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Kawasaki Ninja 300 Test Ride Review

Kawasaki Ninja 300 – Click above for high resolution picture gallery

Kawasaki Ninja 300 Review

Bike tested: 2013 Kawasaki Ninja 300

Price OTR Pune: Rs. 3,89,500/-

The Ninja 300 has some serious performance on offer, which gets unleashed once you smack the throttle past 8000 RPM.

Kawasaki is partly responsible for jump-starting the sports bike scenario in the country. When Kawasaki launched the Ninja 250R in India, three years ago, it gave the Indian bike enthusiasts what they exactly wanted – a fully faired, quarter litre motorcycle with wicked performance and eye catchy looks. The Ninja set a benchmark when it came to performance too. Like any other Kawasaki, the bike was packed with innovative technologies and class leading performance. The 33 BHP parallel-twin engine, the screaming performance and the razor sharp dynamics were the forte of the Ninja 250R. However, the Ninja 250R did start to look out-dated with a lack of essential equipment and much required styling updates. Kawasaki has finally updated the 250R by launching the Ninja 300! While some markets continue to get the refreshed 250R, we get the Ninja 300. A good move by Kawasaki once again to keep the ever-craving enthusiasts happy. We get the opportunity to ride and find out how good this Kawasaki Ninja 300 fights!

Styling – The Ninja 300 is a sharp, compact and substantial looking motorcycle. Clean lines and edgy panels dominate the design. The Kawasaki Ninja 300 takes design cues from bigger Ninjas. The big muscular fuel tank, the large floating windscreen, the twin angular headlights and the integrated indicators are undoubtedly ZX-10R inspired. The slats in the front fairing are inspired from the 2013 Ninja 1400 GTR. The multi-spoke wheels and exhaust is heavily inspired from the 1400 GTR as well. The rear remains largely unchanged. The exposed sub-frame, the brushed aluminium foot pegs and the texture on the black plastic panels add flare to the motorcycle. Overall, the scaled down design is a welcome change and always grabs attention, increasing desirability by a huge margin.

Instrument Cluster and Switch Gear – The twin pod cluster has a logical layout. The large tachometer and small digital speedometer gels with the Ninja 300’s characteristics. The white backlight is an excellent color of choice. Every warning light gets a dedicated indicator. Host of warning lights are included, such as the low battery voltage, engine temperature, OBD port, engine oil pressure and the usual neutral shift light, high beam and the solitary indicators. Two trip-meters, a clock and a three pod sign in digital speedo meter flashes when you drive in economy mode. The switchgear and the palm grip is made up of high quality plastic and the piano black finish on every switch is an excellent touch.

Ergonomics – The seating position on the Ninja 300 is comfortable yet sporty at the same time. You do get the big bike feel when you are riding. Thanks to the lower set foot pegs and 790 mm seat height, any average Indian rider’s feet can touch the ground. The seat cushioning is on the harder side for both the rider and the pillion. The tank is sculpted according to the seating position, so you can grip the tank when riding enthusiastically. The rear view mirrors are well positioned and offer a good view of what is behind. Long rides will be comfortable on the Ninja 300.

Performance and Gearbox – The Kawasaki Ninja 300 is powered by a twin-cylinder, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, 296cc, 8-valve motor churning out 39 PS at 11,000 RPM and 27 Nm of torque at 10,000 RPM. This all aluminium engine is derived from the Ninja 250R. The stroke has been lengthened for increasing the cubic capacity. The valves are now bigger, the pistons are lighter and a new exhaust system and a sleeveless cylinder head has been added. The compression ratio has been reduced to take out the maximum performance with the use of normal unleaded petrol.

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The fuelling is the most astonishing part of this bike. It manages to give adequate low-end torque to potter around town. The action starts after 6000 RPM and after 8000 RPM it rushes insanely quick to its 13,000 RPM redline. The entire rev band is flawless, no jerkiness and no sudden spikes. Even the redline cut out is smooth and one can hold it as long as needed. The new 32 mm throttle bodies make throttle response precise and linear. NVH levels are excellent. Vibes are well controlled thanks to the rubber mounts for the engine.

