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"Fast Bikes", January 1, 2013

THE VERDICT

JOHNNY GAWLER

So, by next month we’ll have new licence laws once again. From not so sweet 17 you’ll be able to, after testing of course, ride a 125 not exceeding 14.6bhp. That’s you for two years. When you’ve had your A1 licence for two years, or you’re 19, you can then move up to 46.6bhp. When you’re 21, you’ll have the option of testing again for an unrestricted licence. If you want to go Direct-Access you’ll need to be 24 – and that’s some wait.

Part of me still doesn’t quite understand how Kawasaki, et al, could give us bikes like the 145mph KR-1S 20 years ago, but today we get a machine like the Ninja. As much as I like the 300, it isn’t a patch on that particular little head-case (reliability excepted), and I’m not sure that’s progress. Yet progress it genuinely is, back in the modern four-stroke world. Kawasaki already had it nailed with its Ninja 250, but it took a big stride forward with the 300 anyway. While the Honda has its benefits, it can’t hold a candle to the Ninja. Its single cylinder was always going to struggle against the combined forces of two. The biggest draw to the Honda is the price, almost a grand under the Ninja. That’ll be the clincher for some, we’re guessing especially for purchasing parents. While that’s great financially, if you can have 46bhp, why would you want the Honda’s lame bhp figure.

Annoyingly, the same argument could be levelled at the Kawasaki, considering Honda’s impending 46bhp CBR500. And that’s what makes me wish that it was Ninja 400 now, not in the future? In the meantime, it’s our favourite ‘learner’ out there, because it treats you like an adult, and is a right little screamer.

Even better is that fresh rubber will fully unlock the Ninja’s skills and add extra confidence for its pilot. Its fun-based attitude could also see it hold its own against more powerful rivals, like the CBR500R – it already looks nicer, that’s for sure. So we applaud Kawasaki for taking the class seriously, and giving us a bike we love; we know you will, too.

TECH DATA

Honda CBR250R

ENGINE

Type | 249.6cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder

Bore x Stroke | 76 x 55mm

Compression | 10.7:1

Fuelling | Electronic fuel injection

Tested | Power 21bhp@ 7,100rpm

Tested Torque | 20Nm@ 8,200rpm

CHASSIS

Frame | Diamond steel, twin-spar

F Suspension | 37mm fork, non-adjustable

R Suspension | Monoshock, non-adjustable

Front Brakes | Two-piston caliper, 296mm disc

Rear Brakes | One-piston caliper, 220mm disc

DIMENSIONS

Wheelbase | 1,369mm

Seat Height | 780mm

Dry Weight | 161kg (kerb)

Fuel Capacity | 13L

PRICE

Price | £3,950 (ABS - £4,100)

From | Honda UK 0845 2008000 www.honda.co.uk

Kawasaki Ninja 300

ENGINE

Type296cc | 296cc, liquid-cooled, 8v parallel-twin

Bore x Stroke | 62 x 49mm

Compression | 10.6:1

Fuelling | Electronic fuel injection

Tested Power | 36bhp@ 10,300rpm

Tested Torque | 25Nm@ 10,000rpm

CHASSIS

Frame | Steel tubular

F Suspension | 37mm fork, non-adjustable R Suspension | Monoshock, preload adjustable

Front Brakes | Two-piston caliper, 290mm disc

Rear Brakes | Two-piston caliper, 220mm disc

DIMENSIONS

Wheelbase | 1,405mm

Seat Height | 785mm

Dry Weight | 172kg (174kg – ABS)

Fuel Capacity | 17L

PRICE

Price | £4,799 (ABS - £5,199) price

From | Kawasaki UK 01628 856750 www.kawasaki.co.uk

Thanks to:

BRANSONS HONDA, FOR THE LOAN OF THEIR CBR, AND FOR JUST BEING BRILLIANT ALWAYS. THANKS GUYS! WWW.BRANSONSMOTORCYCLES.CO.UK / 01452 313131. THANKS ALSO TO KAWASAKI UK FOR THE NINJA SO SOON AFTER THE LAUNCH. LOVE YOU!

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