For the beginner motorcyclist or someone who needs a lightweight machine for commuting and joyriding around town, a 250cc motorcycle is an excellent choice.
If you are looking for a good handle on a new motorcycle and aren’t quite sure if you want to throw down the cash, we can help.
We’ve compiled a list of speed stats for 5 excellently rated 250cc motorcycles to help you search for a quick, sporty little bike.
And if you’ve come here to settle a bet, we’ll be specific so you can rub their face in it (or eat your humble pie)!
1. Yamaha V Star 250
In 2008, Yamaha replaced their incredibly popular Virago model with the V Star 250, but many of the stats have stayed the same.
A classic beginner’s cruiser, the V Star is heralded as a well-powered, lightweight, and sleek-bodied model from one of the Big 4 Asian bike manufacturers.
The V Star 250 is an introductory-level cruiser featuring a 249cc air-cooled V-twin that is promoted as having a top speed of 85 mph, high-end power at 23 horsepower, and 15 lb.-ft of torque at 6,000 RPMs.
Most 250cc motorcycles are considered widely as beginner bikes, ready to be replaced as the rider’s skill level or hunger for power increases, but that’s not the case with the Yamaha V Star.
Because you can still have even, steady control at high speeds, the V Star 250 can easily keep up at highway speeds, delivering the power you need.
And at the boasted 85 mph top speed, the Yamaha V Star is slightly faster than the average 250cc motorcycle.
And to top it all off, the lightweight Yamaha V Star 250 gets a whopping 78 mpg, so you can roll this 250cc bike around at highway speeds for a fraction of the cost of fuel!
2. Honda Rebel 300
Another brilliant contender in the 250cc range is the Honda Rebel 300.
The Honda Rebel 300 does feature on the high-end of bikes we are considering in the 250cc category, but as an entry-level cruiser from Honda, we’ve considered it for its equivalence in power, handling, speed, torque, and horsepower.
Much like the V Star, a Honda Rebel 300 is going to top out around 85 mph, but one reviewer found himself able to keep up a consistent speed of 92 mph at high RPMs.
Alongside the incredible speed of this small-size city cruiser, the 286cc four-stroke single-cylinder engine puts out an impressive 25 horsepower and 18 lb-ft of torque around the 7,000-8,000 RPM range. Alongside the power, a Honda Rebel 300 is gonna get you around on 78 mpg, just like its competitor the Yamaha V Star.
It might just be due to this higher power at higher RPMs that slips the Honda Rebel 300 into higher speeds than the manufacturer rates.
Overall, the Honda Rebel 300 is a dream to ride even at highway speeds upwards of 85 mph.
3. Kawasaki Ninja 250r
We’d be remiss to exclude some of the 250cc racers out there, much less the most reputable of all-the Kawasaki Ninja 250R.
Unlike the first two models we’ve discussed, the racing bike models are going to blow them out of the water in several categories. In fact, these bikes have become synonymous with high speed.
Featuring a top speed of 105 mph, these engines put out 36 hp and 18 ft.-lbs of torque around 10,000 RPMs.
250cc motorcycles have historically been dismissed by larger model riders as having low power and regrettable top speeds, but the Kawasaki Ninja 250cc shows us all how incredibly powerful a small-displacement bike really can be.
And the high speeds, great horsepower, and torque are a testament to smaller motorcycles being just as powerful, and perhaps more nimble than their larger counterparts.
4. Suzuki TU250x
Suzuki’s submission into the pool of chrome-clad street bikes is the Suzuki TU250x. With classic looks and aggressive power, it’s an excellent starter bike for an inexperienced or smaller rider.
The engine is nothing to shake a stick at-a single-cylinder, fuel-injected thumper with good low-end power.
Although it has incredible value (see cheap), this bike pumps out a little less power than its small-displacement competitors with only 16 horsepower around 7,000 RPMs and 12 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,500 RPMs.
On a Suzuki TU250x, you’re going to top out your speed at around 75 mph. Yes, it’s not quite the high-end torque of Honda’s Dream or Yamaha’s V Star that let you comfortably fly down the road at, on average, 10 more mph.
