KAWASAKI NINJA 250R (2008-2011) Review

Published: 26 February 2008

"A brave move by Kawasaki because the Ninja is virtually in a class of its own"

Kawasaki 250R Ninja review action

"A brave move by Kawasaki because the Ninja is virtually in a class of its own"

  • At a glance
  • 249cc  -  32.5 bhp
  • 52 mpg  -  170 miles range
  • Medium seat height (775mm)
  • Suitable for A2 licence

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

The American market has been a big success for the Kawasaki Ninja 250 range for years and years and… But even the Yanks need a fresh brew every now and then and the Ninja 250R is the latest offering. Fortunately for 33bhp probationary riders in mainland Europe and the UK, we are getting the bike too, complete with emissions compliant fuel injection. A brave move by Kawasaki because the Ninja is virtually in a class of its own. Trend setting? Maybe.

 

Watch Kawasaki's Ninja 250 R take on the Hyosung GT250R

 

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

The Kawasaki Ninja 250R is a lithesome agile number that makes the most of narrow tyres, high-ish bars and minimalist 154 dry weight figure. It all adds up to make town work and B-road rides a hoot – think slightly more powerful 125cc sports learner motorcycle and you’ll be spot on. The Kawasaki Ninja 250R’s suspension is perfectly suited to all but the worst of UK roads but lacks any damping adjustment, which is a blow on the rear side because the single rear shock needs more preload to keep the bike from getting all floaty and bottoming out. The standard tyres are for upright city use in our book.

Engine 4 out of 5

A major overhaul of the old, forgotten about ZZ-R/GPX 250 engine has bought Kawasaki Ninja 250R bang up date by being environmentally friendly and as easy to use as a Raleigh bicycle. The Kawasaki Ninja 250R’s claimed 33bhp is spread thinner than gold plating – there’s no sensation of the power coming into play or fading as the motor spins to 14,000rpm so very quickly. Fuel injection does what it does precise and cleanly, which kinda sums up the motor.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

Good marks here because the Kawasaki Ninja 250R is a good motorcycle – it works perfectly as a motorcycle, and works better as bike to gain confidence on. MCN’s only worry is what will the Kawasaki Ninja 250R be like after the 24 month probation period; a period of time where the bike will undoubtedly be hammered non-stop and (hopefully not) be treated much the same as a cheapy 125cc learner machine.

Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5

You could do worse by buying a more powerful machine and getting it restricted especially if it’s a new bike where insurance costs will be horrific. Even a decent private-sale second-hand bike would be expensive and probably lose more money over the next 24 months. Find a Kawasaki Ninja 250 for sale.

 

Insurance group: 9 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 4 out of 5

You wouldn’t know it, even looking at the Kawasaki Ninja 250R up real close, but it is manufactured in Taiwan under strict quality control. The gear linkage looks budget but is no worse than other manufacturer budget-line specials. The clocks are olde worlde analogue and there’s even a front wheel driven speedometer cable, which is novel. But the styling and dramatic black or corporate green paintwork is choice and the wave-style brake discs are ultra-cool… on a what is essentially a learner bike.

Owners' Reviews

20 owners have reviewed their KAWASAKI NINJA 250R (2008-2011) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

We’re currently improving the way this section works, which means we’ve had to suspend the submission of new owners’ reviews for a short period. Please check back soon.

Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.6 out of 5
Engine 4.2 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.6 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.5 out of 5
Equipment 3.7 out of 5
5 out of 5

IT has fuel injection in Europe

05 October 2014 by Frodeasp

Very good handling and fast bike, if you know how to rev it. Is fuel injected in Europe. Have had this bike since 2008 and i like it even Better now than when i bought it. Stable and planted on the road. Much better than my old Yamaha XJ 900.... Read more Tolerates wind much better than my old bikes.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

It doesn't have fuel injection!

21 August 2014 by master256

"Fuel injection does what it does precise and cleanly" It doesn't have fuel injection it comes with Keihin CVK30 x 2 carburetor. Read more

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
4 out of 5

It doesn't have fuel injection!

