Kawasaki z300 test ride review


The Z300 is Kawasaki's entry into the small capacity naked affray. On initial inspection it appears to lớn be a nin-ja 300 without clothing and comparing the specs on Kawasaki's website seems to confirm this. It's a handsome thing if you lượt thích the looks of the Z1000, luckily the 300 has not inherited the ridiculous headlight on the latest Big Z. As with most modern nakeds there are massive shoulder pads on the tank which vì chưng nothing except try to make a motorcycle look like a cartoon bulldog. In a departure from the naked theme though there are side panels và a belly pan on this 300 making it "upside down half faired" - normally half faired bikes have the fairing around the clocks not the engine.

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Handsome. Notice the side panels và belly pan.

Parts-wise it is as you'd expect. Parallel twin, single disc front và rear with ABS, forks are the right way up, 2 wheels, a seat & even a petrol tank! So no surprises here then. The bike I'm chạy thử riding is fitted with an Akrapovic exhaust which is smaller & likely a tad fruitier than the original quái dị the standard xe đạp comes with. This is cheating as far as I'm concerned, I'm not actually testing the bike I would buy direct from Kawasaki but I'll let it go.

There's nothing trick here, just good solid proven engineering.

Starting the engine reveals the Akrapovic is fruity but not loud. The 180 degree crank makes the engine sound more like a single with a low "dum dum dum" beat from the rear. All the controls are familiar and well placed, light to the touch và react in a normal sensible fashion. The seating position is slightly forwards over the front over which I like although the pegs feel quite high, more sport bike than street bike. I guess Kwak haven't moved them from the ninja 300's racing position but with the upright handlebars it makes it feel initially unnatural. After a mile or so I no longer notice.

The engine layout shares much in common with the MT03 I tested recently yet it is completely different in character. Being stuck in the 30 zones it is happy enough at the lower kết thúc of the rev counter but it is completely flat. A flick of the throttle is met with a gentle if not sedate increase in speed & while climbing a short hill I had to drop a cog or two to lớn stop the motor bogging down. On paper I know there's 5 more horses inside the engine than the MT03 but those horses are not lớn be found below the mid range that's for sure.

There's some power nguồn in there...I'm sure there is.

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When I finally get out into the country I manage lớn raise the revs và I'm rewarded as I would expect khổng lồ be with a surge of power that sees the countryside turn into a blur. Oh yes indeed this is a spritely little motor but it needs lớn be wound up before it comes alive, much more akin khổng lồ a 2 stroke. As I roll back into the 30s I get khổng lồ thinking - is the peaky performance a good thing? For myself, no, but it is a matter of preference. The engine is timid & calm around town then you can get out into the sticks and give it the beans just lượt thích your favourite motorcycle racing hero. Best of both worlds?

When you mở cửa the revs và you look at the rev counter this motor is no more or less "revvy" than the MT03, my CBF 250 or most other bikes in this class - but it SOUNDS revvy. At 5k with the Akrapovic I can't help but feel lượt thích I'm wringing its neck if the noise from the exhaust is anything to lớn go by. It takes me a while once more to lớn adjust my ears & accept the scream is not an indication that the engine is about to explode. If you like to emulate your racing heroes then fabulous but I just can't help feeling sorry for those poor little valves.

Any magazine journo would talk of handling mid corner, braking effects on various surfaces and of ABS interference. I'll tell you what I can - the xe đạp rides very well with no alarms and no surprises. Sounds dull? Maybe but for me this is a massive positive for the Z300. In the real world of potholed roads, peculiar cambers & manhole covers the tyres work well and the bike is completely stable even over those random patches of loose stone found on winter roads. Around town the balance is solid và once I get used to lớn finding those high up pegs it is easy to ride. I vị want for a little more bottom kết thúc punch in the engine department though.

Fresh tyres and chicken strips. I ain't no hero.

When the motor can be given the revs it demands everything still works well. The suspension is a little stiff for my taste but this xe đạp only has 10 miles on the clock so that should loosen up a little. The riding position being quite forwards allows a firm grip on the front end which is reassuring. I'll not pretend I'm fast so I'll say the xe đạp is more than good enough for the speeds I can manage và it did not scare me or try khổng lồ throw me off.

So what has Kawasaki given us? A naked nin-ja 300, that's all. If you are in the market for a small capacity sports bike without the head down arse up riding position then the Z300 is for you. It will scream in delight with you as you rip up the countryside tarmac & you'll look cool afterwards parked outside the cafe. Just like the rest of the Zed range this is a muscle bike, this one's just shrunk in the boil wash. It is a well made piece of kit & should prove khổng lồ be an absolute hoot in the right hands. Then on a Monday morning it will still run you to work without trying to lớn rip your arms out or spit you off.

Oh...my opinion? Too peaky for me. If Kwak softened the cams for more bottom end & dropped the footpegs an inch then fabulous. I'd have khổng lồ look at the fuel consumption figures too. If it returned 80 mpg or more with bottom end then it would be awesome.

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It wouldn't be too hard to lớn lower them a little...would it?

Reader"s Comments

David Barwick said :- Why not consider the Z250sl (sl =superlight) instead?single cyl. NKD/street-fighter style, trellis frame, light, economical and handles really well (positive đánh giá on-line)RRP £3699 OTR , Green or Black.Sat on one at my local dealer in Norfolk,only thing I did not like, was the rock-hard suspension (nitron vì a upgraded/custom rear-shock-£400) & thin seat padding.The bike was much lighter & slimmer than the z300 twin sat beside it.I feel only major negative, the bike would not be comfortable to ride for more than an hour or so.I decided to get a Ktm Duke 200 instead, £2995 on offer, with ABS.David, Norfolk.