Kawasaki Ninja 300 Review and Ride Experience

Ninja 300

Kawasaki Ninja 300 Review

After two decades of ruling the quarter litre segment worldwide, Kawasaki lays its stake to continue to rule the world with the launch of Ninja 300. The Japanese manufacturer, instead of just upgrading the Ninja 250R with minor tweaks here and there, which majority of manufacturers do with their winning models, created a whole new different machine.

Ninja 300 is a beautiful combination of superb power, impressive performance, agile handling, improved efficiency and crisp styling. I got my hands on the green goblin and after riding it just for a day I got only one thing to say – “Tonight, we Ride to Hell!”

Here is my Kawasaki Ninja 300 review and riding experience.

Kawasaki Ninja 300
Kawasaki Ninja 300

 

Power, Performance and Delivery

Kawasaki Ninja 300 – “Evolution at its Best”

The new Kawasaki Ninja 300 runs on a four-stroke, 296cc parallel-twin liquid-cooled engine. The fuel injected motor generates a maximum power of 39bhp @ 11000rpm, with a peak torque of 2.8kgm produced @ 10000rpm. What the hell does this mean? It means you have a state-of-the-art missile at your disposal and the control of this better be in experienced hands.

You may wonder if a 47cc increase in power mill and a raise of 6 bhp would make much of a difference, compared to the 250R, but the moment you experience the Ninja 300, you’ll realize it’s a unique motorcycle by itself. Despite sharing some configuration and a few parts from its predecessor, there is a different personality to the 300. You’ll land up saying, “Wow…this is a whole new motor…”

Other aspects and improvements worth mentioning about this new mill are,

– Increase in the size of the valves
– Pistons are now weighing lighter than before
– Increase in stroke which obviously gives the plus number in cc
– 600gm lighter sleeveless die-cast cylinders
– The engine is rubber mounted
– Vibe free engine
– New slipper clutch system

Kawasaki Ninja 300
Kawasaki Ninja 300

 

A prominent issue with the Ninja 250R was that it was a sleeping giant until it reached 6000rpm. The real performance of that motor was found in the mid-range and beyond. But in Ninja 300 you can feel the torque right from 2000rpm itself. Just pop the clutch and the bike is ready to go boom from the first gear. This also makes climbing steep slopes on 2nd or 3rd gear effortless and stress free.

Now, do not worry about 6000+rpms in the Ninja 300. The question is – Do you have what it takes to handle this beast?! At a flick of the wrist, the bike is ready to show you what it is really made of. The twin cylinder engine is all set to give you instant throttle response and takes you up to three figure speed within no time. You’ll be in the 100kph+ range in just about 7 seconds, 1 second faster than the Ninja 250R. One thing is evident; we don’t have a large number of wide roads where you can legitimately test the potential of such bikes, so you could probably touch the 160 mark and immediately slow down. You may also notice that even after touching 160kph, the rpm needle is still not very close to the red line which means there is one more level to go!!!

The heat dispersion system also has been given attention to. You do not feel warm air on your thighs or anywhere near your feet like in earlier models, also the noise of the radiator fan can hardly be heard. This can be observed if the bike is kept idling in stationary position for a few minutes.

The 6-speed (1-down 5-up) gearbox imparts smooth, well weighted shifts. We can say the feeling is similar to the 250R but gentler and smoother than its predecessor and the immense rush of power is clearly revealed at every shift.

Kawasaki Ninja 300
Kawasaki Ninja 300

 

Proud owners of the 250R the world over would often express their desire to have softer clutch lever on their bikes on various Kawasaki forums. The engineers at Kawasaki made a note of it and introduced the “slipper clutch” with which the Ninja 300 seems like a child play. Here is why.

Slipper Clutch

We just love it when we get to know that motorcycles with world renowned technologies are launched in India.

Here is the scene to understand the “slipper clutch” system practically – Let’s say we are engaged in a high speed ride and out of nowhere “Rossi’s” ghost decides to enter our body and nudges us to downshift our gears for that “Vroomm” feeling and we do just that. Now with the normal clutch system on our bikes in the event of sudden down shift of gear we would feel a deep jerk on our entire body rendering us imbalanced and at the same time increasing our chances of locking the rear wheel many folds.

This is where the slipper clutch system comes into play; with Rossi’s ghost in action, we downshift the gear suddenly, the slipper clutch system partially disengages itself allowing some amount of revolutions to bypass which prevents the rear wheels from getting locked up and enables a jerk-free ride too.

To truly appreciate this system, take the Ninja 300 on twisties and slopes and let the ghost out.

On the fuel economy front, we were able to derive an average of 37kmpl.

