Daelim VJF250 Roadwin
With new LAMS laws allowing more choice, will newcomers to the 250cc arena find a market? South Korea’s Daelim is on to a good thing
WHAT WE LIKE
Roomy’ riding position
NOT SO MUCH
No kill switch
As a newcomer to the local market, Daelim may not be as well recognised in Australia as its Japanese rivals, or indeed South Korean counterpart Hyosung. But much like its domestic adversary, Daelim Motor is part of a large conglomeration (itself primarily focused on engineering, construction and petrochemicals) that also happens to build bikes.
The two-wheeled side of the operation stretches back over four decades and in the early 1980s received a mass of technical support from Honda, a lot of which can still be recognised in this week’s test candidate, the Daelim VJF250 Roadwin.
Topping the Daelim range (the company’s main focus is scooters) the LAMS-approved VJF250 is an eye-catching, fully faired motorcycle featuring a water-cooled and fuel-injected single-cylinder engine which develops around 21hp (15kW).
Mated to a five-speed gearbox, Daelim’s brochure promises performance on par with similar capacity rivals, and according to our research is about 5hp off Honda’s similar single-cylinder — and soon to be released — CBR250R.
But for just $4990 the Roadwin represents plenty of value.
Tipping the scales at 173kg dry, the VJF250 isn’t the lightest bike in its class, but there are still plenty of redeeming features. A low seat height, smooth powertrain, honest suspension and grippy twin-disc brakes (probably a little overkill, but far more preferable than not enough oomph) make the bike a good base from which new riders can build their skills, while the roomy riding position allows enough scope for the taller among us to ride cramp-free and comfortable.
Further flexibility sees the brake lever offer span adjustment through four settings.
The blue TRON-like illumination of the instrument cluster looks very cool and offers an easy-to-read digital speedo display, while also featuring a clearly indicted analogue tachometer. Another plus for new riders is the inclusion of a fuel gauge, though noticeably, the VJF250 doesn’t have a kill switch (there’s a headlamp switch in its place). However the centrestand is a nice standard feature on the bike gets the thumbs up from us.
The rear seat features double luggage strap points on each side, while underneath are handholds for pillion passengers. Underseat storage is limited like most bikes in this class.
Vibrations familiar to many single-cylinder bikes are evident on the VJF250, despite the engine’s inclusion of a balance shaft. But in fairness, the vibrations did dissipate as we piled on the kays and may have been the result of a tight mill (our test bike had 300km at the time of delivery).
Power delivery on the VJF is quite linear all the way from the bottom end, with an increase in tempo at around 7000rpm. Redline is 11,000rpm, before the rev limiter gatecrashes the party 500rpm later. By then, it’s well and truly run its course, but from standstill the VJF – while certainly no rev machine – does get up to speed with a minimum of fuss, in concert with a nice exhaust note (for a single) and hassle-free fuel injection; no more choke starts.
Daelim could get away with slightly taller gearing, as the VJF sits on around 7000rpm at 100km/h. Drop a tooth or two on the rear and the already miserly engine would produce an even more impressive fuel consumption figure. The fuel tank is a very accommodating 15 litres.
The gearbox on the VJF250 gets the job done — certainly not super slick, but no problems with missed gears and the like.
We also noticed a hint of fuel vapour touching the nostrils when tucked behind the screen at freeway speeds, but this is likely to be a local assembly issue given the bike arrives in Australia as a knock-down kit.
As far as handling is concerned, the VJF250 is a little top heavy compared to its rivals (mostly felt at slower speeds), but on the open road cuts a composed figure, even when the roads get a bit choppy.
If you’re shopping on price alone you could do a lot worse than the VJF250. Grey imports and frequently dropped used bikes are hardly the best introduction to what’s ultimately an enjoyable way to get around.
At a whisker under $5K, the VJF250 is $260 less than the Megelli 250 R, a good $1000 below the GT250R, and a whopping $2590 under the Ninja 250R.
As the battle for supremacy in the entry-level 250cc road bike market heats up, Daelim has a bike to keep it on the front foot.
SPECS: DAELIM VJF250 ROADWIN
Type: Water-cooled, DOHC, single-cylinder, four-valve
Fuel system: Fuel injection
Final drive: ‘O’ ring chain
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