Two curious things happened today: an EPA certification document outed details on the 2013 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R and Kawasaki USA announced the “global debut of its 2013 line of iconic Ninja motorcycles in New York’s Times Square.” Add in to the mix that the EPA documents also make mention of Kawasaki Ninja 300 & Kawasaki Ninja 400R models, along with the recently updated Kawasaki Ninja 250R, and Team Green could very well be dropping the news about three or four brand new models for the US market.

Of course what is really interesting about this news is how Kawasaki could do a two-fold offer of 300cc & 400cc bikes in the US market, and how those two models would fit alongside the Ninja 250R, which we can only assume will be updated in the United States to the model that was debuted in Indonesia earlier this month. Or will it?

Often touted as the best-selling sport bike in the US market, the Kawasaki Ninja 250(R) has always been a bit unloved in the United States, despite its global popularity. When the model got fuel-injection in 2008 for the global market, Americans had to make do with the same old carbureted motor. With Kawasaki giving yet another update to the 250R earlier this month, the presumption was that America would finally get on the same page as the rest of the world, and use the fuel-injected model with its ZX-10R inspired bodywork.

A quick look at the EPA documents though, and we see that the 2013 Kawasaki Ninja 250R will be a carbureted model, though interestingly enough the Kawasaki Ninja 300 listed is a fuel-injected model (as is the Kawasaki Ninja 400R, but we already knew that from our friends to the north). So how does Kawasaki reconcile three motorcycles that are within a 150cc spread in the American market? That last part is the real kicker, huh? A little educated conjecture might have that answer for us.

Let us assume that America gets the shaft yet again on a fuel-injected Kawasaki 250R, and the model even maintains its street-standard look instead of the hip new sport-bike-inspired bodywork that everyone seemed to enjoy just a few weeks ago. With the Kawasaki Ninja 250R listed as making just under 23hp, the Kawasaki Ninja 300 with its extra 47cc of displacement, puts out a stout 39hp according to the EPA.

What if Kawasaki is making an early move, and casting its hat into the budding 300cc sport bike market here in the US, and the real new addition to the learner-bike category is a 300cc sport bike?

That statement is just our conjecture, but such a model would make some sense along side more less-powerful, upright, and modestly styled 250cc & 400cc models. With KTM set to bring out a 350cc sport bike in 2014 to the United States, and other manufacturers making similar overtures with their model line-ups, Kawasaki may actually be just one of many brands to try and develop a small-displacement sport bike offering here in the USA.

Source: EPA

  • Cru Jones

    It’s too bad the Ninja 400R looks like pants. :(

    (for reference)

  • MikeD

    Suposedly the new 300 is nothing more than a re-clothed 250R on steroids (engine wise). Some Fat Fish from KHI told Visordown at the time the pics of the ’13 spilled out that there was “a possibility” that the next Ninja would grow engine wise to carve an even bigger gap b-twin the anemic CBR250R and itself…
    Maybe Indonesia won’t see it and they are getting a second dose of the same(250cc) but with new clothes ?

    What i would bet my sack and hose is that it won’t be a FIRE BREATHING/SNORTING mini-ZX-3R I-4 spinning 18k rpm and making 60hp while weighting 300lbs in running order.

    At this point in time i think the OEM are better off thinking of ways of substract Pounds instead of adding HP…….and making EFI and ABS standard on each one of their products.

  • Joey Wilson

    I’ve long been a fan of Kawasaki for tending the ‘650 and under’ garden. The long-running Ninja 250, the evergreen KLR650, the recently updated Ninja 650, etc., have long shown a dedication to this market segment, while all the while serving ICBM’s like the big Ninjas and the Connie. Wish more would do the same.

    I’d bet the Ninja 250 will soldier on as-is, with the punched-out to 300cc version to pack the candy we thought was going into the 250 after the photos from a few weeks back, with a price difference to back it up for the higher content. Ninja 400 on top of this would be icing on the cake, but I don’t look for it: Would probably cannibalize the 250/300 and 650 above it. But then you never know. . . . .

    But of course, skip the 400, Kawi, and bring the W800 !

  • BBQdog

    Nothing wrong with those small displacement bikes. Except for one thing. Most of them are close or equal the dry weight of a 600 SuperSport. A 250cc shouldn’t weight more then 125 kg.

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  • Damo


    I agree 100%.

    I bet you a fiver that the kTm 350cc is going to be a feather weight sport bike. If there is one thing those cats know how to do, is make a light powerful single.

  • Ranger Jay

    Carburetors? In 2013? WTF?

  • Westward

    I think you guys miss the bigger picture. Having smaller displacement bikes will increase ridership of women and the development of young racing talent. Especially for the US which is greatly lacking, also, they will make for more affordable track bikes to be thrashed about…

  • Westward

    Not to mention it will increase Kawasaki’s market share in bikes sold. In the US their best selling bike is the 250R followed by the 650 I think…

  • Shawn

    I lived in Canada for years, and I was very unimpressed by the 400R. It’s almost like they just swapped the smaller engine into the 650R chassis. It’s not significantly lighter or smaller, just more underpowered. And I commute on a KLR650, so I know underpowered.

  • mxs

    I believe it when I see it on a dealer’s floor.

  • KSW

    Rider development among both new riders (male or female) and racers is where I see this bike. As the Brits who’ve commented know, short circuit racing is some bloody good craic.

    How about someone in the U.S. developing a short track venue utilizing all the small private and under utilized tracks here that includes these small “development” bikes? That could be exciting racing if you like racing on well made tracks with undulations, trees and lacking the flat mindless Indy GP stuff we just witnessed.


