2013 Kawasaki Ninja 300: 39bhp, 20lb/ft, ABS, slipper clutch

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It’s official, this new Kawasaki Ninja 300 looks just like the new Ninja 250, but has one huge change under its newly-faired skin: an increase in stroke from 41.2 to 49mm ups engine capacity to 296cc. That means power grows from 31 to 39bhp and torque from 16 to 20lb/ft. There’s also ABS and even a slipper clutch, so not only will this new bike be faster, but it’ll be safer and easier to ride too.

Looking at the power and torque curves of the 250 and 300 together, you can see very similar characteristics, just more of everything, everywhere.

The slipper clutch may sound less exciting and possibly a bizarre inclusion on such a small, basic motorcycle, but it should be a safety aid too, particularly given that many Ninja 250s find themselves being used on city streets and in a variety of weather conditions. Like other similar devices fitted to many high-performance motorcycles, the Ninja 300′s spreads the clutch plates if back-torque is causing the rear wheel to lock or skid while downshifting. Imagine the benefits for ham-fisted new riders trying to gain confidence while riding in less than ideal conditions. That clutch also gains an assist function, dropping clutch effort by 25 percent, again a boon for new and urban riders.


Other than that stroked motor and new clutch, the Ninja 300 is largely identical to the 2013 Kawasaki Ninja 250, which is to say it’s a re-skin of the old 250, itself around since 1985. Embedded above is a PDF with full details of things like new piston webbing, if such takes your interest.

US availability and pricing haven’t been announced yet, but Kawasaki is planning something it calls “The Ninja Times Square Takeover” on September 13, so it seems logical this new 300 and possibly the facelifted 636 will be premiered there.

  • longtravel

    So this explains the lackluster changes on the 250 engine cases…

  • mchale2020

    Holy cow, a slipper clutch on an entry level bike? For a bike nerd like me, that’s some of biggest news I’ve heard in a loooong time.

  • http://www.twitter.com/wessilerfanclub Sean MacDonald (the other Sean)

    like the bike, hate the video. and if they’re finally updating the engine from 1985, why can’t they update the font on the word “ninja”?

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Kids these days, they love bad fonts. See: London Olympics.

      • smoke4ndmears

        bad, or badass?

        frankly, it needs more purple. teal too. kawisaki should go full-on 90′s!

    • Trev

      I hope it is just a sticker and not painted on, because that would be the first thing to go if I was to buy one. Same thing goes with the “Kawasaki” graphic.

      • aristurtle

        If they’re doing it the way they’ve historically done this, decals on plastic parts are easily removable but decals on metal parts (e.g. the fuel tank) are underneath the clearcoat.

      • http://www.facebook.com/beastincarnate Ben W

        Agreed. My first change to my Z1000 was pulling off the “Kawasaki” and “Z1000″ stickers.

        In a strange reversal, I went and saw a V4 Tuono at a dealer a week ago and was shocked at how many stickers were on it. Not just branding and safety notices, either. It’s been a long while since I’ve seen a bike with so many stickers on it.

  • aristurtle

    The slipper clutch was more turdpolishing than I expected them to bother with! (I say this in the nicest way).

    I’m still not a huge fan of the look (or Kawasaki’s new design language in general), and I particularly dislike the fake plastic “frame spars”, but I wonder how it would look with the front fairings removed? That’s often an improvement for the Ninja 250.

  • Trev

    Wait, are factory frame sliders new for the Ninja-line?

  • http://www.cdavisdesigns.com Chris Davis

    Good news for the bike, but that video is awful. I’m not saying they need to find a hand model for the key exchange but maybe look around the set for a guy without nail fungus. Back to the bike, any way they can maintain the specs but repackage it with 100% less body plastic? Don’t dumb it down to be retro. Don’t plastic it up to be racy. Just let it be what it is.

  • Edward

    The question is if Honda will respond, and if so how.

    • Campisi

      Most likely not, at least not for a couple years at least. Most of the CBR250 is more or less new engineering, so they’ll probably want to squeeze more amelioration out of everything before they start changing it up.

