When the Ninja 300 was unveiled in Europe, some automotive magazines were quick to rush to the conclusion that the images of the baby Kawasaki that surfaced recently are that of the Ninja 300 and not the new 250R. Well, not entirely true. Considering both motorcycles look almost identical but for the subtle differences in the engine bay, one could be forgiven for mistaking the 300 to be a 250R! Kawasaki recently launched the new Ninja 250R styled to look more like its elder brother the ZX-10R, in Indonesia. TMCBlog has a first ride of the new 250R up already.

Europe had a pleasant surprise in store when Kawasaki unveiled the Ninja, looking not very different from the Indonesian 250R, but with a 296cc mill making 29.0 kW (39 PS) at 11,000 rpm and a maximum torque of 27.0 Nm at 10,000 rpm. Compare this to the 249cc mill that makes 23.5 kW (32 PS at 11,000 RPM and a maximum torque of 21.0 Nm at 10,000 RPM.

We can’t help but point fingers at the new regulations that will come to force in the European Union from January 19th 2013. In a nutshell the new regulations bring to fore a new driving license category ‘Category A2’ that lets any rider at least 19 years of age to ride a motorcycle that makes no more than 35kW, 10 kW more compared to the current regulations which permit only 25kW (around 33.5 bhp) motorcycles for learners. This might have been one reason why Kawasaki decided to take the plunge and face the Honda CBR 250R with more ammunition.

Sibling Differences

In addition to the bump in performance, the Ninja 300 also gets a new ‘Assist & Slipper’ clutch serving up dual benefits. The new setup uses two types of cams in tandem.

Kawasaki Ninja 300 : Assist Slipper Clutch

The assist cam acts as a self-servo mechanism, pulling the clutch plates together and enables lighter clutch springs to be used, requiring lesser effort at the lever.

The slipper cam as with other slipper clutches comes into play when engine braking is so high during rapid downshifts that the rear wheel might lose traction. The race-style back-torque limiting function helps prevent wheel-hop when downshifting says Kawasaki.

Kawasaki Ninja 300 : Assist Slipper Clutch

Kawasaki Ninja 300

Kawasaki Ninja 250R

Kawasaki Ninja 300Kawasaki Ninja 250
Kawasaki Ninja 300 Engine 01Kawasaki Ninja 250 Engine 01
Kawasaki Ninja 300 Engine 02Kawasaki Ninja 250 Engine 02
Kawasaki Ninja 300 Engine 03Kawasaki Ninja 250 Engine 03

Europe gets the Lime Green and Ebony Black colour options, we’ll have to wait and watch if the special edition colours are launched there.

Kawasaki Ninja 300/250 : Dual Throttle ValvesKawasaki Ninja 300/250: Heat Management

Both the 250 and the 300 get a second set of ECU-controlled throttle valves to precisely regulate intake airflow for natural, linear response, improved combustion efficiency and increased power. Kawasaki uses this technology in the bigger siblings the ZX-6R and the ZX-10R. Kawasaki also says the body work is designed to promote airflow to help dissipate heat effectively. The large openings and fin design of the fairings are said to be inspired by those of the Ninja ZX-14R. Kawasaki also says the have an ‘innovative’ piece of tech : the radiator fan cover that directs hot engine air down and away from the rider.

Now we wonder, why was there a need for a 250 at all? Restrictions for learners in the USA vary state to state and Kawasaki Japan still seems to be selling the older 250s. Which markets does Kawasaki think it can sell the new 250 in?

India, should in probability get the 300. To do otherwise in a nation where enthusiasts are left stranded with too few options would be far too cruel. It should be delightful to watch Bajaj try to price the 300 without treading on the new Kawasaki 650’s territory which has been one of the better priced offerings in the country.

Some reports claim that the 250 will be sold alongside the 300, why Kawasaki would do something like that is beyond our limited understanding of the market.