Can a Kawasaki J300 beat a GSX-R600 off the lights?

Long-term review part two

REAR brake engaged, throttle at a quarter-turn, centrifugal clutch-springs on the verge of biting. My eyes tear as I refuse to blink, for fear that I might miss that pivotal moment when red light turns to green. The rider next to me has his GSXR poised, it’s in gear and he’s keen, he won’t beat me though. I’m yet to lose on the J300.

Green appears, and we’re off. A cacophony of clutch slipping and single-cylinder whirring sees me inch ahead of the Suzuki. I get the holeshot and I’m through the first corner before he’s even into the powerband. It’s a small victory but it had to be done. The J300 continues to mark its territory around London and its surrounding suburbs. And who said you can’t have fun on a maxi-scooter?

You see, there’s something about the Kawasaki J300. It’s quiet and unassuming, and yet it spurs me on to ride like an oik. The suspension is firm enough to allow you to throw the bike into corners, whilst the 299cc engine has enough punch to thrust you out of them, and throughout all of this it still delivers 50mpg. It’s brilliant.

It does the pillion thing too. I went down to Brighton recently with my girlfriend on the back: ‘That’s snazzy!” She said. Granted, she knows nothing about bikes other than the odds and sods she picks up from my two-wheeled ramblings, but it’s nice to know the J300 can be appreciated on its looks alone.

The extra weight of a pillion barely affects the handling either. It remains completely stable and retains its punchy engine characteristics to squirt through narrow gaps in traffic.

It’s good to see decent rubber fitted to a new bike too. They’re not Michelins or Bridgestones, but the Maxxis iPROs – fitted as standard – are a capable tyre in both the wet and dry. I’ve ridden around diesel-stricken off-camber corners in the wet with not so much as a twitch from the front end.

Something I’m not so fond of is the large heat shield on the exhaust and link pipe. It makes the system look bulky, and I wouldn’t be surprised if an aftermarket exhaust released a few extra ponies and midrange, as well as cleaning up the right-hand side of the bike. Perhaps a slip-on and performance air filter are modifications to bear in mind for the near future. And even if they don’t increase performance, a bit of extra noise is always appreciated. By me anyway.

It’s been a fun few months on the Kawasaki and we don’t part our separate ways until December, meaning there’s plenty time left for more maxi-scooter shenanigans. 

Model tested: Kawasaki J300

Price: £4,049

Power: 28hp

Kerb weight: 191kg

Seat height: 775mm

Availability: Now

Colours: black, silver, black/green

Read part three of our Kawasaki J300 long-term review

Read Visordown's first-ride review of the Kawasaki J300