All Duels – Duel CBR500R Vs Ninja 300: the sports bike, A2 way! – The CBR and the Ninja of A2 licenses!

Duel CBR500R Vs Ninja 300: the sports bike, A2 way !

All Duels - Duel CBR500R Vs Ninja 300: the sports bike, A2 way! - The CBR and the Ninja of A2 licenses!

Who said that novice riders’ bikes can’t be sporty? Certainly not Honda and Kawasaki! Each in their own way, the CBR500R and the Ninja 300 put the boot (racing) at the footrest for holders of the new A2 license. Duel.

The CBR and the Ninja of A2 licenses !

Since the introduction, on January 19, 2013, of the intermediate category A2 in the motorcycle license, novice bikers 18 years old must now learn on two-wheelers of 35 kW maximum (47.5 hp) for two years. before accessing the A license (read in particular our).

While most manufacturers are content for the moment to offer clamping kits, others have on the contrary seized this opportunity to launch – or relaunch – motorcycles expressly cut to the sides of this new legislation. Much to the delight of the "young people allowed", which in this way escapes the frustration of paying a high price for a restricted motorcycle as was the case previously with the 34 hp license. !

And if the "special A2" offer can not currently be described as bloated, its development is going well: it goes from the basic roadster type to more "edgy" models like the KTM Duke 390 through road trails (and) and even a few … sports !

This is particularly the case with the and the, two new features for 2013 adapted to A2 licenses. And if the combination "young license + sports motorcycles" seems contradictory – even contraindicated -, let us point out immediately that the sport is more due to the lines and prestigious surnames of these "Baby CBR / Ninja" than to their pure performance !

Both use simple but proven technologies, such as their little pushed parallel twin of 47.6 hp on the Honda and 39 hp on the Kawasaki and their rudimentary part-cycle (read in particular). A steel frame, a single-disc brake clamped by a two-piston caliper at the front, suspensions only adjustable in preload at the rear, and ride "youth A2" !

Reasonably sporty

Ergonomics are also far removed from the Supersport requirements on which they model their style. No need to have the flexibility of a ballet dancer and the coordination of a contortionist to sit at their controls: installed very largely above the upper triple trees, their large half-handlebars can be caught without having to exaggeratedly tilt the bust.

Their low saddle (790 mm on the Honda, 785 mm on the Kawasaki) and their narrowness at the crotch make them accessible to the greatest number, while their neutral attitude completes the comfort. Their general delicacy and their contained length, however, favor a "jockey" template to that of a trunk thrower: above one meter eighty, the knees "overflow" the notches provided for this purpose on their tank of 15 , 7 liters (CBR500R) and 17 liters (Ninja 300).

On the Honda, the location of the footrests (low and almost in line with the pelvis) confirms a desire to offer a welcoming position, more typical “placid roadster” than “Superbike under acid”. An observation that is ultimately quite logical insofar as the CBR500R is a CB500F camouflaged under a circuit dress … Funny detail: the thick layer of rubber covering its toe clips is so flexible that it tends to deform under the sole ! A real accordion bellows !

At Kawasaki, the engineers seem to have hesitated between comfort and sport: if the generously raised handlebars induce a relaxed position of the arms and chest, the up and back placement of its footrests, on the contrary, puts the lower body in constraint. The result is a much less natural and comfortable position than on the CBR500R. A difference in pleasure reinforced by the hard and inclined nature of the seat of the Ninja 300 and the very low short deadweight (the sag under the sole weight of the pilot) of its suspensions.

On board the Akashi Green, the atmosphere is therefore sportier, without falling into exclusivity or radicalism: its clutch is exceptionally smooth, the lack of bite in its braking has the advantage of never surprise and its selection does not catch on. Fortunately, moreover, because the first very tight gears require frequent gear changes in built-up areas !

If its engine surprises by its availability (it sets off again without hiccuping in 6th at 35 km / h), it only really flourishes in the second part of the tachometer: under 5000 rpm, the relaunches lack consistency, even if they are enough to extract themselves easily enough from the traffic.

Real featherweight against its opponent (174 kg all full made with optional ABS against 194 for the Honda which receives ABS as standard), it handles with disconcerting ease, also well helped by its narrow pneumatic mounting in 110 mm to the front and 140 mm at the rear (i.e. 10 and 20 mm narrower than on the CBR500R).

But what the Tokyo Rouge concedes in handling, it repeats in general efficiency: its controls first of all offer that typical Honda feel, recognizable by this alliance between smoothness and precision. The excellent distribution of its masses then gives it an astounding balance: even a one-armed legless could drive it as it shows itself to be self-stable from the first kilometers per hour. !

If it is reluctant to go below 2000 rpm, its engine then offers more roundness thanks to the additional torque (43 Nm against 27 Nm) that its 175 cc of additional displacement (471 cc against 296 cc) give it. This allows you to overtake with more serenity, without having to downshift as required by the Ninja 300 when climbs are part of the route..

In town, its more progressive clutch, its better calibrated injection and its better turning radius are all assets allowing it to gain the upper hand over the Kawasaki. Added to this is a higher load capacity (special mention, however, for the ingenious "double trunk" of the Kawa!), Mirrors as efficient as they are easy to adjust (those of the Ninja are placed too far from the driver) and more complete instrumentation.

If the two on-board consoles offer two trips, a fuel gauge and a clock, the Honda also adds an average and instantaneous consumption indicator. On the Kawasaki, it will be necessary to be satisfied with an economic driving indicator, the usefulness of which seems to us to be significantly less than that of a gear indicator engaged. Equipment that is lacking in both motorcycles, as well as adjustable levers in spacing: small hands – at random, those of beginners – will appreciate…

Conversely, the presence of a coded key and a warning control is estimated at its fair value on the CBR500R: congratulations to Honda for having been able to combine "economic" and "practical", even if the limits of this goodwill is reflected in its hinged tank cap (all practical aspects and equipment on the penultimate page) !

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