The new Model Year 2018 Kawasaki Ninja 250 was a bit late entering the Malaysian motorcycle market (by a few months) but as the saying goes, it’s better late than never. And this rings true for the quarter liter Ninja in more ways than one.
As with every new bike, there’s no such thing as a perfect machine so let’s get started with the limitations of the Ninja 250 first. First off, there are claims that the new Ninja 250 has vibrations from its handlebars and footpegs when ridden at higher speeds, something which is not inherent in the test unit we got from Kawasaki Motors Sdn Bhd (KMSB).
Secondly, the size of the outer fuel tank is larger but the amount of fuel it could hold underneath has been reduced to just 15 liters from its predecessor’s 17-liter capacity. This is due to the new Ninja 250 sharing near identical specifications with its slightly bigger sibling, the 2018 Ninja 400 hence the larger looking tank.
Despite the larger outer tank, the new Ninja 250 is actually lighter than its predecessor by 10kg, giving it a boost in the performance segment. With the limitations of the new Ninja 250 out of the way, let’s see what the new bike could do.
The engine/exhaust note is much crisper and smoother than previous offering; with the increase in decibels at its top speed to be something most bikers would find it to be less than optimum for their preference. But this super smooth noise level won’t bother them for long as they would have gotten rid of the stock muffler or even the entire exhaust pipe within a week or so from purchase.
The Ninja 250’s instrumental speedometer is now fully digital, as opposed to the semi analogue-cum-digital version found on the previous model. It is similar to the type used in the existing Z650, Ninja 650 and Z900 models, as well as the afore-mentioned Ninja 400.
Despite carrying less fuel than its predecessor, the new Ninja 250 consumes more or less the same amount when cruising at speeds of 125–160km/h – approximately 380km before needing to top-up. Of course, those riding the Ninja at full throttle or attempted to keep up with the bigger bikes, expect the consumption per full load to be around 260km or less!
Another improvement from the new Ninja 250 is the gripping default tyres fitted to it – which are now Dunlop’s W-MAX GT601 instead of IRC’s Roadmaster. We took the new Ninja all the way to Titi town, which is famous with bikers during weekend rides, thanks to the abundance of twisty segments on the main access road to reach there from Kuala Lumpur.
Both bike and tyres are able to handle the twisty roads with ease, with the combo exhibiting no sign of breaking loose from the riding lines when fast cornering was performed. Once ride was resumed after the short break at Titi town, we decided to ride all the way to old Karak town via twisty Route 9, which is approximately 91 km away.
Since we used a shortcut via Route N23, which bypassed Simpang Pertang, the entire journey was completed around 65 minutes – some 31 minutes ahead of what the GPS had suggested. The towns along the route were Kampung Juntai, Taman Desa Permai, Simpang Durian, Kampung Mentaus, Kampung Rangoi, Simpang Tengh, Manchis, Kampung Ponson, Ladang Tuan, Kampung Telemong and Kampung Sungai Perdak prior to reaching Karak itself.
These towns are mostly quiet without many activities so the Ninja 250 was able to cruise pass all of them easily at reduced town speed riding. We had tried to reach Karak town within the hour, which could have been achieved had the ride not interrupted by two lorries plying the route on weekdays.
Nevertheless, the Ninja 250 is nice to ride along the twisty Route 9, with the Dunlop tyres doing their job well, adding to the overall comfort of the entire ride, without breaking a sweat!
We started from KL with a tank full of fuel, by the time we had reached Karak town, there’s still 2 levels of fuel available, and it had dropped another level by the time we reached KL via Karak Highway. In a way, the new Ninja 250 is confirmed to be more efficient in fuel consumption than its predecessor despite the lower capacity.
Riding the Ninja 250 around the city and urban areas is a breeze too as it is able to cruise very efficiently on 3rd/4th gears coupled with engine braking to make riding enjoyable. Among the other improvements the new bike has over its predecessor is the use of dual LED headlights and the gear position indicator at the LCD speedometer.