Ninja 300 and 300 ABS
After years of unchallenged domination, the best-selling Ninja 250R sportbike had finally begun to see competition from other manufacturers. Kawasaki ups the ante and cc’s for 2013 with an all-new Ninja 300 and 300 ABS, powered by a 296cc liquid-cooled, parallel twin that’s tuned to deliver smooth, predictable power around town with peppy high-rpm performance on the highway. The upgraded engine is said to offer significantly more performance than the old 250, while its new digital fuel injection (DFI®) system provides improved cold starting, crisp throttle response and better fuel economy over last year’s bike.
This new engine has nearly 50-percent of its parts upgraded from the previous model. 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,while a revised 10.6:1 compression ratio allows the use of regular gasoline and lowers operating temperatures. The new lightweight Ninja also has a revised 6-speed gearbox, new FCC clutch with assist and slipper functions, 290mm front and 220mm rear brakes with antilock on the 300 ABS model.
Return of the 636!
Three numbers that once struck fear into the hearts of the 600cc class are back and replace Team Green’s standard ZX-6R. The 2013 Ninja ZX-6R and ZX-6R ABS marks the return of a middleweight streetbike legend, the “six-three-six,” with a new 16-valve, long-stroke DOHC 636cc inline-four promising broad-spectrum performance that is ideal for aggressive street riding. Stunters to canyon carvers and track day addicts rejoice. Thanks to the additional 37cc’s performance is boosted throughout the entire powerband. Low-mid range torque is significantly improved and the engine’s total “area under the power curve” grows substantially when compared to the previous 600cc model.
The Ninja ZX-6R features the latest sportbike and racetrack technology offered by Kawasaki. Its three-mode KTRC traction control system is similar to the KTRC unit found on the flagship Ninja ZX-14R, and features even more advanced programming than the S-KTRC system used on the ZX-10R superbike. And its new selectable power modes offer increased tuning options and more flexibility compared to its middleweight competition.
“Full” or “Low” engine power modes can be selected by a switch on the left clip-on. The new power modes allow riders to adjust the engine’s power delivery to help suit road conditions or their personal preference. Full mode offers the full range of the engine’s performance potential. Low mode offers the same low-rpm power output, but begins to limit power as the RPM rises into the midrange and will only offer up to 80-percent of the engine’s maximum power. Low mode also delivers a softer throttle response, which is handy when conditions are slippery or the rider wants to relax.
Kawasaki’s flagship Ninja leads the lineup in 2013 with the combination debuted last year that made it the undisputed king of sportbikes. With the bar still held high, the powertrain remains virtually unchanged for ‘13, but ABS brakes front and rear along with a 3-pound reduction in unsprung weight from its new 10-spoke wheel design are welcome additions. Gone are the candy blue and metallic black colors, replaced with Passion Red and Pearl Stardust White, while the SE version is looking good with Metallic Spark Black and green-trimmed fins.
In the coming months we’ll be riding these bikes and report back with further in-depth coverage of these new Kawis. Stay tuned!