Keeway Cruiser 250cc Review

A few months ago I purchased a new Keeway Cruiser 250cc motorcycle in Montevideo, Uruguay; I wanted a cheap mode of daily transport and an enjoyable way to see more of Uruguay and possibly Argentina.

Having owned the bike for a few months and ridden approx 4000 Km (and undertaken a road trip to Mendoza in Argentina on it!). I feel the time is right to provide a review of the bike; something that I noticed was lacking when I bought the bike.

Keeway Cruiser 250cc - Villa Serrana, Uruguay

 

Lets start with the official Keeway statistics on their 250cc Cruiser.

Engine type: 2 cylinder, 4 stroke
Displacement: 248cc
Power: 12.9 kW @ 8000 RPM
Torque: 16.00 Nm @ 6000 RPM
Compression: 9.4:1
Induction: DOHC
Ignition: CDI
Starter: Electric
Cooling system: Air
Gearbox: 5-speed
Transmission: Chain
Clutch: Wet shoe, multi plate
Dry weight: 150 kg
Overall height: 1145 mm
Overall length: 2300 mm
Overall width: 762 mm
Ground clearance: 150 mm
Wheelbase: 1530 mm
Seat height: 753 mm
Front tyre: 110x90x16 Tubeless
Rear tyre: 120x90x16 Tubeless
Front brakes: Single disc
Rear brakes: Single disc
Top speed: 115 km/h
Fuel capacity: 14 litres
Fuel consumption. 2.4 Litres/100 km
Accessories: Windscreen, alarm, remote ignition, saddlebags, side luggage racks.

Clearly depending on which dealer and which country the bike is purchased in the price will vary, however I purchased this one in Montevideo, Uruguay from a dealership called Vladimir Kaitazoff with a list price of US $3600; it came with a 6 month or 6000Km guarantee.

In my experience with this bike I can happily state that it is a generally reliable if slightly underpowered cruiser that is ideal for short road trips, general commuting and as a learner/first bike.

The appearance of the bike is extremely striking for 250cc, it is obviously styled in the Harley image and draws attention on the road; particularly in Uruguay where it is uncommon to find large bikes, I am often asked about it at traffic lights or in car parks by other riders and drivers.  The appearance of the bike is more akin to a 500cc cruiser such as the Yamaha Virago and the 14L tank, screen and saddlebags all go together to give the bike reasonable road presence and a larger image than the engine might imply. In addition, at idle the engine sounds particularly nice as there are a set of sporty(ish) twin pipes fitted.

Keeway Cruiser in countryside Keeway Cruiser 250cc loaded up for a road trip

The handling and ride of the bike are reasonable; not amazing but for a cheap, small engined imitation cruiser you can’t expect to feel like you are riding a Harley. Around town it has more than enough power to get you out off (or into) trouble, it is reasonably nimble and easy to manoeuvre but obviously there are occasions where it is to wide to follow a scooter through traffic. On motorways/highways it is capable of reaching and cruising at (for 2 days straight) the 100Km speed limits here; the ride is steady if not luxurious and the position is relatively comfortable on long rides. I managed to load it up (with my non standard saddlebags) with around 25Kg of baggage and it coped admirably; throw on a pillion as well and the suspension did bottom out occasionally on bumpy ground but on smooth highways it was fine.

The brakes are sufficient for the speed it is capable of, however I have locked up several times; I put this down to the road surfaces in Uruguay rather than the bike as it only seems to happen on one type of surface here – perhaps I could resolve that by replacing the standard tyres which are pretty basic. The brakes do feel a bit overloaded when carrying a lot of luggage and pillion but with just a pillion or just luggage they are fine.

The gearbox initially felt extremely loose and frequently dropped out of gear in 2nd; I have since been to a local mechanic to get it is resolved, it appears to have been a settling in problem on a new gearbox as it is now fixed. The clutch also felt a bit spongy initially; the same mechanic has now resolved that with some adjustments. I am now happy with the clutch and the gearbox functions correctly; however on occasion it is still evident the gearbox is cheap from the occasional clunk into gear. I think the lesson here might be to take it to a good mechanic for initial setup and not trust a dealership/service centre to do the work.

Fuel consumption on the bike is very low, I was able to make 350Km on a 14L tank of fuel on long runs consistently; although this obviously varied with luggage etc. Around town it normally gives a bit more than 300km to the tank (probably more but I am cautious with fuel).

The suspension is fluid around town and it does feel cheaper than its more expensive counterparts; probably because it is! I have also found that it is prone to squeaks which appear, stay for a couple of Kms and then disappear, however none have been persistent and a drop of lubricant has resolved them all.

The gauges are clear and display in Km/h and Mp/h, there is however a lack of rev counter and fuel gauge which would have been a nice addition. They are also well lit and readable at night with no problems. The headlights are big and strong enough to enable out of town riding at night and the main beam is sufficient for country roads etc.

Keeway Cruiser 250cc on the open road

In terms of accessories the bike comes with:

  • An alarm on the models from late 2007 onwards and it is of medium sensitivity; I expect it would sound if you sat on it but not if you walked near it.
  • Remote ignition; an electronic key fob (plus spare) is provided that allow you to start and stop the engine remotely as well as activate the alarm. It is a nice gimmick which I in practice don’t use often – however disabling the engine cut of on the side stand does allow you to warm the engine up from across the street (if you trust the neighbours!).
  • Screen; the standard screen is reasonable and effective at speed, judging from the state of it after 1500Km of desert riding it keeps the bugs at bay as well!
  • Fitted saddlebags; they are useful for general daily use but for long trips they a bit flimsy and too small for my requirements. The saddlebag supports can however be fitted without the bags so you can fit aftermarket bags if need be. The first two pictures in this article are of the standard bags, the third shows my custom ones.
  • Saddlebag support racks; sturdy chrome racks are fitted that make the addition of aftermarket bags easy – I opted to have some made as they are difficult to buy in Uruguay but I imagine most throw over bags would fit and the spacing of the indicators and suspension does allow some pretty deep bags. The fourth picture in this article is of the bike without bags and shows the racks.

My experiences of this bike are generally positive. There were some initial reliability issues which I have since put down to poor set up from the workshop as I have managed to resolve all but one problem by using an alternative mechanic. The only problem not yet resolved was that I received some dirty fuel which due to the lack of fuel filter ended up in the carb so it needs cleaning and resetting.  The bike is with the mechanic at present having this resolved and an aftermarket fuel filter fitted to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

If you are planning long tours with a passenger and lots of luggage I think this bike will cope as well as most cheap, small cruisers, you may need bigger bags fitting; but I would advise you look at bigger options designed for the job.

I have no qualms about recommending this bike if you are looking for a relatively cheap, economical cruiser that is capable of undertaking some touring if required and more than up to the job of running round town in comfort.

If anyone has any questions on the bike I would be happy to answer them.

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