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The AJS Regal Raptor 250 has been updated for 2007, with a longer wheelbase chassis, more chrome plated parts to add a bit of bling, plus a water-cooled version of the 230cc twin cylinder engine. It’s still one of the best bargains in the 250cc class at just £2149 OTR brand new.

Alastair Walker went for a quick spin to find out if the revised Raptor is really streets ahead of the older, air-cooled version. Fiona Maher took the pictures.

This revamped version of the AJS DD250E cruiser has more chrome bits, a water-cooled engine, plus a longer, lower chassis, for that lowrider kinda feel. It remains top value, with a £2149 OTR price tag too.

All good news, but this is still a budget mini-cruiser from China with relatively modest performance. The twin cylinder engine may be water-cooled for 2007, but it keeps the 234cc capacity and makes just 20bhp. It feels a tad smoother than the old air-cooled unit, but has more or less the same power, and the bike has gained an amazing 30 kilos in weight. Think the frame rails must be solid steel!

What this means is that it accelerates reasonably smartly, but begins running out of steam at about 65mph. As the bike was brand new, with just 25 miles on the clock, I didn’t have the cruelty to hammer it beyond an indicated 70mph for more than a few seconds. I can’t see it being much faster than that once run-in, but after all, this is only a 250 class bike. The Raptor’s five speed gearbox was easy to use, although neutral was a bit difficult to find at a standstill, but again, this could be down to a lack of running-in.

This is very much a first timers sort of bike, with an ultra low riding position ( 700mm/27.5 ins) and a long-ish chassis which offers slow, stable handling around town. For 2007 the factory have altered the rake of the forks, stretching the bike slightly at the front end, plus fitted a longer swingarm. The result is that the bike takes a little more finesse when accomplishing a U-turn, but the DD250E feels more secure, more stable, when blotting along the open road.

No two ways about it, this is a heavy 250 class bike, at 180kgs dry - up nearly 30 kilos on the old model. But it carries that weight so low that most novices will feel very confident on it within a few days of ownership. The Raptor 250 has a decent front brake on it too, although the rear drum felt a bit soggy. To be honest, it needs a disc brake on the rear wheel to help stop a cruiser which weighs about the same as an R1 sportbike.

Other good points for 2007 include the beefed-up frame, which has a revised headstock area, the entire chassis looks very robust indeed. The Raptor has a kind of Yamaha Virago-esque saddle, which is very wide and deeply padded, plus a new central clocks/lights console and natty paint job. From some angles the AJS DD250E looks a little bit like the old Kawasaki Eliminator 250, which is no bad thing in my book. It’s certainly a more attractive looking baby cruiser than the old air-cooled Raptor, and it has the lines of a proper cruiser bike now, not a commuter bike with high handlebars and a backrest fitted. The mirrors were excellent and the bike also features lashings of newly chromed parts, which will keep the typical cruiser buyer busy with the polishing cloths.

On the downside, a few details on the DD250E could have been finished with more care and precision. For example, items like the radiator cowl don’t look like they were specifically designed to fit exactly and odd blobs of weld, or sharp edges can be seen on the chassis here and there.

The bottom line with this bike is price however. When you compare the AJS DD250E against many mainstream 125cc baby cruisers, which aren’t quite as fast as the Raptor 250, it comes out at about £1000 less. That sort of saving could buy your riding kit and insurance. This isn’t some internet `jack-in-the-box’ self assembly bike either, it has an actual importer and warranty back-up too, so if you’ve passed your test and want a sub 650cc sized cruiser, then this is definitely worth a look.

Test Bike Supplied by AJS Motorcycles UK, Nr Andover, Hants, 01264 710 074

Get AJS motorbike insurance for the ajs regal raptor 250 2007.

Vital Statistics
Engine 234cc liquid cooled, four stroke
Gears Automatic CVT
Peak Power 20bhp (claimed)
Fuelling Single 28mm carb.
Gears 5 speed.
Compression 10.2:1
Ignition CDI
Chassis Steel tubular frame
Suspension Front: 37mm non adjustable. Rear suspension; Twin oil-damped shocks, non-adjustable
Wheels/Tyres 90/90 18 in front, 130/90 15 in rear
Brakes Single 265mm disc front, SLS drum rear
Fuel capacity 14 litres
Seat height 700mm
Wheelbase 1570mm
Dry weight 180kgs
Estimated top speed 70mph
Estimated mpg 55mpg average
Price £2149 OTR Feb 2007.

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