5. Suzuki GSX250
Another list member from Suzuki, the GSX250 hit the market in 2017 to compete with other small-capacity sportbikes like the Honda CB250R or Kawasaki’s Ninja.
With less of the full-frontal racing capacity than its close relative, the Ninja, the GSX250 is made for commuters and beginner learners in the race bike world.
The GSX250 packs in enough torque and horsepower to exhilarate someone getting comfortable with ‘r’ model racing and sportbikes.
Because race bikes are notoriously fast, it can be easy for a novice rider to easily find themselves out of their comfort zone, but the GSZ250 is Suzuki’s ultimate learner bike.
Although it doesn’t come close to the Kawasaki Ninja 250cc top speed, it still comfortably revs you quickly up to a whopping 85 mph.
This might be an incredible sport bike/racer for the beginner or smaller rider because the 4-stroke parallel twin packs in a decent 16 lb.-ft of torque and almost 25 horsepower at 8,000 RPMs.
What Is the Average Top Speed of 250cc Motorcycles?
Most of the research we’ve done shows that 250cc motorcycles top out, on average, around 80-85 mph, although faster street racers like the Kawasaki Ninja 250 can achieve top speeds upwards of 100 mph.
The reasons for this variance in top speed are due to several factors like torque, horsepower, and engine design. On top of that, there are other differentiations because of the weight/power ratio and rider ability.
What Are the Fastest 250cc Motorcycles?
We’ve given you a wide spread of 250cc motorcycles and their top speeds, but what are the fastest bikes out there with this engine size?
Let’s take a look at these powerhouses:
1. Kawasaki KR250
Only on the market for four years from 1988 to 1992, this highly sought after street racer was possibly the fastest 250cc motorcycle ever made.
The KR-1 featured a liquid-cooled 2-cylinder capable of excellent handling all across the power board and at lower RPMs than other bikes in the same category.
Although the KR250 series are known for being incredibly fast, their rarity on the resale market is equally famous.
You might be waiting a good long while to get behind the controls of this bike, but that’s a shame because these bikes clock in at a top speed of 139 mph.
2. Yamaha TZR250
Coming down the track, neck-and-neck with another top contender like the Kawasaki Ninja is the Yamaha TZR250.
This classic street racer from Yamaha runs a straightaway at a top speed of 106.5 mph in the prone position. Another incredible entry-level street racer from Yamaha.
3. Honda NSR250R
Now we’re re-entering the pool of high-speed performance from a low-weight (under 300 lbs) bike with a roaring 2-stroke capable of putting out an incredible amount of torque, power and speed.
The NSR250R’s combined 27 lb.-ft of torque and 45 hp (at 8,500 RPMS) are incredible and only second to its top speed of around 130 mph!
4. Suzuki RGV 250
The RGV 250’s liquid-cooled, 2-stroke V twin lacks a bit of power and control under 8,000 RPMs, but street racers are prone to lower power until you hit the power band it was designed for.
In the 8,000-11,000 RPM power band, and on a straightaway, the power is greatly elevated and the RGV 250 is capable of reaching a top speed around 130 mph.
5. Aprilia RS250
An Italian steed in a world of Big 4 bikes, the Aprilia RS250 still features a modified version of the RGV 2-stroke V twin.
Although it offers different power specs because of bike weight/power, it still contends just fine with the RGV 250’s top speed of 130 mph.
Can Complete Beginners Ride a 250cc Motorcycle?
Generally speaking, a complete and total beginner can easily ride most 250cc motorcycles.
Most 250cc bikes reach a top speed around 80 mph, as we’ve shown in the first 5 examples of the article, which won’t overwhelm a wet-behind-the-ears or smaller stature rider.
Because riding heavy, large-displacement engine motorcycles can be intimidating, we suggest starting with a smaller bike like a 250cc.
And if you pick the right one for the right riding experience, you might never get the itch for a larger bike that might exceed your needs if you’re a commuter or smaller joyrider!
If you are a complete beginner, we hope you choose a 250cc bike like the Yamaha V Star, Suzuki GSX250 or the Honda Dream 300. These bikes are lightweight and easy to learn how to control.
It’s probably not a great idea to choose your very first bike based on a top speed much higher than legal speed limits anywhere in the US!