Kawasaki Z250 review, test ride
1st Dec 2014 2:04 pm
We take Kawasaki’s latest quarter-litre naked streetbike for a spin, and here’s what we think.
The Kawasaki Z250 makes a smashing looking, well proportioned quarter-litre naked motorcycle for a more discerning buyer. The new Kawasaki has sharp styling cues and well detailed parts and body panels. At a glance, you could be forgiven for mistaking the Z250 for its elder, more notorious sibling, the Z800, making it a sheep in a wolf's clothing, in that respect.
The smart looking Z250 has a distinct twin headlamp, housed in a minimal green cowl with a tiny visor; the entire look is alien like, yet attractive, especially in the matte green that our test bike was. The Z250 is a muscular motorcycle. The bike is a touch more menacing as its headlight stays on all times, a daytime running unit. The instruments are easily legible, with the rev counter redline starting at a high 13,000rpm. Also included are a digital speedometer, trip meters, fuel-gauge and clock.
Rear view mirrors on the Z250 are designed to merge with this mini Z, while switchgear is likewise premium. There’s also good quality grips and levers that feel spot on, and black bar-end weights match the bike handlebar. The Z has a neatly styled quarter fairing, its well-spaced panels styled to look like a large ‘Z’, which also extends downwards to become the motorcycle'd underbelly.
A well designed split saddle is provided to match the Z250’s edgy look. The tail panel has integrated grab handles, which come in handy. The rear of the bike is very similar to the Ninja 300, and compliments the rest of the sleek bike. Overall quality and fit-finish are also up there with the very best on offer.
The Kawasaki Z250 shares its powerplant with the older Kawasaki Ninja, the 250R, albeit with a different state of tune to suit city riding. The 249cc, four-stroke, parallel-twin cylinder engine revs enthusiastically across a wide powerband. It’s a liquid-cooled unit and makes 31.1bhp of power at 11,000rpm, with maximum torque of 2.2kgm produced at 10,000rpm.
We came away impressed by the well-mannered nature of this creamy smooth engine. As expected of a twin, torque at low engine speed is mild, but once past 4,000rpm, the power delivery gets stronger. The Z250 mid- and top-end power delivery feels satisfyingly strong. The Z250's clutch is well weighted, the naked motorcycle’s six-specced transmission shifting with a smooth, precise feel, in a 1-down, 5-up pattern. The Z250 managed to pass the 60kph barrier from rest in 3.64seconds, thereon taking 8.42secs to pass 100kph.
The Z250 uses a strong tubular steel frame and box section swingarm that work well to ensure good stability. The suspension comprises of telescopic shock absorbers in front and a monoshock unit at rear, camouflaged in black. The riding position on the Z250 is aggressive due to a straightish, forward set handlebar, and footrests placed to the rear for a sporty riding stance. The Z250 rider feels involved with good feedback from the bike, thanks to its smooth engine and responsive throttle. The Z250 is good fun to ride through the twisties. It is quick to tip in and out of corners, and does so with playful candor. However, this Kawasaki disappoints when pulling out of the corners, feeling a touch slow to build revs from low down in the rpm range, thus forcing you to work the gearbox harder to keep the rpm needle closer to the top of the rev counter. That said, the Z250 corners with ease and holds revs long enough to really enjoy the bike. The Z250 offers pliant ride when cruising at city speeds and feels confident even at higher speeds.
The Z250 is a stable bike in a straight line. Braking on the Z250 is good, with strong enough bite. We managed to bring the Z250 to halt from 80kph in 30.25 meters. It’s a shame that Kawasaki will not provide ABS brakes on the Z250 in India, neither standard nor as a paid option.
The Kawasaki Z250 is styled to guarantee a second look, and its top quality feels more than an added bonus here as well. Manageable weight and city friendly handling gives the Z250 an edge over segment rivals. This is a bike that aims to deliver everyday usability and sporting flavor in equal doses. While it embodies the traits expected of any top flight Japanese motorcycle, the Z250 lacks the torquey power delivery required for stop and go urban riding in India. Priced at Rs 2.99 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), the Z250 is flanked by the potent KTM Dukes on one side as city slickers, and its own versatile, alluring sibling, the Ninja 300 on the other more sporty side, which does make the Z250 feel like it is sitting between a rock and a hard place in some ways.
Price Rs 2.99 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi)
On Sale Now
Fuel tank capacity 17 litres
Kerb weight 168kg
Engine layout Four-stroke, parallel-twin, liquid-cooled
Power 31.1bhp at 11000rpm
Torque 2.2kgm at 10000rpm
Specific output 124.9bhp per litre
Power to weight 185.1bhp per tonne
Gearbox 6-speed, 1-down, 5-up
Front suspension Telescopic forks
Rear suspension Monoshock, box section swingarm
Front brake 290mm petal disc
Rear brake 220mm petal disc
Wheels 5-spoke alloy
Rim size (f-r) 17inches
Tyre size (f-r) 110/70 x 17- 140/70 x 17inches