Kawasaki Ninja 250R
|Parent company||Kawasaki Heavy Industries|
The Kawasaki Ninja 250R (previous generations had market-specific names) is a motorcycle originally introduced by Kawasaki in 1983. As the marque’s entry-level sport bike, the motorcycle has undergone few changes throughout its quarter-century lifetime, having received only two substantial redesigns.
The fourth-generation model is marketed as the Ninja 250R in all markets. The motorcycle is also referred to by its platform designation, EX250, to which a generational suffix is attached. In the United States, previous generations of the bike (EX250-E/F/G/H) were already being marketed as members of the Ninja family of sport bikes, while outside of the U.S. the bike was known variously as the ZZR-250, ZX-250, or as the GPX-250R. One of the earliest generations, the EX250-C, was given the name GPZ-250.
 Description and features
The Ninja 250R’s particular ergonomics, chassis design, and engine placement have resulted in a motorcycle that straddles the standard and sport classes. The Ninja’s riding posture also falls somewhere between standard and sport. The bike is capable of running the quarter mile in 15.58 s @ 81.98 mph (131.93 km/h), although it had been 1 s faster in the prior generation, while providing the amenities of more utilitarian motorcycles, including bungee hooks for transporting cargo and space for a second passenger.
The latest model, the EX250-J or fourth generation, brought the Ninja’s first major update in many years. Appearance upgrades included 17-inch wheels and completely redesigned fairings which give the motorcycle a sleeker, more modern appearance.
 First generation
The first generation was produced between 1983 and 1984, and known by the production number EX250-C. It was sold as the GPZ-250. Sold only in its home market of Japan, this earliest, belt-driven version was first produced in 1983, and shares no commonality with later generations. The bike has 35mm fork tubes.
 Second generation
Produced between 1986 and 1987 was the EX250-E. This model was sold as the Ninja 250R in Canada and the U.S. between 1986 and 1987. It was known as the GPZ-250R elsewhere. When originally introduced, it was more costly than the Honda Rebel, and reviewers complained that while the 14,000 rpm redline was nice, the engine was slow to rev.
 Third generation
For the 1988 model year, there were both cosmetic changes and changes in engine tuning. While the bore and stroke, and other major engine components, were unchanged, minor tuning adjustments were made. The carburetor diameters were reduced 2 mm to 30 mm (1.2 in), the cylinder compression ratio was increased from 12.0:1 to 12.4:1, ignition timing advance was increased, and the rear sprocket was increased by three teeth to 45. Reviewers reported that this made the engine more free-revving, reaching the high 14,000 redline more quickly, and the tested top speed increased by a few miles per hour. The new, more fully enclosed bodywork was complimented for being stylish, at the time, and easily mistaken for the larger Ninja 750.
The third generation of production of the Ninja 250 encompassed three models:
- EX250-F – The most widespread EX250 variant, the E model was completely revamped and sold as the F model between 1988 and 2007 in the United States. Canada received the model between 1988 and 1999, and it was available elsewhere as the GPX-250R as early as 1987.
- EX250-G – Sold only in its home market of Japan, this version was known as the GPX-250R-II. It featured dual front brakes and a wider wheel and tire (110/80-16). All other parts were identical to the -F model. It was sold after 1988.
- EX250-H – This model came to Canada as the Ninja 250R between 2000 and 2002, after which it received a new name: ZZR-250, in line with the -H model’s name elsewhere in the world, where it had existed since 1992. This motorcycle has parts in common with the -F model, though it shares the same engine, albeit with different casings. It sports a lateral aluminum frame, a different fairing (designed to make it look sportier), larger 17-inch wheels, an adjustable rear shock absorber, adjustable brake and clutch levers, a smaller drive sprocket, computer-controlled timing advance, and a revised electrical system. It also featured a smaller carburetor, & slightly different compression ratio, both of which were designed for quicker revving and slightly higher top end power. However, these upgrades came at a 6kg weight gain.
 Fourth generation
In 2008, Kawasaki gave the EX250 its most thorough modernization in many years. The EX250-J model is known as the Ninja 250R worldwide, regardless of market.
Parts from the third generation are still found on the -J, but its redesigned exterior panels bring the Ninja’s appearance out of the 1990s and into line with late-2000s sportbikes. The engine and drivetrain retain 30% of the -F model’s parts, according to Kawasaki. The engine’s compression and maximum torque have been lowered to provide better midrange performance. The redesign of the engine resulted in improvements in engine response at low engine speeds, and making the bike smoother and “much easier to ride.” Though the previous generation Ninja 250 had a peak power advantage of 1 to 5 hp (0.75 to 3.7 kW), the new version’s 20 or 30 percent increase in mid-range power allows the bike to pull from 3,000 rpm where previously it had to be revved to 4,000 rpm. The U.S. -J model uses dual carburetors like the -F model, but the European, Brazilian and Thai models have fuel injection. The wheels were increased in size to 17 inches, the front suspension was improved, and the brake rotors were replaced with a larger petal shape. On the carbureted version, a fuel gauge was added in place of the temperature gauge. With the additional and redesigned equipment, the EX250-J suffered a 10 kg (22 lb) increase in wet weight over its predecessors.
