Kawasaki Ninja 300 Special Edition – 2016 model review

At the track

The track component of the Ninja 300 test was taken at a motoDNA Rider Academy training day on the South Circuit at Sydney Motorsport Park, Eastern Creek.

Getting the chance to put the Ninja 300 on the track in a controlled environment was a fantastic way to push the bike much further than I could on the road and much harder than most riders still on their plates would. It could also identify more critical shortcomings that the bike has. On the tight and technical South Circuit, the Ninja 300 was unbelievably fun. Shortcomings? For what the bike is rather than what it is not, it isn’t perfect but it didn’t really have one.

The riding style you learn to use at track-based training days like this meant the Ninja was more accepting of my large frame and the slipper clutch also deserves much more credit than I gave it on the road, coming into its own throughout quick successive downshifts.

The engine likes to rev and performs best when you squeeze every last drop out of it.

The suspension provides little adjustability and is not perfect – but it was never going to be. It was adequate enough for the smooth track conditions and my large frame, only suffering from the slightest lack of front-end feel in the exit of a faster, downhill, off-camber turn.

Harder braking was also tested in a few areas and the Ninja came up trumps lap after lap – I didn’t engage the ABS which is good news, because it means they could have been pushed a little bit harder.

It amazed me to ride in both the more advanced or ‘faster’ groups on a pretty tight circuit and the small capacity Ninja and the bike could hold its own just fine. Sure, I was being overtaken by bigger bikes and better riders but I was hardly holding the group up.

To think that within a few months of getting your licence, you can go to a track-based training school like MotoDNA on a Ninja 300 and get to work on upping your skills and the bike has the ability to take you from the beginner to advanced groups is nothing short of exceptional.

You might go through a few sets of tyres and consumables in the process but, you will have serious amounts of fun while, and again, the skills you pick up along the way will take your riding to levels you didn’t think were possible. It’s money well spent.


What it means

If you are a learner rider and you are looking at the plethora of LAMS bikes on the market, the Kawasaki Ninja 300 must be on your list. After riding it in a wide range of conditions, it would have to be at the pointy end of mine.

It continues to be the most popular road bike in the country because so much about it is right.

It has great handling, attractive Ninja styling and its performance is a great balance of thrill and control which gives you confidence from the get-go.

Priced at $6,399 plus on-roads, the Ninja 300 is easily one of the best choices for your first bike, or your next one.

You will have a machine that is safe and easy to operate capable of: getting you through learner or provisional licences; attacking any sealed road you can throw at it; tearing around the track at a training school like motoDNA and it will continue to suit you as your skills increase.

The Ninja 300 is one seriously impressive little LAM.


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