Kawasaki Ninja 250, Black (2009 FI)
I purchased this bike new a few month ago. Now that I’ve surpassed the 1600km break-in period I thought I would share my opinion with you fine folks, seeing that I have silently gleaned wisdom from your experiences in the last few years.
A little background
I live in Taichung with a daily 45 minute city commute. If you know Taichung, scooter is king; the ultimate freedom machine. I get very frustrated driving a car here, and get too many camera tickets. I’m 188cm tall, and prefer larger wheels for both road feel, and proportional feel on the bike. 5 years ago I first bought a Majesty for it’s size, though I removed the goofy backrest so I could slide back for knee room. I became bored with it, harkened back to my earlier more sporty/mechanical days and bought an RZX. Fun bike, enjoyed the interaction with the machine, mastering it’s 2 stroke efficiencies. Light weight, nimble, an adrenaline pumping sweet spot. I was energized when I got to work. The need for constant upkeep, little time and no place for self maintenance, unsafe feel at ever increasing speeds brought me to make a decision on new transportation, and new meaning not used. I need the dependability. Considerations spanned from the CBR150, SM250 to the possibility of a more sporty 2nd car. I regularly dream back to my single days in LA driving that big six modified E28 i535… then I quickly come to my senses that decent performing new cars are expensive, only one parking spot available for the family CRV, and again, would be frustrating to drive a sports car in Taichung.
Why this bike?
I debated internally for a long time. I didn’t want a scooter; too small. A big bike would be too inconvenient for a daily commute. I wanted a current, dealer supported, serviceable, dependable bike, with a nimble sport feel and response, and good design. Lucky for me budget was last on the list. All arrows kept pointing at the Ninja 250.
Though the Ninja 250 is expensive per cc, it’s also cheaper overall than a new car or big bike. Kawasaki offered 0% interest on monthly payments for 2 years (save money compared to cash purchase). Dealers are pretty well established here in TW, though new for this market the Ninja 250 is Kawasaki’s bread and butter model, sold thousands all over the world for several years, with consistent build quality, and numerous positive reviews published. I rode a few test rides on it, and was sold.
The Ninja 250’s black version is a beautiful bike with considerable attention spent on ID, and mechanicals/features. I prefer the sport bike look and position compared to the SM style. Seems to be the best of both worlds: nimble in scooter traffic and easier parking like the RZX, high speed stability and handling like a big bike. The FI 4 stroke engine has very consistent acceleration, with few flat spots or hot spots, can crawl easily in congested traffic, and also accelerate to 100kph quickly, with very stable top speed at 160kph. The ride and handling is very intuitive, and doesn’t take long to be at one with the machine. From my experience, money is to be saved by not having to buy any upgrades. It has all the performance I could possibly need. I did not follow Kaws break-in process completely, but refrained from extended accelerations, I ran at varied rpms, changed oil at 200km and 1000km. Initially the engine compression felt quite high and I needed to be careful to decelerate the throttle slowly when stopping, and downshifting, and not letting off the throttle too much when upshifting. Going from a loose 2 stroke to a new tight 4 stroke took some adjustment Riding more kms certainly helped loosen the engine, and now feels real sweet, but have yet redlined it for more than 1-2 seconds. The acceleration up 13,000rpm redline is quite a rush. No regrets on the purchase. Dealer has provided excellent service, and not one issue with the bike. It’s livened up my commute considerable, and fun on the real twisty TC county back roads.
With some negotiation (Kaw leaves little room however) I paid NTD215,000 (list NTD240,000) with a few goodies thrown in. This same FI bike now sells in the UK for GBP4,099 which is an approx NTD43,000 premium to buy in TW comparing list prices. Certainly not a small amount, but not double as some imports indicate. Admittedly UK prices are always higher, and US pricing lower, except they don’t offer this FI model in the US.