The engine is mated to a slick shifting 6-speed gearbox assisted by a slipper clutch. The cogs have more teeth to get power from the top end of the rev range (where the power and torque is) but the distance between the cogs is less (short geared). Therefore, once you are in the power band and start shifting aggressively, acceleration off the line is very quick and the bike can reach up to 130-140 km/hr in no time. The clutch is light and progressive. The slipper clutch works precisely and does exactly what it is meant to do, aid confidence when riding hard on a windy twisty road. At any given speed, you can downshift and the wheels will not lock up. Newbie and average riders trying to corner fast will actually end up cornerning a lot faster than they expect.

Riding Dynamics – The Ninja 300’s chassis is borrowed from the 250R but there are a host of changes to make it far more dynamically rich. The main tubes have been strengthened using high tensile steel for accompanying the more powerful engine. The chassis length has been shortened by 70 mm for better agility and braking. The wheelbase has gone by 5 mm, adding more stability and aiding in better traction (avoiding power wheelies) while accelerating hard of the line.

The chassis has been lowered by 5 mm but the weight has gone up by 3 kgs. The damping of the front and rear suspension has been revised, and it shows. The Ninja 300 handles beautifully. It is agile and remains poised in the corners and holds the line well. The new 140 mm section IRC tyres grip well but an upgrade to superior compound tyres of same dimensions will aid in more confidence. Foot pegs are set lower, a bit higher and getting your knee down would have been a lot easier. The turn is not crisp and enjoyable due to increase in rake degree and trail. Nevertheless, the increase has its own benefits.

The Kawasaki Ninja 300 feels more stable and is more communicative while changing directions at high speeds. The able chassis and suspension can handle a bit more oomph easily. The Ninja feels quite nimble when it comes to cutting through traffic. No doubt that the Ninja 300 will do track days but the bike is not a track-focused monster (the reason why the “R” nomenclature has not been adopted for the Ninja 300). The 290 mm petal discs at the front and 220 mm petal disc at the rear with two-pot Nissin callipers on both sides do a good job of slowing down from high speeds. A bit more would have been appreciated (ABS could have helped in this regard).

Miscellaneous – An upgrade to sticky soft compound tyres of the same dimensions will aid a lot more confidence. The lamps act as DRL and the right one stays on always. The ground clearance is low, but even with a pillion or missing speed breakers at high speeds saw nothing kissing the ground, thanks to the stiff suspension. Factory rear suspension setting is on the softer side; adjust as per your needs. Head light throw is wide and the illumination is superb. The instrument cluster is not particularly huge but is not small either.

There is a storage compartment under the seat and another secret compartment below the first compartment too, neat! As every Kawasaki bike, fit and finish is excellent and paint job is deep. There are no uneven panel gaps and high quality materials are used. Hooks below the rear seat are there to tie extra baggage. There are no grab rails but there is recess right below the pillion seat to hold on too, a cost effective and weight saving trick. Heat dissipation promised by Kawasaki works well, the rider feels that the heat is not directly frying their legs anymore like other liquid-cooled bikes. Kudos to Kawasaki for this comfort feature!

Verdict – The Ninja is back and with a loud bang. The ZX series inspired aesthetics, the potent engine, the able chassis and the amazing soundtrack, all combined, make it an excellent performer. The Ninja 300 makes it clear that it is a complete all-rounder. The motorcycle is on top of the chart when it comes to practicality, daily usability and overall comfort which makes it a real strong contender. However, given the high pricing (which has been the case of Kawasaki in the quarter litre segment), the lack of ABS (not even as an option in India) disappoints the enthusiasts. Nevertheless, nothing should stop you from letting the good times roll.

The Kawasaki Ninja 300 is a brilliant package, it is so good in multiple ways, that it simply has no competition to fight.

What’s Cool

* Scaled down aesthetics
* Performance and dynamics
* Comfort and practicality

What’s Not So Cool

* Lack of ABS

2013 Kawasaki Ninja 300 Specifications

* Engine: 296cc, 8-valve, parallel-twin DOHC
* Power: 39 PS @ 11,000 RPM
* Torque: 27 Nm @ 10,000 RPM
* Transmission: 6-speed manual with slipper clutch
* 0 – 100 km/hr: 6.73 seconds
* Top Speed: 182 km/hr
* Fuel Consumption: 28 km/l
* Fuel Type: Petrol
* Suspension: Telescopic forks (Front), 5-speed Uni-Trak (Rear)
* Tyres: 110/70/17 (Front), 140/70/17 (Rear)
* Brakes: 290 mm petal disc (Front), 220 mm petal disc (Rear)

2013 Kawasaki Ninja 300 Dimensions

* Length x Width x Height: 2015 mm x 715 mm x 1110 mm
* Wheelbase: 1405 mm
* Ground Clearance: 140 mm
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 17-litres
* Kerb weight: 172 kgs

Pictures – Anannd Sampat

Further Reading –

Kawasaki Ninja 300 Video Review
Kawasaki Ninja 300 vs KTM Duke 390

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Akash

    Nice review…. But the actual top speed is 180.5 kmph . . . . .

