Thursday, May 30, 2024

Will Honda launch a Hornet 250 to rival Gixxer 250?

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Hornet 250 could take the place of the CBR250R and challenge its Japanese rivals doing quite well in this segment

The Honda Hornet 160R was quite a success for the brand. The bike’s edgy styling, practical usability, and not-so-expensive price tag were some major factors in its good sales. Riding on its success, the Japanese giant also introduced the X-Blade 160 in the 2018 Auto Expo which replaces the Hornet 160 which in turn was upgraded to Hornet 2.0 in a 184cc avatar. The Hornet 250 though fits the bill right below the new highness CB350 and CB300R which is vastly different in terms of spec. Hornet 250 could come without liquid cooling or four valves and instead, using an oil-cooled 2/4-valve unit.

Honda, however, is particularly weak in the 200-250cc segment. Their CBR 250R is too long in the tooth and although a mildly updated version was showcased at the Auto Expo, it still wasn’t significant to grab the attention of the customers. Now, this move proves that Honda isn’t really keen to introduce an able bike in the faired segment, we, however, are evaluating whether or not there is a possibility of streetfighter around the 250cc mark. Or we could get a VFR 250r replacing the CBR250R.

You see this is exactly what Yamaha did with the FZ25. The new FZ is the motorcycle that bought Yamaha into the 250cc segment that was relatively vacant. Its pricing was in the sweet spot and that too did the trick. At approx INR 1.5 lacs (ex-showroom), this bike created quite a stir and managed to give a fight to the mainstream 250cc naked as well. Although it felt short on class-leading features and hardware, it made it up in the practicality and styling.

We cannot find a reason why the same recipe would not work for Honda. The brand’s styling department is doing its job well, what they now need is the right motor. The Gixxer 250is propelled via an all-new oil-cooled, 4 valves, 250cc engine which kicks out 26 ponies and 23 Nm of torque. This configuration could be perfect for the Honda engine too and it’ll also help them to price the bike lower than its rivals. If Honda delivers a similar package as Hornet 2.0 which includes features, international styling and USD forks that any price close to its 250 Japanese rivals will do well.

These guys can expect a new rival from Honda

Additionally, Hondas are known for refinement and mid-range punch, which this motor could be blessed with too. This segment itself is very beneficial for brands like Honda, as the bikes are good commuters as well as the right for people looking for their first bike. Honda’s long hiatus means that new brands could make the most of it and Honda wouldn’t be too happy about it. Honda has to reply to the successful Suzuki Gixxers and can even replace the FZ25 as a choice if it gets the specification and packaging right. Even Bajaj is set to bring a Pulsar 250 replacing the Pulsar 220. As of now, the chances look promising but, we can only keep our fingers crossed and hope for the very best.

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Mohit Soni
Mohit Soni
NOT A Commander, Director, Editor-In-This/ That, CEO, MD, President, Entrepreneur, etc etc. Just a first employee at Thrust Zone with a team of enthusiasts who love car and motorcycles more than anything else in the world, just like I do. Hashtag blessed

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