The Ninja 300 bikes from
Kawasaki are like a gateway that leads you up towards a heaven of bigger sports
bikes that can scare and amuse you at the same time. These 300cc bikes are
there to give you a taste, a lesson if you will, on how to tame the power that
can be had with a different breed of motorcycles. In the last year or so we
have had a lot of manufacturers taking a bite of the 300cc segment resulting in
a lot of great bikes. Does this new Ninja 300 still stay relevant in the
competition? Thanks to Aurum Kawasaki in Chattarpur Enclave, New Delhi, who
generously lent us the bike to review, we were able to find out.
296cc liquid-cooled, parallel
Dimensions (L x W x H)
2015mm x 710mm x 1110mm
Fuel Tank Capacity
37 mm Telescopic Fork / 120 mm
Bottom-Link Uni-Trak with
gas-charged shock and 5-way adjustable pre-load / 132 mm travel
290 mm petal disc, dual piston caliper
220 mm petal disc, dual piston caliper
110/70R17 M/C 54H
140/60R17 M/C 66H
Rs 2.98 lakh (ex-showroom)
The new Ninja 300 looks much
like its elder siblings and has a very sporty and stylish look. With the new
graphics plastered on, the bike gives a very energetic and wild feel. The Ninja
300 that I got to ride came in the signature Kawasaki green but I think that
the electrifying blue paint looks better. The mean looking beak at the front
houses twin halogen units and sadly there are no LED DRLs. To their credit,
these halogen units do provide a very respectable illumination at night.
Despite the bike boasting of very aggressive looks, it is very
comfortable to ride. It has an upright seating position and handlebars that are
not set too low making this bike lovable to ride in the city. The cushion is
comfortable and there is also a pillion seat which is pretty decent by sports
bike standards. Even after hours and hours of riding on this bike, your body
won’t be screaming in pain.
The cool looks of the bike are only interrupted by the grab handle at
the back, which makes the bike look like some kind of utility vehicle. Come on
Kawasaki, if you can develop your own supercharged engine then I am pretty sure
you can do a better job at designing a simple grab handle! I only wish the
instrument cluster was a bit more fleshed out. Not that the panel provided is
bad, it just pales a little in comparison to the fancy kit on other competing
bikes. On the Ninja 300 you get a big analogue tachometer along with a couple
of indicators and a rather small digital display. The digital display shows
things like the speedometer, odometer, two trip meters, fuel level and time. If
anything, it could have included a distance to empty and gear level indicator.
The 296cc twin cylinder engine
on the Ninja 300 is one of the most refined among the bikes I have ridden
recently. The way it climbs the speedometer without shuddering like a shack in
the storm is remarkable. Peak power of 38.4hp and peak torque of 27Nm comes at
11,000rpm and 10,000rpm which are a bit late for city use. The bike does struggle
a little when you want to accelerate quickly, especially in the second gear.
Though the acceleration is very linear and smooth and you do get used to it
after a few hours of riding. The good thing, however, is that this bike is
loads of fun to rev. You do not feel the need to up shift until you reach the
redline and that is a feeling you can get addicted to.
Give this bike an open highway
and it can go way over 100kmph with ease. The slip and assist clutch makes
clutch pulls effortless and gear shift precise. I really admired that when I
found myself stuck in traffic. Riding around the city on the Ninja 300 will not
be a bother because the liquid cooling does a good job of keeping the engine
cool. Only when you find yourself stuck in traffic is there some warmth to be
felt on the right leg. In my short experience with the bike I was getting close
to 32kmpl which is pretty good for a bike in this segment.
The exhaust note left me
wanting for a bit more. It starts off nice and bassy but as you pull the
accelerator, the sound becomes more treble heavy and a bit feeble. Handling
this bike is fun and almost effortless. It is great for people who want to try
bigger bikes but are afraid that they won’t be able to handle them properly.
Maneuvering the Ninja 300 through traffic was no problem. Kawasaki has equipped
this bike with dual channel ABS with a 290mm petal disc brake at the front and
a 220mm petal disc at the rear. Both come with dual piston calipers and offer
nice progression. The front outshines the rear brake which takes a little while
to come into full force. Even the ABS intrusion is more apparent when you stomp
on the rear brake immediately. The 17-inches MRF Zapper tyres provide excellent
grip on the road and it is very easy to maintain your line when you chuck this
bike into a corner. The agile nature of the bike combined with its
surefootedness encourages you to lean a lot every time there is a tasty bend.
If I were to nitpick, a wider tyre at the rear would have further improved the
stability of the bike over rocky and muddy surfaces. The suspension in its
stock state has been tuned to be a little stiff and potholes and bumps are felt
when you go over them. Thankfully you can adjust the rear suspension to be more
forgiving and comfortable over undulations.
If you are in the market for a
300cc twin cylinder motorcycle then there is really no reason for you to look
beyond the Kawasaki Ninja 300. It looks ferocious, has a very comfortable
riding position and a very refined motor. This new iteration of the Ninja 300
has come down in price by almost Rs 60,000 and now costs Rs 2.98 lakh
(ex-showroom), thanks to the increase in localisation of parts. Yes, you could
get a few single cylinder 300cc bikes for less but they will not pack the kind
of refinement and top end performance that the new Ninja 300 has to offer.
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