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Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Ninja 300 Capable of 120 MPH?

Think the fuel injected 2013 Kawasaki Ninja 300 is just a warmed over 250?  Think again.  MCN is already testing the European model, and posted this brief report.  According to MCN, the Ninja 300 has a high quality, big bike look and feel about it, and saw an indicated 112 mph on the Autobahn . . . possibly capable of 120 mph.  Well beyond the territory previously covered by 250s, whether single or twin.

We will be with Kawasaki in New York when they reveal the U.S. sport bike line-up on Thursday of this week.  We will let you know if the Ninja 300 is on its way to U.S. dealers at that time.


  1. Nick says:


    Where is Yamaha, Suzuki, and anyone else in what seems to be a revival in the smaller bike sector? They can’t be far behind?

  2. joe b says:

    a 1966 Suzuki 250 would almost go 100mph, like this is news?

  3. Nocklhiem Verstadt says:

    Top speed matters very little. If it can keep up with freeway traffic and have some reserve power, then it has enough. Going 120 will only get you a nice, fat ticket and perhaps some undesired cell time with Bubba.

  4. Jay_M says:

    I think this is a nice little bike. I have an 82 GS1100e worked to the hilt, top speed over 170 mph & an RF900 that does 165 (thats the touring bike, I would trade either of them for this one.

    It reminds me of an RD350, which i had about 4 of & it just looks fun.

    The RF or GS in like 10 seconds do about 125-130, more than to fast now a days.

    I wish I had an RZ350 or a Bandit 400 or RF400. I am getting too old to ride fast & far & a good handling reliable safe smooth economical machine is in my future.

    I have hated Kawasaki’s ever since I owned a H1-Mach III 500 triple, it blew up all the time, wobbled badly got crappy fuel economy & used a quart of SI-7 oil every 2 tanks of gas.

  5. david says:

    This bike will handle like ****: 379 pounds????
    A cbr600rr with an empty fuel tank is 380…

    @Fred M. If Honda introduces a 500, you can bet your ass it will weigh less than the ninja 300

    • Dave says:

      Honda CBR600rr = $11,540
      Kawasaki Ninja 300= $4,799

      Less than 1/2 the price, something has to give to reach that price point with all this model offers. The Ninja shouldn’t be thought of as heavy and disappointing, the CBR and it’s ilk are just miraculously lightweight, and priced accordingly.

    • Chris says:

      Not sure what your point is…

      Has the CBR600RR fallen so far that it has to beat up on entry level bikes?

      Have you ridden the new 300 to be able to have an informed opinion?

      There is more to handling than just weight.

      Are you jealous that this bike has a slipper clutch and the $7k more expensive Honda does not?

      “If Honda introduces a 500, you can bet your ass it will weigh less than the ninja 300”

      Based on what? And at what cost? $10k Honda would probably weigh less… $7k ish like the SV and Ninja 650 would require a lot of parts to be made of steel. In that case it would be heavier.

    • Fred M. says:

      “@Fred M. If Honda introduces a 500, you can bet your ass it will weigh less than the ninja 300”

      Honda can’t even make equal displacement sport bikes that weigh significantly less than Kawasaki’s. How are they going to go up by 40% in displacement and make the bike lighter? Magic metals from the woodland faeries?

    • Donnie says:

      The 2012 CBR600RR is 410 curb (from the Honda website), while the Ninja 300 weights in at 379 lbs curb, ready to ride.

      I mean, if we’re gonna gripe, why would I take a 410-lb CBR600RR when I could get a Panigale 1199 that weighs in at 414 lbs ready to ride?

      Doing more of an apples-to-apples comparison, the CBR250R weights in at 259 lbs, 20 lbs lighter than the Ninja 300, so that might steer people away from the 300 and toward the CBR 250R.

  6. Tom says:

    I was hoping Kawasaki would announce that the 2013 Versys 650 ABS would come to the US today. But did somebody suggest a Versys 300 or ER-3N? The slipper clutch is a great idea, and ABS would top it off.

    • Nick says:

      I was wondering about that slipper clutch. Just how much would it (ever) be of use on such a small displacement street bike and used on public roads? Sounds more like some bling from the PR boys.