With the arrival of the EX250-J, manufacturing continues to be located in Thailand.
- ^ a b “.25 Caliber Shootout Three Japanese Fighters Whip Out Their Little Guns”. Motorcycle.com, Dec. 15, 1997.
- ^ a b Santos, Franke (June 2008), “Model Evaluation Kawasaki Ninja 250R”, Motorcycle Consumer News (BowTie, Inc.): 16–19, archived from the original on May 1, 2009 5:24:05 PM, “The humble Kawasaki Ninja 250R is the classic beginner’s bike…The Ninja is one of two 250cc sportbikes available in the US market.”
- ^ a b c d e f Santos, Franke (June 2008), “Model Evaluation Kawasaki Ninja 250R”, Motorcycle Consumer News (BowTie, Inc.): 16–19, archived from the original on May 1, 2009 5:24:05 PM
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j Larko, Bob (December 1987), “Kawasaki EX250-F2 Ninja (evaluation)”, Cycle (magazine) (New York, NY) 38 (12): 24–29 Note: Technical problems prevented Cycle from measuring top speed.
- ^ a b c Yagawa, Kengo (May 1987), Letter from Japan, “Ninja 250: Baby gets new clothes”, Cycle World: 30
- ^ a b c d Ninja 250R GPZ250R Motorcycle Service Manual (1st ed.), Kawasaki Heavy Industries, 18 March 1997, pp. 1–5 to 1–7
- ^ a b c d e f g Kawasaki EX 250 – GPX 250 ’88 – Service Manual Ninja 250R GPZ250R Motorcycle Service Manual Supplement (12th ed.), Kawasaki Heavy Industries, 1 April 2003
- ^ a b c d e “Cycle World Summary”, Cycle World: 124, May 1987
- ^ Madson, Bart (October 23, 2006), “2006 Kawasaki Ninja 250 Comparison”, Motorcycle USA, retrieved 2010-11-04
- ^ Girdler, Allan (February 2006), “Petrol pinchers: Squeezing all you can from dead dinosaurs”, Cycle World: 44
- ^ Ets-Hokin, Gabe (June 2008), “Small Fortune; 2008 Kawasaki Ninja 250R Cycle World Test”, Cycle World 47 (6): 76, ISSN 011-4286
- ^ Santos, Franke (June 2008), “Model Evaluation Kawasaki Ninja 250R”, Motorcycle Consumer News (BowTie, Inc.): 16–19, archived from the original on May 1, 2009 5:24:05 PM, “…the older model makes one more horsepower than the new one. The older model actually makes more peak power than the new model: 27.46 hp (20.48 kW) @ 12,000 rpm for the 2004 compared with 26.4 hp (19.7 kW) @ 11,000 rpm for the 2008 carbureted model.” Note: MCN dynamometer data is rear-wheel only.
- ^ a b Official specifications PDF
- ^ “2008 Kawasaki Ninja 250R – First Ride”. MotorcycleUSA.com, 2/12/2008, Bart Madson.
- ^ 2009 Ninja 250 R Sport – Kawasaki.com; Specifications, Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A., 2009
- ^ Voss, Arv (December 6, 2008), “Kawasaki’s Ninja 250R still going strong after more than two decades”, SFGate (San Fancisco Chronicle)
- ^ 2011 Kawasaki MPG estimates, Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A., 2011
 External links
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Kawasaki EX250|
- Official USA website Kawasaki USA
- Kawasaki Ninja 250 Road test Review of the 2008 Kawasaki Ninja 250
- AmericanMotorcyclist.com Article 2008 Ninja 250R review from the AMA
- Motorcycle.com Article Review: 2008 Kawasaki Ninja 250R
Kawasaki motorcycle timeline, 1990s–present
|Dual-sport||Super Sherpa KL250|
|Ninja ZX-2R/Ninja ZXR250|
|ZX600C-E/Ninja ZX-6||ZX600J/Ninja ZX-6R|
|ZX900/Ninja ZX-9R||Ninja ZX-10R|
|Sport-Touring||ZZR1100C/Ninja ZX-11C||ZZR1100D/Ninja ZX-11D||ZZR1200/ZX-12C||ZZR1400/Ninja ZX-14|
|Vulcan VN800A/Vulcan Classic VN800B|
|Vulcan VN900 Classic/VN900B|