Kawi has come out with a Ninja 300. Full on for no other reason than to give Honda the middle finger.
You see, for just about forever Kawi has done the Ninja 250. Really the only 250CC Class Option for a Sport Bike for the last few Eons. Then recently Honda rolled out a CBR 250. And it’s a nice little bike. A bit underpowered compared to the Ninja it’s trying to compete with, but riders are saying it’s an all around better bike thanks to upgraded tech and handling, yada yada yada.
Well, Kawi is a bit Type A in the personality department, so they didn’t take this laying down. They trotted out a new beast altogether instead of doing a massive redo on the Ninja 250. They rolled out the Ninja 300. It’s 16% heavier than the CBR 250… but playing with a full 50% more horsepower. Better handling is not going to help the Mini-CBR, as the Ninja 300 is still as Flickable as a Butterfly Knife.
This soundly puts Kawasaki back on top of the performance leadership board. Honda has nothing that can match it and they were pretty much taken by surprise by this.
Here’s the thing… It’s cheap too. For 5 Grand, you couldn’t have more fun even if you spent a week in Thialand and you paid the Catholic Church off for the Endulgences.
Kawis are not just about rip-snorting aggression… Yes, they accel at that, but until you crack the whip, they can be very docile daily commuters that turn in high Miles Per Gallon numbers that make them very economically feasible. And insurance is cheap on them if you stay away from Tickets and Teenagers.
Honestly however, I’d have rather have seen Kawi roll out something more along the lines of splitting the difference between the 250 and the 600. Like a 450 maybe. Using one of their power plants from one of their dirtbike lines. Dirtbike engines are more compact, lighter weight, and seem to be a lot more pissed off about not constantly tearing shit up. That’s what they do. They tear shit up. Putting that sort of Honey Badger inside a Ninja body would truly be a thing of evil.
To make matters even more potentially interesting is that many of the Cycle Co.’s are considering bringing back the Two Stroke. With modern Engine Tech being applied to the Two Cycle power plant, they are able to make the engines far more powerful, fuel efficient, and much much cleaner. My Yamaha was an RD400 Daytona Special… a Street Legal 2 Stroke that ate Ninja 600’s and other bigger sport bikes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and in between meal snacks. And it was just a little 400. Sure it drank oil and blew blue smoke like it was a steam powered train… but dayum… You couldn’t shift it without picking up the front tire. It would hit 80 before you could take a full breath. I had to put all my weight over the front tire to keep it down even if I rolled on the throttle hard. And that was Old 2 Stroke Tech. I can’t imagine a 450 or 500 with new electronic fuel injection and all the goodies.
Wait. Yes, yes I can imagine that… and I want that. Full on Tazmanian Devil all the time. How fun would that be?
Come on, Kawi… Give me that Ninja 450 Two Stroke!