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Kawasaki Z250 India first ride review

Shubhabrata Marmar  /
03 Dec 2014 18:08:58 IST

The Z250 is the new kid on the block in the Kawasaki range and wears the crown of being the most affordable of the green bikes on sale in India. We took it out for a comprehensive road test (you'll see the story in the upcoming January 2015 issue) and here's what we learnt about the Z250.

Kawasaki Z250 (2)Pretty isn't it? The Z250 borrows the scowl from the Z800 and combines it with a skimpy little fairing that makes it look rather good

What is it?

The Z250 is sort of a naked motorcycle based on the old Ninja 250. I say old because Kawasaki's entry-sportsbike, a perennial seller around the world, is now the Ninja 300. I say sort of because on the one hand, the ergonomics suggest that sporty riding position of a sport-naked motorcycle. However, fully naked the bike isn't - there's a skimpy Z-shaped fairing that looks rather nice while revealing a huge amount of the powertrain.

Kawasaki Z250 (4)The Z250 borrows a bunch of Ninja 300 parts including the exhaust, tail section, instruments and more

Kawasaki Z250 (5)Does that tail lamp look familar? Yes, that's exactly the same as the Ninja 300

What's it like to ride?

Very likeable and partly perturbing. The engine, as you know, is a liquid-cooled, fuel injected 32PS 250cc twin with a six-speed gearbox. This engine that has been around for a while is known to be a reliable little number. The surprise is that despite the 12,500rpm redline, it's a sweet little bike at low revs. During our economy testing, I handled speedbreakers in third gear without stumbling and was generally surprised at how genial the twin is at low revs. 20kmph in sixth gear? Yes, why not? But to make progress, you need to pass 3,500rpm, after which the torque begins to arrive. Real punch though lies north of 9,000 and there's a hefty dollop of power between 11,000 and redline that feels and sounds tremendous.

Kawasaki Z250Notice the needle buried in the red? That's just the self-check but if you want all the performance from the engine, then that's how you have to ride the Z250

The fairly slick, low-effort and positive gearbox is perhaps critical. Because while it is possible to ride the Z250 pretty swiftly through traffic in as high as fourth or fifth gear, when you want to kick it up a notch, you literally have to kick it up a notch. As in, lots of gear changes and lots of revs are needed for full-hard acceleration. The engine loves this kind of thrashing but it's hard work. Between a slightly hard throttle spring and the time it takes to loft the revs to the five digit zone on the tacho, riding this hard takes a lot of effort. That's not a bad thing on its own, but it won't be everyone's cup of tea either.

And in the corners?

It's a small, compact motorcycle that feels great. The Ninja 250's more committed riding position perhaps allows you to feel marginally more, but the Z250 is easy to trust and corner hard. As usual, the IRC Road Winners are a couple of steps behind what the chassis is capable of but on the whole, the Z250 is rather enjoyable. Ride quality is on the stiff side of supple but it can absorb a fair amount of road quite nicely. The brakes are friendly and strong if you need them but ABS is omitted from the Z250 for India.

Kawasaki Z250 (3)The Z250 makes a very likeable package overall but taken as a whole, it is expensive

Role confusion

As likeable as the Z250 is, I found it hard to classify it as a sportsbike with a skimpy fairing or indeed, as a small, fast streetbike. It sort of straddles the two. This straddling combined with the wide range of useable torque but a narrow band of really thrillingly flowing torque, similarly, makes the Z250 a bit confusing to ride. I was happy as long as the revs were around 7,000rpm, but that's not a small amount of revs. 7,000rpm in top gear is a 100kmph (and 120kmph is 9,000!) so despite the 32PS, this bike will need lots of revs on long rides too. On the flip side, economy stayed above 30kmpl in all of our testing. So you'll like it when you test ride it...

...But

Actually lots of them. First is the price. At Rs 3.31 lakh on-road Pune, the Z250 is an expensive motorcycle. And it doesn't even get ABS for the price.

Second is also the price. It puts it Rs 60,000 below the Ninja 300 and I would say skimp, save, wait and/or take a loan and get the Ninja 300 instead. It's a newer motorcycle, has more power and feels better on the highway. In any case, the Z250 already wears the N300's tail section, instruments, exhaust and alloy wheels. Third is the fact that Kawasaki already showed the Z300 based on the Ninja 300 and therefore is the next step in the Z250 line. I don't see why you should settle for anything less.

  • Aug 09, 08:29 PM (IST)

    That's a wrap on the high-stakes Rajya Sabha elections. Thanks for staying tuned. Follow moneycontrol.com for news, views and updates.

    SUMMARY

    * Congress' Ahmed Patel wins Rajya Sabha seat from Gujarat
    * Patel received 44 votes, the exact number needed to win the election
    * In late-night drama, Election Commission disqualified votes of two Congress rebels
    * Amit Shah and Smriti Irani also elected to Rajya Sabha

  • Aug 09, 07:30 PM (IST)

    In all, 11 Rajya Sabha members — one from Goa, one from Madhya Pradesh, six from West Bengal and three from Gujarat — were elected.

