2010 Bennche Megelli 250R vs. Kawasaki Ninja 250R –

23 Feb 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on 2010 Bennche Megelli 250R vs. Kawasaki Ninja 250R –
Kawasaki Ninja 250 R

Newcomer nips at the heels of an established monopoly

For two bikes ostensibly in the same class, Kawasaki ’s Ninja 250R and Bennche ’s Megelli 250R are as different as can be.

One’s been around as the only offering in its class since before some of its aspiring buyers were even born, and the other is an upstart that was practically born yesterday.

One makes a strong case for its racer-boy potential and over-the-top aesthetic appeal, and the other makes the case as an all-rounder that happens to be a capable sportbike too.

In case you’re new to this, the made-in Japan Ninja is the one that’s well known, versatile and long had a lock-hold on the 250 sportbike class in America. The made-in-China Megelli is new for this year, and assumes an even more aggressive posture than its more aggressively-named rival.

Or are they rivals at all? The Megelli’s Texas-based importer says he’s not trying to go head-to-head with Japan, Inc.

We understand, but given that the two 250Rs’ are otherwise remarkably similar, and the Bennche is priced only $600 less, we see a valid match-up.

Cap-gun fight at the O.K. Corral

Claiming design creds from the U.K. Italian-inspired looks and a seemingly Italianesque name as well, the Megelli has some audacity walking onto the Ninja’s turf.

But on its turf, it is. Its single-cylinder engine is carbureted and liquid-cooled, as is the Ninja’s parallel-Twin engine. It has a full fairing like the Ninja does, similar design dimensions, and targets the same potential buyers.

Not only is the Megelli’s price competitive, if its claimed weight of 248 lbs dry and 286 lbs wet are accurate even to within 5% – and it feels like it is – it is a shredded back-alley scrapper compared to the claimed 333-lb dry (374 lbs wet) Ninja.

Kawasaki Ninja 250 R
Kawasaki Ninja 250 R

Having had little else but its own shadow to spar with for years, the Ninja has enjoyed year after year of top-seller status, and has gotten away with this despite weighing an estimated 25% more than the more reasonably-weighing Megelli.

Could this be a good fight after all?

We’ve written single-bike reviews on the Megelli 250R and the Ninja 250R. respectively, so we may overlook a detail or two, as we cut right to the comparo.

Kawasaki didn’t mess with its formula for success from 1988 until comprehensively updating the Ninja 250R in 2008. and the 2010 model is unchanged. Its engine is built for reliability, its chassis, suspension and brakes are good quality, and its electrical system, plastic bodywork and other components are acceptably robust.

The U.K. design company and Chinese factory that created the Megelli say its engine, and hardware are good, but the bike lacks a track record. It certainly looks tidy, but we observed inexpensive features including a tiny tachometer with a needle indicator that bounced around like that of a Geiger counter and never steadily displayed rpm, and plastic bodywork that was brittle and easily cracked.

“The Megelli vibrates and rattles, and the more time spent aboard the machine reveals an inexhaustible amount of quirks,” observed MO tester, Tom Roderick.

Whoever was in charge of Megelli’s RD also passed another issue we immediately learned about the hard way – the right upper fairing delivers a painful pinch to the index and/or middle finger and knuckles while maneuvering at full steering lock, and a rider’s left thumb may be pinched against the fuel tank on opposite lock.

Kawasaki Ninja 250 R
Kawasaki Ninja 250 R
Kawasaki Ninja 250 R
Kawasaki Ninja 250 R
Kawasaki Ninja 250 R
Kawasaki Ninja 250 R

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