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
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
BELOW:Friendly to flick into corners
ABOVE: See what I mean about the ‘Bird of Prey’ look?