KAWASAKI Z300 (2015-on) Review

Published: 02 July 2015

Sharp supernaked looks meet easy-to-use chassis

KAWASAKI Z300  (2015-on)

Sharp supernaked looks meet easy-to-use chassis

  • At a glance
  • 296cc  -  38 bhp
  • 70 mpg  -  261 miles range
  • Medium seat height (785mm)
  • Suitable for A2 licence
  • New: £4,349
    Used: £3,000 to £4,800 See all KAWASAKI Z300s for sale

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

The new Z300 may be lacking the outright peak power its A2 category rivals such as KTM’s Duke 390 (43bhp) and Yamaha’s YZF-R3 (44bhp), but it’s the first bike in this class to genuinely look and feel like a slightly smaller version of its bigger cc brothers, even up close. It’s got all the road presence, build quality, style and kudos of a full-fat supernaked – just with enough performance to ensure your A2 licence survives intact long enough to mature into a full one. 

Trust Kawasaki to bring a slice of supernaked nuttiness to the A2-licence class. Forget dull traditional-style commuters, or scaled-down race reps, now there’s a credible, funky looking roadster for riders who aren’t licensed for, or perhaps don’t want to ride, larger capacity machines. The Z300 is the great pretender; convincing supernaked looks and stance contained within a capable and easy-to-use chassis. What the motor lacks in bottom-end it makes up for with that trademark Kawasaki high-revving character.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

The Z300’s riding position is excellent; those proper supernaked-style flat bars are at just the right pitch to lever out loads of fun, while the pegs are high enough to not pose any ground clearance problems, yet still comfortable enough to not reduce your knees to two painful packets of broken biscuits after a long ride. The 300’s broad tank, made even broader by its power-dressing, shoulder-pad style side fairings, makes for decent lower-body wind protection when cruising at motorway speeds (which it’s easily capable of if you are), but does give the bike a slightly pendulous, top-heavy feel at a standstill. 

Taking up just 2kg of the 170kg overall wet weight, the Z300’s ABS system is the lightest ever fitted to a motorcycle, and is well worth having for the peace of mind it brings. The power and feel offered from the basic single-pot front caliper is adequate enough for everyday use, and the fork reacts to hard braking surprisingly well, while still offering decent damping over Britain’s potholed back lanes. The Z300 floats down A and B-roads with all the poise and road-holding of a larger machine; remaining agile without suffering any of the flightiness or feelings of vulnerability experienced with typical lightweight machines.

Yet it’s a sensation that evaporates with the turn of the key. The 296cc parallel twin is super smooth and beautifully balanced, and the Z300’s steel frame insulates any engine vibration via its rubberised mounts. In fact, the baby Zed’s chassis and suspension work really well together. The ride quality is decent and the Zed’s stability at speed is really impressive, in spite of its spindly fork. 

Engine 4 out of 5

An unkind person might say that the twin-cylinder motor doesn’t deliver power in such a way that would ever trouble a decent frame, as the Z300’s low rpm drive is distinctly lacking. But the eager little twin more than makes up for it with the sheer ability to rev its crackers off at the top end, meaning it’s both docile and easy to manage for the daily commute, as well as being a high-revving hoot for Sunday B-road blasts.

Kawasaki have managed to give their entry-level Zed the same engine character as the flagship ZX-10R; loads of revs, a top-end rush and excellent over-rev qualities. The Z300 makes its 38bhp peak at 11,000rpm but manages to maintain that power all the way to its 13,000rpm red line, meaning you can hold on to gears longer without clattering into a rev limiter. Likewise, its super-smooth throttle response and softer bottom-end power mean it won’t perturb those riders who are just looking for a mild-mannered, good looking street bike to potter around town on, either. It even has bungee hooks for added practicality, and will return 70mpg when ridden sensibly – the ‘Eco’ symbol on the LCD dash letting you know when you’re doing so. 

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

Despite its smaller size, fewer cylinders and reduced price, the Z3 doesn’t feel scrawny or cheap like many other manufacturers’ entry-level machines often do; there’s a real big-bike feel to the Z300.

Insurance, running costs & value 5 out of 5

The Z300 is a quality offering, but built with economy in mind. If you're looking for affordable motorcycling – this is it.

Equipment 3 out of 5

There's not much in the way of bells and whistles, but the Z300's got everything it needs to delvier a great ride. 

Owners' Reviews

2 owners have reviewed their KAWASAKI Z300 (2015-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 Z300 (2015-on)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.5 out of 5
Engine 4.5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 3.5 out of 5
4 out of 5

Great for the daily trip into London and back

05 October 2016 by Brendan

Light and comfy with great mpg. Great for the daily commute in and out of London. The mirrors tell you everything behind you BUT are at an annoying height they like to clash with car mirrors when filtering, bar end mirrors can fix that. The clutch... Read more lever is non adjustable and does not bite until the very end, adjustable levers can fix that. No gear indicator, a plug and play aftermarket gear indicator can fix that. So a few little niggles that can be fixed with a few quid.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Single pot brake at the front does the job and bites well. It wont have the super braking power of high performance machine, but you will not need that. ABS does a great job, and a MUST if you are a commuter!
Engine
4 out of 5
Likes to be revved. Not going to win any races, but that is not what this bike is for.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
Amazing build quality for a lower CC model. Smaller CC bikes usually have the cheap feel, but this has a highly polished finished.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Tank seems to offer many miles :)
Equipment
3 out of 5
Not a lot of official accessories. After market Ninja 300 products will fit the Z300 (same bike different skin).
5 out of 5

Kawasaki Z300 I Like It Lots

01 February 2016 by Z300 Fan

Superb Machine Great Reving And Tourque-Great Looks And A Good Fun Ride -Lots Of Smiles. ABS Is Excellent A Great Safety Feature. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
A Good All Rounder - Seating Position Very Good
Engine
5 out of 5
Great All Rounder - Over 100Mph If Required.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Starts On The Button.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Superb Value With Abs - As 4400 New - Bargain
Equipment
4 out of 5
Good Except I Would Have Preffered A Gear Indicator.
Buying experience

Main Dealer Bought .

Read all 2 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2015
Year discontinued -
New price £4,349
Used price £3,000 to £4,800
Warranty term 2 years unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group -
Annual road tax £41
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 38 bhp
Max torque 19.9 ft-lb
Top speed -
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption 70 mpg
Tank range 261 miles
Specification
Engine size 296cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled, DOHC, 8v parallel twin
Frame type Tube diamond, steel
Fuel capacity 17 litres
Seat height 785mm
Bike weight 170kg
Front suspension 37mm telescopic fork
Rear suspension Bottom-Link Uni-Trak with gas-charged shock and adjustable preload
Front brake Single 290mm petal disc with single 2-piston caliper
Rear brake 220mm petal disc, single 2-piston caliper
Front tyre size 110/70 R17
Rear tyre size 140/70 R17

History & Versions

Model history

None

Other versions

The other 300 in Kawasaki's stable is the Ninja 300, a faired version of the Z300.

Photo Gallery

  • KAWASAKI Z300  (2015-on)
  • KAWASAKI Z300  (2015-on)
  • KAWASAKI Z300  (2015-on)
  • KAWASAKI Z300  (2015-on)
  • KAWASAKI Z300  (2015-on)
  • KAWASAKI Z300  (2015-on)
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