Why must we either overkill or not kill at all?

Motorcycles used to be all about speed and performance but due to technology expanding at a furious rate, we have more subgeneres of motorcycles today than of electronic music. In fact, there are so many genres that some bikes only fit into their own genre, in an attempt to fit into multiple other genres. However, despite so many categories, there are still gaps that consumers have to jump depending on what they want. Why can’t a reasonable mid-range, mid-power sport bike be brought into existence? Why do the manufacturers either want us to have a motorcycle that is downright excessive in every way, or doesn’t have enough?

VFR400 anybody? Slap some FI and upgraded suspension/brakes on that thing and it would be PERFECT for the street!

Let’s look at 250’s as an example. Back in the early 90’s, small displacement, high-power, light and svelt sport bikes were available. I pull on a great review over at TwoFiftyMag.com, comparing the old and new CBR250’s. The older bikes used to be much faster, lighter, had more competitive features – like dual front discs, and yes, used to cost more. I would rather pay double the new bike price for one of the old ones, than the same price for a used 600. I don’t want a 600. I want a 250 that subscribes to same power to weight rules that the 600’s and 1K’s are built on. 1 horsepower for ever 2-3 pounds… The used to exist, and no longer exists because the manufacturers have turned the market into “bigger is better”. Just look at the brilliant bike the ZX-2R used to be, or the old RD350, and 500’s!

ZX-2R, freakin' sick!

Sure, I realize that they are all filthy by today’s emissions standards, but, erm, if manufacturers can keep squeezing out more and more power form a 1000 while keeping the emissions legal, they can do it with a 250 as well. Don’t tell me Honda’s engineers doesn’t have the ability to do something!

CBR250 - comfortable, quick, maybe not beginner friendly, but motorcycles aren't for pansies. Move on.

I guess at the end of the day, it all comes down to the fakeness of our society. Most riders don’t want to go super-sonic on their rockets. They want to look cool. Wheelies,burn-outs and sunglasses are more important than corner speed, race leathers and a helmet. Just like appearance and comfort are much more important than performance for the touring crowd. I shouldn’t blame the manufacturers, I should blame the pathetic general populace for yet again squashing something amazing with their apathy.


About Dandooligan

Dandooligan CO, United States Every ride spurs the yearning for another and as such, has pushed me to adopt the riding lifestyle and all of it's challenges. This blog concerns those challenges from bikes to gear, media about bikes, and maybe even some psychology/sociology on the subject as well. Dandooligan, a mash-up of Dandy and Hooligan, both very important parts of me and my outlook on life. I'm also known as Spooph


  1. Walter

    let’s not forget the honda vt250 or the brilliant aprilia RS250… but there used to be alot of 500 cc and smaller bikes available in the US for most bike genres… Increasing pressure from the EPA to “cleanup” those dirty dirty bikes means alot of them have been dropped. About the only ones that haven’t been are the “dual sport” type, which while nice for what they are, aren’t for everyone or everyday. It used to be there were alot of UJM’s, cruisers, and “sport” bikes available in sub 501 cc (in the US). All the manufacturers still have some of these smaller bikes in Europe, Japan, and various other places…

    One of the reasons is that the US is one of the few places that does not have a restriction on CC/CI for a beginning rider thanks mostly to Harley Davidson’s lobbying. Whether you agree with restrictions for beginner riders or not, this is the one big difference between most of asia and europe.

    for those that can, try to bring one of those old bikes back to life, maybe even upgrade it a bit. for those that can’t, try to find someone who can to help you get one of these… and for those with godlike abilities (and the tools to do so), why not try to (legally) take the old motors and put them into modern frames? Or even build your own frame of your favorite design? Why do all the “customs” have to be big, long, overweight and poor handling?


    • Indeed Mercer! Gosh, I wish I had time to build a shop which does exactly that – build really cool small bikes, whether it’s with old engines or new ones…. But you have all valid points, and some good memories of the good old bikes….

  2. Walter

    oh, and how is it I have never heard of the zx2r? it must be a JDM/EDM only thing…

  3. zartan

    Or let’s toss emmisions out the window and give me a RG250 Gamma anyday!
    You are correct that they could pull more power out of a two fifty. We have regulated ourselves to death and given the misnomer that smaller bikes are only for beginners, governing the powerbands. I say boo… Still trying to figure out how to legalize that 250 Aprilla race version šŸ™‚

    • Walter

      some states like CO are a lot easier to get a motorcycle titled and registered for street use… at least for nominally dual sport usage. some people snuck in various “track only” bikes though.

      • Yup, I know of a guy who made an RS250 legal – he’s a salesman for the BMW/Triumph dealer in Loveland, so its all about finding a loophole Z!

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