CBR125!?! Any idea how that happened?

    1. Larry, we still can’t get an answer as to whether the 300 is coming to Canada. Honda and Yamaha are both very tight-lipped with the details of their 2014 lineup. As for the CBR125 … weird. It’s not on their site.

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