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2013 Kawasaki Ninja 250R: First Impression & ride report

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  • 2013 Kawasaki Ninja 250R: First Impression & ride report

    Text: Sunil Gupta

    Photos: Sunil Gupta & Sundeep Gajjar/motoGrapher

    with Special Thanks to: Castrol Power 1, Kawasaki Philippines, & Motorcycle Magazine Philippines

    They say perfection is difficult to improve upon. Difficult, but not impossible! The Kawasaki Ninja 250R was one such perfect (well, almost!) bike that everyone thought was too good to improve. To its owners, it gave everything that they could expect from a quarter-liter machine, sometimes more than their expectations – case in hand, the brakes that are among the best that your money can buy. The Ninja 250R though didn’t stir a storm in the Indian market, thanks to its steep price tag and our price sensitive market, but it did make its mark and the Indian bikers had a real performance bike in a very long time after the legendary RD350.
    So when the rumours of a face-lifted baby Ninja started to appear on the worldwide web, it did become the proverbial talk of the town. And with the expectations were already so high, the folks at Kawasaki had little choice but to come out with something that is as groundbreaking as the previous Ninja was.
    We at xBhp got our hands on the newest baby Ninja, the 2013 Kawasaki Ninja 250R, in Philippines a few days back, thanks to the Motorcycle Magazine and Kawasaki Philippines. And boy, did it leave us speechless or what! Here’s our 2 cents on what we think of this bike.

    Looks & Styling: The initial official photos of this green baby that were released in the latter half of 2012 didn’t leave any chance for disappointment. What the Kawasaki designers had pulled out was nothing short of a rabbit out of the hat. The 2013 Ninja 250R looked drop-dead gorgeous in pictures and does so in flesh. It’s got sharper looks like that of a supermodel that puts it in the league of the ZX-10Rs looks wise, and perhaps even better. The tank is even more chiselled, and so is the tail, and together they play a big role in giving the bike a very mean look. The rounded exhaust pipe gives way for an all new angular, powder coated, black exhaust pipe with a chrome heat-shield. The new pipe not only looks good, it also sounds a lot better, particularly once you rev the bike past the 5000 RPM mark. The previous singular-body headlight has been done away with and gives way to the angular twin headlight system that vaguely reminds one of its bigger sibling, the Ninja ZX10R. Then there’s the all new digital + analog console instead of the plain jane fully analog unit on the previous 250R. The new unit has a large analog tachometer, a smaller digital speedometer display that also has 2 tripmeters, an odometer and a digital clock too. The bike comes to life with a cool animation on the digital console as you turn on the key. The backlight color is moonlight white. The numbers on the digital unit were clearly visible while riding even during bright daylight. And finally, the baby Ninja also gets the much awaited ‘pass’ light switch that was missing on the older models.

    Ride posture and comfort: The 2013 Ninja 250R comes with an all new suspension and frame and looks like a super-sport 600 cc bike, but feels much more compact, agile and lighter than the older model when you are actually riding it. The riding posture is practically the same; however, thanks to overall compactness and agility, the newer one feels sportier than the previous 250R. The seat seemed just a wee bit taller but the handlebar-seat-footpeg relationship seems almost the same as with the older version.

    Engine: The 2013 Ninja 250R will be powered by an all new 249 cc, 4-stroke, fuel-injected, liquid cooled parallel twin engine pumping out 31.5 BHP at 8500 RPM mark, which is slightly less than the older baby Ninja that gave around 33 BHP at 11000 RPM, but the low end torque feels significantly better with this new engine. Inside, the engine is made of sleeveless, die-cast aluminium plating for better heat dissipation. The pistons are also anodized. There is a bigger oil sump as well to further aid in the cooling process, thus to keep the engine stress free even in demanding conditions. As we said earlier, it is the mid range where the 2013 Ninja 250 really shines. You will be required to do a bit of gear shifting in the city traffic to keep going without hiccups, but overtaking the speeding cars on the highway isn’t going to be much of an issue. The gear shifts are smooth and positive.

    Performance & handling: Handling wise, the Ninja 250R is undoubtedly the best machine in its category and otherwise. The newer Ninja carries the same DNA and handles like a charm. During our approximately 1500 KM ride in Philippines, the 2013 Ninja 250R felt at ease both during the sustained high-speed runs on the expressways and the bumper-to-bumper city traffic during peak hours, showing no signs of stress or overheating at anytime.
    We also got an opportunity to take it for a few laps on the Clark International Speedway in Philippines where it once again proved that it is the uncrowned king of the tracks. The sharp and tricky corners, including the corkscrew, were handled with so much ease that this track felt like home and the bike was inviting us to push ourselves more and more.

    these markings on the sliders should tell you a lot about the way the new baby Ninja handles

    Braking: Braking has always been the USP of the Ninja 250. It is not just best in class but beats several bigger and more expensive bikes in this department. The 2013 Ninja carries the same 290 mm petal disk at the front and the 220 mm petal one on the rear, giving it the same phenomenal stopping power that its predecessor had.

    Fuel Economy: Though we are pretty sure if you are planning to buy this little green monster, fuel economy will be the last thing in your mind. But for the numbers sake, we got an overall fuel average of around 25.5 KMPL, which is pretty close to the claimed figure of around 26 KMPL.

    Price: The newer and the older Ninja 250R are both available in Philippines at around 250,000 PHP or 332,795 Rupees. So we can see that Kawasaki is offering the latest goodies at no extra cost to the consumers, which makes it even more desirable.