    • Mohit Soni

      @Akash The topspeed and mileage written here is what we got during our test ride, yes the meter can show 180.5 but a 50kg rider can do that but this is verified by various other publications and company rated topspeed is 170kmph!

    • Akash

      @Mohit yaar thodi kam nahi hai 170 ??? :-/

    • Mohit Soni

      The upcoming duke 390 with more capacity and more horse power will be doing the same!
      170 kmph is a excellent top speed for this bike capacity and horsepower

    • karikor

      TRUE top speed of ninja 250r is 152kmph, ninja 300 is 168 kmph.

    • Reeto

      True top speed of the KTM Duke 390 is limited to 162 kmph, even though the speedo indicates a 171 kmph.

  • Rider11

    Kawasaki Ninja 300 looking a stunning bike from its modeling and very attractive looks. One must think to buy this bike after watching it closely. Its very rare because of its quality and technology used in it. The seat, tires, back portion and front view of the bike looks really awesome.

  • No One

    Mileage is kind of a lower side, as larger cc bikes too go uptill that figure of 25 :P..

    By the way, what is the fuel ratings for this engine ?? how well would it run with our 89 RON fuel ??

    • Mohit Soni

      we were running on 89 and it performed well, but 91 will be perform slightly better

    • Mohit Soni

      Actually given the fact that normal petrol at petrol bunks in metro cities give 91 octane there shouldn’t be any issue i am now pretty sure we were running on 91 octane! :P

    • No One

      In Kolkata, I meet a few KTM and Ninja owners, specially KTM, I have seen them complaining about fuel.. I rode also, I did find engine knocks !!!

      I wonder do we really get 91 or god knows !!!

  • Ninu

    Highly overpriced. :(

  • Ben

    from this review it’s clear that japs are superior when technology is considered. even though Duke 390 is about 70cc higher (it is significant because we see 70cc mopeds performing a whole lot of duties in our country) and with greater power and also with the aid of car , the speed of Duke is restricted to 170kmph due to safety reasons. Duke’s aerodynamics totally fail it. this is the case not only for ktm s naked bikes but also bigger sports bikes. the 173bhp 1100cc rc8 loses to 1000cc (about 150bhp) Japanese bikes like r1, gsxr1000, cbr1000rr and zx10r.

    • Ben

      sorry, typing mistake it’s not car but it’s abs

    • Mohit Soni

      Ben its not about technology where Japanese score high, its the reliability and simplicity of their machines which is easy and cheap to run and maintain and modify

      the reason why the rc8 1100 may loose to liter class Japanese bikes its new to liter bike segment and it has to fight the highly accomplished bikes which have their flags posted over the years

      the reason why ninja has 170kmph coz its full faired and reason 390 has same top speed because it has more power and despite its a naked bike!

      There are two categories here which cannot be compared its just India is price sensitive market if the 390 would have be priced 4 lac rs and ninja 300 would have been priced at 2.2 lac rupees it would sold like hot cakes

      lets not forget naked bikes have their own appeal its just India where faired bikes just because they look big and catch attention and it shows how much you have spent. naked bikes are more practical and more comfortable all around the world

  • batman

    do they come in black?

    • Mohit Soni

      Sorry Batman, your favourite color is not included this time! ;)
      Out of the two problem with Ninja if you ask me is the color/graphic option, 2 solid colors! that’s it? not good…the green with black graphics which was the shown during the unveil is wicked!

  • Ben

    @Mohit soni. I accept your facts but one thing to correct Duke ‘s top speed is not 170kmph but it was restricted to 170 kmph , you will notice this when after market tuners like kiirus tune it. about the pricing of ninja with Duke, Duke is fully manufactured locally, whose manufacturing costs would be somewhat equal to a normal bikes cost. but a ninja has to bare import duties and other duties and ninja has some advanced technologies like slipper clutch and other things, not to forget the twin cylinder which is much more complicated, so the manufacturer is charging premium for all these, even Volkswagen also charges premium for tech like dsg. So the prices are justified. in fact we are paying 70 k more only for the bigger engine and the abs in the Duke. also not to forget we are paying 2.2l for a locally manufactured bike. so finally Europeans impress on paper but impress on technology and finally technology wins.

