2016 Kawasaki Z300
If there is one manufacturer which should be credited for taking the market of superbikes in India by storm, it should be Kawasaki. In recent times, Kawasaki has taken the Indian market seriously, which is why its newest of offerings are brought to the Indian shores in no time after its global unveil.
But that’s not all. Apart from the liter class or inline four superbikes, Kawasaki has also made a significant impact in the quarter liter and middle-weight performance segments. After making a sweet spot in the hearts of enthusiasts with its Ninja 300 and Z250, Kawasaki is now thinking of upping the game by bringing in the bigger Z300.
As the name suggests, the Z300 is a bigger version of the already on sale Z250, and is bound to replace the Z250 once it reaches the Indian shores. Designed and engineered on the lines of the bigger Z’s, the Z300 also promises to give the thrills of the Ninja 300 in a slightly more affordable package. Will the Z300 live up to the expectations it vows? Here’s a quick overview of the quarter liter naked streetfighter from Kawasaki.
- Year: 2016
- Make: Kawasaki
As mentioned before, the Z300 has been crafted in symphony with the bigger motorcycles of Kawasaki’s ‘Z’ family of naked streetfighters, the Z800 and Z1000. To be specific, the Z300 looks exactly as the Z250, save for the badge on the both the fuel tank extensions on the sides. Kawasaki claims that the Z300 is a blend of the genes of both the Ninja as well as Z streetfighters, which is evident from its design. How you ask? Here’s the answer.
On viewed from the front, the face of the Z300 will totally remind you of that of the Z800. The dual headlamp shaped in the form of ‘Spiderman’s eyes’ are menacing and give the front stance a wild persona. There is a small flyscreen mounted above the headlamp, which hides the instrument console behind it, and comes flanked with clear lens turn indicators.
The sharp ‘Z’ shaped fuel tank extensions extend all the way down to the engine belly pan, giving it an impression of a full fairing. Though it mars the pure naked personality of the Z300 by a minute margin, the design is appealing and makes it look aggressive.
It is from the fuel tank where the Ninja 300 essence begins to develop. The fuel tank, exhaust pipe, Y-shaped allow wheels, rear body cowls, tail lamp and rear fender have been borrowed from the Ninja 300, which is a good thing, considering that the Ninja 300 itself is one of the best looking motorcycles in its segment. The rear body panels come with integrated pillion grab bars underneath them on either sides, which are in a flow with the overall design language.
The instrument console too has been lifted off from the Ninja 300, which is a nicely styled unit comprising of a centrally mounted analog tachometer assisted with a small angular LCD panel which displays digital speedometer, fuel gauge, odometer, trip meters and clock.
Like its other streetfighters, the Z300 comes with a single piece handlebar which makes the seating position on the Z300 a bit upright as compared to the Ninja 300. The fit and finish and switchgear quality is brilliant, as expected from a Kawasaki motorcycle.
Unlike the Z250 which had the engine and mechanical underpinnings of the Ninja 250, the Z300 is a naked version of the Ninja 300 by every means. That means, the engine as well as mechanical components under the skin are totally of that of the Ninja 300.
Yes, that’s right, the Z300 employs the Ninja 300’s four-stroke, parallel twin, liquid cooled, 296cc motor. On the Z300 too, the engine develops 39 PS of maximum power and 27 Nm of torque. The 6-speed gearbox too has been sourced from the Ninja 300, though the gear ratios are worked extensively for the Z300.
The mill has a meaty top end power, making the Z3000 a rev happy motorcycle. The fact that most of the power is stuffed in the higher revs results in a weak low-end grunt, which may result in consistent working on gear shifts in the lower rev range.
RIDE AND HANDLING
Along with the engine, the suspension, tyres and brakes have been shared with the Ninja 300. This means that the Z300 is equipped with 37mm telescopic forks at front and 5-way adjustable gas charged monoshock at the rear.
Just like the other Kawasaki machines, the Z300 is one fantastic package in terms of dynamics. The bike weighs only 168 kgs, making the motorcycle a fun to ride tool in all circumstances. There are disc brakes at both the ends, which have immense stopping power. Though, the lack of ABS may be a concern for many.
When the Z300 will arrive in the Indian two wheeler market, it is bound to replace the Z250, which will make it the most affordable twin cylinder Kawasaki to be on sale in India. To be available in only one variant, the Kawasaki Z300 is expected to be priced in the range of Rs. 3.25-3.4 lakh (Ex-showroom, Delhi), making it the most expensive quarter liter naked streetfighter on sale in India. Like the current Z250, the Z300 is expected to be brought to India through the CKD route, with the assembly being carried out at its facility in Pune.
Though there are several 250-300cc motorcycles on sale in the Indian two wheeler market at present, the one motorcycle which matches the credentials and specifications of the Kawasaki Z300 is Benelli TNT 300.
Like the Z300, the TNT 300 is powered by a liquid cooled, parallel twin engine, which displaces 302cc and pumps 39PS of power and 28Nm of torque. The engine on the Benelli produces more power and torque on paper, the power delivery is linear in comparison as compared to the instantaneous power rush in the Z300. This makes the TNT 300 a more usable motorcycle on a daily basis.
The TNT 300 gains one more advantage in terms of a fully adjustable front and rear suspension, whereas only the rear suspension of the Z300 can be adjusted as per rider’s choices. The TNT 300 also has better brakes and tyres as compared to the Z300. Adding the price factor in the battle, the Benelli TNT 300 is priced at Rs. 2.83 lakh, which makes it almost Rs. 50,000-60,000 cheaper in comparison to the Kawasaki Z300.
The Kawasaki Z300 appeals straight to the heart with its Z800-esque looks and stance in a scaled down package. The engine is one highly refined and high-revving unit, which is definitely going to be the choice of those riders who love to rev their motorcycles hard all the time.
The Z300 appears to be a very balanced and likeable motorcycle, but the fact that it almost costs over Rs. 3 lakh spoils the party, considering the fact that a bit more dough can fetch you a Ninja 300, which is definitely a way more superior machine in terms of performance and dynamics.
Still for those who want the naked aggression of Kawasaki’s famed Z range of motorcycles in a small and affordable package, the Z250 makes a strong case for itself.
- * Aggressive design
- * punchy engine
- * handling
- * Stiff ride
- * very pricey
- * no ABS