2016 Kawasaki Z250 SL
Kawasaki has been trying hard to make a huge impact in the performance oriented segments of the Indian two wheeler market. The manufacturer, which has been on a roll in the last couple of years, has emerged as a champion among all the players when it comes to providing the best of Japanese engineering on two wheels.
After having multi-cylinder motorcycles of all sorts, ranging from twin cylinder quarter liter roadster Z250 to the mind-boggling inline four supercharged monster Ninja H2 on sale in India, the Indian arm of Kawasaki is now planning to make an even deeper dent on the sales of its rivals by introducing single cylinder performance motorcycles in the Indian market.
Out of its plans, the Z250 SL happens to be the first one to make an entry into the Indian two wheeler market. A single cylinder quarter liter roadster from Kawasaki surely seems much more promising and affordable for enthusiasts, given the fact that the twin cylinder Z250 is ridiculously pricey. Here’s our take on the all new Z250 SL which may make its way to the Indian shores anytime soon.
Unlike the Z800 inspired Z250 which looks super-aggressive, the Z250 SL is a bit soft when it comes to outrageousness in the department of design. Though the motorcycle still manages to turn many heads, given the fact that the Z250 SL has a distinctive design which makes it look large.
Starting with the front end, the Z250 has a single headlamp, which is angular and is full of sharp creases, making it look busy. The headlamp unit also includes a small pilot lamp just below the main headlamp, like on the KTM Duke 200. Above the headlamp unit sits a very small visor, which is finished in piano black.
Moving onto the sides, the Z250 SL shows its aggressive side with the exposed tube diamond frame and bulky looking fuel tank, which comes assisted with unique looking fuel tank extensions, which though are not as razor sharp as those on the Z250. The tank extensions are very wide and hide the radiator behind them. The engine cowl on the Z250 SL is not integrated with the fuel tank extensions as that on the Z250. The rear portion of the Z250 SL is a bit slim and high-raised to add some sporty character to the overall bike. The exhaust pipe, though, looks old school and is large.
At the rear, the tail lamp is minimalist and is somewhat inspired from that of the Z250. The instrument console on the Z250 SL is a fully digital unit, which is hexagonal and shows digital readouts for speedometer, tachometer, odometer, two trip meters and clock, along with three tell tale lamps stacked vertically on both the sides of the LCD screen. The sharp looking rear view mirrors have been lifted off from Z250 and are very functional.
Unlike the other Kawasaki motorcycles on sale in the Indian market, the Z250 SL may make a new impact as the motorcycle may happen to be the first ever 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, which 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 of the twin cylinder 250cc engine of the Z250, as expected.
RIDE AND HANDLING
Apart from the engine, the Z250 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 Z250, the suspension on the Z250 SL is tuned on a slightly stiffer side, which makes it super agile around corners, even more agile than the Z250 due to lower kerb weight, which stands at 148 kg.
The Z250 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. Sadly, the motorcycle, like the Z250, misses out on the ABS even as an option, which is a big letdown.
Currently available in the European markets, the Z250 SL is expected to hit the Indian shores in the last half of 2016, which will make it the most affordable Kawasaki motorcycle on sale in the Indian market. But don’t expect the Z250 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. 1.8-2.0 lakh. That makes it a bit expensive, provided the fact that the more powerful KTM Duke 390 is priced in the same range.
Internationally, the Kawasaki Z250 SL is available in two color options – Candy Lime Green and Ebony Black, both of which are expected to be available in the Indian market as well.
The Indian market is now flooded with quarter liter motorcycles, especially the naked ones. On that note, the closest competitor which the Kawasaki Z250 SL will face is the Benelli TNT 25. Like the Z250 SL, the TNT 25 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.
At the heart of the Benelli TNT 25 sits a four stroke, liquid cooled, single cylinder, 250cc engine, which churns out 24 PS of power and 19 Nm of torque. Though these figures make it lesser powerful than Z250 SL in comparison. But in terms of other mechanical components, the TNT 25 edges out the Z250 SL, with the former being equipped with upside down front forks, bigger disc brakes and many more. Though in terms of engine refinement, the Z250 SL easily is the more preferred one, with its Japanese genes giving it a slight advantage.
With the Z250 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 Z250 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 Kawasaki
- * slightly pricey
- * no ABS on offer