    • Mohit Soni

      @Ben, you can only squeeze a bit more everytime from every machine you can even 200 in place where there is absoluteness no wind resistance but that is not the case with naked bikes every big sports/naked bike has limiters these days take for example your favourite set of bikes (liter class bikes) they are limited to 299 na?

      about tech and costing, you have no idea at what is cost amount of motorcycle and what the prices turns out to be when it reaches a customers there is a enormous difference!!!! and not to forget the key point..kawasaki is the most premium brand in the entire Japanese bike manufacturers

      even if kawasaki offers very same tech and equipment in a bike which honda or yamaha offers it will be on the pricey side!

    • Vibhu

      Does it shows any vibrations on handle bar at 6000rpm or on further higher rpm?
      plz tell as i m eager to buy it soon.

    • Faisal Khan

      Nope, no vibes at all.

  • Greg Guide to Finland

    I owned the GPZ900R when it came out in 1982 and never wished to exchange it,even though I had my eyes on the Honda Fireblade
    Two stroke bikes are axhilerating to ride,especially in the UK as the roads are tight with lots of corners

  • dutta

    i have booked this bike last week!! can anyone please tell me what all should i check on the bike at the time of delivery ,as there may be some defective bikes?? ..what all should i be checking ?? plsss help me!! i booked greeen one!! will there be any defective bikes as such?

    • Mohit Soni

      Hi Dutta, Congratulations on booking this fabulous machine!

      You should look for scratches on the bike, chipped of paint on the very edge of panel, gaps between two particular items and check for scratches, paint work on entire body as well, make sure you check all the lights,indicators, horn etc are working properly. There should not be any defect as its quality product and very limited production

      Enjoy of the best looking and performing bike available in India today!

    • ch u v dutta

      thank you mohit bro!!! i asked one bike expert he told me to check all these
      1. body panel gaps
      2. radiator cap
      3. air bubbles in both tyres
      4. check if all the necessary warning lights are showing what they are dedicated to in the speedometer
      5. engine oil, break oil (front & back) & coolant levels
      6. check if all the electricals are working like headlight, indicators, break lamp, pilot lamps..
      is there anything that is left out??

    • Mohit Soni

      Yup..all good, liquid levels if visible.. why not to check it ;)

    • Hrishikesh

      Apart from all those outer checks, Please do ride the motorcycle first! It tells a lot about the engine health! While you are riding check all the above mentioned fairings, brakes, oil levels etc. Moreover rev the engine hard to hit the top speed, when decelerating fairing vibrations will show up, if they are loose. Try braking hard too, good brakes will work at least 90% to its capacity even for the first time. To be frank go to the showroom not just before the delivery but a day before and do thorough checks, if possible mark a line secretly with a permanent marker on the bike which you feel satisfied ! Until vehicles are pushed on to customers, Showrooms in India will do anything nowadays be it a Ninja or a Ducati..Without KTM and Kawasaki, Bajaj is just purely useless!!!! My personal experience of buying a 220 Pulsar by believing those showrooms and finding that it is a junk sold off to me! I guess i could have booked CBR250 back then! I’ve pledged to never buy any Indian Brand in my life! Happy riding!

  • varun

    Hi Faisal i need 2 know wat is d status of ducati monster 795. Bcos its officially launched in Jan.2011 bt yet not arrived in india. please confirm it vil come or not.thax

    • Faisal Khan

      Varun, its come but some dealers don’t have bikes.

  • Rameezbaig

    Hi faisal khan can u tell plz? ninja 300abs when it will be launched in India and
    Which bike is best ninja 300abs or cbr honda 400r abs

    • Faisal Khan

      Ninja 300 in a league of its own, ABS version expected next year.

  • Rameezbaig

    Thank u According to u faisal khan which bike is best
    1/ ninja 300abs
    2/ cbr honda 400r abs
    3/ cbr honda 500r abs

    • Faisal Khan

      Rameez, I can’t say about the Honda bikes as I have not seen them, let alone ridden them. The Ninja 300 is fantastic though.

  • Akshay

    hey, is there any hope that ninja 300 will be available in more shades and with an optional abs unit (if coming i can wait for it ;) ? Do you think ninja 300 will work well in a long term use if maintained?

