Low cost, high-fuel economy models are the hot new thing in the bike world and in today's economic climate.
/*Honda*/ has just introduced its CBR250R. The single-cylinder engine sips fuel to the tune of nearly 60 miles per gallon.
But this isn't some wimpy looking machine. It has big bike styling and features: meaty tires, big brakes and just enough bodywork for some sport bike fashion. Its nimble size makes it easy to maneuver through traffic as a commuter, but it's got enough performance built in to be fun on the weekends.
Going head-to-head with the little Honda is Kawasaki's smallest Ninja, the 250R. Dressed up in Kawi's traditional lime green, the baby Ninja offers up its own brand of sporty riding fun, along with gas mileage of over 50 mpg if you're careful.
These two compete so well with each other that they even feature the exact same suggested retail price - $3,999.
If you really want to splurge, the Honda can be equipped with anti-lock brakes for an additional $500.
Another potential financial advantage to getting the smaller bikes is lower insurance rates, especially if you're a younger rider.
The 250 class used to be the bikes you started out on, but soon moved up to something larger when you got some experience. But bigger size means bigger expense in everything, including maintenance and fuel bills.
This new breed of 250 means you can have sporty style like a larger machine, while pinching pennies. The fact that they work well for both a ride to work and a way to escape from thoughts of work when Saturday rolls around is icing on their two-wheeled cake.
For newer riders, or even seasoned ones, 250 can be a magic number.