Kawasaki Unveils More 2013 Ninja Sportbikes
September 13, 2012
Filed under Kawasaki Motorcycle Road Tests: Reviews on Kawasaki Motorcycles & Sportbikes, Latest News, Sport + Sport Touring Motorcycle Reviews, Top Stories
September 13, New York City – Kawasaki has taken over Times Square today, using one of the most high-profile locations in the world to unveil the latest batch of Ninja sportbikes. In July, Kawasaki released information about the 2013 Ninja ZX-10R and Ninja 650/ABS. Today’s unveiling fills out the lineup with the 2013 Ninja 300/ABS, Ninja ZX-6R and Ninja ZX-14R ABS.
The Ninja 250R, which was completely updated for 2008, has undergone another radical transformation, reborn as the Ninja 300 and Ninja 300 ABS. The entry-level Ninja is powered by a longer-stroke, liquid-cooled, parallel twin, boosting displacement from 249cc to 296cc. More than half of the engine’s components are new, from the digital fuel injection system to the easy-to-access, spin-on oil filter. The intake ports and valves are larger, the pistons, piston pins and sleeveless aluminum cylinders are lighter and have less friction, and the crank journal bearings are more durable. Reshaped pistons, new crank cases and a larger-volume oil pan with cooling fins improves oil flow and engine cooling. A new curved 2-into-1 exhaust header design boosts low- and mid-range torque, and a brushed-metal silencer guard helps reduce noise while protecting the passenger from exhaust heat. The 6-speed transmission’s gears are beefier to handle the extra torque, and a new F.C.C. clutch with assist and slipper functions is easier to use and reduces rear wheel-hop during aggressive downshifting.
A new frame features high-tensile steel main tubes that are 150 percent more rigid than those in last year’s model, and new rubber front engine mounts help reduce engine vibration. The fork and rear shock have been retuned with softer spring rates to account for the stiffer frame. New longer-lasting pads on the two-disc brake setup are said to offer a more progressive feel and added stopping power. The ABS model adds the world’s smallest and lightest anti-lock braking system (less than 4.5 pounds) to increase the margin of safety. New full-size, 17-inch, 10-spoke wheels are said to improve handling and increase tire fitment options.
New bodywork inspired by the Ninja ZX-10R provides cutting-edge styling and aerodynamics. The Kawasaki Air Management System (KAMS) uses a special deflector to redirect hot air from the radiator fan, so it exits the bottom of the motorcycle instead of being blown onto the rider. A new floating windscreen provides smoother airflow around the rider’s helmet. An all-new instrument panel features a large easy-to-read analog tachometer and a digital multifunction display, including an economical riding indicator (ECO) to alert riders when fuel economy is being maximized. Kawasaki says the Ninja 300 offers a natural riding position and comfortable ergonomics, with a slightly forward-slanting seat, wide, raised handlebars, and a tapered seat with low 30.9-inch seat height.
The 2013 Ninja 300 will be offered in Pearl Stardust White or Lime Green and Ebony SE ($4,999), and the Ninja 300 ABS will be offered in Lime Green and Ebony SE only ($5,499).
Kawasaki has also completely redesigned the Ninja ZX-6R for 2013. Following in its own footsteps from 10 years ago, Kawasaki has stroked the ZX-6R’s in-line four, boosting displacement from 599cc to 636cc and increasing power and torque through the rev range. The new engine has larger intake and exhaust ports and valves, revised camshafts, new pistons and stronger connecting rods. A larger airbox, longer intake funnels, ultra-fine injectors and retuned digital fuel injection optimize fueling, throttle response and emissions. As with the Ninja 300, the ZX-6R gets a new F.C.C. clutch with assist and slipper functions for less effort and reduced rear-wheel hop during aggressive downshifts. The cassette-type gearbox has a shorter first gear, stronger alloys and more durable gears.
New for 2013 is a three-mode KTRC traction control system similar to that of the ZX-14R, selectable full and low engine-power modes, and an all-new Showa Big Piston-Separate Function Fork with preload adjustment in one fork leg and compression and rebound adjustment in the other. The bottom-link Unitrak rear shock has a longer shock spring with a lower rate, and the linkage has revised lever ratios. The ZX-6R also gets new monobloc radial-mount Nissin front calipers and 310mm petal-type front rotors. The ABS model features the Kawasaki Intelligent anti-lock Brake System (KIBS) that debuted on the ZX-10R.
The Ninja ZX-6R also gets revised bodywork that looks more aggressive while improving heat dissipation and aerodynamics. Ergonomics are more comfortable and the narrower seat provides a shorter reach to the pavement. Instrumentation has also been completely redone, with an analog tach and digital multifunction display.
The 2013 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R ($11,699) and Ninja ZX-6R ABS ($12,699) will be offered in Pearl Flat Stardust White / Flat Ebony, Metallic Spark Black / Flat Ebony, and Lime Green / Metallic Spark Black. Prices TBD.
The Ninja ZX-14R was overhauled for 2012, with a larger, more powerful engine, new KTRC traction control, and major changes to the chassis, bodywork, instrumentation and more. (Read our report from the 2012 Ninja ZX-14R press launch.) For 2013, an ABS model will be added to the lineup. It will be offered in Passion Red, Pearl Stardust White and a special-edition Metallic Spark Black/Golden Blazed Green. MSRP is $14,999-$15,299 for the standard model, $15,999-$16,299 for the ABS model.
For more information, visit kawasaki.com.
You might also enjoy our article about the Ninja Times Square Takeover. Click here.