Ninja 300 expected to add to lightweight sales trends
Kawasaki’s newest entry a formidable replacement for 250
You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who has ridden the 2013 Kawasaki Ninja 300 and is not smiling. Replacing the 250cc model in the U.S., the new Ninja gained 47cc of power, retained or improved its mpg rating (depending on who is twisting the throttle) and benefits from a deep list of upgrades. But this mostly new and significantly improved 296cc superstar should not be judged by its numbers alone.
According to Kawasaki officials, first-time owners slightly edged out experienced riders for Ninja 250 purchases, but the more advanced and powerful new bike will likely attract a larger percentage of veteran riders. Initial dealer orders for this bike were very strong and exceeded expectations.
Then again, maybe the numbers do tell the story.
“The Kawasaki dealer network response is extremely positive. Over 90 percent of our motorcycle dealers placed stocking orders. Additionally, dealers are reporting a high level of consumer interest for this model on their showroom floors. This is supported by October 2012 retail of the new Ninja 300 at 160 percent of last October’s Ninja 250 retail sales,” explained Bill Jenkins, vice president of sales for Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A.
The motorcycle that was introduced 27 years ago and shared styling cues with the bigger and more powerful GPz900 ridden sans helmet by Tom Cruise in the opening scene of the blockbuster movie “Top Gun” has consistently earned the top spot in the “Best Selling U.S. Sportbike” category.
Brad Puetz, Kawasaki’s senior media relations coordinator confirmed that “lightweight sales still dominate the U.S. market, and all signs show this will not change. This new model goes a long way towards strengthening and reinforcing those sales.”
“It is an amazingly better motorcycle. They have sold very, very well here. I think it really hits the mark,” said Steve Berkeley of Champion Motorcycles in Costa Mesa, Calif.
The Ninja 300 now enjoys digital fuel injection, 8 more horses, an FCC slipper clutch with clutch assist and an easier reach to the levers, less vibration to the hands and feet, improved braking and the option for ABS, 45 percent new engine parts, a new heat management system, new frame, new wheels and a new wider rear tire, new styling including new instrumentation and a new standard model price of $4,799 (up $600 over the 2012 Ninja 250).
Reviews of the bike reference its ability to attract both new and returning buyers, as well the rise in power.
The Ninja 250 was one of the most frequently purchased motorcycles by women along with the Vulcan 500 cruiser. Currently about one-third of 250 buyers are women. With a stock seat height of 30.9 inches and aftermarket lowering links and other parts becoming available soon, the 300 is sure to appeal to an even greater number of riders.