Kawasaki Ninja 300
Kawasaki Ninja 300

 

Comfort and Handling

Long rides have now become a boon on the Ninja 300. Earlier, sitting on 250R was like sitting on a slab of rock and going for a ride. The seats are still hard, even in the 300, but much better – The seating position gives a sporty feel and you just have to bend a little forward for a comfortable reach out to the handle bars. The new mirrors now have more viewing (Read wider view) to them. Even for a horizontally challenged (Real Huge) guy like me who was wearing armoured motorcycle jacket I could view over 80 per cent of uninterrupted background picture in the rear view mirror.

The newly designed tank is perfect for cruising as well as for fast rides. You can grip the tank with your legs during high speeds and feel oneness with the bike at ONCE.

No other bike felt as stable as the Ninja 250R in its segment. And with the Ninja 300, the feeling is confidently carried forward with few improvements for holding on a more powerful engine.

The bike is very swift in handling despite being in the 170kgs+ category. Manoeuvring in city is as easy and riding on highway is heavenly.

Kawasaki Ninja 300
Kawasaki Ninja 300

 

Styling and Lineaments – Who is the designer?

May not be Picasso or Manish Malhotra, but we sure have some design geniuses at the Kawasaki design department! You ride the Ninja anywhere and we bet you’ll make some (ALL) head turn.

Although the inspiration for Ninja 300 comes from many of its siblings but this one, just steals the show. The floating windscreen and integrated signal indicators come from ZX-10R- The dual headlights from the ZX-6R. Wheel and side fairing design are from the ZX-14R and the new overhauled silencer and foot-pegs from other big brother (models). The rear of Ninja 300 looks somewhat like the 250R with 10 per cent improvisation of the tail and under seat area.

However, if you keep both the bikes, 250R and 300 side by side, from some angles you’ll find the 300 seem lighter and leaner over the prior variant. But that is NOT true, obviously.

The moment you get close to the bike, you will be tempted to brush your hand over the body to feel the deep glossy surface. Ninja 300 today is probably one of the best looking motorcycles in the world in its class by far.

As many would agree, 300 is a bike to drool for!

Kawasaki Ninja 300
Kawasaki Ninja 300

 

Braking and Suspension

The front comes with a 290mm single petal disc while the rear with 220 mm one, each equipped with dual-piston callipers.

Braking is in par with its overall performance only when you don’t compare it with the 250R. Evaluating the braking by comparing it with the earlier Ninja models will not give the right judgment here. Some might find the braking in the 250R more powerful while first timers may feel what they have on 300 is the best.

After riding on steep slopes, downhill, taking sharp corners and going a little off track we are satisfied to say that braking is pretty much up to the mark. You don’t get an ABS option in the Indian version, but the question remains, do we really need it? Read, all you really need to know about ABS.

The suspension of the Ninja 300 is somewhat on the stiffer side, just like the 250R, although the front telescopic forks and the rear adjustable Uni-trak suspension have been improved to deliver a smooth ride and stable handling over a wide range of speed and road conditions. Best is to keep the default company settings. The wider IRC tyres are impressive rubber. The bike handles well at corners during low as well as high speeds. Confident and agile are the words that best describe the feeling. Tires being made of soft compound will get exhausted in the 12000-15000 km range but that should not be a bother because thereafter, you can go for MRF Zapper Q which now comes in a tubeless variant which has a Life-expectancy of 25000kms.

Kawasaki Ninja 300
Kawasaki Ninja 300

 

Instrument cluster and console

Only analogue pods for reading makes way a very stylish digital and analogue instrument console designed to impress and guide.

You have the tachometer in analogue design at the centre, warning lights get their individual positions and a cool digital screen on the right side dedicated for quick reads.

Warning lights consist of low battery voltage, OBD port, engine oil pressure, engine temperature, neutral shift light and high beam indicators along with two trip-meters and a clock on the digital screen. Also something new you’ll notice is an ECO sign appearing every now and then next to the speedometer. Its appearance represents that you are in the economy mode. It’s a handy feature to have in the console of the bike. Fuel economy is expected to be around 25km/litre, though we did not get to test this. But depending on your riding style, the efficiency figure can get impressive. Note: On Ninja 250R we managed to get an average of 40km/litre over the company mentioned 26km/litre. The magic is in your hand 🙂

With the 300, we finally get the pass switch, which was painfully missed on the 250R. Headlamps are still on the DRL, so no off switch on this one too. We could not see them in action as it was a day ride but based on what Kawasaki has delivered till now, surely the light spread will not be disappointing.

Kawasaki Ninja 300
Kawasaki Ninja 300

 

Verdict

So the big question is Should I Buy the Kawasaki Ninja 300? Absolutely! Ninja 300 is a hands down winner in all departments. Kawasaki has left no stone unturned. Whatever could be upgraded from the 250R has now been brought to a new standard in the 300. Also, Kawasaki will be the first to get this new segment in India. Currently, there stands no competition to the motorcycle and with regards to the after sales service; Bajaj Probiking is already prepared in delivering premium quality service for the maintenance of the motorcycle.

