my $0.02 as a recent 250R owner
Interesting comments on the bike. Again the most important comparison for this bike IMHO is price. Having just sold my EX250J*, I can think of a few things that were less than ideal about the bike. Keep in mind I bought this not as a beginning rider, but someone who wanted a change for the smaller.
1) Fuel system: Carbs just drive me nuts. I know there are plenty of you out there who swear by them, but the stockers needed plenty of tuning coming out of the box, and if you are a noob, then you might just think the bike was weak, lean, etc. Kawi makes a FI version, and they're currently thinking about bringing it to the states. It costs about $500-1000 more than carb model.
2) Instrumentaton: Don't get me wrong, the cluster is adequate, but digital readouts are all the rage, and many people would love to have a gear position indicator, or temp guage, or annmeter. Plus the fuel gauge was hardly ever accurate.
3) Windscreen: Easily fixed in the aftermarket, but essentially useless unless you represent the Lollipop Kids.
Now, the new Honda will of course have quirks of its own, but the best things going for it are:
1) Fuel Injection: Hopefully a little easier for noobs to manage, don't know if it would accept a power commander or similar.
2) ABS: Big safety feature for new riders, if one of my friends had an opportunity to start on a bike with ABS, I would recommend it.
I think you could consider this competitive at $6000, given those two features alone. The EX250J seems to increase in price every year, so Big Red should be able to remain competitive.
Personally, I like the looks of the bike, and if this came out 2 years ago when I was in the market, I would have seriously considered it.
*not because I didn't love it, but because the Afghans refuse to get off their asses and run their government, forcing the US and NATO to do everything for them...meaning it's hard for me to ride halfway around the world.../soapbox
1984 Honda CB700SC - sold to buy wedding ring
2009 Kawasaki Ninja 250R
- sold to keep it from being lonely