Kawasaki’s baby Ninja has already sold out in the UK and offers serious style for first-timers and commuters who want to look the part. We sent a total beginner to the world launch in Barcelona
Although most power-hungry bike journalists would have you believe that motorcycling is all about top speed and how quickly you can get there, the rest of us know it’s more about isolated moments of pure fun when it all comes together through a given section of road. And in oh-so many ways, Kawasaki’s new Ninja 250R delivers just that. This small green thing made me wish I was 19 years-old, made me want to take a step back and learn to ride all over again. Except this time on a bike that could easily be mistaken (by the casual eye) for its sleek and powerful bigger brothers. God I’d look cool, meet all the wrong kinds of people and have a brilliant summer.
Kawasaki have packaged the 250R well: a small, lively engine with supersport looks, it packs a stylish punch. In 2007 there were 8,000 250cc sales in the EU, and with indications from previous-generation 250cc models being that 60% would be first-time buyers and 30% of them would be female riders, much work has been done to ensure the Ninja is rider-friendly and fun to use.
In the flesh the 33bhp 250R looks simply stunning and like it makes four times that power. Its swooping lines are directly inherited from the Ninja’s big brother and the supersport styling is reinforced in every aspect. The oversized fairing gives this bike immense credibility and stature, and at a quick glance you’d think a learner rider would be mad to sling their leg over it. The scalloped tail unit with the option to fit a single-seat cowl looks very racy, while the chrome 2-into-1 exhaust with two cats (to minimise power loss) will let you finish your Sunday morning polishing with pride. The dials are analogue but provide you with all the information you need, and a fuel light means no endless resetting of trip meters when you fill up.
Battling through a typically Catalan rush-hour in Barcelona on unfamiliar roads the Kawasaki inspires subtle confidence as we zip along. Not once did I have to even think about what the bike was going to do or (more importantly) not do. The power is of course relaxed and easy in town, easy oomph straight off the throttle with none of the judder sometimes associated with small capacity twins.
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