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2013 Kawasaki Ninja 300 First Look

Thursday, September 13, 2012
2013 Kawasaki Ninja 300 Specs
Engine: Liquid-cooled 296cc Parallel-Twin, 8-valves
Bore and Stroke: 62.0 x 49.0mm
Compression Ratio: 10.8:1
Fuel Delivery: Fuel-injection
Clutch: Wet multi-plate slipper clutch; Cable actuation Transmission: Six-speed
Frame: Steel
Front Suspension: 37mm non-adjustable; 4.7 in. travel
Rear Suspension: Hydraulic shock with five-way preload adjustment; 5.2 in. travel
Front Brake: 290mm petal disc with two-piston caliper
Rear Brake: 220mm disc with single-piston caliper
Tires: 110/70-17, 140/70-17
Curb Weight: 379 lbs.
Wheelbase: 55.1 in.
Seat Height: 30.9 in.
Fuel Capacity: 4.5 gallon
MSRP: $4799
Colors: Ebony; Pearl Stardust White; Lime Green / Ebony with Special Edition Graphics
Warranty: 12-month, unlimted mileage
Kawasaki took the wraps off its new entry-level sportbike, the Ninja 300. This new motorcycle replaces the aging Ninja 250R and is designed for motorcyclists seeking fun and easy-to-ride transportation, at an affordable price ($4799).

As the nomenclature states the new machine is powered by a 296cc liquid-cooled Parallel Twin engine similar in design to the Ninja 250R, only with a longer stroke which equates to better acceleration. The engine is now fuel-injected and can run on regular 87 octane pump fuel. Fuel capacity is 4.5 gallons which gives the Ninja 300 a range in excess of 200 miles.

The chassis is also based off the 250R but features a stronger frame engineered for use with the more powerful engine. The rear wheel is wider and fitted with a larger 140/70-17 tire. Each wheel is has a single hydraulic disc brake with ABS avaliable on the up-spec LE model (MSRP $5299). The 300 also wears all-new bodywork, 10-spoke wheels and a digital instrument display.

