Kawasaki Ninja Bikes : Andrew Motoblog

Kawasaki Ninja Bikes

Kawasaki Ninja 250R static side viewYEARS SOLD: 2008–2012

MSRP NEW: $3499 (’08) to $4199 (’12)

BLUE BOOK RETAIL VALUE: $2295 (’08) to $3365 (’12)

BASIC SPECS: The Ninja 250R features a liquid-cooled 249cc DOHC parallel twin with four valves per cylinder, a pair of 30mm carburetors, and a six-speed transmission. Characterized by a 14, 000-rpm redline, this busy quarter-liter powerplant makes power with revs, registering 25.5 peak horsepower at 10, 100 rpm and 13.5 pound-feet of torque at 9, 500 rpm on the Cycle World dyno. Its short 55.1-inch wheelbase, sporty steering geometry, and 375-pound curb weight make the 250R a willing and nimble handler.

WHY IT’S DESIRABLE: The year 2008 marked a thorough redesign that brought updated styling that borrowed cues from the Ninja’s larger stablemates and an improvement in midrange power delivery. The result was an even better entry-level machine for novice riders. Suspension improvements along with increased wheel size from 16 to 17 inches, along with a petal-style front brake rotor, brought the 250R into the modern era. What didn’t change was the lithe bike’s confidence-inspiring manner, which has earned it a near cult-like following among new riders while also attracting seasoned fans of affordable, sporty lightweight bikes.

THE COMPETITION: Prior to the debut of the 2011 Honda CBR250R, Kawasaki enjoyed uncontested ownership of the lightweight sportbike category in the US. While the Honda’s four-stroke single cylinder engine didn’t match the Ninja in peak performance, its low-to-midrange delivery won favor with many. Kawasaki promptly responded with its current Ninja 300.

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