What is it about the 2014 Ninja 300 ABS that has new and experienced riders raving?
Let’s see, shall we.
By now, you’ve gathered that I prefer baggers to sportbikes, but a recent test ride of Kawasaki’s 2014 Ninja 300 ABS may have tilted my favor a bit. I generally prefer robust machines sporting engines that can be heard all the way in Timbuktu, but there’s something undeniably special about the Ninja 300.
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A noticeable upgrade from its 250 Ninja predecessor, the 2014 Ninja 300 ABS was both a confidence-inspiring ride from the start (which bodes well for all you beginners, I’d say). From the moment my six-foot frame nestled into the saddle, I could tell this was going to be a fairly comfortable ride. The seat height was a nice compromise between a cruiser and a standard bike, and the seat itself designed such that I was able to maintain an upright riding position, which, given my advanced age, boded well for me. Plus, I was able to adjust the foot pegs slightly to accommodate my long(ish) legs.
Video Source: Dodge Rider YouTube
On to the handling: I was quite impressed. Granted, the Ninja 300 is designed by a company that values control and precision, so I wasn’t entirely shocked when the bike responded to my leans with the grace and agility of a professional ballerina. And the engine itself is pretty smooth as well: liquid-cooled, boasting a compression ratio just over 10:1. Given the small displacement of this bike, I was surprised at just how much power it produced at its max 12,000 RPMs (let alone that it could even reach that many revs per minute). Needless to say, this characteristic of the Ninja 300 boded particularly well for me in the fuel economy department—at highway speeds, I was getting just over 60 miles to the gallon!
On another note, while I do enjoy a flawless shift between gears as well as having to apply virtually no pressure to the clutch, I did notice myself yearning for the sort of sensation that Ninja’s larger displacement bikes produce at full throttle. Still, I wasn’t the least bit disappointed by this, and also I recognize how important a controlled ride is to beginners, especially considering how often you’ll be frequenting the city while you get your bearings straight. The Ninja’s suspension is finely tuned in the front and rear, with preload adjustability for heavier riders, so there’s no need to “tread lightly” when the roads turn a little worse for the wear.
Overall, the 2014 Kawasaki Ninja 300 ABS is incredibly forgiving despite its rigid frame, and anyone who passes up the opportunity to test it would be missing out hugely. It’s pure pleasure to ride, no matter where you are.
Video Source: All Things Automotive YouTube
2014 Kawasaki Ninja ABS Specs
- Engine: 296cc, four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, parallel twin
- Bore x Stroke: 62.0 x 49.0mm
- Compression ratio: 10.6:1
- Fuel Injection: DFI® with dual 32mm throttle bodies
- Ignition: TCBI with digital advance
- Transmission: Six-speed
- Final drive: Chain
- Front suspension: 37mm hydraulic telescopic fork; 4.7 in. wheel travel
- Rear suspension: Uni-Trak® with 5-way adjustable preload; 5.2 in. wheel travel
- Front tire: 110/70-17
- Rear tire: 140/70-17
- Front brakes: Single 290mm petal-type disc with two-piston hydraulic caliper and ABS
- Rear brakes: Single 220mm petal-type disc with two-piston hydraulic caliper and ABS
- Wheelbase: 55.3 in.
- L x W x H: 79.3 x 28.1 x 43.7 in.
- Seat height: 30.9 in.
- Curb weight: 383.7 lbs
- Fuel capacity: 4.5 gal
What the Ninja 300 ABS is…
- A sportbike with commuter ergonomics and capabilities
- Fun to ride in the city, on the highway, and virtually anywhere two wheels can go
- An excellent introduction into the world of riding
What it isn’t...
- Exceptionally powerful; don’t let the Twin’s RPMs fool you
- A wallflower—everyone’s gonna want a piece of this machine!
- Suited for long distances; you’ll need to make frequent pit stops to readjust
Did this review of Kawasaki’s Ninja 300 ABS pique your interest? Let’s see what you have to say about it in a comment.
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