The revered Kawasaki Ninja 250R has been around forever, or so it seems. We've touted the small-displacement Ninja as the ideal mount for beginners, with our only complaint about the bargain Kwakker being its somewhat outdated styling. Kawasaki must have been listening because the 250R is back for 2008 with a styling facelift, making it look more like its sport Ninja siblings. Other changes include larger 17-inch wheels and 290mm front brake rotors. The little Ninja's engine has also received some mods as well, retuned for more low- to mid-range torque courtesy of tweaked camshafts and new 2-into-1 exhaust.
This ain't the same old Ninja 250R we've come to expect every year. Instead Kawasaki opted to give its trusty 250 begginer sportbike a makeover to make it look more like its Ninja siblings.
Stayed tuned for a more in depth analysis on the '08 Kawasakis from our Associate Editor, Adam Waheed, who is attending the Kawasaki dealer show in Vegas. Also, make sure to check out Kawasaki's releases on the new 2008 Ninja ZX-10R and the tweaked 2008 ZX-14.
Courtesy of Kawasaki
2008 Kawasaki Ninja 250R
Quick, Affordable, Fuel Efficient, Easy to Ride and Great Looking
One look at the new Ninja 250R
tells everyone that this bike is the genuine article. With a new full-fairing similar to the Ninja ZX-6R and -10R supersport bikes, a single kicked-up muffler, UNI-TRAK rear suspension, high-performance petal disc brakes and a dual seat, this is the most stylish performer in its category.
Compact size, exceptional personality and a low price tag highlight Kawasaki's new Ninja 250R quarter-liter performer. Considering how much fun it is to ride and the fact that it's the only 250cc sportbike sold in the U.S., it's no wonder the Ninja 250R has been a strong seller for over a decade. Its successful blend of a rider-friendly engine, easy-to-operate chassis and supersport styling worthy of its Ninja moniker, this model was developed to offer real world performance to riders of all skill levels and goes to show that good things do come in small packages.
A full fairing adorns the 2008 version of the Ninja 250R, with the 249cc-powered design also sporting larger 17-inch wheels and 290mm front brake rotors.
At the core of the lightweight Ninja 250R
is an engine that thrives on high-rpm excitement. The gutsy 249cc parallel twin has been retuned to spice up its smooth and predictable power delivery. It now offers more low- and mid-range torque thanks to revisions to its dual overhead camshafts and a new 2-into-1 exhaust system. A silky smooth six-speed transmission tops off the sportbike equipment list, enabling the 250R to exploit a powerband that's sure to please riders with its beginner friendly low-end grunt and a lively top-end rush that'll keep seasoned veterans satisfied. The coup de' grace, is its ability to deliver excellent fuel economy.
The 250R's new fairing and windscreen not only look great, they deliver improved wind protection for a wide range of riding situations. This lightweight sportbike is loaded with even more rider-friendly features such as an easy-to-read instrument panel and positive neutral finder.
A natural riding position and comfortable ergonomics combined with its lightweight handling, easy controllability and improved throttle response make the 250R a pleasure to ride on city streets. Also new for 2008 are larger 17-inch wheels that offer great handling and improved stability. A larger 290mm front brake rotor is gripped by a powerful 2-piston caliper to provide a healthy dose of stopping power with a responsive feel at the lever. Like Kawasaki's other sport models, the Ninja 250R is fitted with petal discs for efficient heat dissipation.
The simple formula of providing easy-handling agility, lightweight responsiveness, and low ownership costs make the Ninja 250R a force to be reckoned with in the entry-level sportbike category.
Motors Corp., U.S.A. (KMC) markets and distributes Kawasaki motorcycles, ATVs, personal watercraft and utility vehicles through a network of more than 1,500 independent retailers, with an additional 7,700 retailers specializing in power products and general purpose engines. KMC and its affiliates employ nearly 2,400 people in the United States, with 400 of them located at the Irvine, California headquarters.
Kawasaki's tagline, "Let the good times roll.", is recognized worldwide and the brand has become synonymous with powerful, stylish motorcycles for over four decades. Information about Kawasaki's complete line of recreational products and Kawasaki affiliates can be found on the Internet at www.kawasaki.com
Kawasaki's successful ZX-14 returns for its third model year in 2008, with the manufacturer dialing in its biggest Ninja for even more power. Team Green engineers found more power in the ZX-14's mill while getting the monster compliant with strict Euro-III emissions requirements and noise standards. Internal engine changes meant to decrease mechanical noise improved performance. The emissions problem was tackled by tweaking fuel injection and adding a third exhaust catalyzer, with Kawi claiming the changes resulted in improved low-range torque. The other change to this year's 14 is the switch from gravity to die casting for the portions of the aluminum monocoque frame, resulting in a lighter frame.
The vaunted Kawasaki ZX-14 is back for more in 2008, with the monster Ninja claiming to muster even more power from its Inline-Four.