  • JoeD

    Common complaints in my classes are 1) “They don’t build bikes for women” 2) “We need sportbikes for beginners” Well, here ya go. And if the DMV gets their way, tiered licensing will be implemented for all new riders. Based on HP, not size.

  • MikeD

    MikeD says:
    August 28, 2012 at 2:02 PM

    Jensen, i don’t know if linking is allowed in this case…please, proceed as u see fit. (^_^)
    Seems that Kawasaki will drop a couple of “NEW bombs” September 13 on NY Times Square.
    Maybe we won’t need to wait for Intermot or EICMA ? !

  • Westward

    @ KSW

    It would be good for the american market to develop more suitable tracks. However, I imagine that the ones that exist in the US are not inherently safe by design, hence the undulations and the trees of which you speak…

    Would not want to hear about the first young talent that wraps themselves around a tree due to a slight lose of control caused by a poorly located undulation in the track…

  • KSW


    I was thinking along the lines of Barber (which many know as a beautiful serene place) or the new Atlanta Motorsports Park or the track in Pennsylvania or the …… No one builds tracks that are inherently unsafe.

    The Isle of Man, NorthWet 200, etc. is where what you’re talking about happens.

  • “No one builds tracks that are inherently unsafe.”

    True, but a safe track for cars is not necessarily a safe track for bikes. Bikes need more run-off than cars and prefer gravel to scrub off speed. Anyway, that’s not really the important point …

    For me, the important aspect is to get a TRUE sport bike in the sub-600cc region. I get that I’m not representative of the vast number of riders, but I miss my RD4oo Daytona Special. I want a small, light bike that’ll SCARE me in a good way, as the Daytona did. The small-displacement segment in North America is not going to scare anybody with 30+ years in the saddle. IMO.

  • Westward

    One thing that I have noticed about circuit selection in MotoGP, is that they seem to select the safest tracks possible, oppose to WSBK and the other racing series. I am surprised sometimes, cause there are areas that look as though a pilot could come to a sudden stop.

    Though I will say that Laguna is something of an exception. If a pilot were for some reason not able to slow down on the ascent to the corkscrew, It seems like they would launch like a rocket into the air.


    I agree with you about sub-600 classes, particularly in the US. The reason the talent is scarce, is because not many people could afford a 1000 or 600cc bike that will see the rubber side up on occasion. With the introduction of 300-400cc bikes, that just might change the perception for the affordability of racing.

  • ganny1069

    Don’t know about others but this article confused the hell out of me…
    “Kawasaki USA announced the “global debut of its 2013 line of iconic Ninja motorcycles in New York’s Times Square.””…
    This led me to believe te announcement had already been made when it actually will be done only next month

  • Dave

    The 300cc will have FI and be the US model. The 250 will be for global markets that have a 250cc limit on certain license classifications. The 400 will stay up in Canada where there is a 400cc hardline above which insurance jumps in price. Not the case down here in the US.

    The 250R was a top seller for Kawasaki. Honda’s coming in w/ the CBR250 (single model, global) has threatened their monopoly. With no 250cc stipulation here in the US they can make a more highway friendly small displacement bike. Sounds like a win.

  • MikeD

    Dave says:

    The 300cc will have FI and be the US model. The 250 will be for global markets that have a 250cc limit on certain license classifications. The 400 will stay up in Canada where there is a 400cc hardline above which insurance jumps in price.

    Your sugestion makes the most “sense”.
    If they are bothering in upping the cc’s for some of it’s markets then bringing the 400 makes no sense when they have 2 products than would make it irrelevant and overlap too much on 2 key points.

    As per Kawasaki Canada:

    Ninja 400: 44hp, 448lbs.

    Ninja 650: 72hp, 460lbs.

    Only 12 pounds more yet far stronger…”stronger” not everyones top priority but u get my point.
    With the 300 making almost 40hp and hopefully staying at the same weight is pointless to push the “fat” and old 400 in the USA Market when a flashier, almost as powerful and maybe ligther 300 is coming this way.
    In Canada’s case it makes sense due to the points you mentioned.

  • Ninja 400: 44hp, 448lbs.

    That bike needs to lose at LEAST 50 lbs, if not 75. Kawasaki saved itself a lot of money by dropping a smaller motor into the 650’s chassis, but what a porker.

  • where in that epa document are the kawasaki 250r, 300r, and 400r shown? i didn’t see any small kawasakis except for the dual purpose 250.

  • TexusTim

    300cc instead of 250 ?…what does this do to club racing were most have a mini 250cc race class and mini 250cc endurance race class honda came out with a 250 a couple years back and now kawi comes with a 300 so it wont be used by most club racers…..doesnt change the game much as the old 250 was still stonger that the new cbr 250 hp wise.

  • MikeD


    No worries, there’s enough Ninjas 250 around to make Soup.
    I doubt Honda will stay with their arms crossed for too long.
    The money to be made is at the small fries segment now…or has it always been that way ? lol.

  • TexusTim

    on honda making a quick improvment…….look how long it’s been since any significant change has been made in the 600……….the 1000 is even older now and no real change except BPF…..08/09/10/11/12/13 thats 6 years and no change…..Honda you meet the same bike every year !.bawawawawahaha !

  • MikeD


    Their 600 – 1000 u say ! ? It could be worse, case in point………….this poor dissowned neglected thing:

    I would be happy if they slapped some 21st Century suspension bits on it…nothing fancy…just newer and more current with the times.
    The rest can remain as ancient as the Sun.
    So much potential….such a waste of paid for tooling and R&D…a few tweaks and it would be the cat’s meow.