Honda CBR 150R & CBR 250R Facelift Launch in India - An Analysis

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Honda has launched refreshed versions of their two sportsbikes, the CBR 150R and the CBR 250R, at their RevFest event on Tuesday. Disappointingly, these are mere sticker jobs of the existing models, and not the all-new twin-headlight international versions as we had expected.

2015 Honda CBR 150R India

Facelifted Honda CBR 150R

Both bikes are mechanically unchanged, with the 150R powered by the same 18.28 bhp 149cc liquid-cooled motor, and the 250R retaining the 249cc unit that produces 26.15 bhp, with the same chassis parts being carried over. It is interesting to note that apart from a slight power hike for the CBR 150R last year, both bikes have remained stoically the same ever since they had first been launched back in 2011 (250R) and 2012 (150R).

2015 Honda CBR 250R India

Facelifted Honda CBR 250R

We can’t help but think that Honda has missed a great opportunity to take the sub-400cc performance bike segment by storm. Even with competition upping the stakes with faster and more affordable motorcycles, they chose to retain existing models instead of launching brand-new ones. Don't mistake us - the current models are excelllent motorcycles, no doubt, but had they launched the all-new CBR 150R & CBR 300R, they’d have surely poached customers from Bajaj, KTM, and Yamaha, and possibly even enticed their existing customers into upgrading. Not only are they better performing, but they also look like scaled-down versions of the company’s flagship CBR 1000RR Fireblade superbike, and this would have definitely driven volumes. Now, they've succeeded in chasing potential buyers who have been awaiting the arrival of the all-new CBR 150R and 300R away to rival brands.  

2015 Honda CBR 150R and CBR 300R International

The all-new 2015 CBR 150R (left), and the 2015 CBR 300R

In an age of cut-throat competition, why Honda decided to reintroduce motorcycles that are nearly half-a-decade old into the Indian market and pass them off as new versions is anyone’s guess, but going by the amount of negative response it has generated within the biking community here, the company will certainly regret treating its Indian consumers condescendingly. We hope Yamaha doesn’t do the same mistake with their upcoming bike launch here.

 

Jaichandran Jayapalan
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