    Overall: The 2013 Kawasaki Ninja 250R stood true to its name and left us happy and craving for it. It not only carries the Ninja 250R DNA but also excels in all departments and performs better than its predecessors. However, the bigger question right now is whether or not this baby will make its way into India, or whether a bigger displacement machine (300 cc Ninja) would land it here. (We personally think that the 300 would be brought here by Kawasaki.) This confusion should get clear soon as we get closer to the speculated launch dates of the new Ninja. Whether Kawasaki brings the 250 or the 300 or both, we have no doubt that it is going to be a winner as the engineers at Kawasaki have perhaps mastered the art of making a perfect quarter liter bike. The Ninja 250R hasn’t been the segment bestseller for no reason.

    p.s.: What if we have the Ninja 300 in India: The only bike that could pose any danger to the dominance of the Ninja 250R was the Honda CBR250R, thanks to its much cheaper price tag. The CBR250R gave more bang for the buck for average Indian biker who isn’t really interested in a superb performer but wants as much visual appeal as a Ninja owner, and decent performance. The Ninja 300, if brought in India, would again draw the attention of potential buyers who were looking beyond the usual 250s that we have presently in the market. And as there is no replacement for displacement, the 300 would pack in some more punch to brag about and to actually use on the track and the on road. Also for those who want to stand out of the crowd but don’t have deeper pockets, this would provide a better option.

    Last edited by sunilg; 02-27-2013, 03:55 PM.
    (Been There Done That) x 3.25

  • #2
    This one is simply awesome guptaji



    • #3
      Originally posted by darkknight View Post
      This one is simply awesome guptaji
      all credits to, Motographer and our extremely talented co-rider Mel Aquino.
      (Been There Done That) x 3.25


      • #4
        Originally posted by darkknight View Post
        This one is simply awesome guptaji

        You should see how Sunil was takin the corners sliding and doing wheelie at the same time.
        Join xBhp On


        • #5
          The numbers are pretty impressive, but there seems to be a significant reduction in overall length of the new 250R and yet retains the same wheelbase. How is that achieved?


          • #6
            Awesome pics and writeup as always.

            Along with the benefits mentioned here, I suppose that in terms of heat dissipation too, the 2013 Ninja 250 benefits from the ZX-14R inspired air outlets on it's fairing, which should give respite to the riders during the summers. This makes this already so so desirable machine... all the more desirable.
            Twist your wrist and feel the shift!!

            My own thoughts - Throttle


            • #7
              Originally posted by sunilg View Post
              The riding posture is sportier than the previous 250R.
              How is it sportier if lean angle on both is same (24 degree)?


              • #8
                Hello everyone

                Originally posted by sunilg View Post
                all credits to, Motographer and our extremely talented co-rider Mel Aquino.

                well said and displayed as well.

                Irrespective of the price, which one of the two (cbr & ninja 250) is an overall performer.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Nio View Post
                  The numbers are pretty impressive, but there seems to be a significant reduction in overall length of the new 250R and yet retains the same wheelbase. How is that achieved?
                  It's simple. the overall length of the bike is measured from the front most part of the bike (front of front wheel) to the rear most part, i.e rear fender or outer part of rear wheel. If you notice the comparison pic, the old Ninja 250 had a bigger rear fender..adding to the length. Cut is short and you significantly reduce the over all length. Everything else stays the same.
                  Just because you haven't seen it doesnt mean its impossible...expect the unexpected.


                  • #10
                    Thanks Csajal

                    Originally posted by hss View Post
                    How is it sportier if lean angle on both is same (24 degree)?
                    Hi HSS,

                    the numbers are the same and so the practical riding stance; however, the above statement was for the overall feel that you get thanks to the compact design of the new bike.

                    however, to avoid further confusion, I have edited that particular line.

                    @itheBiker: Ninja, anyday !
                    (Been There Done That) x 3.25


                    • #11
                      Great review out there! By the way I dont get as to why the power and torque are a bit down than the outgoing version


                      • #12
                        31.5ps @ 8500rpm? Ninja not so high-revving anymore? I thought that the older Ninja produced 33ps @ 11,000 rpm and 22nm @ 10,000 rpm. Correct me if I am wrong.


                        • #13
                          Honestly, the 250r never made me "drool" .. it was good but not enough to stick my tongue out...... but now.... oh la la...
                          Also, love the way its taller than the 636

                          I've been watching the review videos of fellow vloggers who got their deliveries done. They seem to express a bit of disappointment in the fairing and cluster side plastic quality when compared to old 250r.
                          Ride Happy and Return Safe!

                          The HeartBrokenBiker
                          is a motovlogger -
                          haz a FB page -
                          Rides Blogged
                          - Solos ( ~3700 kms Solo, 1300 kms, 2 a.m ~560kms)
                          - Group ( Pocharam, Ananthagiri, Sankarpalli )
                          There is more where that came from :)


                          • #14
                            Gupta Jeee, its amazing one.... this looks killer .... oopppsss sorry; you made this bike look killer....... hehehehe

                            Save the Earth - We are the one who are running out of time, as Earth will take it own time to heal but that time may not be enough for us.

                            I dont just ride my bikes, I live with them.
                            Yamaha RX100 (1987 model)
                            Yamaha YZF R15 (2010 model)
                            Hero Impulse (2012 model)
                            Mahindra Thar (2015 model)
                            GIRed 2012


                            • #15
                              Motographer and Guptaji: awestuck to this thread. Super fantabulous.

                              I have a question on this baby Ninja, pardon my ignorance on this bike: How good is this machine for cross country rides of more than 5000 km with 600 km per day in GQ? Actually one of my co-riders is planning for this machine and has kept an eye for the updates on this ninja. Can you please provide your valuable inputs.

                              Thanks in advance.
                              Sakshar Ray Chaudhuri a.k.a SRC
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