    • Faisal Khan

      Not anytime soon Akshay.

    • Akshay

      I mean that if we are spending that chunk of money, abs will make this bike complete. After all nobody spend that amount of money again and again to change the bike. so spending some more money and getting abs will be worth waiting. i also want to ask that how this bike will come out in long term use? and i am owner of r15 but still a beginner, so switching to this powerful bike will be cool or not?

    • Faisal Khan

      I totally agree, ABS should be offered as standard. The Ninja 300 is the perfect bike for R15 owner to switch to.

  • Reeto

    Hi Faisal. How adept is the Ninja 300 in tackling bad roads (ridges and potholes) which is abundant on the streets of Bombay?

  • ToRqUe

    RIGHT NOW the 300 is extremely overpriced …. not worth its price despite of the fact that its almost perfect bike regardless of how deep peoples pockets are… 4L onroad for a package that should cost no more than 3L is a little too much if u ask me
    USA $4700 approx = 2.5L/- approx NON ABS
    UK £4,799 approx = 3.6L /- approx (close to what we are paying) NON ABS
    so i dont understand howcome a richer country with higher currency rate are paying almost the same as India a lower economy than UK
    & in USA its cheaper by a whooping 1whole Lack!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! which is also lower than UK
    blame it on taxes or our government or lack of localization BUT the price is not justifiable…
    agreed its a quality product but outside theyr not getting any lesser quality
    India<USA<UK.. most expensive in india least in UK thats how it should b….
    but still if the same bike is there for 1whole lack lesser in a country that has a higher currency than ours then i dont see y it shouldnt come up to the same here…. with some efforts hopefully in the future it will
    but now i just dont see y it should cost 4L

    • ToRqUe

      adding to it the import costs India is WAYYY closer to japan than US or UK…. thats another nail in the head

    • ToRqUe

      i just see bajaj eating a HEFTY premium at the cost of our pockets

  • arjun

    Hey Faisal,

    How should one decide between the 300 and the 650? Price being no bar. Utility wise?

  • Dipanjan

    What is the mileage of this bike

  • sendhur

    mohit is that bike gives back pain to the rider ……..?

    • Faisal Khan

      Sendhur, nope it doesn’t.

  • varun Aggarwal

    Hi Faisal how r u ? After a very long time v r talking now i cum to d point . M facing sum issues vid my Ninja 300 i completed already 20000 kms. approx. problem in my bike lack of punch,taking little bit xtra time to touch red line as well as speed 3 to 4 km decrease till red line i discussed all dis issues vid workshop technician but he said its wear n tear n ur bike already run approx.20000 km bt m not convinced bcos i highly maintain my bike in every service like Oil filter,Air filter,Engine oil, bt in last service chain set n synchronysation also done.So i just to ask u wats a problem in my bike.My intution is time to change clutch plate or something else as per u.Pls help need ur feedback.

  • varun Aggarwal

    Still waiting for ur reply dear

    • Faisal Khan

      When was the bike last serviced?

  • varun Aggarwal

    just 15 days back @18000 kms now meter is 190100

  • Varun Aggarwal

    Sorry it is now 19100

  • Varun Aggarwal

    Still waiting for ur reply Faisal

  • Varun Aggarwal

    Dear wat happened r u difficult to find answer

  • Varun Aggarwal

    Faisal y u dont give reply of above query?

    • Faisal Khan

      Sorry I missed your comments, Mohit will reply soon.

  • Varun Aggarwal

    Ok thax Faisal vil wait for Mohit reply

  • Varun Aggarwal

    Still waiting i dont understood y u guys taking years to reply.its too much.U guys r not genuine.

    • Mohit

      you need to visit kawasaki dealer, without visually inspecting how can we answer

    • Mohit Soni

      We do try to reply asap as everybody knows but a post a year old sometimes is missed. Clutch setting or clutch plates might have taken a toss. Given the test riders at workshop to test ride to tell you what’s exactly wrong. Everything should be done in warranty. If still not satisfied, dial a mail to Kawasaki India and we will try to help as well.

  • Nikhil Zanzane

    Dear Faisal Sir I Took Yamaha R15 As you told it was a very good bike and used it for 2 and a half year but now I want to take a Ninja 300 and I am living In pune Can U a Sir tell me the real and original problems of this bike means lack of ABS etc

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