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Griffin Crew   September 24, 2012 01:26 PM
Higher MSRPs stink, but hard to blame Kawasaki, Honda, etc. As noted already, the dollar/yen exchange is the culprit. A 2008 Ninja 250 MSRP $3500 @ 110 Yen per $1 = 385,000 yen. The 2012 Ninja 300 MSRP $4800 @ 75.5 Yen per $1 = 372,000 yen. Kawasaki Japan is actually selling the 2013 for less and added FI, power, tire, digital gauge, etc.
GreenRocket   September 18, 2012 12:17 PM
most of the commentators have ignored the fact that Kawi is still selling the 250 (at least it's still shown on their US site. It may not be as cheap as the little Honda but has a better top end for riders who need it and can afford the higher price. There are plenty of 250 Hondas at my local dealership, but few 250R's. The new 300 is a much better bike compared to the 250R and when you compare its price it's a bargain. More power, fuel injection, new "slipper" clutch. It's a great bike for those who are considering getting back into motorcycles for under $5000.
JSH   September 17, 2012 10:29 AM
While affordability may be the number one priority for young riders looking to purchase their first bike, it is not for all riders. There are many older riders like myself that realize that even a 600cc sportbike is way more bike than I need on the road. I've owned 600cc and 750cc sportbikes and found that I rarely use more than a quarter throttle. Lately I've been having fun riding vintage bikes and dual sports. Bikes that you can actually twist the throttle open without doubling the speed limit in the blink of an eye. To me the Ninja 300 looks like a great road bike.
motousa_adam   September 16, 2012 03:36 PM
these are all great comments-- i did not realize the price increase was so profound-- so i'm def. bummed to hear that. it's great that kawasaki boosted the performance but i agree affordability is no.1 component in this category.
Rucuss54   September 16, 2012 08:21 AM
AnthonyD, Kawasaki has a Ninja650 bike out now, one step up from the Ninja300.
Rucuss54   September 16, 2012 08:16 AM
These bikes are too small. Kawasaki at least stroked it to 300cc and it has aggressive styling but the CBR250 is dinky as was the old Ninja250R. 50-60hp is the minimum power that riders should start at and most new riders could start on a used 600cc with no problem.
AnthonyD   September 15, 2012 06:52 PM
Looks like Honda is all about one upping kawi at every turn. Introducing the CBR500! Check it out here: http://www.visordown.com/motorcycle-news-new-bikes/honda-cbr500-and-cb500-leaked/21407.html
Dokkodo   September 15, 2012 10:45 AM
When Motorcycle USA released the info about the new Japanese Ninja 250R, I thought they would come up with some gimmick to justify a big increase in price here in the US. If they had ABS in this price, it would almost make it worth it. The ABS version is almost $1000 more expensive. The only way they could justify the price was putting a few more CCs in it and call it something else. However, with the Honda having fuel injection and ABS for over nearly $1000 less than the Ninja with ABS, things can get muddied. A true entry-level bike must be affordable (so you don't feel too bad every time it falls on the floor). The Ninja 300 is beautiful, but it's a step up in price and probably will be compared to other higher specs. bikes. I don't know if this was a genius move by Kawasaki to avoid a direct competition with the much cheaper Honda at 250 by bringing a better (but more expensive) bike, or if it sounds like Kawasaki conceded defeat and is trying to move on, which might not be good for business in a tough economy.
neo1piv014   September 14, 2012 10:53 AM
Adam, it isn't that we can't stand price increases, but a jump to $4800, is massive compared to the competition. With the CBR250R still selling for under $4000 ($3700 is what I think we paid a couple months ago for the wife's bike), the question is no longer "is the Ninja 300 worth $4800?" The question has now become "is the Ninja 300 worth $1000 more than the Honda?" When you're trying to attract the brand new riders that want to spring for a new bike as their first, it's a question that will get raised frequently. My wife really wanted a Ninja 250 as her first bike, but all the dealers around here wouldn't let one out the door for less than $4400. The exact same dealership let her CBR250 out the door for $3700, and we jumped all over it. Even if she liked the Ninja better, she was the first to admit that $700 will buy a lot of accessories and insurance for a beginner bike.
Piglet2010   September 13, 2012 05:03 PM
I like everything but the 379-pound curb weight. To steal a joke from someone else, the Ninja 300 is made by Kawasaki HEAVY Industries.
AnthonyD   September 13, 2012 03:55 PM
http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/156/9136/Motorcycle-Article/2011-Kawasaki-Ninja-250R-Comparison.aspx Looks like the tires are the same when comparing the spec charts from this article and the Kawi V Honda article from 2011. I dunno dude. Do a comparo Old v. New. I'll read it.
AnthonyD   September 13, 2012 03:41 PM
Adam its a 27% price increase. Thats massive. Especially considering what people have been earning as of late. Check this out: "New numbers that have just been released show that things are getting worse for American families. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, median household income declined to $50,054 in 2011. That is a 1.5 percent decline from the previous year, and median household income has now fallen for 4 years in a row. In fact, after adjusting for inflation median household income has not been this low since 1995." I think they priced it high for the segment it is meant to satisfy.
JSH   September 13, 2012 02:30 PM
At this time in 2008 $1 US bought 110 Japanese Yen. Today $1 US only buys 77.5 Japanese Yen.
AM   September 13, 2012 12:48 PM
And 5 years later and you want the same price? Better bike, more power, fuel injection, bigger tires none of that counts for you, correct?
AnthonyD   September 13, 2012 11:44 AM
Found it here: http://motorcycles.about.com/od/sportbikereviews/fr/08Ninja250R.htm The 08 MSRP was 3500!!!
AnthonyD   September 13, 2012 11:42 AM
What was the price of the 250R when they did the last redesign in 08-09? Wasn't it around 3600? Thats a big bump to close to 5 large.