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Kawasaki Ninja 250SL: Bikes We'd Like To See In India

Modified On Jun 28, 2020 By Gaurav Sadanand

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We think it’s about time Kawasaki explores the depths of the entry-level performance segment. It already has the perfect tool for that in the Ninja 250SL 

Kawasaki started its journey in India back in 2009 with the Ninja 250, which was among the most advanced bikes on sale at that time. As the years passed, the bike maker branched out into bigger more powerful bikes but never really paid heed to the entry-level performance space -- a segment that’s been growing exponentially ever since Yamaha and KTM stepped in. Makes you wonder, wouldn’t it make sense for the Japanese brand to tap into such affordable segments?

A Good Beginner Bike

Kawasaki currently only has the Ninja 300  for the lower bracket of the performance segment. The company’s move to localise the product made a world of a difference as it started raking in numbers like it’d never seen before in India. Goes to show that folks are willing to buy these products if they’re priced properly. That said, the Ninja 300 is the only relatively affordable bike in Kawasaki’s India portfolio. 

There are two factors that still work against it. Firstly, the bike's parallel-twin engine which puts out 39PS and 27Nm of peak torque may intimidate newer riders. Second of all, a price of 2.98 lakh is still quite steep for the vast majority. But Kawasaki could fill this void with the smaller, much cheaper Ninja 250SL. It's sleek, compact and comes adorned in the typical green Kawasaki livery. Not to mention, at 152kg kerb, it’s 27kg lighter than the Ninja 300 which weighs in at 179kg. It also packs a decent amount of performance and has a saddle height of 780mm (5mm lower). 

The Right Place To Be

The 250cc space is where all the action will be. You currently have bikes like the Bajaj Dominar 250, KTM 250 Duke, the Husqvarna 250s and the Suzuki Gixxer SF 250 populating the segment. The Ninja SL250 could be the wild card that takes the segment by storm. It packs a 249cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine with dual overhead camshafts that puts out 28PS of power and 22.6Nm of peak torque. This puts it smack in between its 250cc competitors. It also weighs in at just 152kg thanks to a lightweight chassis which makes it 28kg and 9kg lighter than the Dominar 250 and SF 250 respectively. 

Model

Bajaj Dominar 250

Suzuki Gixxer SF 250

Kawasaki Ninja 250SL

Engine

248.77cc, single-cylinder, liquid-cooled, DOHC

249cc, single-cylinder, fuel-injected, oil-cooled SOHC

249cc, single-cylinder, fuel-injected, liquid-cooled DOHC

Power

27PS  @ 8500rpm

26.5PS @ 9300rpm

28PS

Torque

23.5Nm @ 6500rpm

22.2Nm @ 7300rpm

22.6Nm

Transmission

6-speed

6-speed

6-speed

Handling Prowess:

While the 250SL is pretty evenly matched with its competition in terms of hardware, it gets a relatively shorter wheelbase (1,330mm) and lighter tyres which should make it a better handler. The use of petal disc brakes may also offer better braking performance. Having said that, Kawasaki may opt for local tyres and brakes from KBX to keep costs in check. Also, the India-spec bike is expected to come with dual-channel ABS as standard. 

Production Costs:

The Ninja 250SL is manufactured and sold in Thailand for 137,500, equivalent to Rs 3.36 lakh in India. That’s quite a lot of money by Indian standards. However, this cost could drastically drop if Kawasaki were to localise the entire bike in India. Tough but not impossible. The brand already has its manufacturing facility set up in Chakan, Pune. 

It uses the same alloy wheel design and 37mm telescopic fork at the Ninja 300, which reduces costs even further. Even the disc brake setup is exactly the same. Essentially, Kawasaki could borrow various parts from the Ninja 300 to lower the price of the bike even further. We believe an asking price of under Rs 2 lakh (ex-showroom) would be perfectly acceptable. That’s around 98,000 less than the Ninja 300. This will not only reel in younger, newer riders but also do so while being easier on the pocket.

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