The only thing that goes against the bike is the whopping price tag. The bike comes for Rs. 3.85 lacs on-road Mumbai. Immediately, the comparison starts with CBR 250R, the upcoming Duke 390 and other Honda machines which are most likely to arrive in India in the next few months but like mentioned before, the Ninja 300 is a unique motorcycle and CANNOT BE compared with anything else. You have to see it from this perspective. If you feel the price is high, then you must understand the fact that for this amount you are surely getting the best, modern, state-of-the-art motorcycle from Kawasaki. So if you have the money to shell out, then yes, this motorcycle is the ideal choice to satisfy your sport, touring and commuting needs. You may even go ahead and get these 5 useful accessories for the Ninja 300 that will take the stance of the motorcycle a notch higher.

So here I conclude my Kawasaki ninja 300 review. Do leave a feedback in the comments section to let me know what you think.

“Tonight, we Ride to Hell!!!”

Kawasaki Ninja 300
Kawasaki Ninja 300

 

High Five for

  1. The new refreshed look
  2. Improved handling and dynamics
  3. Power distribution across RPMs
  4. Ample under seat storage for tools and documents

Wish it had

  1. Fibre extension on the Front mud guard to protect the radiator from dirt and debris hitting on it during monsoons. (You can still get the aftermarket product.)

Kawasaki Ninja 300
Kawasaki Ninja 300

 

Tech Specs:

Engine Type: Liquid cooled, 4- stroke Parallel Twin

Displacement – 296 cm3

Bore and Stroke – 62.0 X 49.0 mm

Compression ratio: 10.6:1

Valve system – DOHC, 8 Valves

Fuel System: Fuel Injection Φ32mm x 2 (Keihin) with dual throttle valves.

Ignition: Digital

Starting: Electric

Lubrication: Forced Lubrication, Wet sump

Transmission: 6-speed return

Maximum Power – 29.0 KW {39PS}/11,000 rpm

Maximum Torque: 27 N.m {2.8 kgf.m} / 10.000rpm

 

Frame, Tyres and Brakes

Type: Tube diamond, steel

Wheel travel: Front: 120mm

Rear: 132mm

Tyre: Front 110/70 – 17M/C 54S

Rear: 140 /70 -17 M/C 66S

Brake Front:  Type: Single 290mm petal Disc

Caliper: Single Balanced actuation dual –piston

Brake Rear: Type: single 220 mm Petal disc

Caliper: Dual –piston

 

Dimensions

Overall length: 2,015 mm

Overall width: 715 mm

Overall height: 1,11omm

Wheelbase: 1,405 mm

Ground clearance: 140 mm

Seat height: 785mm

Curb Mass: 172 kg

Fuel Capacity: 17 litres

Kawasaki Ninja 300
Kawasaki Ninja 300

 

Also published in MyBikeMyWorld.com

Author: Om Vaikul

Biker, blogger, photographer, travel enthusiast... A wanderlust soul.

14 thoughts on “Kawasaki Ninja 300 Review and Ride Experience”

  1. The Ninja is the better bike because it has a slightly bigger displacement than the Honda. It also has a slipper clutch and has survived the recalls where as the 2014 Honda is untested and still has a single cylinder. Honda should have made a twin cylinder 338 cc with slipper clutch and standard ABS to compete with the Ninja 300. Also, Dear Honda, had the CBR 500R come with a slipper clutch I would have gladly bought it over the Ninja 300 abs, in Australia.

  2. it looks smaller than cbr250 but whatever built is there looks the best. but i'll still prefer some bulkier looking bike in this price category.

  3. Nice review Om. You have covered all aspects of the bike, I am sure this will help many prospective buyers. A few clarifications needed, how good is the Ninja 300 for carrying a pillion? Will the pillion be comfortable on a long ride (say 300 kms and above). Can a magnetic tank bag be mounted on the 300? How efficient is the suspension on bad roads, the types we have abundant in and around Bombay?

    1. Thanks for appreciation Reeto and Sorry for my late reply.

      N300 also has the hard seat cushioning just like the Ninja 250R. Its fine for short rides, but the resistance varies from pillion to pillion. 300+ kms is doable. A friend of mine did Spiti valley trip pillion on the Ninja 250R that I personally own. http://www.flickr.com/photos/omvaikul/sets/72157627510231034/

      Yes the magnetic tank bag can be comfortably be mounted on the tank of N300.

      The thing about these bikes is that you cannot afford to hit them on potholes over the speed of 40-60kmph. But overall, on a sensible riding style, the suspension is satisfactory for Indian roads. A friend of mine is the first person in the world to ride a Ninja 300 to Khardung La right from Mumbai. He got know issues on the suspension. But speed was controlled on potholes.

Leave a Reply