2008 Kawasaki Ninja 250

Summary:

Great little 250

Faults:

Nothing so far... (in 3500 KM).

General Comments:

I bought a new Kawasaki Ninja 250r in April 2008. I have had it one year now and think it’s a great bike.

Description: Liquid-cooled four-stroke twin cylinder, 249cc. The 2008 models come in red, green or black (the US also got blue). Six-speed transmission, chain drive, cast wheels with bias-ply tires, and a single disc brake on both the front wheel and the back.

The seat is about 30 inches high, with a large 15 liter, maybe 28 HP, 16 ft-lbs of torque, and seems to get decent mileage - about 55 mpg. Although the top speed is about 150 KPH, that's really pushing the little engine. It feels much more at ease at about 100 KPH or so. It makes for a nice little backroad cruiser, although I don’t know if I’d want to ride it all day on a busy American Interstate.

Pricing:

Inexpensive: In April 2008 I bought mine new with zero mileage for $4249 CND - about $4000 US at that time. I used to ride a Kawasaki EX-500 (Ninja) sportbike. The 500 was a pretty good bike, and this 250 reminds me a lot of that Kawasaki. The little Ninja looks nice if you like sportbikes. I like the solid red color, and I also like the lack of goofy racer-boy graphics.

It's fairly light (about 355 pounds with a full tank of gas) and easy to steer. The handling feels very similar to my old Kawasaki 500. The brakes are very good, and stop the bike very smoothly without any drama. It starts easily with the choke on. After just a few seconds the choke can be eased off and the bike will run fine. The clutch is very nice; it has a wide gradient of 'grab' and is great. The transmission is typical for a Kawasaki, it feels a bit notchy but is easy to flick through the gears..

It's not startling fast, but I can race away from a stop faster than most cars. I find that in 6th gear the engine is running about 7000 RPM at 100 KPH. The redline starts at 13500 RPM.

The mirrors are typical for a sportbike; they have a narrow angle of view, so you get a really good look at your shoulders…

So far I've only rode the bike for about four or five hours in one sitting, but the front seat is okay. The passenger seat is small and I suspect isn't as comfortable. At 5' 8" I find the seating position, foot pegs, and handlebars to be well-placed for me.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th May, 2009

2008 Kawasaki Ninja 250

Summary:

Excellent bike for the money

Faults:

There was a squeaking noise at low speed coming from the front wheel. It wasn't the braking system, so I suspected it was the speedometer cable. Not a big deal.

After the break in period of 1000km, the oil was replaced with 4 stroke 10W-40 motorbike oil. The filter was also changed.

At around 4000km's the transmission would go into neutral on down shift from 6th gear at 100km /hr @ 7500rpm. Then I would have to obviously get back into gear, to which would cause the transmission to grind into 5th (using the clutch of course). I always use the clutch up/down shifting, and have been riding bikes for 5 years. This only happened three or four times. Enough to be a concern at highway speeds.

I suspected that the oil was crud, it was full and dark brown. I put some Motul 10W 50 in and the problem was gone. My bike LOVED it!! I will put this in every bike I own from now on.

General Comments:

I bought this bike because you could get a new bike for half the cost of a larger new one. This was my first street bike. I didn't want a second hand sport style bike that was wheelied everywhere it was ridden. I wanted new, but did not want to take a loan out, or break my wallet. The bike is 4300 bucks Canadian. 5300 bucks out the door. I really enjoyed riding it.

This bike is absolutely awesome for the money. It has a good upright riding position (the handle bars are a good 2" above the triple tree). It's light and nimble, perfect for back road twisties. The bike also accelerates up to 100 km/hr with confidence. Hills are no problem for this bike either. The clutch and transmission are super smooth.

However, after about 110km/hr, forget about accelerating any more. You can go faster (if the wind is at your back) but you can't do it quickly (to get out of trouble). Example: When you're beside a semi, and the double lane is about to turn into a single lane. Do you accelerate at 100 km/hr past the semi or break hard for the driver tailgating you? I guess I could have been in the slow lane in the first place behind the semi, while it spits crap up at me. My point? It's a great bike for around town or a quick trip on the highway. But I commuted with it, and I was starting to run into these sorts of problems.

I now own a 2006 Honda CBR 600 F4I. I got it new, it was sitting in the show room for 2 years, and best of all I got it cheap. Still upright riding position, comfortable, and the power to get out of trouble (and twice the stopping power is a bonus too). I traded in my 250 Ninja and got the price I paid for it (before taxes of course).

The 2008 Ninja 250R is a great bike for the price and you will not be disappointed. It is arguably the best beginner bike you can buy. And best of all, you can't beat that price for a new bike. Tons of bike for the money! I got 200km's on 14 bucks @ $1.40 / L. My CBR is around 17 bucks / 200 kms.

Just don't commute with it on the highway. It's fine at first, gets up to the speed limit just fine, but not having that extra power with out wrenching the guts out of it (constant 10,000 RPM in top gear to pass) gets really old quick. I felt I was beating the crap out of the engine (and I didn't do it often). I also didn't like knowing I couldn't get out of trouble if the situation rose. I do not regret buying this bike at all, it held its value, and was easy/fun to ride. A perfect first street bike.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 30th August, 2008

12th May 2009, 23:52

You can run that liquid-cooled engine at 10000 RPM all day long - these bikes were designed to be rode like they were stolen!