Kawasaki J300

People should want this scooter, including motorcyclists. It’s made the whole proposition of scooter ownership suddenly much more persuasive
Manufacturer
Price
£4049
Available from
2014
ABS available, cheap, throttle response, lightweight
Small glovebox, it's a Kymco in disguise
Scooter ownership just became a much more persuasive proposition

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Overall Review

Kawasaki SC300AEFA (J300) – USER REVIEW The J300 looked huge parked next to the “part-ex” (a Peugeot Vivacity Compact). I felt for the centre of gravity and pushed gently forward off the centre stand. Obviously weighty in comparison with the 49cc scoot I’d arrived on that morning – but reassuringly so with the weight carried low just like the reviews said. I had actually been on Clay Cross Kawasaki’s demonstrator the week before after trying three other scoots, but it felt “right” for my needs straight away after the Gilera GP800 and the Suzuki Burgman 400 I’d also tested. Pushing the J300 back in an arc, I put it briefly on the sidestand before mounting up myself. Sidestand up and engine kill switch in the run position, the clocks did a full sweep and all LCD digits lit up for self-test. A very brief push of the starter switch and the 4-valve single burbled into life. Despite the two (count-em) balance shafts there is quite a bit of vibration at tick over but this to be expected I suppose. Whether this will lessen after the bike’s run in isn’t really an issue. Having read the user manual on line before taking delivery I was determined to keep to the running in recommendations of 5,000 rpm max for the first 500 miles. Riding through Clay Cross town centre I noticed for the first time that there must be a deliberate step in the variator pulley as there is a definite “gear change” feel at about 20mph. Brakes feel more than adequate with the single front disc needing a little time with a slightly poor initial bite. I might change the front pads for some EBC ones soon to see if this improves matters. The rear disc however is fine, with good feel and a very gentle progression that makes for excellent trailing in traffic allowing (with the aforementioned low down weight) feet-up riding almost to a stop. Through town now and onto the open 50mph stretch the rev counter needle swings fairly rapidly towards the self-imposed max of 5,000 rpm which equates to 50mph on the flat with no headwind. Bends are easily dealt with as expected with the low c of g, but the J300 still responds to a little counter-steering. Suspension-wise the J300 is obviously sprung to a price, but the U.K’s dreadfully potholed surfaces don’t help and it’s impossible to miss every single one. But the damping is good and there are no major traumas except for the feeling of sympathy for my new scoot. The front forks initially felt to have a little too much preload but whether I got used to this or if it has become bedded in a little since – I couldn’t say. The A38 to Derby was a little bit “interesting”. With a maximum speed of 50mph (as mentioned previously) traffic loomed large in the mirrors a few times and there was a feeling of being in danger of being rear-ended a few times. Sunday, saw us riding two-up to Matlock Bath. The J300 is almost as easy to ride with a pillion as it is solo. The front brake’s lack of initial bite could be a worry, but it’s just a matter of riding appropriately. With the tyres now scrubbed in, it is surprisingly easy to achieve decent lean angles with the OEM tyres providing plenty of confidence-inspiring feedback. Being used to a geared bike before I’m really enjoying having extra time and the lessened workload must surely be good for safety? We’re getting nods from loads of “real” bikers – mainly sportsbike riders. I’ve no idea why as they normally ignore scooter riders (although I never used to). I think it’s the front end styling that does it and I can just imagine them thinking “was that actually a scooter"? Vibes aren't an issue and once under way the initial mirror shaking disappears – the view through the mirrors being very good indeed. Decelerating, the auto-clutch holds in until it finally lets go of the transmission at about 2,500 rpm. It’s worth keeping the throttle open slightly to keep you “in gear” in some circumstances as this gives a little more control and a quicker get-away. Regarding running in, I contacted Kawasaki UK about the need to take a pillion immediately and the only comment they made was that this would “obviously” affect the performance and top speed. The variator having to allow higher revs for the same top speed with the extra weight (much the same as riding into a headwind). The first tankful of juice gave 72.3 mpg, the second 71.6 and the most recent 69.1. This gradual decline is probably that I’ve now passed the 500 miles mark and can use the “full” 6,000 rpm so I’ve been having slightly more fun. It is testament to the little motor that these figures are for mixed roads and mainly two-up. Overall then, I’m extremely impressed with my first big scoot. The J300 does everything I need it to do, and is a very relaxed ride. Two points of note being the front brake feel (noted above) and the fact that two-up, the scoot is a bit sensitive to crosswinds. Hope you’ve enjoyed my little review – it was by no means intended to be a full-on comprehensive motor journalist type affair. Apologies if some thought it a bit too amateurish. Larryblag

Strengths

Engine - twin balance shaft unit allegedly from the Ninja 300, feels more powerful in the real world than on paper. Cost - does everything it's class leaders do, at a much more realistic price and without sacrificing build quality. Comfort - unless you need the "feet forward" option which it doesn't have.

Weaknesses

Suspension - a bit budget. Slightly cramped seating position for taller riders.

Rating Breakdown
Engine
Brakes
Handling
Comfort
Build Quality
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michael Phillips's picture
Submitted by michael Phillips on Wed, 11/06/2014 - 21:37

Overall Review

very pleased, my other maxi scoot was 500cc yet the 300cc is a hoot to ride, you always in the rev range, so you can have more fun without breaking the law, rather than the 500cc was fun but more sedate if that makes sence.

Strengths

The ride is smooth over the bumps,engine is a peach and always ready, ABS superb, tyres excellent in wet or dry, handling is great

Weaknesses

nothing comes to mind, now i have the Endy GP Hurricane exhaust fitted the rear is easier to clean without the cannon, and the sound is superb . if you are over 5 foot 10 inch you might feel cramped though

Rating Breakdown
Engine
Brakes
Handling
Comfort
Build Quality
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Overall Review

Well priced, good specification and very able scooter that I doubt will disappoint.

Strengths

With full size screen wind weather protection very good. Decent under seat storage. 80MPG easily achievable - even when ridden "enthusiastically" Seat give good support and is pretty comfortable

Weaknesses

Those coming from a modern full size motor bike will notice that the handling doesn't match that af a motorbike. That said, as long as you ride within the limitations of the chassis all will be good with the world - and their in lies the problem. This scooter kinda brings the hooligan out in you, the exhaust will touch down - if your being a hooligan!

Rating Breakdown
Engine
Brakes
Handling
Comfort
Build Quality
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SWC2's picture
Submitted by SWC2 on Fri, 24/04/2015 - 13:37

Overall Review

Fantastic scooter to ride, really good fun yet practical. A very good first effort and I'm looking forward to what the J125 and J500 come out like.

Strengths

The acceleration off the line is startling, the handling is sweet and it looks superb. ABS option was a smart move. Instruments look dull until you see them at night, then they're gorgeous.

Weaknesses

Needs more floor space for feet, bigger mph markings on the speedo. Minor scratches to the plastics reveal they are white underneath - not helpful! Could also do with a better shaped glovebox and longer service intervals.

Rating Breakdown
Engine
Brakes
Handling
Comfort
Build Quality
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