Kawasaki Ninja 300 – Road Test

The baby brother of Pirelli’s 2015 SA bike of the year, the infamous H2, has quite a name to live up to. While it does not have the legs of the ZX-6, the Ninja 300 has the heart of a lion.

15EX300B_EU_Action02

The littler Kawasaki is extremely nimble on the track and in traffic

So what is it?

The Kawasaki Ninja 300 2015 Special Edition model is a bike for the young enthusiast looking for more than a simple, single-cylinder 125cc. It delivers good overall performance and will see off threats from the Yamaha R3. It’s stock standard, so “Special Edition” merely means it has different colours compared to the “standard” 300 Ninja.

Its 296 cc parallel twin engine delivers 29 kW of power at 11 000 rpm and 27 Nm of torque at @ 10 000 rpm.

It’s a nimble bike that easily slips through traffic with its medium-sized body weighing just 172 kg. But it could fool someone into thinking it’s a slightly bigger bike.

The fuel tank allows for 17 litres of petrol and consumes a claimed 4.22 litres of petrol for every 100 km ridden, so I can imagine only having to fill up once every three weeks with diligent riding by following the speed limit.

The braking system is quite advanced, with twin-piston callipers up front with a 290 mm petal disc which is significantly good for a bike in its class. The rear brakes also feature a dual-piston calliper that controls the 220 mm rear stopper. I had to press down hard on the rear brake before experiencing a significant decrease in speed.

The brakes have been upgraded to resin instead of the old sintered brakes, for better control and performance. The ten-spoke alloy wheels with 140 mm tyres provide better control in a straight line and a sporty superbike look.

Style

The Ninja comes across as a mean looking bike with its dual front lights that also happen to provide good visibility on the road. The finishes on the bike have lots of detail, yet the design makes it simple enough to maintain if say you’d like to replace the air filter or change the oil.

For a 300 cc bike it has a relatively comfortable pillion seat that also blends in nicely with the body work. The tank has been squeezed down into the bike, so from just looking at it you would never imagine it could hold 17 litres of fuel. The tank is very comfortable to lie on if you’re pushing for speed tucked under the front screen. The foot pegs are slightly more to the rear end of the bike making the rider feel as if he/she is on a superbike; the riders seat isn’t the most comfortable as I found it was slightly hard so if you were planning a road trip pack a soft pillow.

Performance

From a performance perspective the Ninja delivers more than adequate power for a for 300 cc motorbike. The power is generated at high revs and a nice feature on this bike is the 6 speed gearbox which allows for a top speed of about 180 km/h. The race fitted slipper clutch eliminates hopping under hard decelerating and hard cornering, the light clutch is also easy enough to use with one finger.

Ride and handling

The ride and handling of the Ninja is very smooth and with lots of confidence I’m sure I would even be able to get my knee down on the track. This bike is a great race bike as its has many track benefits such as the slipper clutch and 140 mm rear wheel as well as the ABS brakes on certain models.

Likes and dislikes

I liked the feeling of sitting on the bike as it didn’t feel like I was riding a small bike. It has good petrol consumption and a generous 17-litre tank. The bike is agile and has a very particular scream when you open her up. There is very little to dislike about this bike. Comfort in a commuter bike is important and here the Ninja is slightly lacking, but it will be a great track bike.

Verdict and rating

A very stylish little bike that keeps the rider engaged and leaves you with a smile every time. It looks mean and overall it’s a good performance bike. It is a step up from the 250 Ninja and I give it 7/10.

Also consider

Yamaha R3, Honda CBR300R, KTM RC390

15EX300A_LIM3_RFSpecifications

  • Engine – 296 cc, liquid-cooled DOHC parallel twin
  • Gearbox – 6-speed sequential manual gearbox
  • Clutch – Cable-operated multi-plate wet slipper clutch
  • Power – 29 kW @ 11 000 rpm
  • Torque – 27 Nm @ 10 000 rpm
  • Weight – 172 kg
  • Seat Height – 785mm
  • Fuel Capacity – 17 litres
  • Fuel consumption – 4.22 litres per 100 km (claimed)
  • Tank range – roughly 400 km
  • Warranty – 12 month warranty
  • Price – R62 000
  • Review by Luke Mukuddem
Posted in Kawasaki, Reviews and tagged , , , , , .

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