KAWASAKI NINJA 300 (2012-on) Review

Published: 09 January 2014

"A practical, economical entry-level bike which is easy to ride and desirable"

KAWASAKI NINJA 300  (2012-on)

"A practical, economical entry-level bike which is easy to ride and desirable"

  • At a glance
  • 296cc  -  39 bhp
  • 75 mpg  -  280 miles range
  • Medium seat height (785mm)
  • Suitable for A2 licence
  • New: £4,799
    Used: £3,000 to £5,400 See all KAWASAKI NINJA 300s for sale

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

Kawasaki has hit the nail on the head with this bike. Finally the market has a practical, economical entry-level bike which is easy to ride and desirable. The firm says 40% of buyers will be under 24 years old, going on sales of the 250, and it’s this kind of grassroots support motorcycling needs. Kawasaki also says 22% of 250 buyers were female and while the seat is no lower on the 300, it is much narrower near the tank, which means it is easier to reach the floor for shorter or less confident riders.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

On the right road the 300 is fun to ride, and on some decent rubber it would be a laugh on track. There’s a slipper clutch for sideways fun for experienced riders and it will even wheelie if you’re brutal enough. The brakes have plenty of feel and ABS is an optional extra. It’s not destined for legendary status like the old KR1S, but still fun in the right situation. The shock’s preload is 5-way adjustable, however revised damping when compared to the Ninja 250 means the non-adjustable forks respond well.

Engine 4 out of 5

The parallel twin four-stroke engine might not have the thrill of a two-stroke, but it will happily cruise at 80mph into a headwind uphill. It’s not vibrating to death at motorway speeds like the Ninja 250 either. On the motorway 74mpg cruising was a breeze, and even at an indicated 93mph the rev counter hovered around 10,000rpm, 3,000rpm short of the redline, and not sounding too painful. Kawasaki has tried to reduce the vibration felt by the rider by rubber mounting the engine, and it’s worked. Fuel economy should be around 75mpg, meaning the Ninja’s 17-litre tank should be good for a 280-mile range.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

There are no reported faults with the Ninja 300 and the finish seems generally sound

Insurance, running costs & value 4 out of 5

A special edition Ninja 300 costs an extra £150 for red wheel tape, a tank pad and WSB-style graphics.

Equipment 4 out of 5

The Ninja comes with a digital speedo, analogue rev counter, clock, fuel gauge and a slipper clutch as standard. ABS is an optional extra.

Owners' Reviews

3 owners have reviewed their KAWASAKI NINJA 300 (2012-on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your KAWASAKI NINJA 300 (2012-on)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 3.7 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5
Engine 4.7 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3.7 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3.3 out of 5
Equipment 3.7 out of 5
2 out of 5

I'll get another Suzuki or Honda next time

19 September 2016 by david

Decent engine, Kawasaki cheaped out big time on something's though. The OEM chain has to be replaced in the same amount of time the one I replaced with took to need it's first adjustment, which isn't so bad chains I expect to replace but come on... Read more Kawasaki that's pretty poor. The biggest issue I have with this bike is that I had to replace to fork springs. At about a year and a half off the showroom floor the front got very soft. I contacted Kawasaki and the rep said to replace the fork fluid, I told him that seemed like it was not likely to the problem based on the performance but eventually against my better judgement has the fluid replaced. It did not improve anything, and Kawasaki had told me that it's considered normal maintenance that they don't publish any thing about. Yes I do know that it is a normal maintenance thing, but on other bikes I've owned it's been anywhere from 7-8 years or the bike needed other things replaced and was getting to be such high milage (150k+) that doing the forks and then everything else wasn't really worth it so I just went ahead and got a new bike. The suspension on the ninja got to be so bad that it was a safety concern for me, I had rear wheel locks when I never would have expected it on any of the other bikes I've owned it the ninja during the first year, it felt unstable during anything but the most conservative commuter cornering, the front end would dip badly when letting off the throttle, etc. I tried to contact Kawasaki about it again and one of their reps just quit responding while I was emailing back and forth. So finally I just went ahead and replaced the springs. And all the sudden the performance was like it was during the first year of the bikes life. I contacted the BBB seeking reimbursement from Kawasaki figuring that they would at least do something, but no. No reimbursement for the first reps poor advice to charge fluid, and nothing for the replaced springs. Long story short I've been recommending against Kawasaki when friends ask about getting into a motorcycle, and I'll be going back to either Suzuki or Honda when I get my next bike. I know that the dealer's will say it's an entry level bike so it's not as well manufactured as some of their others, but my Suzuki was an entry level 250cc and never had any problems that got me to contact the manufacturer over owning it for 8 out so years.

