How Fast Does A 250cc Motorcycle Go?

How Fast Does A 250cc Motorcycle Go

If you are asking the question of “How fast does a 250cc motorcycle go?” then I am guessing that you are a looking to become a rider, or you are a worried parent with a child who wants to buy their first bike.

Do you want an easy answer so you can stop reading? A Kawasaki Ninja 250r might hit a top speed of around 100mph in the right conditions.

Are you still reading? If so, we will now take this opportunity to educate you in the different factors which affect the “speed” of motorcycles, as asking “How fast does a 250cc motorcycle go?” is like asking how fast you can fly around with world without knowing if you are going in a helicopter, plane or hot air balloon.

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How Fast Does A 250cc Motorcycle Go - speed limit sign -

The 3 types of speed

Acceleration – How fast a bike will reach a certain road speed.

Top speed – The maximum speed that a bike can get to. Almost a meaningless measure, as almost all bikes will be able to exceed the speed limit.

Cornering speed – How fast a bike will go around a corner.


What does 250cc mean motorcycle lesson in terminology

In the most basic sense, 250cc means that there are 250 cubic centimeters in the engine chamber for fuel and air to mix.

Just because a motorcycle has more space in the engine chamber does not mean that the motorcycle will be faster on the road, as all engines create power differently.

How Fast Does A 250cc Motorcycle Go - kawasaki ninja 250r - Kawasaki Ninja 250r


How fast does a 250cc motorcycle go is determined by many factors

The number of cylinders in the engine – There are 3 main options that you will see which are:

  • 1 cylinder (single cylinder) – Single cylinder motorcycles are usually reserved for trail bikes (off-road) as well as super motards and some dual-sport motorcycles. To cater for the style of riding required in off-road riding, a single cylinder motorcycle will produce power throughout the full rev range, however have lower red line limits than dual and quad cylinder engines. An example of a single cylinder motorcycle is a Honda XR400 SM. These motorcycles will generally have a lower top speed than other styles of engine.
  • 2 cylinder (twin cylinder) – Twin cylinder motorcycles are a popular choice for new motorcycle riders as they produce power in the mid rev range. General bike designs for twin cylinder bikes are either naked or dual-sport motorcycles rather than super sport designs. An example of a twin cylinder motorcycle is a Suzuki GS500.
  • 4 cylinder (quad cylinder) – Quad cylinder motorcycles make up most of the super sport motorcycles that you will see on the roads today, however also a large number of the naked motorcycles. These engines make their power at the upper end of the rev range. An example of a quad cylinder motorcycle is a Honda CBR250RR.
  • Although many 4 cylinder learner motorcycles are limited to 250cc, twin cylinder and single cylinder learner motorcycles often go above 500cc.
  • A 500cc 2 cylinder motorcycle will not necessarily produce more power than a 250cc 4 cylinder motorcycle, however it will produce power lower down in the rev range.

2 Stroke vs 4 Stroke Engines – These 2 types of engine work differently to compress and ignite fuel. In general a 2 stroke engine will produce twice as much power as a 4 stroke engine. Many 250cc 2-stroke motorcycles will be excluded from learner approved lists due to their increased power over 4-stroke variants. An example of this is the Aprilia RS250 which is banned on many learner lists.

How Fast Does A 250cc Motorcycle Go - aprilia rs250- Aprilia RS250

Power to weight ratio – If you have a heavy motorcycle, or you are a heavy rider, then you will require more power in order to go the same speed as a light bike with a light rider and the same power. Many of the cruiser motorcycles will have many more horsepower than some super sport motorcycles, however will be nowhere near as “quick”.

Gear ratios – When companies produce motorcycles they have a fair understanding of the type of riding that the new owner will be doing. In order to give their buyers the best acceleration possible in all gears, for the particular style of riding that is expected, they will choose gear ratios with a certain top speed in mind. There is no point in having gearing for a top speed of 300mph if the bike will never go above 100mph, this will just result in slower acceleration throughout the usable range. A single cylinder motorcycle is mainly used for lower speed riding, so the standard gearing will not allow the motorcycle to go over let’s say 100mph, even if you increased the power. This gearing would need to be changed in order for the top speed to be increased. In fact, many riders will often change the front and rear sprockets to a different number of teeth so that they reduce their top speed in order to increase acceleration throughout the rest of the range as top theoretical speed is often meaningless.

How Fast Does A 250cc Motorcycle Go - sprocket - A sprocket

Wind resistance – If you try and open your car door while driving at 100mph you are going to have a hard time with the wind. It is much the same on motorcycles. Some motorcycles are built for aerodynamics and will cut through this wind resistance much easier than a dual sport motorcycle with a large touring size windscreen. A bike with poor aerodynamics will require more power to accelerate as quickly as a streamlined super sport style motorcycle.

Rider skill – Anyone can twist a throttle and accelerate and then keep the throttle pinned until the bike will go no faster. Rider skill will see faster acceleration and most importantly a lot more speed throughout corners. Nobody really cares if you can go 200mph in a straight line, it is in the corners where the boys (and girls) are separated from the men (and women). Keep learning to stay safe and ride smoother. Don’t be a squid.



At the end of the day you shouldn’t really care about “How fast does a 250cc motorcycle go?”, you should in fact now know that the original question isn’t clear enough to determine an answer and also that going in a straight line doesn’t mean much at all, basically any motorcycle will be able to break the speed limit. You need to find the motorcycle which is going to match your style of riding which will result in the most enjoyment possible.


Agree with me or put me in my place in the comments section below.


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