2018 Kawasaki Ninja 300: Likes and dislikes
The Kawasaki Ninja 300 received a fresh lease of life in India, this year when it was launched at Rs 2.98 lakh (ex-Delhi). The new process tag is Rs 62,000 cheaper than the previous model, and it gets ABS too. Here's what you'll like and what you won't.
Twin cylinder engine refinement
Try as much but a single cylinder motorcycle cannot match the inherent refinement of a twin. The Ninja 300's motor is super refined and you only feel a buzz in the bars and pegs at the redline. Yes, it only wakes up post 7,000rpm but such is the refinement that you won't mind keeping the needle hovering above the mark.
The baby Ninja is adept at commuting and touring as much as its capeable of tearing up a race track. Okay, it may not be as sharp and focused as it's competition but it's no slouch either. The clip on bars are not too low and the pegs are not so rear set that aching knees become the order of the day. The rider's perch is spacious enough to slide forth or back, tuck under the windscreen or ride upright.
Now this is a no-brainer. ABS is an absolute necessity when you consider the speeds the Ninja manages and our less than perfect roads and riding conditions. The brakes have been locally sourced (made by Endurance) and do a good job of hauling the bike down from serious speeds. The only gripe I have with them is it should have had a little more initial bite.
Everything from the wheels, tyres, brakes, wiring and fairing have been locally sourced unlike the previous Ninja 300 the was brought to India via the CKD route. The initial impression is that quality has not taken a hit, as one might perceive after a price cut. The panel gaps are consistent, the paint quality is good and the switchgear feels as if it's been taken off a bigger Kawasaki motorcycle.
The price tag
Yes, the 2018 Ninja 300 is the most affordable twin cylinder motorcycle that you could buy in India. There are many out there who desire a multi-cylinder motorcycle without really breaking the bank. The Ninja 300 at Rs 2.98 lakh makes a strong case for itself.
There's no getting away from the age of the Ninja 300, that was launched in India in 2013. Yes, the 2018 model gets snazzy graphics, ABS and MRF tyres, but you have to be content with the fact that you are buying a motorcycle that's on its last legs.
In fact, Kawasaki has discontinued the Ninja 300 in international markets, after it launched the Ninja 400, the successor. In India, however, the company has decided to continue selling the Ninja 300 alongside the Ninja 400, a lighter, agile and quicker motorcycle. The price gulf between the two motorcycles is huge (N400 is Rs 5.7 lakh on-road Mumbai) and I don't think it's a clever strategy.
Cost of spares
Kawasaki's have always been expensive motorcycles to maintain and the Ninja 300 is no exception. While localisation will surely bring the price of parts down, the cost of service is something one must consider.
Starts Rs 2,98,000
Team OD | 12 Feb 2019
Team OD | 14 Feb 2019
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