Kawasaki ninja 300

The 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 300 comes with a sig­nif­i­cant up­date in the form of ABS. We find out how much lo­cal assem­bly and cost-op­ti­miza­tion have in­flu­enced the baby Ninja’s sporty char­ac­ter

Bike India - - CONTENTS - STORY: JOSHUA VARGH­ESE PHO­TOG­RA­PHY: SAN­JAY RAIKAR AND RAVI CHAND­NANI

Re­vamped for 2018, the ninja 300 sports new kit and a new price-tag, too

We rode The New KawasaKI NINja 300 BaCK IN 2013 and the mo­tor­cy­cle im­pressed us be­cause it lived up to its sporty cre­den­tials when we put it through its paces in a com­pre­hen­sive road test. Five years down the line, the 2019 model ar­rived at our of­fice for a first ride re­view. Cur­rently the most ac­ces­si­ble Ninja on of­fer, the bike has changed over time with­out los­ing the charm that it was fa­mous for back then. The baby Ninja now comes with aBs as stan­dard. That is not all; although the bike has put on a lit­tle weight now, Kawasaki have dropped its as­tro­nom­i­cal price tag for a more ac­ces­si­ble fig­ure, thanks to lo­cal assem­bly at the Chakan plant, near Pune. In the world of mo­tor­cy­cles, Kawasaki are known for un­con­ven­tional de­signs that we fall for at first sight; a case in point be­ing mas­ter­pieces such as the be­he­moth Ninja ZX-14r and the more re­cent Ninja h2. dif­fi­cult to look away from those beau­ties, is it not? Based on its su­per­bike sib­ling, the manic Ninja ZX-10r, the Ninja 300 also looks like a fast, men­ac­ing bird of prey. Begin­ning from a sharp, pointed beak and dual head­lamp, the lines flow back into the sculpted fuel tank and aero­dy­namic fair­ing. The rear end also echoes the sharp de­sign lan­guage of the Ninja in a min­i­mal­is­tic pack­age. The ja­panese firm has aban­doned the iconic Kawasaki Green colour for a fresh Lime Green/Candy Plasma Blue shade and new graph­ics that give the baby Ninja an ag­gres­sive look. The only eye­sore on an oth­er­wise stun­ning mo­tor­cy­cle is the over­sized grab-rail at­tached to the sub-frame.

The in­stru­ment clus­ter con­tin­ues to be a fu­sion of both dig­i­tal and ana­logue read­outs. The con­sole is dom­i­nated by a wide ana­logue tachome­ter which is flanked by tell-tale lights. The dig­i­tal read­out is clearly vis­i­ble dur­ing the day and fea­tures a clock, speedome­ter, odome­ter, two trip me­ters, fuel-gauge, and an “eco” in­di­ca­tor. Tak­ing into con­sid­er­a­tion the level of equip­ment on of­fer among its ri­vals, a tem­per­a­ture gauge and an on­board com­puter to cal­cu­late fuel con­sump­tion and range would have been use­ful.

I swung a leg over the mo­tor­cy­cle and im­me­di­ately felt at home on the seat that ta­pered towards the tank, which of­fered re­cesses that helped me keep my legs tucked in within the fair­ing. The foot-pegs are not rear-set; so, along with the slightly raised clip-on han­dle­bars, it

re­sults into a com­fort­able rid­ing po­si­tion that is op­ti­mal for tour­ing and also sup­ports sporty rid­ing. Fur­ther­more, the seat height of 785 mil­lime­tres makes the Ninja 300 eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble for short rid­ers also.

Me­chan­i­cally, there are no changes to this Kawasaki. It con­tin­ues to be pow­ered by the same 296-cc, liq­uid-cooled par­al­lel-twin that pro­duces 39 Ps at 11,000 rpm and twist to the tune of 27 Nm at 10,000 rpm. The en­gine is a stressed mem­ber of the steel diamond frame which is re­in­forced with steel tub­ing. sus­pen­sion du­ties are taken care of by a 37mm fork at the front and five-way preload ad­justable Bot­tom-Link Uni-Trak at the rear.

when I came upon a long stretch of traf­fic-free road, I tucked down be­low the wind­screen and wound the throt­tle wide open. The free-revving en­gine pro­pelled the bike ahead en­thu­si­as­ti­cally un­til the 13,000-rpm red-line. The six-speed gear­box with wellspaced ra­tios pro­vided quick and pre­cise shifts with­out a hint of hes­i­ta­tion. soon I turned off the high­way and hit some moun­tain roads. That is where I got to ap­pre­ci­ate the Ninja 300’s sus­pen­sion set-up. This well-damped set-up of­fered a plush ride in the city and in­spired me to tackle the twisties as well with­out com­pro­mis­ing on ride qual­ity over a va­ri­ety of sur­faces. although the chas­sis is not new, it does not lose com­po­sure when pushed and gave me the con­fi­dence to ex­plore the grip on the MrF Ny­lo­grip Zap­per tyres. The Nissin calipers that did duty in the out­go­ing model have been re­placed by aBs-equipped en­durance calipers that of­fer good bite and feed­back. how­ever, dur­ing the ride,

I no­ticed that there was no­tice­able brake fade as they heated up af­ter re­peated use. while do­ing a few quick runs, we found out that the slip­per clutch was un­able to per­form as ad­ver­tised and we ex­pe­ri­enced a few in­stances of rear wheel lock-up un­der ag­gres­sive down­shift­ing.

The baby Ninja’s prac­ti­cal­ity in the city is com­mend­able. although it tips the scales at 179 kg, I was able to guide it through traf­fic with­out a lot of ef­fort and the mo­tor­cy­cle did a great job of keep­ing the heat away from my legs. The par­al­lel-twin is refined and Kawasaki have done a bril­liant job of keep­ing just enough vi­bra­tions to keep things ex­cit­ing with­out get­ting in­tru­sive. The en­gine’s meaty low- and mid-range grunt en­abled me to ride along at a good clip with enough torque on tap for an oc­ca­sional quick over­take. In sixth gear, the Ninja 300 pulls away with­out any fuss from as low as 30 km/h. I was par­tic­u­larly thank­ful for the newly added aBs when I had to slam the brakes to avoid a care­less pedes­trian who ran into my path. high-speed tour­ing is also a walk in the park for this Ninja. The fair­ing does a great job of keep­ing the rider free from wind blast. ad­di­tion­ally, the mo­tor­cy­cle’s com­po­sure at high speed en­cour­aged me to keep the throt­tle wide open when­ever I got the chance.

Priced at rs 2.98 lakh (ex-show­room), the Ninja 300 has man­aged to get rid of its achilles heel and has turned into quite a deal. It has also man­aged to un­der­cut its clos­est ri­val from the Land of the ris­ing sun. If you are look­ing for ways to im­prove this al­ready bril­liant Kawa, I would sug­gest you start with stick­ier tyres to im­prove grip and, maybe, a bet­ter brak­ing sys­tem.

The Ninja 300 was al­ways a head-turner and even if you man­age to miss the fresh colour and funky graph­ics, there is no run­ning from that al­lur­ing ex­haust note. a true Ninja be­low 6,000 rpm, the throaty bur­ble rises to a crescendo as the en­gine spools up be­yond 6,000 rpm and con­tin­ues to scream un­til the red-line if you keep the throt­tle open. If you have sec­ond thoughts about buy­ing this one, the par­al­lel-twin scream is what you should lis­ten to. It had me hooked since the first time I heard it.

A rather over­done grab-rail

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