Motorcycle Review of the 2016 Kawasaki Ninja 300

roadtest

Dave Hatch | Host 

david-hatch-whistle

 

2016 Kawasaki Ninja 300 Motorcycle Review

2016-kawasaki-ninja-300abs-krt-edition1“Whether referring to engine or chassis performance, or the latest available technology, the name “Ninja” implies the very best that Kawasaki has to offer. In the case of the Ninja 300, it means a larger-displacement 296cc engine with the power and torque to eclipse everything in its class.” – Kawasaki

Behold, Kawasaki’s Ninja 300 – a small displacement, liquid cooled, twin cylinder sport bike that Kawasaki hopes you might actually decide to race on Sunday and ride to work on Monday. And thanks to the new CSBK national engine 300 spec class you could pretty much get away with that. Powering this Ninja is a liquid cooled, two hundred and ninety CC parallel twin Kawasaki claims could produce a very respectable thirty-five horse power. Now, to call this sport bike an entry level motorcycle would be accurate but thanks to it’s generous upright riding position, digital fuel injection, and a slipper tight clutch and adjustable rear shock, optional ABS, there really is nothing entry level about this puppy. Plus the new Ninja 300 is without a doubt a very impressive- an impression that’s backed up by a very long and distinguished road racing pedigree. So it looks like it would be a total blast out on the race track, but what about the open road? Well, here’s this week’s guest road tester, Jenn Martin.

 

Dave

So Jenn, we pushed the Kawi out of the garage this morning, it glistened in the sunlight, what was your first impression?

 

Jenn

That it does not look like a 300 – it does not look like a small bike. It actually… anywhere on the bike you don’t see 300 at all. First impressions, I match it, it’s a pretty colour. It’s a great looking bike.

 

Dave

Fired up the motor; Kawasaki is an engine company, what was your impression of the engine?

 

Jenn

The power’s right there for you, um it’s very easy to shift, going through the gears, but you have to have lots of power. I mean, you’ve got the six gears there and you can use them all.

 

Dave

Braking?

 

Jenn

Well, this bike comes with the option of either ABS or not ABS and you know for the extra little bit of price the better brakes, go for it, but the braking on it, really smooth, stopping, not an issue…

 

Dave

Yeah.

 

Jenn

Yeah, very smooth.

 

Dave

The handling, the suspension, we were on some really nice smooth roads, we were on some really bumpy roads… suspension?

 

Jenn

Suspension’s really good. You know I ride a bigger bike but this is a lot of fun – on the twisty roads here, taking it for a loop, very light, very nimble – nice and easy, yeah. And when you’re taking some… you know, some of the grooves and things like that, you really didn’t feel it, it was nice and smooth.

 

Dave

How did you fit this bike because clearly it’s designed for you know, someone who may not be all that tall. Very narrow saddle, very short reach to the ground… low saddle… so how did you fit?

 

Jenn

You know what? Surprisingly I fit well on it. I was sitting into the bike which I really like. I wasn’t sitting on top of it, sitting into the bike, my knees fit underneath there which was really perfect, it felt really comfortable, it felt like I fit. In terms of footwear I have a pair of adventure boots on and kind of getting underneath the shifter a little more challenging but just getting used to it, if this was my ride I would adapt, so I didn’t feel small, it was lovely having it so light and nimble.

 

Dave

Now this is a sport bike, it’s a race replica, should we be talking about things like wind protection?

 

Jenn

Yeah, I mean you should. I’m used to that – I have a sport bike as well. I didn’t feel any more buffeted around, like it didn’t disturb me, I didn’t notice it. Now we got on eighty kilometer roads, we took it a little bit higher than that but we didn’t do any of the four hundred series roads or anything like that, so getting up over one twenty or so but I didn’t notice it. I wasn’t being thrown about, not.

 

Dave

What about the switch gear, the turn signals, the mirrors, just the overall cockpit, the information.

 

Jenn

Well, yeah, everything’s right there. The only thing I think I had a little bit of a challenge with, and you pointed out to me as well is I left the signal on. Visually I guess the signal light is very light and hard to see when the sun’s beating right down on it, and it doesn’t have a sound so I didn’t… I had it on.

 

Dave

You got caught.

 

Jenn

I got caught with the signal on which is never a good thing so you obviously have to cancel it yourself so there’s that, but the display is nice and large, your speed is right there, so you knew what you’re going.

 

Dave

So Jenn, who are we going to recommend this bike to and what are they going to do with the bike?

 

Jenn

It’s a good entry level bike, the power’s not too crazy and out of control that a new rider – the seat height, very comparable to the smaller three hundreds as well so throw a leg over it so you’re looking at a wide variety that it would fit… so yeah, I would see multipurposes in town and again for small or longer trips, it’s got a great power and you’re going to be using all the gears, that’s the important thing.

 

Dave

What’s the one lasting impression?

 

Jenn

Lasting impression; it fits, it’s just, for me as a taller rider, it fits quite well and it is just a fun ride.

 

Dave

Fun factor.

 

Jenn

Fun factor, absolutely.

 

Dave

Well, I would have to agree with that, you were smiling a lot today.

 

Jenn

I was.

 

Dave

Alright.

 

Jenn

Except for the signal light off.

 

Dave

Great job.

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