I’m not an auto journalist, nor am I technically sound with bikes. I just bought a Kawasaki Ninja 250R and I had the opportunity to ride it for over a 1,000 kms in India and with a brand new bike. I’m just sharing very few points based on my experience. I believe every bike is unique and so is every rider. So, I’d really appreciate if you could try to ride the Ninja to truly know what it is.
- Stunning looks. Quite irresistible for anyone looking at it. Simply turns heads.
- Sporty riding posture. Very difficult to get used to in the beginning. However constant use and a little experimentation can help rider find a good posture.
- I found the engine to be very normal till 4.5k. Beyond this lies a magic in the grunt. At 4k RPM on top gear, the bike does slightly less than 60 kmph. At 6k on top gear, the bike touches close to 88 kmph and shows off a thirst for more. Engine grunt exposes a superbike DNA.
- Rear view mirrors well placed and functionally useful.
- Analog speedos and tachos are fun. However, a missing fuel guage highly bothers a tourer like me.
- During the first phase of break in (0-800 kms) I got a mileage (rough) of 38 kmph and in the second phase (800-1600) I got a mileage (rough) of 30 kmph. I would also like to mention that I did wring the throttle much swiftly in the second phase to enjoy the grunt.
- I noticed fairing vibrations post the 1000 km mark.
- The gear box was pretty smooth during the first phase as the engine was still not being revved hard enough. However, moving to the 6k mark, I found it to be pretty hard. Sometimes the gears didn’t engage with a soft push.
- I observed a few false neutrals, but they didn’t bother me much.
- Lights din’t have an on/off switch which is quite a botheration in a country like India, where every other person in front signals it. Head lamps are pretty decent for the package. Nothing major to complain about. But for a tourer on a dark highway, the lights didn’t give me enough confidence to cross the 80 kmph mark. HIDs could help, but the warranty gets void.
- When cruising in a specific speed, I sometimes found it hard to even heard the sound of the engine, but things were the other way round when you accelerate or use engine braking.
- I’d strongly recommend decals, but not very sure of where to get them done. If you do know of one, please suggest.
- Chain tension needed a bit of attention. They became a little loose when I completed 1,350 kms.
- Octance 91 fuel recommended. Octance 97 optional, good if used.
- Vehicle does not start when side stand is in place. I’m happy to have the feature.
- Ride quality is brilliant and the vehicle moves in one piece without any rattling noise.
- Brakes are very sharp and effective. Give enough confidence to wring the throttle. Both wheels have discs.
- I’m a pathetic bender, but still managed a take a couple of sharp corners. Kudos to the tires and the build of the bike.
- Seats are big, but hard. Rear seats can be replaced with a panel that makes it look like a single seater. Price range between 3-4k.
- Vehicle has no main stand. Swingarm stand for the rear wheel can be purchased as accessory for 5k.
- Service manual claims a service every 6k kms, except for the first service, which is quite good news, with respect to maintenance.
I completed 1,350 kms during the ride and took it for service as well. Apparently, at least in Pune I believe mine was the first Ninja to be serviced. I was received well by the service team in the Shirode Autos in Kothrud, Pune. The vehicle was serviced right in front of my eyes, patiently and responsibly. I had very few minor issues and all of them were rectified during the process. The Service Advisor, Mr. Kiran was helpful and patient guy who took responsibility for the entire process and made sure he was there when the servicing was done. If it is Bajaj’s intention to make their Ninja customers feel special and exclusive, I must admit that they have been doing a stunning job so far!
I rode the Ninja from Pune to Chennai last weekend.
- I was able to complete the ride in a day. It took me about 19.5 hours, but this was with a lot of unexpected breaks. Without them, I can confidently vouch for 17 hours.
- The bike is so much fun to ride. Zips to 100 and delivers decent pickup in the 100-140 range. It does show gradual acceleration beyond 140 to 150+ speeds, but there are clear signs of stress.
- When there is strong winds opposing, there is a drop in 5-10 kmph. I experienced this as I approached the coastline.
- Cruising at 120-130 constantly, the bike delivered a consistent average of 22 km/litre. Dropping speeds will certainly increase average.
- Being a rev-happy engine and maximum power delivered in the 10k-11k RPM range, it is hard to control the bike from red lining. It doesn’t hesitate to rev higher, and thus requires quick glances at the console while accelerating.
- Yet again, ground clearance was never a problem.
- At greater speeds, the wind helps push the body back which reduces pressure on the arms. The position is so comfortable, which helps ride for longer times without breaks.
- Higher revving is more screaming. There is nothing that can be done about it. I like the sound from inside the helmet, but I’m not sure how it sounds from outside. For the first time in my life, I stopped my music player just to listen to the 7k+ howl.
With the Kwacker doing just the right amount of speed and providing great riding posture, I’m convinced about my purchase that I’ve made a great decision!