2013 Kawasaki Ninja 300 First Ride
My first order of business upon receiving a 2013 Ninja 300 testbike involved rolling the bike onto Cycle World’s Dynojet dynamometer to measure the ponies corralled in Kawasaki’s Shetland-size sportbike. To better show the performance gains of the new liquid-cooled, 296cc parallel-Twin, we’ve laid dyno graphs of a 2011 Kawasaki Ninja 250R and 2011 Honda CBR250R—both of which had been previously tested on our dyno—over that of the Ninja 300.
A substantial bump in power output has allowed Kawasaki to fit the 300 with significantly taller overall gearing than what is used on either of the 250s, resulting in a much more relaxed riding experience. While it’s plain to see the sizable boost in peak horsepower the Ninja 300 offers relative to its 250-class competition, don’t underestimate the significant 4-to-6 foot-pound torque advantage the Ninja 300 maintains throughout its entire rev range.
On the road, the Ninja 300 has sufficient low-end torque to keep pace with city traffic without exceeding 6000 rpm at each upshift. The ultra-smooth-revving 300 feels far less busy at freeway speeds, as well, and it now has enough performance headroom to accelerate from 75 mph in top gear without toeing the shifter. Bottom line: The newly added flash-to-pass switch located on the left handlebar is no gimmick.
Move over, VW Golf TDI and Prius prudes, we’re teed-up and playin’ through at 70 mpg!