Hello Big Bird!

There have been some changes this last month in the transportation department.

I have been contemplating selling the Diva and getting a commuter or maybe getting the commuter and keeping the Diva as a 2nd bike. The GSXR is a bit too much bike and too focused for commuting duties. I have been speeding everywhere and there were just not enough corners to enjoy in the city. I was always keeping an eye out for the traffic police and speed cameras. So, when I saw an ad for a CBX250 with a little more than 4 years to go, I bought it.

She is bright yellow and comes with a small box for a ¾ face helmet. Due to the bright yellow paint, I nick named her “Big Bird” after the Sesame Street character. If you remember, the CBX250 was the original bike that I was contemplating to replace the CG125. I took a big detour and bought the GSXR1000 instead. LOL, now I am back on track to sensible commuting.

Big Bird
The 2009 CBX250. Say hello to Big Bird!

There was a leaking fork, which the shop was happy to fix under the “1 month warranty”. I paid for a strip and clean of the front brakes as it was not functioning smoothly and acted like an On/Off switch. Some wear and tear parts like the rear drum brake pads and the rear hub cushion were also replaced at another workshop. The valve clearances were off by 0.02mm and were left as they were.

Well, the plan to get a 250cc single has now proven  to be the right one. Under 200cc bikes produce maybe about 16bhp at most (the liquid cooled FZ150i comes to mind), while perhaps adequate for solo riding, would be lacking when I pillion someone. This really shows up when riding on the expressways, the favourite haunt of our local tailgating drivers.

On the CG125, I could only grin and bear. On the diva, a twist of the wrist would see us to another safe location and the let the tailgater play his silly game with another car. On the Big Bird, she has just enough power to overtake the car in front and give me some buffer space. Not fantastic, but good enough.

Suspension is better than the CG125 but rear shock lacked a pre-load adjuster, so that is a short coming. Instead, I pup up the rear tire to around 240kpa (225kpa for solo / 250kpa for 2 up according to the manual) and left it at that. She is a touch bumpy when I ride alone, but a good compromise as I am doing pillioning duties almost everyday.

She handles like a bigger CG125 and is excellent fun in urban traffic. I could now do 90 degrees turns between stuck cars again which I am most happy with. Big bird has wide handlebars but the mirrors, though adequate to see traffic in the next lane, does not give any view of traffic behind (I have changed to aftermarket mirrors that give a good view behind me). Unfortunately, the handlebars are at the same height as most cars’ side mirrors and sometimes, I get stuck between cars when their mirrors are side by side each other.

Full throttle acceleration from stop is good enough to run away from most cars. Drivers here will usually let you go first if you are between them at the traffic lights and it is only polite to run away from them instead of blocking them with a struggling CG125. The gear change is a bit stiff and needs a conscientious shove to get it changed though I have not missed shifts so far. Neutral is a bit difficult to find when parking, but it may just need some good synthetic oil? I have observed that she consumes a bit of oil, so I have made it a point to check the level every week (I found out recently that it was due to my riding style. I still tend to rev to bike like a screaming 4 cylinder 4 stroke instead of short shifting like a big single. The oil gets blown into the air box and drained out from the pipe under the seat.)

She is old school and uses a carburettor (thank goodness!) and is air cooled. I am glad to see the carb as EFI is too complicated. The GSX-R has a load of sensors and electronically operated valves that can be a chore to keep adjusted. They can also fail without warning, which sucks. Simple is good.

Fuel consumption is not fantastic as I have only managed 23.7km/l at best. Someone told me that the CBX250 can do 450km before reserve, but I am skeptical of the claim. I have managed 320km with 2 bars showing at best (after trying to behave for 1 tankful, I have managed to reach 27 km/l). That said, I am impressed with the range of this bike so far. I have not rode till I need to turn the fuel cock to reserve (best figure was almost 400km), but the 16 litres tank sure gives the bike some long distance legs.

So far I am happy with Big Bird pottering around the city streets and experiencing a different kind of fun!


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