There is not much that we don’t already know about the 2013 Kawasaki Ninja 300. It looks pretty much exactly like the re-designed 2013 Kawasaki Ninja 250R that broke cover in Indonesia earlier this year. The EPA already spilled the beans on the Kawasaki Ninja 300’s 296cc displacement and 40hp, and we know that the Ninja 300 is the peppier fuel-injected cousin to America’s dreadfully under-developed Ninja 250R…and now we know that the bike will come to the American market for next year.
Tipping the scales at the curb with 387 lbs, with its 4.5 gallons of fuel, the Kawasaki Ninja 300 isn’t a featherweight, but it isn’t a slouch either. In fact, when it comes to a sporty learner-class motorcycle for the American market, the Kawasaki Ninja 300 may very well be the bike of choice.
In a category where prospective buyers are raiding the couch cushions for a down payment, price is king. And with its $4,799 starting MSRP, the Ninja 300 is an expensive option, but is it still a bargain?
Kawasaki has done something interesting with the pricing on the 2012 Kawasaki Ninja 300 for the US market. With the two black and white models priced at $4,799 MSRP, the Kawasaki Ninja 300 holds a $700 price premium over the Honda CBR250R (note: this is the listed 2012 MSRP, Honda lists the 2013 pricing on the Honda CBR250R as TBD, which could change things a bit).
While we wait to see what Honda does with its 2013 pricing, consider that if new riders want a green Ninja 300, they will have to fork over an additional $200. Hrmpf.
We are really pleased to see that Kawasaki is bringing an ABS model of the 2013 Kawasaki Ninja 300 to the US market. Americans can be a bit stubborn about ABS technology, but the truth of the matter is that it should be on every motorcycle, and likely will be very soon. For new riders, ABS is an absolute must, and its encouraging that Kawasaki isn’t viewing the braking technology as too much of a luxury for the entry-model class.
That being said, the ABS option will have the luxury of costing $5,499 MSRP for new riders, a full $900 premium over the ABS-equipped Honda CBR250R. It is clear looking at the two models that Kawasaki is hoping that its sizable horsepower advantage, along with its sportier 140mm rear tire and slipper clutch, will help tip the scales in its favor.
We will have to reserve our judgment on the Kawasaki Ninja 300 until we ride one, but one thing is clear: the learner-bike category just got more interesting. With KTM supposedly debuting a bike into this space later this year for the US market, 2013 is shaping up to be the year of the learner-bike segment.