21 August 2014 by master256

"Fuel injection does what it does precise and cleanly" It doesn't have fuel injection it comes with Keihin CVK30 x 2 carburetor. Read more

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
4 out of 5

Ninja Review

06 July 2012 by TwoWheelsMatt

A popular choice for most new riders, this is a great motorbike due to its quality build, stylish looks and ease of ride. If you are thinking of advancing onto a bigger sportsbike in the future, this is an ideal motorbike to practice on to improve... Read more your confidence. If you are interested in reading my more in-depth review of this motorcycle, then please check out my website at: http://www.besttwowheelreviews.com/kawasaki/ I've also got more reviews on motorbikes in the A2 license range from various different manufacturers, contained within the rest of the site.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 3 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

motorway

12 June 2011 by flighty

hi just got back from a longish motorway ride on my little ninja, not the ideal bike for high speeds on the motorway but will do 70mph all day but sadly my backside will not so had a stop about every couple of hours, overtaking at thease speeds was a... Read more slow but my ninja was fully loaded with gear and it coped well for a 250cc bike.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 2 out of 5
5 out of 5

Fantastic

18 December 2009 by demonjack

Ok, where to start...I bought this bike back in October 2007 having waited about two months for my local garage to get stock (typical Japanese delays) and since then I have been nothing but thrilled by it. Having probably had the most experience... Read more on this bike out of any other owner (18,000 miles after 14 months...yes 18,000!) I think it’s about time I posted my view. The title of this review pretty much sum up my thoughts, I love the little thing! Having owned a cbr125 and a 650 cruiser before hand it was a bit of an unknown experience jumping on the 250. The 125 was slow and I screamed for more power every time I rode it, and the 650 was heavy and too much of a handful for me (after all, I was only 17). I think the 250 suits me perfectly. The stock tyres really aren’t as bad as people make out, I got my fair share of miles out of the rear (8,000) and had no problem whatsoever. The replacement Bridgestone did feel a whole lot smoother but by then it’s too late to care. As for the front…that’s still on there after 18,000 with plenty of tread. The handling is spot on, I can flick this round bends like anything, and it just wants more. As for the engine...sure it could do with a bit more grunt but if you rev it hard it responds well. I have a full Two Brothers V.A.L.E system with a K&N filter which always helps. If your thinking of getting this pipe (I would recommend it to anyone) just be warned...it is loud...and when I say loud...I mean LOUD! Performance wise...the little one will get to 90 with little fuss, but after that it starts dragging off, I have had 110 out of mine once or twice though. Looks wise I love it. This thing turns heads everywhere I go, if it wasn’t for the 250 badge and tale-tale rear tyre size it would be easily mistaken for a 600. As for reliability I haven’t had any major problems with it even after all those miles. Keeping it serviced every 4,000 does help I’m sure, the only thing that ever needed changing was the rear calliper as the pins had seized, but that didn’t affect me while riding it. I’m trying to rack my brain for bad points…the lack of digital clocks is rather disappointed, but that’s hardly a negative worth picking up on. Other than that you get what you pay for, as 250’s go I’m sure its one of the best out there, sure the price isn’t quite in everyone’s budget but it’s what you’d expect to pay for the quality on offer. As for me I just hope the little thing keeps going, even after 18,000 it still feels like it did the day I took it out of the showroom, and when cleaned up it looks that way too! Fantastic bike, if you’re undecided, buy it! You won’t regret it.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

I like the Ninja

15 December 2009 by ramonpf

Very good bike for beginners. Read more

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Nice bike but...