    FULL REPORT | Rajya Sabha elections: Here who's got elected and re-elected

  • Aug 09, 07:09 PM (IST)
  • Aug 09, 04:35 PM (IST)


    Why Patel's win matters: A defeat could have meant more trouble for the Congress.

  • Aug 09, 03:56 PM (IST)

    West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has also congratulated Ahmed Patel on his victory.

  • Aug 09, 03:01 PM (IST)

    "How much more evidence do we require to understand that we opposition parties are up against a ruthless, finely tuned BJP political machine," Abdullah said.

  • Aug 09, 02:22 PM (IST)

    Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah has said that Congress leader Ahmed Patel's win in the Gujarat Rajya Sabha polls "should have never been this difficult" and the opposition needs to introspect and shift strategy to counter the BJP in the 2019 general elections.

  • Aug 09, 02:10 PM (IST)
  • Aug 09, 01:33 PM (IST)

    Senior Congress leader Kamal Nath says the party has always fought back.

  • Aug 09, 01:08 PM (IST)

    Amit Shah is choosing to focus on the third anniversary of his tenure as BJP President, thanking his followers his Twitter for their wishes. He has not yet commented on his Rajya Sabha victory or the BJP candidate's defeat to Ahmed Patel.

  • Aug 09, 12:15 PM (IST)

    There is no confirmation from the BJP yet over whether they will approach the courts over the EC's decision to disallow two votes.

  • Aug 09, 11:43 AM (IST)

    Congress President Sonia Gandhi says she is very happy with Ahmed Patel's victory. "Thank god for the Election Commission," she says.

  • Aug 09, 11:42 AM (IST)


    Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad says the defeat is a lesson for the BJP and they are free to approach any court.

  • Aug 09, 11:42 AM (IST)

    Kailash Vijayvargiya puts things in perspective. "We have won two seats and Congress only one [in Gujarat], no question of disappointment," the BJP leader tells News18.

  • Aug 09, 10:35 AM (IST)
  • Aug 09, 10:32 AM (IST)

    JD(U) legislator Chhotubhai Vasava is also believed to have voted for Ahmed Patel, defying the party whip.

  • Aug 09, 10:22 AM (IST)

    JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav has congratulated Ahmed Patel on his Rajya Sabha victory. The JD(U) is now part of the NDA, but Yadav has been against the idea.

  • Aug 09, 09:58 AM (IST)

    Meanwhile, six leaders were elected to the Rajya Sabha from West Bengal on Wednesday. Five of them were from the Trinamool Congress -Derek O'Brien, Dola Sen, Sukhendu Sekhar Roy, Manas Bhunia, Shanta Chhetri. Pradip Bhattachya of the Congress was also elected to the Upper House. 

  • Aug 09, 09:19 AM (IST)

    Meanwhile, there's been no official reaction from Amit Shah on either his victory or BJP's defeat to Ahmed Patel. He completes three years as BJP President today.

  • Aug 09, 09:17 AM (IST)

    Meanwhile, there's been no official reaction from Amit Shah on either his victory or BJP's defeat to Ahmed Patel. He completes three years as BJP President today.

  • Aug 09, 09:14 AM (IST)
  • Aug 09, 08:31 AM (IST)

    There is speculation that the BJP may approach the courts regarding the Election Commission's decision to disqualify the two votes. We should get some clairty as the day progresses.

  • Aug 09, 08:12 AM (IST)

    In the end, it was two disqualified votes that helped take Ahmed Patel over the line. Here's a recap.

  • Aug 09, 07:55 AM (IST)

    SUMMARY

    *Congress' Ahmed Patel wins Rajya Sabha seat from Gujarat
    * Patel received 44 votes, the exact number needed to win election
    * In late-night drama, Election Commission disqualified votes of two Congress rebels
    * Amit Shah and Smriti Irani also elected to Rajya Sabha

  • Aug 09, 07:51 AM (IST)

    Ahmed Patel has gone from a low-profile politician to the centre of attention in the past month. Here's a short history of Patel's career.

  • Aug 09, 07:51 AM (IST)

    Why does Patel's win matter so much? Read our report.

  • Aug 09, 07:50 AM (IST)

    After late-night drama that saw Ahmed Patel retain his seat, we can expect to see reactions pour in through the day.

  • Aug 09, 02:25 AM (IST)

    That's all from the Rajya Sabha election for now. Log on to www. moneycontrol.com for coverage of the Rajya Sabha elections during the day. Thanks for staying tuned.

  • Aug 09, 02:17 AM (IST)
  • Aug 09, 02:14 AM (IST)
Tags:  | Kawasaki Z250  | Z250  | india  | first ride  | road test  | review  | bike  | test ride

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