French brand Mash might not be too well known here on the British Isles, but over on the continent they’ve been pretty popular for a number of years now. A bit like British companies Herald and Mutt Motorcycles, they take basic Chinese built motorcycles and give them a more upmarket and trendy spec. The Mash TwoFifty might be built in China by Shineray, but to a design commissioned by Mash. The engine’s roots go back to the early 1980s, being an evolution of the well proven five-speed Suzuki GN250 design, and it’s wrapped up in a basic chassis, painted matt black and finished with a few on trend dirt track style components. With a £3499 price tag, it’s a cool looking 250 for the price of a basic 125 – but does it stack up?
At first glance the TwoFifty looks pretty trendy with its blacked out components and retro lines. Get up close and you can see that this is no Honda or Yamaha in terms of fit and finish, but then try getting a new Honda or Yamaha 250 for £3499.
It’s basic, but then that really is a lot of the appeal. Climb aboard the low seat and you’ve got a simple single analogue speedometer with a backlit LCD inset, which features a fuel gauge and gear indicator. It’s hardly cutting edge, but it’s a decent enough spec for such an inexpensive motorcycle and really all you need. The Mash TwoFifty’s one of those old school iron horses, where less is definitely more. If it’s made of metal, chances are it’s been painted black – this includes the engine cases, wheel rims and exhaust silencer.
The Mash is a bike which has almost been made to modify. The platform lends itself to customisation, but even at the price there are a few little factory fitted details which add to its Shoreditch cred – witness the brown leather style bench seat, matching handlebar grips, handlebar brace and the wrapped exhaust downpipes.
To ride, it’s much as you’d expect. With 20bhp on tap, the fuel injected motor has a bit more bottom end grunt than a 125, although it’s still very much running out of puff at 70mph. With only 140kg plus the rider to haul around, it’s light and agile, making it a doddle to ride around town, although the budget nature of the bike does come through.
The flat track style tyres look cool but lack feedback and grip, especially in cold and wet conditions, but swapping the budget OE tyres for some branded items would likely provide a lot more reassurance. Being over 125cc, ABS is mandatory although the brakes are best described as adequate, as is the suspension – although the upside down front forks look cool and fit the stripped back, blacked out vibe.
There’s not a great deal to the Mash TwoFifty, it’s about as simple as motorcycling gets and that’s either a big plus or a big minus, depending on your point of view.
It looks great, even if the small physical dimensions will put some bigger riders off, and as a city bike it has plenty of character.
Perhaps one of its biggest handicaps is the engine capacity and the need to have an A2 licence to ride it. With just 20bhp on tap, the Mash TwoFifty’s performance is barely more than that of a good 125, which means many riders on a budget will simply stick with a 125 they can ride on their CBT. Mash themselves make a range of 125s, which start at over a grand less, and for riders looking for a cool ride that’s more accessible, the extra performance of the 250 won’t be worth the extra costs and time associated with getting an A2 licence.
But if you’ve passed your test and just fancy something simple to get you around town, the Mash TwoFifty is not without its charms. It looks cool out of the box and provides an excellent platform for further modifications, although for a few hundred pounds more Mash will sell you their 500 (which is actually a 397cc single) and for many riders this will be a most appealing option.
Taken as a standalone motorcycle, the Mash TwoFifty is an interesting proposition. It’s a throwback to a bygone era, looks great and is a solid platform for a customisation project. The performance is probably a bit lacking if you enjoy long rides on open roads, but if your riding is mainly in the urban jungle, the Mash TwoFifty certainly has its place in today’s motorcycling landscape.
Mash TwoFifty specification
Engine: 249cc, air-cooled, single cylinder
Power: 20bhp @ 7,500rpm
Torque: 18Nm @ 6,000rpm
Suspension: 38mm upside down front fork with twin rear shock absorbers with preload adjustment
Wheels: Spoked, 17” front and 17” rear
Tyres: Front 110/70-17, rear 130/70-17
Weight: 140kg wet
Seat height: 780mm
Fuel tank: 14 litres