      • BMW11GS

        amortization is what they are going for.

        • Campisi

          As was I. Whoops.

  • SamuraiMark

    Looks like they’ve dropped the 250 and 400 here in Canada? Kawi Canada web site only features the 300, and then the 650:



    • DavidMG

      That makes sense to me. I’m looking forward to trying it out. Though I think I found a really nice city bike with the Honda Spada

      • SamuraiMark

        I’ve been looking at options too. I have, and started on an ’06 FZ6. Great bike, but loads more power than I need as a newb. I’m considering a slightly less powerful city / all rounder and a second bike more the long road.

        • DavidMG

          I tried the FZ6 when I looked for something more suited for long distance but I found it boring at low speed, engine just begged me to rev it. So I feared I’d kill myself or lose my license. Settled for a weestrom.

      • BMW11GS

        That is a neat little bike! Almost like a pre-monster descendent of the moto morini 3 1/2 (which I also love). Were they on sale in the U.S.?

  • Louis Turicik

    FINALLY: something between 250 and 500 cc’s, and the obvious answer to the oft-asked “what bike should I get I’m new.”

    Wonder how they’ll price it.

  • NewOldSchool

    I still think the perfect street bike (especially for newer riders or canyon whores) would be something like the Formula 450 kits you can build for the track.

    For those who aren’t familiar its a 450F motocrosser with suspension, wheels and a fairing kit, bigger brakes, gearing changes, all simple stuff.

    Think how easy and inexpensive it would be for the factory to churn those out??


    Or for the “Cafe” crowd


    • mchale2020

      That picture takes me back to 2008 in the worst way. Has it really been that long? I agree in the appeal of a 450 MX turned into a street bike, but I think you run into the problem of maintaining a bike with a 450 powerplant. If I’m not mistaken, the Raptor 700 ATV engine is used in several different road legal bikes over in Europe. I don’t know why Yamaha hasn’t thrown that engine in a boy-racer replica in the US. I guess it’s cheaper and easier to sell the mix-mash of crap parts that is the FZ6 and FZ8 instead.

      • NewOldSchool

        Yea a 450F would definitely have to be detuned to have any reasonable service interval on the street. Thats why KTM had the 690 as a street motor.

        I think you’re on to something there with the Raptor motor. Yamaha could easily have a direct competitor to the Duke 690…. which is now cancelled in the US due to lack of sales though.

        A cheap to own and run big displacement single in a boy racer body would be an awesome entry level sport bike and canyon slicer.

        • mchale2020

          That’s how I’ve felt for the longest, it would probably also get decent gas mileage and KTM has shown their big bore single cylinder street bikes can be refined into relatively smooth and polite engines. With a decent marketing campaign, traditional YZF good looks, and financing options, Yamaha could make it a potential seller for all kinds of riders. And then there’s the benefit of having a compact frame with a bunch of torque pushing you through the corners.

          Hell, who I am kidding. Even if Yamaha got the bike right, they’d still let it get cannibalized by R6s and R1s and FZs in tribal graphics.

          • NewOldSchool

            “Hey look at me” culture is what drives sales in the US.

            That’s why Europe has so many great all around a mid displacement models that just wont sell here.

            • mchale2020

              Too true my friend.

              I’m still chapped how the US didn’t get the VFR400 NC30, and I’m only 24 and burned out on the traditional sport bike scene.

        • Dani Peral

          There are tons of mid displacement super-cool bikes in japan (they were restricted to 500cc due to tiered licensing so the top selling bikes were all under 500cc…), the brands just dont export them because of the price…mostly every 600cc bike sold here has a under 500cc version there.

          Check this out for example: http://hellforleathermagazine.com/2011/01/bike-pr0n-honda-cb400-super-bol-d%E2%80%99or/

  • http://www.xenophya.com Xenophya

    At long last, now just needs someone to do a 400cc big bore kit and we’re getting somewhere!

  • Jesse Fink

    Aussie vid with a little explanation: