Kawasaki produced and sold the Ninja250R for 20 years before considering an upgrade and getting at work to develop a brand new model, the one that was launched a couple of yeast ago and which started a complete frenzy especially among beginning riders. Soon turning into Kawi’s best selling sport bike, the Ninja 250R carries on as a 2010 model year with virtually nothing changed on it, so the only rightful question related to it is: “Will it be the same 20 years from now?”
Apparently, the facts indicate that the smallest Ninja has big chances to do so although we reckon that Kawasaki will keep redesigning it according to the future tendencies of bigger supersports models of
32-hp carbureted parallel twin engine
the green manufacturer. First thing first, the 249cc, four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, parallel twin is built to rev high, sound powerful and, most importantly, last for decades. Fed through two Keihin CVK30 carburetors and mated to a six-speed gearbox currently sounds as the solution to remaining a strong player on the market, but smaller and smaller engines start to get fuel injection and that’s also a thing likely to happen in the case of this Kawi. So history has less and less chances to repeat itself as stricter and stricter emission regulations will determine Kawasaki to upgrade the 250cc Ninja.
The chassis remains the same for 2010 and it will most likely do so on future model years too. Although made out of steel, the frame isn’t that heavy and offers proper resistance, so it meets the conditions to remain the metal structure of the Kawasaki Ninja 250R. The suspensions have been inspired by 250R’s bigger siblings, so we’re dealing with a 37mm inverted fork offering 4.7 inches of travel and a preload adjustable Uni-Trak rear shock offering 5.1 inches of travel.
With petal-style disc brakes (a single 290mm front and a single 220mm rear one, both working with twin piston calipers), the 2010 Kawasaki Ninja 250R is as well and complete overall equipped as the name says. But another advantage that doesn’t come with the name is the standard riding position ensuring that both beginners and experienced riders will easily find their place on the bike and stay there for a pretty long time.
Lately, the entry-level sport bike market is being populated not only by user-friendly motorcycles with provisory roles in a rider’s evolution, but by motorcycles that blink an eye to their riders long after experience has been gained and that’s where the Ninja 250R proved best at when first introduced.
Ever since 1986 when the first Ninja 250R was launched, Kawasaki proved to have the right recipe and the bike was happy showing it each time it reached the top speed of 110 mph relying only on 25 horsepower and that six-speed tranny. But, it looked old and that is why the all-new 2008 model year didn’t feature any single exterior piece that was taken over from the previous generation model.
Finally, the small Ninja had conformed to the modern requirements of the class and the only prize that Kawi was able to give it was a plant in Thailand.
Still, it didn’t lose any of its fans simply because it was related to a consecrated name and reflected that each time a rider would have looked at it. For 2010, things haven’t changed, so riders get the same sharp looking Ninja with color schemes to match the aggressive design and line the bike up to bigger models such as the ZX-10R and ZX-6R . Available in Metallic Island Blue, Passion Red, Lime Green/Pearl Stardust White and Ebony/Candy Persimmon Red, it sure won’t pass unnoticed wherever you ride, but the Special Edition Lime Green and Metallic Diablo Black color scheme will increase the chances for this bike to end up being confused with one of its bigger siblings.
Pretty long, low and sleek, the Ninja 250R is built for speed and yet accommodates the rider in a fairly relaxed riding position, although not as relaxed as on the previous generation model. The handlebars are mounted higher than on regular sports models and the seat positioned at only 30.5 inches from the ground, prepping up the quarter-liter bike for riders who are just starting out.
You get the same aggressive nose and headlight, the same six-spoke wheels and exhaust. It would have been nice to see that silencer mounted under the engine both for a lower center of gravity and a more compact look, but, apparently, they go for the classic, but matte black sport bike exhaust most likely because the full fairing didn’t allowed that.
It seems that Kawasaki managed to achieve their goal of updating the bike and the visual aspect is the first thing that strikes you and even harder now with the new color schemes.
“If you plan on using your Ninja 250R primarily as a city commuter bike, or a weekend toy to bomb around town, the 250R is a great choice. It has no problem keeping up with traffic, and it can outrun most cars to 40mph.” – beginnermotorcyclereviews
"The 249 cc twin-cylinder engine boasts double overhead cams, liquid-cooling, a six-speed transmission and a rarity on motorcycles these days: twin carburetors.”– wheels
“Something that makes this motorcycle really fun is its 14,000 rpm redline; it’s a real screamer when you take it on the highway! The ninja really loves being wound up to 9,000 rpms, and at around 10,000 you can really feel it start to grip the asphalt.” – bestbeginnermotorcycles
"Read all of the statistics you want, the new Ninja 250R is just a flat-out blast to ride. Wind it up and let it go, it screams and howls like a factory racer. It’s sleek, sporty, and has a big bike feel without the struggle or the price tag." – motorcycle
Although lacking a direct competitor, the 2010 Kawasaki Ninja 250R features a $4,299 base MSRP. And by achieving a fuel consumption of 55 to 75 miles per gallon and being cheap to maintain, the small Ninja will get most of that money and even more back to you depending on how much you prefer to ride it so it isn’t just fun, but budget-friendly too.
