Kawasaki Ninja 300

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!

11 thoughts on “Kawasaki Ninja 300”

  1. I was happy to see the 300, but would have thought Kawi would have gone to a 400 (and ditch the decades old 500ninja) or a new gen 300 2 stroke.

    Never mind, I guess they dropped the 500r.

  2. I don’t know but I suspect the major motorcycle companies are holding off on the new 2 stroke technology in the US due to the insanity of the US EPA mafia. They keep demanding more ethanaol, and tighter unicorn fart exhaust standard just about every year.

    1. They do but most regulations don’t effect motorcycles. Should Romney get elected and the utterly useless EPA is throttled back, I would bet Two Strokes get some action.
      (The EPA is useless because they are not doing their jobs, but are being used as a political weapon.)

  3. The reason to steer clear of the dirt bike motors is vibration. Four stroke singles tend to shake quite a bit at high RPM’s. Not a problem on a dirt track or in the woods, where the revs are constantly changing, but annoying on the highway.

    As to them bringing back the 2 strokes, I’m all for it even if I doubt the possibility. Yamaha should bring out a modern RD and RZ(one naked/one faired running a modern Banshee-RZ motor) while Kawi should reintroduce the 500 triple widow maker, of course with modern brakes/suspension and a modern frame that actually has some semblance of rigidity(the original Mach III frame seemed to be made by the slinky corporation). Heck, bring back the RZ-500 while your at it.

    1. Vibration can be worked with. KTM has a very nice 4 Stroke Single for the Street… the Duke. It’s balls out fun. Energetic and they feel very light. Lighter than they really are. I like them. I could have fun owning a Duke. But I’m not going to go out of my way to get one. The bigger version of the Duke is tempting, it’s a Twin. And I really like the way Twins rumble… it’s a fun combination in a sport frame.

  4. The Evinrude etec is a 2 stroke outboard that used some special fuel injection system I think and they say it has the same emissions as a 4 Stoke.

  5. My first bike when I was in Japan (not my first ever bike, I’ve owned 2 prior…) was a NSR250RR 2-stroke demon that I paid a mere 400.00 for it. My 6’2″ frame was a bit compacted on the bike but I smoked every 600 class bike off the line and in the turns. I had to sell it because I had a line on a VFR400R and because of PACAF regs I could only have 1 bike registered. I got my VFR for 600.00 and rode the snot out of it every day. Northern Japan rocks for riding. I imported it back to the ‘states and rode it here in NC for about a year and sold it on ebay for 4500.00 to some guy in Chicago. I wanted to keep it, but the way people drive in this town, the heat and sheer number of motorcycle accidents finally convinced me.

    A sub-600 class bike is viable in the US market (they are all over in Europe & Asia…but very very rare here) and are full of performance. No one ever made fun of me for riding a 400cc sport bike, in fact I got so many compliments because they’ve never seen something like that before.

  6. A two stroke with forced induction, a rotary induction valve (avoiding crankcase induction and the necessity of burning oil for lubing the crank), and direct injection has the potential to be as clean as you like and to make such unbelievable gobs of power for it’s weight and displacement that I simply can’t understand why it’s not being done already.

  7. Take a look at the supermotos, and ask yourself why none of them are based on MX bikes? That’s why you won’t see a “rippin’ dirt bike” based entry level streetbike.

    Those MX bikes are designed to be serviced at way less than 1,000 mile intervals.

    I’m interested in the new Kwakker also, but I’m leaning toward the CBR. Have to wait for the reviews and comparos, not to mention some sit tests.

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