Ride Quality & Brakes
1 out of 5
Factory suspension went way down hill. Around a year and a half it was trying to ride for more then 20 or so min (commuting). Before the suspension went bad it was good for an afternoon ride with one nicd break in the middle, maybe 4 hour ride with a twenty min or so break to strech in the middle. Back to that with the replaced fork springs
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
2 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
2 out of 5
Needing to perform parts replacements to get it back to showroom performance (suspension) put this well over what it should be
Equipment
3 out of 5
Suggest short levers (depending on personal taste), I've been very happy with the michiline pilot tires on it-good grip on normal Street conditions including occasional rain and they look like they'll have a good life span (these are the tires I replaced the factory installed ones with). It came set up to be a good standard bike, nothing awesome nothing horrible
Buying experience

Dealer, purchased new, don't recall advertised price paid about 6300usd

5 out of 5

Brand New

29 July 2016 by JapanRider92

I just purchased this bike yesterday. Put 75 miles on it. Love this bike. I rode a GS500F, then went to a Shadow 750, and now here. I do a lot of street riding versus open road with big curves and this bike has been great for it so far. It's a lot... Read more more nimble than the Shadow and just as quick as the GS500. Seat position is a little more straight up versus your typical sport bike which is nice when I cruised on the highway for a little bit. I was able to get up to 95mph and still had some to go before redline (I'm 5'11'' and ~210lbs). Would definitely recommend to anyone looking for a practical yet fun motorcycle.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Everything is great. I think the brakes are a little squishy but that's probably a me thing.
Engine
5 out of 5
FUN
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Quality seems great. Not much vibration even at 95mph. It's too new for me to comment on reliability but Kaw doesn't usually put out bad bikes.
Value & Running Costs
3 out of 5
Same as any other except the 7500 change. That one's a little pricier due to valves.
Equipment
4 out of 5
Everything was cool. My complaint is the under seat storage seems kind of small compared to other sport bikes I've seen. Maybe that's a me thing too.
Buying experience

Dealer - Was awesome. I bought from them previously so they took off $700.

4 out of 5

top speed

07 June 2014 by stevieboy94

Top speed is a lot higher than 93 test rode one feels smooth in the gear changes acceleration is pritty much instant, if the 250r can do 110 I'm sure the 300 can do a little bit more Read more

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
-
Read all 3 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2012
Year discontinued -
New price £4,799
Used price £3,000 to £5,400
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group -
Annual road tax £39
Annual service cost £600
Performance
Max power 39 bhp
Max torque 20 ft-lb
Top speed 93 mph
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption 75 mpg
Tank range 280 miles
Specification
Engine size 296cc
Engine type Four-stroke, liquid-cooled DOHC, 8v parallel twin
Frame type Tubular steel
Fuel capacity 17 litres
Seat height 785mm
Bike weight 172kg
Front suspension 37mm conventional forks, non-adjustable
Rear suspension Five-way adjustable pre-load shock
Front brake 1x290mm petal disc. dual-piston caliper
Rear brake 1x220mm petal disc, two-piston caliper
Front tyre size 110/70 ZR17
Rear tyre size 140/70 ZR17

History & Versions

Model history

2012: Model introduced

Other versions

Ninja 300 ABS - £5,199
Special Edition - £4,949
Special Edition ABS - £5,349

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  • KAWASAKI NINJA 300  (2012-on)
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