Courtesy of Kawasaki
2008 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14
Every champion knows sustained dominance is only possible with constant improvement. Such is the case with Kawasaki's Ninja ZX-14
. Since its debut in March of 2006, this motorcycle has ruled the open class sportbike roost with nearly non-stop magazine comparison victories. Even though the 1352cc Ninja ZX-14 won lavish praise for its massive torque, effortless power, agile handling and comfortable ergonomics, Kawasaki
engineers were not willing to leave the door open to potential challengers.
The 2008 ZX-14 retains all the great features that made it a legend, plus more bottom, mid and top-end power. Changes to the engine and exhaust system allow it to comply with strict Euro-III emissions and tightening noise regulations. To meet noise standards, the engineers focused on reducing internal mechanical noise instead of muzzling the exhaust system. The result wasn't a power loss, but an overall improvement of the engine character and an actual increase in the ZX-14's legendary peak power! Yes, you read that correctly. Emissions and noise levels are lower, peak power is higher, the mid-range hit is stronger and smoother and low-end torque has been increased. A win-win solution for all, in our books.
To achieve those stringent emission levels, a third honeycomb catalyzer was added in the collector, joining the two honeycomb catalyzers already in each silencer. The secondary air ports in the cylinder head and its cover were made approximately 20 percent larger to permit an easier air flow into the exhaust system. A new Air Switching Valve (ASV) caps off the low emission updates and can handle approximately five percent more flow than the last year's version.
Conquering the challenging Euro-III regulations is admirable, but Kawasaki took it to the next level on the ZX-14
with changes to its 1352cc engine which improve the power characteristics while meeting noise regulations. The injection system was first to receive attention in an effort to boost peak power, give a more linear mid-range and stronger low end torque with the same user-friendly personality. The fine-atomizing fuel injectors had their lateral spray angle increased from 15 to 20 degrees to disperse the atomized fuel over a wider area and the intake porting was revised to provide optimum flow characteristics. Outside of the engine, the exhaust silencers feature refinements to the capacity of the first and third chambers and the lengths of the pipes projecting from the baffle plates have been adjusted. Next the entrances to the connecting tubes (joining header pipes 1-4 and 2-3) were enlarged approximately 75 percent to compensate for the new collector shape, which was altered to allow the inclusion of a third honeycomb catalyzer. These changes were a major component of the enhanced the torque characteristics, especially in the low rpm range.
Kawasaki claims that the challenge of meeting stricter noise and emissions requirements has led to a new and improved mill for the mighty ZX-14.
Reducing internal mechanical noise allowed for the engineers to employ comparatively little exhaust modification to meet noise mandates and consequently the exhaust system could remain free flowing for greater power. Lower mechanical noise was attained by revising the piston profiles and adding a urethane insulation sheet to the inside of the magnesium chain cover.
The engine and exhaust system weren't the only areas updated for 2008. The ZX-14's chassis design is every bit the equal of its power plant. Using an advanced version of Kawasaki's unique aluminum monocoque design, its frame is lightweight and very strong. Switching to die instead of gravity casting for the cast aluminum sections of the main frame resulted in lighter parts, allowing the Kawasaki engineers to shave weight on the already slim and compact frame.
Featuring a relaxed sport riding position, the ZX-14
is compact without being cramped, with its bars positioned within easy reach. The narrow engine, monocoque frame, and fuel tank provide a slim rider interface. Footpegs are low-set to give ample legroom and the low seat height and narrow seat front make it easy to plant both feet on the ground when stopped. Comfort levels are high enough that riders might think they're on a dedicated sport tourer, but one twist of the ZX-14's throttle is all it takes to remind anyone this is the world's quickest and most powerful production motorcycle.
Uninterrupted fairing lines give the ZX-14 a smooth, flowing appearance from front to rear due in part to the monocoque frame that goes over the engine and doesn't protrude through the cowling. Quadruple projector beam headlights adorn the ZX-14's front, with low beams in the two center lenses and the outer lenses containing the high beams and position lamps. The turn signals are cleanly integrated into the fairing and rear cowl with a unique "V" design LED tail lamp capping off the sleek aerodynamics of the ZX-14 that reinforces Kawasaki's aircraft heritage.
This blending of form, power, and handling characteristics yields a motorcycle with appeal that extends far outside of its high performance audience. The Ninja ZX-14 lives up to its Ninja heritage, by surpassing the competition.
Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. (KMC) markets and distributes Kawasaki motorcycles, ATVs, personal watercraft and utility vehicles through a network of more than 1,500 independent retailers, with an additional 7,700 retailers specializing in power products and general purpose engines. KMC and its affiliates employ nearly 2,400 people in the United States, with 400 of them located at the Irvine, California headquarters.
Kawasaki's tagline, "Let the good times roll.", is recognized worldwide and the brand has become synonymous with powerful, stylish motorcycles for over four decades. Information about Kawasaki's complete line of recreational products and Kawasaki
affiliates can be found on the Internet at www.kawasaki.com
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