In our humble opinion, the Kawasaki Ninja 250R has followed a natural evolution and it will continue doing so years from now as long as there are enough riders willing to buy it. Most likely, it will feature upgrades, but none as significant as the previous generation model did.
Engine and Transmission
- Engine: Four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, parallel twin
- Displacement: 249cc
- Bore x stroke: 62.0 x 41.2mm
- Compression ratio: 11.6:1
- Maximum torque: 22 Nm 2.24 kgf/m 16.2 lb-ft / 9,500 rpm
- Cooling: Liquid
- Carburetion: Keihin CVK30 x 2
- Ignition: Digital
- Transmission: Six-speed
- Final drive: O-ring chain
Chassis and Dimensions
- Frame: Semi-double cradle, high-tensile steel
- Wheelbase: 55.1 in.
- Rake / trail: 26 degrees / 3.2 in.
- Front suspension / wheel travel: 37mm hydraulic telescopic fork / 4.7 in.
- Rear suspension / wheel travel: Bottom-Link Uni-Trak® with 5-way adjustable preload / 5.1 in.
- Front tire: 110/70-17
- Rear tire: 130/70-17
- Front brake: Single 290mm hydraulic petal disc with two-piston caliper
- Rear brake: Single 220mm petal disc with two-piston caliper
- Overall length: 82.1 in.
- Overall width: 28.1 in.
- Overall height: 43.7 in.
- Seat height: 30.5 in.
- Curb weight: 374.9 lbs.
- Fuel capacity: 4.8 gal.
Features & Benefits
DOHC 249cc Parallel Twin-cylinder Engine
- Compact parallel-twin design offers good mass centralization for superior handling
- Tuned to deliver smooth, step-free power with an emphasis on low- and mid-range power for rider-friendly response
- Pistons feature reinforced heads and strengthening in the pin boss area for increased durability
- Thick piston (longitudinally) rings help prevent oil consumption
- Combustion chamber design optimized to maximize combustion efficiency and reduce emissions
- Ample highrpm performance will please riders using the full range of the engine
- Intake and exhaust ports contribute to good off-idle response and smooth power delivery
- Valve timing and lift designed for strong low- and mid-range torque
- Direct valve actuation helps ensure reliable high-rpm operability
- Thin heads and stems on valves for reduced reciprocating weight
- Fine-tuned twin Keihin CVK30 carburetors offer good power feel and low fuel consumption
Reduced mechanical noise
- Automatic adjusting cam chain tensioner eliminates mechanical noise caused by a loose cam chain and reduces power-robbing friction loss
- Eliminating mechanical noise allows the use of a freer flowing exhaust for a better performance
- Complex construction with reinforcing ribs helps eliminate airbox reverberation and reduce intake noise
- Air filter accessible from the side, for easy replacement
- 2-into-1 system contributes to the Ninja 250R’s low- and mid-range torque and smooth, step-free power curve
- Slightly upswept silencer extensively tested to determine chamber size, connecting pipe length and diameter to achieve least noise and most power
- Meets strict emissions with dual catalyzers; one in the collector pipe and the other in the silencer
- Using two catalyzers minimizes the power loss
- Positioning the first catalyzer as close to the exhaust ports maximizes its efficiency as well
- Latest generation Denso radiator offers superior cooling with minimal space and weight
- Ring-fan uses a quiet-running motor that also saves space
- Fins on the lower side of the crankcase further helps cool the engine
Six-speed Transmission / Clutch
- Involute splines reduce friction and backlash between gears and shafts for easier gear meshing and smooth shifting under power
- Spring-type clutch damper reduces jerkiness at very low speeds and minimizes shocks when rolling on and off the throttle for a smoother clutch feel
- Paper-base friction plates help increase clutch durability
- Sturdy and durable diamond-style frame of thick-walled steel tubing offers confidence-inspiring stability at both high and low speeds
- Beefy swingarm bracket contributes to the frame’s rigidity and helps achieve an ideal chassis stiffness balance
- Square-tube swingarm with a 60 x 30mm cross-section further adds to rigidity
- 37mm telescopic front fork with firm settings contribute to the Ninja 250R’s smooth, stable handling and enhanced ride control
- UNI-TRAK® rear suspension compliments the rigid frame and provides great road holding ability
- Rear shock features 5-way adjustable preload, enabling ride height to be maintained whether riding solo or with a passenger
- Features 17” wheels like its larger supersport brothers
- Low-profile sportbike tires on wide rims contribute to its easy, neutral handling at low speeds
- Large-diameter, 290mm front petal disc and a balanced action two-piston caliper offers excellent braking performance and a natural, direct feeling at the lever
- Two-piston caliper grips the rear 220mm petal disc
- Natural riding position with slightly forward-slanting seat and wide, raised handlebars
- Styling, fit and finish of striking full-fairing bodywork match its Ninja supersport siblings
- Aggressive dual-lamp headlight design, slim tail cowl and separate seats further enhance the supersport look
- Front cowling and windscreen offer the rider a substantial amount of wind protection
- Two helmet holders conveniently located under the rear seat
- Under-seat storage can hold a U-lock or similar device
- Two hooks under the tail and the rear passenger pegs provide anchor points for securing items to the rear of the bike
- Instrument panel features an easy-to-read, large-face analog speedometer along with an analog tachometer, odometer, trip meter, fuel gauge and warning lights