Bikes and Beards puts them head-to-head and finds out.
Last week we saw Bikes and Beards assemble and test the Hawk 250 DLX, the most expensive dual-sport motorcycle you can buy on Amazon. Most of these Amazon bikes, including the Hawk, seem to work pretty well for what they are, and especially for their affordable price point. What happens, though, when you put one up against the benchmark from Japan, in this case, a 20-year-old Honda 250R? That's exactly what they do here.
There's no fluff in this video—they get right down to business with a drag race. The Honda wins easily, despite the Hawk's more sophisticated fuel injection. It's possible that the Honda is geared lower than the Hawk for better off-road performance, which also improves its acceleration. Next up is a suspension test, where each bike takes a half dozen eggs for a timed run up a rocky trail. Each broken egg adds one second to the bike's time. Craig pre-broke half of Sean's eggs, but didn't need that advantage for the Honda to beat the Hawk on raw (not hard-boiled) time alone.
Next is a top speed and braking test. Each bike gets a long run to reach its top speed. When it crosses the first pair of cones, it has to stop before the second set of cones. The Honda comes in hot with a top speed of 59 mph but is unable to stop in time, failing the braking portion of the challenge. The Hawk only hits 52, but barely manages to stop in a short enough distance.
The Honda is the clear winner on a technical hill climb. Not only is it faster on both sections, but the Hawk also crashed and bent the cheap steel brake pedal. Sean manages to kick it back into shape but doesn't realize that the brake itself is damaged before handing it over to Craig for a long gravel pit run. Both riders take runs on both bikes, and once again the Honda is faster.
In general trail riding, however, both bikes did extremely well. The Honda is certainly the better performing bike, but when you're not pushing the bikes hard and just enjoying the ride, both of them are enjoyable to ride. They gave both bikes the win in this challenge, and that's the real takeaway here. If you're a serious off road rider who wants to go fast, the Hawk will disappoint you. A more casual rider, like me, would be perfectly happy on a brand new Hawk rather than an old Honda. Still, all my friends who pushed me to buy an older Japanese bike for its higher quality made an excellent point, and I can not argue their reasoning.