King of The Hill – 2013 Ninja 300

2013 Kawasaki Ninja 300As the 2013’s roll into the showrooms Kawasaki has decided to up the displacement on their entry level sport bike, upping the game for the motorcycle industry. After a long rein of unchallenged domination, the best-selling Kawasaki Ninja® 250R finally began to see competition from other manufacturers. Make no mistake – it still outperformed the challengers by a significant margin on the open road – but why simply outperform when you can totally dominate?  The new 2013 Ninja 300 dominates its lightweight sportbike competition on the performance front, while significantly upping the ante for refinement, ease of use and overall practicality. Thanks to a new digital fuel injection system, a new F.C.C. clutch with assist and slipper functions, and the world’s smallest, lightest motorcycle ABS brake system, making this new Ninja 300 the best lightweight sportbike, by far, when it comes to street riding and overall usability.

The new Ninja 300 is powered by a larger 296cc liquid-cooled, parallel twin that’s tuned to deliver smooth and predictable power around town, plus excellent high-rpm performance on the highway.  This upgraded engine offers significantly more performance than the old 250, and with its new digital fuel injection (DFI®) system provides improved cold starting, crisper throttle response and better fuel economy than last year’s bike.

In addition to its new long-stroke 296cc displacement, other engine upgrades include:

  • New intake ports that taper from 1mm wider at the throttle body to .5mm wider at the valve seat.
  • New 23.6mm intake valves that are 1mm larger than last year.
  • A new cam chain that offers reduced friction.
  • A revised 10.6:1 compression ratio that allows the use of regular gasoline and lowers operating temperatures.
  • New lighter pistons that feature a hard anodized coating for reduced friction and increased performance at all rpms.( The underside of the pistons was also revised to more efficiently route cooling oil across their surface. Further highlighting changes for this model, it features new, lighter piston pins to further reduce reciprocating weight and help preserve a high redline, new shorter connecting rods to offset new longer crank throws, and new sleeveless “open-deck” die-cast aluminum cylinders that are 800 grams lighter and feature a friction-reducing “T-treatment” plating).

Additional improvements include:

  • New thicker crankshaft balancer webs to offset the new longer crank throws, new crank journal bearings made from a stronger alloy for increased durability, new crank cases that feature improved oil passages.
  • New large-volume 2.4 liter oil pan with cooling fins and more ground clearance than the previous model.
  • New easy-to-access cartridge type spin-on oil filter helps simplify maintenance.

A revised six-speed transmission features thicker gears to manage the increased torque from the new engine. The transmission also features Kawasaki’s positive neutral finder to make finding neutral a cinch when stopped. This efficient engine and transmission combination help provide plenty of enjoyment from the initial learning curve, all the way through advanced sport riding, track days, and club racing. Additionally, operating that transmission is now easier than ever, thanks to a new F.C.C. clutch with assist and slipper functions. This new clutch reduces lever effort by up to 25%, while increasing the clutch’s ability to handle the extra torque generated by the more powerful engine.  The new clutch’s slipper design also helps reduce rear wheel-hop that can be caused by aggressive downshifting.

The Ninja 300’s extra “go” is complimented by the extra stopping power offered by its anti-lock front and rear disc brakes equipped with a lightweight Nissin ABS system for extra piece of mind when road conditions are questionable. This new system utilizes the smallest ABS unit of any production motorcycle in the world!  Its 290mm front and 220mm petal-type rear brake rotors are gripped by powerful two-piston hydraulic calipers. Like all Ninjas, the new 300 is equipped with high-quality components and tuned using feedback from professional riders at Kawasaki’s incredible Autopolis race circuit, to help ensure class-leading performance and an entertaining ride for even the most advanced riders.

The Ninja 250 was always known as one of the best handling sportbikes on the market.  To uphold that honor, the 2013 Ninja 300 features a new frame that uses new high-tensile steel main tubes that are 150% more rigid than  last year’s model. Revised tube shapes and additional gusseting also help provide better longitudinal stiffness for better feel during extreme riding. Though the main frame is more rigid for better handling, not all rigidity is positive; that’s why Kawasaki engineers designed new rubber front engine mounts that help make this model noticeably smoother, despite the extra power produced by its new 296cc engine.

Front and rear suspension tuning has been adjusted to compliment the new, more-rigid frame. Softer spring rates provide a more comfortable ride on rough city streets, without compromising sport handling characteristics.

Aggressive new bodywork features a sharp-edged design. It also offers effective heat management and superb aerodynamics. The Ninja 300 not only looks great, but also features a new floating windscreen design to help minimize buffeting and provide smooth airflow around the rider’s helmet.

The Ninja 300’s all-new instrument panel features a large easy-to-read analog tachometer and a digital multifunction display with speedometer, odometer, dual trip meters, fuel gauge, and digital clock functions.  The new instrument panel also features indicator lights, while the digital screen incorporates a handy economical riding indicator (ECO) that illuminates to alert riders when they are operating the 300 in a manner that will maximize fuel economy. A natural riding position and comfortable ergonomics combined with lightweight handling and nimble response deliver pure pleasure everywhere from city streets and highways, to twisty backroads and even racetracks.

The new 2013 Ninja 300 is a bike to consider when looking to enter into the sportbike market. Class leading power, ABS breaks, fuel efficiency, and a fun factor that’s off the charts is why Kawasaki remains “King of The Hill”


*Information provided by Kawasaki Motors Corp. U.S.A.*