The Ninja 300 Accelerates like a Sports Car
Kawasaki’s Ninja 300 is an entry level sports motorcycle aimed at new motorcyclists and is the little sister of the Ninja 400 and replaces the Ninja 250 in many markets though in some is still sold along side at time of writing.
The Ninja 300 is a machine that offers sporty looks, decent performance and handling and is wrapped in a user-friendly package all at an affordable price.
Powered by a 296 cc parallel 2 cylinder engine that makes a claimed 35 horsepower and 20 lb/ft of torque. Many new riders are interested in the performance capabilities of the Ninja 300 so we thought it fitting to include it as one of our first machines that we will test the acceleration of.
Kawasaki Ninja 300 Dyno Curve and engine performance
For such a small and compact engine, the Ninja 300 and its 296 cc parallel 2 make a respectable amount of power and comparable to the 30 odd horsepower two-stroke 125s that some of you reading may recall ‘Hooning’ around on in your youth.
The Ninja 300’s 35 horsepower at the wheels at least in motorcycle terms will not set the world on fire but is more than powerful enough to get the job done and to put a smile on your face. The engine is smooth and has a reasonable amount of low to mid end power and torque, and certainly enough to zip you passed slow moving traffic.
For best effect you’d better ‘work’ the engine and ensure that you are in the correct gear with your revs floating around the 8000-rpm mark and the Ninja 300 offers decent drive. That rpm figure may sound bonkers to a car driver but it’s the normal upper mid-range of a sporty motorcycle engine and especially s mall capacity one.
From 8,000 rpm right up until the 13,000 rpm red line there is a fair bit of go. For a good while the Ninja 300 engine was the class leader when it only really had the CBR250R and Hyosung GT250 and more recently the GSX250R to compete against but now the engine sits behind the Yamaha R3 CBR500R and KTM RC390 but has the legs on the CBR300R.
Ninja 300 in gear acceleration
Compared to the KTM 390, the Ninja 300 does lack the flexibility of the larger KTM engine but scores more points for smoothness and refinement compared to the more brash single cylinder of the RC. And if you work the engine and gearbox hard you can keep these bigger bikes in sight.
The R3 like the KTM benefits from larger engine over the Ninja 300. 321 cc vs 296 cc. The Yamaha YZF-R3 motor shares a similar character to the Ninja 300 being high revving, and due to its slightly larger capacity makes a little more power and torque through the entire rpm range and at peak.
Kawasaki have since responded with the Ninja 400 , a motorcycle that we’ve also recently ran against the clock.
Kawasaki Ninja 300 Acceleration review
Despite only having 296 cc the little Kawasaki Ninja 300 can accelerate quickly up to a point and will beat most hot hatches from 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) and even show the odd sports car a thing or two with its impressive 0-60 mph time of 5.23 seconds.
It is important that you slip the clutch perfectly and shift as quickly as possible with clutchless changes for best effect. Most learner riders would likely be hitting 7-8 seconds, but a real pro can achieve low 5 second times for the 0-60 mph benchmark.
From 60 mph to 100 mph, you still have hot hatch performance, but you’d better make yourself small and tuck those elbows in. In optimum conditions the Kawasaki Ninja 300 can claim 0-100 mph in 18 seconds and a quarter mile time of 14.10 seconds where the little Ninja hits a terminal speed of 93 mph.
Once you hit 100 mph you need another kilometre to hit the Ninja 300’s top speed of 110 mph, so don’t expect to be cruising at 95 mph with any real overtaking ability though at legal motorway/highway speeds there is enough poke to get you ahead of slow-moving traffic with a 70-80 mph time of just 2.1 if using 4th gear. If using 6th gear, you may as well get off and push it.
You cannot go wrong with the Ninja 300; it is a great bike.
Yes, there are newer and faster alternatives, but the Ninja 300 really does strike a great balance between user friendliness and performance providing you like to work a little for that performance.
|Kawasaki Ninja 300 Acceleration|
|Top Speed||110 mph|
Ninja 300 Specifications
|Kawasaki Ninja 300|
|Engine type||4-stroke, 2-cylinder, DOHC, liquid-cooled|
|Bore x stroke||62.0 x 49.0 mm|
|Maximum power||35 HP 10500 RPM|
|Maximum torque||25 ft.lbs) @ 9000 RPM|
|Lubrication system||Wet sump|
|Clutch type||Slipper and self-servo wet multiplate clutch with hydraulic control|
|Ignition system||TCBI with digital advance|
|Transmission system||Constant Mesh, 6-speed|
|Frame||Semi-double cradle, high-tensile steel|
|Front suspension system||37mm hydraulic telescopic fork/4.7 in|
|Rear suspension system||Uni-Trak® with 5-way adjustable preload/5.2 in|
|Front brake||Single 290mm petal-type disc with 2-piston hydraulic caliper, ABS|
|Rear brake||Single 220mm petal-type disc with 2-piston hydraulic caliper, ABS|
|Wheel base||1,437 mm|
|Wet weight (including full oil and fuel tank||173 KG|
|Fuel tank capacity||17 litres|