2013 Ninja 250R
For over a quarter century, the Kawasaki Ninja 250R reigned supreme in its entry-level sport bike niche and became the Japanese manufacturer’s best-selling motorcycle. Debuting in 1983, the Parallel Twin-powered motorcycle remained relatively unchanged until 2008 when it received a host of revisions. And while it ruled the roost unopposed for umpteen years, the release of the 2011 Honda CBR250R threatened its stranglehold on the 250cc sport bike category. Whether this prompted Kawasaki to push forward the latest revisions to its best seller is pure conjecture, but this time they didn’t wait 25 years to update their most popular Ninja.
Thanks to information posted up today on Kawasaki Japan’s corporate site, the first photos and details on the 2013 Kawasaki Ninja 250R have filtered out. First thing fans of the 250R will notice is revised bodywork which makes it look more like the Kawasaki ZX-10R superbike. The 2013 Ninja 250R sports sharper, more angular bodywork with larger, slotted air vents reminiscent of the Concours. The tank and tail section is more chiseled now and it has a floating mount windscreen a la the ZX-10R. The fan shroud has been redesigned to push air down to the bottom of the engine and keep heat off riders. A new heat shield adorns the exhaust, too, and is also aimed at dispersing heat better in an effort to keep the rider more comfortable for longer stretches. The latest Ninja 250R has a set of slick new wheels with a slightly wider 140mm rear tire (compared to 130mm in 2012).
The Kawasaki Japan website claims the 2013 Ninja 250R has an all-new DOHC Parallel Twin with new pistons, cylinders and crank cases. The new design aims to give the Ninja 250R more torque in the low to mid ranges. Kawasaki redesigned many of the major engine components, adding a larger oil pan and anodized pistons. They’ve claim to have firmed up the chassis with more rubber bushings that cut down on vibrations. Team Green also reportedly changed the shape of the mainframe and updated suspension settings to better match up to the revised frame. The 2013 Ninja 250R will also come with Digital Fuel Injection, but it states that the option will only be available in certain markets. In 2008 Kawasaki kept the US version of the Ninja 250R carbureted in order to keep costs down. Perchance its fuel-injected competitor from Honda may have had a hand in expediting the decision to switch.
The other big news is the availability of ABS as an option now on the 2013 Ninja 250R. Kawasaki claims the new ABS control unit is the “world’s smallest” and should boost the overall stopping capabilities of the dual-disc braking package. The ABS adds 4.4 pounds to the bike, pushing claimed wet weight to 383.6 pounds. Last year’s Ninja 250R tipped the scales at only 374.9 pounds.
No price has yet been listed, but the 2012 Ninja 250R had an MSRP of $4199. The Kawasaki Japan site lists the available color schemes as Lime Green, Lime Green/Ebony (special edition), Ebony/Metallic Moondust Grey (special edition), Passion Red, Passion Red/Stardust White (special edition), and Pearl Stardust White. That’s all we know for now, but we’ll bring you more information as soon as specs and details are announced.
Showing off an aggressive new look and fitted with a new fuel-injected engine, the 2013 Ninja 250R has just upped the ante in the 250 road bike stakes
When Honda launched its all-new CBR250R entry-level sports bike in 2011 it shook up the 250cc market, forcing almost all other 250s in the Australian market to drop their price to compete.
But the bar appears to have been raised once again with the 2013 Kawasaki Ninja 250R breaking cover in Japan overnight, showing off a new look and sporting a new engine and chassis.
When the Bikesales Network contacted Kawasaki Australia, the company said it had no information on the new model, and when questioned over whether it would be coming to Australia, were told that an announcement would be made in the next few months.
Price is the biggest motivator for buyers in the learner legal 250cc market and while the Ninja 250R has previously held the mantle of Australia's best-selling motorcycle, the Honda CBR250R has now taken the top spot in Oz.
For the first half of 2012 the Honda CBR250R sold 1258 units, up 41.5%, while the Kawasaki Ninja 250R recorded 943 sales for the same period, down by 13.7%.
Style is also a major factor for buyers in the 250cc market, and in this respect it appears as though Kawasaki could turn around its sales slide with the new model.
Drawing inspiration from Kawasaki's range-topping superbike, the litre-class Ninja ZX-10R, the new bike shows off an impressively integrated look, boasting flush-fit front indicators, a 'big-bike' exhaust can and aggressive fairing design with a sporty rear seat cowl.
Throwing down the gauntlet to its rivals, the contemporary new look for the 2013 Kawasaki Ninja 250R is not at the expense of mechanical upgrades.
On the contrary, Kwaka engineers have matched the Ninja 250R's fast image and taken to the new bike with gusto, deploying an all-new engine, a stiffer frame, wider tyres and uprated suspension.
Though exact specifications are not yet clear, we do know the engine will remain a parallel twin, but it's an all-new unit claimed to deliver more low and mid range torque. This boost in twist is thanks to a dual-throttle valve and lots of new components -- cylinders, pistons and crankcase.
The DOHC eight-valve liquid-cooled 249cc twin-cylinder unit will feature digital fuel injection -- in "some markets" says Kawasaki -- and will hooked up to a six-speed manual gearbox.
Total weight is 172kg, and 174kg for the ABS model.
Other changes include a stiffer chassis, featuring more rubber bushings to reduce NVH (noise, vibration, harshness) levels, and suspension components have also been updated. Slightly wider 140 section tyres have also been added.
The instrument cluster has also been updated to match the renewed fairing design. Colours appear to be green, white, red, grey and black.
The current Kawasaki Ninja 250R is Australia's second highest selling motorcycle after its Honda rival, and though Kawasaki hasn't nailed down a price yet, we don't expect it to deviate too much from the current $5999 price.