  7. Jake says:

    Fred M. says:
    People who are interested in…handling are not going to get…Honda…heavier, slower-handling answer…
    That’s like assuming that someone who thought a supermodel was hot would be even more excited if she weighed 100 pounds more and could bench press 200 pounds.

    You’ve just described the typical American ‘biker’ — bigger is better and biggest is best.
    Even MCN, in their ‘first-ride’ (of the 300 Ninja) article, says in the headline: “It feels like a big bike.” ;(

  8. Joe bar says:

    If it was a Versys 300, or even an ER-3N, I’d be down at the Kawasaki dealer today with a cash deposit.

  9. Johnny ro says:

    I think it needs at least one balance shaft, as opposed to Norton Commando-ish Rubber Engine Mounts. Suzuki figured that out on their 1980 GS250T engine. My GS500F was smoother than my EX250F8. Too late though.

  10. Bruce says:

    Seeing as my wife could get her old VTR250 up to 170km beside my Ninja , 120mph seems reasonable.

  11. Joe Bogusheimer says:

    I think this sucker is going to sell like hotcakes, to new riders, those of small stature, and those who just like a small, light bike. It should handle well, and whether its top speed manages to hit 120 or not, it will certainly be more than capable of keeping up with highway traffic.

  12. andy1300 says:

    Yea, Bring a GPS along with you next time , before you start jumping up and down..

  13. Jim says:

    Those speeds are not unknown, the I-4 250s the big four were making in the 1990s were capable of hitting 180 kph.

  14. Gabe says:

    Given speedo error, I’d expect this bike to top the ton, as the old bike has been radared at 92 or so. I’ll bring my GPS along next week when I ride the bike.

  15. Provalogna says:

    Does no one else remember when the new red/black/silver/chrome Honda Super Hawk 305cc your brother brought home was a big, bad-a__ bike?

    • Fred M. says:

      That was back in the day when beginners learned on bikes that were appropriate for new riders. Now you’ve got a bunch of idiots telling beginners they should should start out on bikes that put them in a racer’s crouch and that make more horsepower than the 80-some horsepower MV Agusta that Giacomo Agostini rode to victory in the 1970s Grand Prix races.

      • Johnny ro says:

        Agree. You do not need 130 HP on a 600cc beginner bike, to outrun those wheels that fly off of dump trucks at you. You need maybe 25 hp to keep up to the max speed on the highway.

        Lets see if I can decipher those fuzzy squiggles in the reCAPTCHA below.

  16. John says:

    It would be great to see that engine in mini Adv Tourer/Mini KLR

    • Zammy says:

      Oh yes … a begnners Versys 300 !!!!

    • Provalogna says:


      Prior to official release dealers would have deposits on every single bike Kawasaki promised them. Actual selling price would be over MSRP. It would be a shark feed.

      Kawasaki would be nuts not to make this bike.

  17. Vrooom says:

    Hope it comes here and sells. Small bikes are what we all should be focusing on, although having said that I’m probably not a potential customer. It has nothing to do with being fast enough, but more to do with it’s ability to haul luggage and a passenger 3-400 miles. It could do it, but it wouldn’t be comfortable. For a pure commuter and backroad scratcher it would be a blast, but I think most experienced motorcyclists wouldn’t have it as their only bike. Perfect for the new or casually committed rider though.

  18. carl says:

    The Ninja 300 is showing up Kawasaki Canada website so assuming it will be coming to USA as well and ZX14 with ABS as well

  19. Colin says:

    I’m sure Kawi will have a 600 ready to counter Honda’s 500….oh, wait…

  20. Tim says:

    The small displacement bike conundrum, where we completely over look all the capabilities of the small displacement bike and go directly for top Speed.

    The 300 isn’t about going fast. It’s about handling, economy, it’s about being a capable daily rider that’s fun to ride.

    It’s about bringing a great bike that brings new riders into the sport. And makes old ones feel young again.

  21. Zammy says:

    So Honda wants to compete with the Ninja 650r with a little 500 or try to do better than a 300 with a big bad 500 ?

  22. Nick says:

    It’s relatively easy to make an engine more powerful by increasing its capacity. This is what Kawasaki has done with the Ninjette 300. Although the engine is said to be all new the increase in size helps keep them ahead of the competitive 250’s. To say there’s a CBR500R on the way is interesting but we’re talking a whole different size category in my mind. Let’s not discount price, the difference between a 250 and a 500’s price would be significant for most shoppers of these bikes.

    • Fred M. says:

      Street riders need to get over this idiocy of categorizing bikes by displacement. To those riders: No one is going to do a tear-down and tech inspection when you arrive at work, the mall, or the rest stop. You won’t be disqualified for having too large a displacement engine. And you’re not Valentino Rossi, so get over yourself.

      What matters is weight, handling, and torque curve. Let the engineers worry about how much displacement, how many cylinders, and how the cylinders are arranged to meet the bike’s goals. That’s something that Erik Buell gets: When the 1125R was introduced, the displacement was dictated by the desired torque curve and packaging, not some racing class that the buyers were never going to compete in.

      • Dave says:

        “When the 1125R was introduced, the displacement was dictated by the desired torque curve and packaging, not some racing class that the buyers were never going to compete in.”

        The engine was chosen because it was the most capable engine he could find without having to develop it himself. It’s made by Rotax, very similar to what Aprilia used in their super bike for years. Displacement was certainly an issue, which is why it’s not a 900 or a 1300. They wanted to be able to race it in AMA superbike.

        • Fred M. says:

          Stick to motorcycles you know more about, because your comments on Buell continue to be littered with misconceptions.

          First off, the 1125cc engine was a joint development effort by Buell and Rotax, with Buell even doing some of the finite element analysis work on the pistons and ring packs when a longevity problem was discovered.

          Secondly, the engine was not “very similar to what Aprilia used in their superbike for years.” Just what about them is “very similar?” Not the V angle (72 in the Buell, 60 in the Aprilia). They have drastically different engine cases. They have different bore and stroke numbers. They have different valve diameters, angles, and timing. They clutch is one that Buell has a patent on. The Buell has three balance shafts and the Aprilia has two. I could go on and on, but suffice it to say that the 1125cc Buell engine is not “very similar” to the Aprilia V990 you alluded to — unless, by similar, you mean liquid-cooled V-twin.

          Thirdly, the displacement was not chosen to meet racing class requirements. Erik Buell said so himself in multiple interviews, a quote from one of which I present here:

          “But the bore and stroke came from them [Rotax] because we gave them the parameters we wanted. We wanted over 80 foot-pounds of torque starting at 3500 rpm, but I want engine to run to a 5-digit rpm – I want to be able to go over 10,000 (rpm) with it. Those are things we think the customer would want from a Buell – the neat powerband that people love of the (XB)12s but without ever stopping. We needed a very wide, flat powerband that would go out to there, and we needed a certain horsepower level. So we gave those parameters to them and said, ‘What will deliver this?’ And they came back and said, ‘Well, if you’re running 1000cc, this will make it difficult.’ And I said I don’t care about the stupid superbike rules – what does it mean to me (laughs)? And it’s funny, the (superbike) rules changed anyhow, but that was never part of equation. It was about what we want for the customer and what it would take to deliver it.”

          Hope that clears up some of the misconceptions and rumors that get spread around the Internet regarding the Buell 1125cc motors.

    • Chris says:

      More power is a side benifit. I suspect that Kawasaki was looking for a beefier bottom end and mid-range to at minimum match the CBR250Rs…

  23. Pablo. says:

    The 300 Ninja 300 will be old news realy soon! Honda will be anouncing a CBR500R in October and also offering a naked version! You can see pics of both bikes on the net if you look hard enough!

    • Fred M. says:

      People who are interested in lightweight bikes with razor-sharp handling are not going to get all excited because Honda introduces a heavier, slower-handling answer to the Ninja 300.

      That’s like assuming that someone who thought a supermodel was hot would be even more excited if she weighed 100 pounds more and could bench press 200 pounds.

    • Chris says:

      500cc single? No thanks. V-twin? 🙂 I’d be interested in that.

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