2016 Kawasaki Ninja 250 SL
Kawasaki started the rage of entry level faired mini-supersports with its Ninja 250, which instantly became a hit, thanks to the brand image of Kawasaki Ninja and being the first ever twin cylinder 250cc fully faired motorcycle to go sale in the country. The motorcycle was a success due to its big bike looks, refined and powerful engine and a perfect balance ride and handling. But the fact that it was a pricey bike kept many potential buyers away from the bike.
Then came the Ninja 300, which succeeded the Ninja 250 and bettered it in almost every other aspect – performance, dynamics, design and equipment. At the same time, it commanded a premium over the already expensive Ninja 250, thus making it even lesser value for money. Since then, the enthusiasts have been waiting for an affordable fully faired Kawasaki which can fulfill their dreams of owing a machine from the reputed Japanese manufacturer.
Now, Kawasaki may fulfill all their dreams as it has been contemplating on launching the Ninja 250 SL in the Indian market – a fully faired single cylinder motorcycle from Kawasaki which is expected to be priced at almost half of the price of the parallel twin Ninja 300. Here’s our take on the all new Ninja 250 SL which may soon make its way in India.
Going by the looks, the Ninja 250 SL may be the smallest version of the Ninja family visually, but in its segment, it is one of the most striking looking motorcycles. The rakish body front fairing, coupled with the sleek body panels shared with the Z250 SL gives it a contemporary appeal.
Starting with the front, the minimalist and aggressive front face of the Z250 SL here is replaced with a full fairing which comes with a single headlamp integrated into it. The headlamp also includes a pilot lamp at the bottom of it, just like on the Z250 SL. The turn indicators are not integrated into the fairing like on the Ninja 300, but they have been shared with the Z250 SL.
Beyond the front fairing, the rest of the body panels, including the fuel tank, side panels and rear profile have been completely lifted off from the Z250 SL, which make it look sleeker than the beefy looking Ninja 300, but overall lends it a profile of a good looking motorcycle. The Ninja 250 SL also comes with more functional split seats and split pillion grab rails.
The fully digital instrument console, which has been shared with the Z250 SL, shows digital readouts for speedometer, tachometer, odometer, trip meters, fuel gauge and clock, along with tell tale lamps positioned on both the sides of the LCD screen. The fairing mounted rear view mirrors, clip-on handlebars and switchgear has been shared with the Ninja 300.
Unlike the other Kawasaki motorcycles on sale in the Indian market, the Ninja 250 SL may make a new impact as the motorcycle may happen to be the first ever fully faired single cylinder Kawasaki to be ever sold in the country. The motorcycle sources its power from a four stroke, liquid cooled, single cylinder, 249cc engine. Shared with the Z 250 SL, this engine pumps out a maximum power output of 28 PS and a maximum torque output of 22.6 Nm.
Mated to a 6-speed gearbox, the engine is like all the other mills from Kawasaki in nature – rev-loving and refined. Being a supremely refined engine across the entire rev range, the engine doesn’t feel stressed in the higher revs. Though, it misses out on the utter-smooth feel and top end punch of the twin cylinder 250cc engine of the Z250, as expected.
RIDE AND HANDLING
Apart from the engine, the Ninja 250 SL has a very simple mechanical setup under the skin. The motorcycle sits on a tubular diamond frame, and comes equipped with a set of 37mm telescopic forks at the front and a uni-trak monoshock with adjustable spring preload at the rear. Like on the twin cylinder Ninja 300, the suspension on the Ninja 250 SL is tuned on a slightly stiffer side, which makes it super agile around corners, even more agile than the Ninja 300 due to lower kerb weight, which stands at 148 kg.
The Ninja 250 SL is fitted with petal disc brakes at both the ends – a 290mm disc brake at the front and a 220mm disc brake at the rear, both of which are shared with the Z250 SL as well. Sadly, the motorcycle, like the India-spec Ninja 300, misses out on the ABS even as an option, which is a big letdown.
Currently available in the European markets, the Ninja 250 SL is expected to hit the Indian shores in the last half of 2016, which will make it the most affordable fully faired Kawasaki motorcycle on sale in the Indian market. But don’t expect the Ninja 250 SL to be cheap, as it will be priced in the higher end of the single cylinder quarter liter segment, and will be priced in the range of Rs. 2.25-2.3 lakh. That makes it a bit expensive, provided the fact that the more powerful KTM RC 390 is priced lower than it.
Internationally, the Kawasaki Ninja 250 SL is available in two color options – Candy Lime Green and White, both of which are expected to be available in the Indian market as well.
The Indian market is now flooded with quarter liter motorcycles, though there are very limited fully faired motorcycles in this range. On that note, the closest competitor which the Kawasaki Z250 SL will face is the Honda CBR 250R. Like the Ninja 250 SL, the CBR 250R is a motorcycle which was available in the European markets first and then in India. Both the motorcycles are good looking, though the design of the Z250 SL is a bit more aggressive in comparison, whereas the design of the India-spec CBR 250R is now proving to be too long in the tooth.
At the heart of the Honda CBR 250R sits a four stroke, liquid cooled, single cylinder, 249cc engine, which churns out 26 PS of power and 22 Nm of torque. Though these figures make it lesser powerful than Z250 SL in comparison. In terms of ride quality, the CBR 250R offers you a plusher ride which is more in line with a sports tourer, whereas the ride and dynamics of Ninja 250 SL is on a more balanced side. In terms of engine refinement, the Z250 SL gains a slight advantage.
With the Ninja 250 SL, Kawasaki wants to widen its reach among the Indian motorcycling enthusiasts, given the fact that the current most affordable motorcycle in its Indian portfolio starts at Rs. 3.5 lakh upwards (for the Z250). The motorcycle is on the slightly affordable side than the rest of the Kawasaki motorcycles, but that doesn’t mean that it misses out on the fun factor, for the motorcycle has a sharp road presence, a super smooth powertrain and brilliant on road manners. And the premium feel that Kawasaki motorcycles are known for, it is safe to say that the Ninja 250 SL has the potential of being a blockbuster, even after the fact that it is pricier than all of its competitors.
- * Looks
- * engine refinement
- * ride
- * Not as aggressive as other Kawasakis
- * slightly pricey
- * no ABS on offer