10 November 2009 by Andy949494

After I had my Er6F (unrestricted as I'm an old fogey) for 2 years and 32000 miles I thought I would try to save money by going downsize. In particular since I ride very slowly by bike standards I thought I could save substantially on petrol and tyre... Read more costs without suffering from lower performance. The good news is that I am saving - getting over 74mpg even when I thrash it and the current tyres are showing no wear after 2000 miles but I am suffering for that. I wasn't able to test ride one but had a 250 as a teenager so thought it should be okay - after all my GSX250 was fast in my memories and it only had 27bhp... I really hadn't realised how slow these bikes are - You can keep up with normal cars driven fairly quickly if you are busy up to 70 or so but acceleration tails off quite quickly above 60 and although 80+ is possible its not very nice. What I'm trying to say is that if you don't need to ride a restricted bike don't - Its not very nice and even if you don't go flat out every-where you would use and enjoy the extra torque of an unrestricted bike every time you took it out. The bike is much faster than a 125 (For comparison I would estimate that the CBR125 works about as hard at 65 as the 250 does at 80) but its just not in the same league as a 600... The engine though is the only negative thing about the bike. I happen to love the way it looks even if its a bit small, its handling is really secure and safe and its brakes are also much better than the ER. The secure way it goes around roundabouts and bends even on damp roads is really confidence boosting - it makes the ER feel vague - its just a shame the engine is so weak. The tyres have been commented about before and they are good for wear but not good in the wet - the rear is prone to skid in the wet if you use the brakes hard - The letgo is just too quick although since the bike is so well balanced it's not a major stress to me and I will replace the tyres when they are worn. Two last cautions about this bike: 1. No real bikers ever nod at me anymore - its very lonely saving money... 2. My insurance company is quoting me at group 12 which makes it more expensive than the ER6 - Need to change insurers at the end of the year!

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 2 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

Recommended

19 October 2009 by vivster

I've waited a while before posting my comment on this bike so that I've got a sufficient amount of experience to base any opinions on. I bought my 250R brand new back in April of this year (2009). Since then I've done almost 3000 miles on it over 7... Read more months. Most of this is for commuting in and out of central London although I have also taken the bike across Surrey, Berkshire and Kent over the weekends. Having ridden 125s previously this bike is a great way of stepping up. I passed my restricted A2 license in Dec 2008. As someone else has said - its bang on the 33bhp limit so there's no need to consider any restricter kit as would be the case for a bigger bike which is very convenient. The riding position is quite high for a racer but that's a good thing since most new riders will want to have the ability to look up and over cars and other vehicles. The narrow profile makes it excellent for filtering through traffic - I generally find myself coping through traffic far more easily than 500/600cc bikes around me. The engine revs very smoothly and is generally forgiving although one is aware that there's a fair amount of poke should it be needed. Its great for city riding and commuting where you're never really going to need top end speed. The motorway is the only time I feel the bike is lacking to the point that I'm wishing I was on something bigger. Mechanically, the bike has never given me any troubles. The IRC tyres could be better however I wouldn't consider changing them unless you're intending to take the bike onto a track. Otherwise, just wait for them to wear themselves out and replace then. This is great bike to start on and the inexpensive running costs and high residual value mean you can't go wrong. Definitely recommended - I may even keep this bike when I upgrade to something bigger in a couple of years.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
4 out of 5

Great!

06 August 2009 by metbandit1

This bike is amazing i love it! its good fun to ride and great to throw around bends. I dont think the tyres are bad reguardless of what others say..as i can grin the pegs along the floor and the bike still grips and grips! only thing is i wish it... Read more had a bit more power...im on a restricted licence but i would love a little more power...(even if i cant) overall an amazing motorcycle!

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 3 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
Read all 20 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2008
Year discontinued 2011
Original price £4,649
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 9 of 17
Annual road tax £38
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 32.5 bhp
Max torque 15.2 ft-lb
Top speed 110 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 14.5 secs
Average fuel consumption 52 mpg
Tank range 170 miles
Specification
Engine size 249cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled, 8v parallel twin, six gears
Frame type Tubular steel diamond
Fuel capacity 17 litres
Seat height 775mm
Bike weight 165kg
Front suspension 37mm telescopic forks, no adjust
Rear suspension Single rear shock, adjustable for preload
Front brake 290mm petal disc with twin piston caliper
Rear brake 220mm petal disc with twin piston caliper
Front tyre size 110/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 130/70 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

2008: Model introduced.

Other versions

2011: Ninja 250R White [£4,539]
         Ninja 250R Special Edition [£4,713]

Photo Gallery

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