Kawasaki Ninja 300: big bike feel
Looks good, feels great. The Ninja shines ahead of its A2-compliant rivals.
Kawasaki introduced the Ninja 300 in 2012. The 300 was a great fit in the rapidly expanding A2-compliant small capacity market, and when Kawasaki rationalised its range into ‘family’ groupings, it remained, with the Z300 quietly slipping off the books. The 300 was itself replaced in 2017 by the Ninja 400.
We took out a 2016 bike with 3717 Miles on the clock.
Give me some spec
A 296cc, four-stroke parallel twin capable of 93mph top speed, puts out 38.9bhp at 11,000rpm with maximum torque of 19.9lb-ft at 10,000rpm, housed in a tubular steel frame. It features a slipper clutch, conventional forks, assisting the front dual piston caliper, 290mm disc and rear dual piston caliper, 220mm disc to bring the 300 to a stop. Our test bike had a performance kit fitted which includes and Akrapovic end can and aftermarket gear indicator.
So what’s it like to ride?
The Ninja 300 has ‘grown-up’ dimensions. Big enough for a real ‘big-bike’ feel, but still small enough so that new licence holders will not feel intimidated. It’s roomier than first impressions might dictate and despite the clip-ons you can sit quite upright when pootling around in town traffic which really helps keep your bodyweight off your wrists.
Overall, the little Kawasaki is a very light 176kg wet which makes it handy when you're paddling about (be thankful for the low weight because the limited steering lock gives the Ninja the turning circle of an ocean liner).
That 296cc parallel twin will trundle lifelessly in slow traffic, giving no indication of what happens when you clear off. The performance figures, however, give a clue: this is a bike that needs to be worked hard. Get it spinning at 8000rpm it gives a brisk ride, at 10,000rpm it’s on song, feeling taut and together.
Just think about cornering and the baby Ninja tips in. That narrow profile front dips with zero effort, and the 140/70 section rear hugs the road. Direction change? No problem. It is accurate to a fault – I aimed between two inspection hatches on one corner and it placed precisely into the tiny gap.
Sit up, keep it in that upper rev range and it picks up pace briskly (reputedly 5.6 seconds 0-60mph), rather than driving forward, as you search for the top end torque.
Stopping? I loved the brakes, which gave all the feel I needed, allowing gradual halts or – if you needed to pull up suddenly – a firm squeeze on the front lever backed up with the rear got the bike hauled up hard.
It has a light clutch, slick gearbox, great clocks… and mirrors that look like they will give loads of feedback… nope. I had no idea if someone was behind me no matter what I did.
What nick is it in?
It’s in nice shape. There was a slight scuff on the right side fairing panel, but nothing to worry over.
What’s it worth?
The dealer wants £3699 For a 2016 model with 3717 miles clocked. Our dealer search revealed a smallish number of used bikes available, from a 2014 model with 2796 miles on the clock for £2999 up to a 2015 bike with 9063 miles for £3999.