Road Test

The K1200LT luxury tourer gets a load of updates for 2004 - including an electro-hydraulic mechanism so you won't get a hernia hoisting it on the main stand.

Thorough revision of the flat four engine includes improvements to the camshaft, the throttle butterfly valves (increased in diameter to 36mm), and intake ports. Power output is boosted by 15 per cent to 115bhp with maximum torque increasing to 88 lb-ft.

The five-speed gearbox now operates even more smoothly, with noise being reduced and gear meshing improved.

A spring strut with progressive damping pinched from the cruiser models and the R1150GS Adventure improves back end suspension. As the damping effect increases - as a function of spring action - the spring strut ensures better roadholding and comfort by eliminating destabilisation forces when carrying a heavy load or riding over large bumps.

The seat has been re-design to allow shorter riders to touch the ground more easily and give better slow speed handling.

The electro-hydraulic main stand is a brand-new feature on a motorcycle. Even when fully laden and carrying a passenger, the rider is able to automatically lift and park the K1200LT simply by pressing a button on the right grip. There is no need to dismount.

Most of the body components remain unchanged for 2004, but it?s surprising what a difference a few modifications can make. The headlight is now split into two separate sections. Below the new free-form low beam headlight there is now a separate high-beam unit, which is integrated into the fairing. Light intensity is about 10 per cent better than on the 2003 model.

New colour options are Light Yellow metallic, classic and elegant Ocean Blue metallic, as well as Dark Graphite metallic. Chrome drips from the footrests, bumper strip surrounds, grab rail on the top case and the air vent and logo plate.

The redesigned cockpit gets a flat-screen information unit that gives more info than anyone on a touring holiday really needs. Besides the total mileage and two trip counters, coolant temperature, air temperature, gear selection, petrol level and clock there?s also the radio details. I bet the instructions for that lot takes up more space than the all the info for the rest of the bike?

Optional extras include an anti-theft warning system, central locking and "ground illumination". Simply by pressing a button the rider is able to lock the top case, the cases at the side of the machine, and the storage compartment, while intentionally leaving the tank lock open for filling up at a gas station.

Ground illumination is activated when the rider switches off the anti-theft warning system and the ignition and selects the option to illuminate the ground around the parked motorcycle. This makes getting on to and off the machine at night much safer.

But why stop there? On a luxury tourer you'll also want the heated seat and backrest, higher windscreen, chrome plated running boards, sat nav system and the CD changer. Oh, and don't forget the cup holder.

And we're not joking?


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Reviews > Bike Reviews > Honda > CB250 Road Test

Honda CB250

Road Test

Light, low and nimble, the CB Two-Fifty is a fuel-sipping commuter bike bought by people who wouldn't be seen dead on a twist'n'go scooter.

What keeps the parallel twin's top speed down to 80mph is a single 26mm Keihin CV carb. That's the bad news. The good news is an average of 75 miles to the gallon, giving the Honda a useful 275-mile range for longer trips at the weekend.

Derived from the 194cc CD200 twin of 1980, the Two-Fifty's power unit is a single overhead camshaft design. This ancestry means that there are no balancers to smooth parallel twin vibration at high revs and just two valves per cylinder. But maintenance is cheap, and undemanding enough for mechanical virgins. Maximum torque is delivered at 6500rpm, helping the 234cc twin to zip through its five gears around town.

Styling was vastly improved for 2000 with a US-style CB250 Nighthawk makeover in which the tank and bodywork flow together, helped by plain red paint. A 16 inch rear wheel reduces seat height to 745mm. Weight is just 132kg. Brakes are a single disc and drum combination well matched to the engine's performance.

The Honda's frame is a classic steel tube diamond design open below the engine, with basic suspension. Adjustment is limited to spring preload on the twin rear shocks.

A close competitor is Honda's own CMX250C Rebel cruiser. Look for an example owned by a careful older rider who bought the Two-Fifty because it reminded him of his old CD200.

Honda CB250
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