Upgraded engine takes 2013 Ninja 300 to a higher power

Publish Date: 
Sep 13, 2012

NEW YORK, N.Y. - Kawasaki today did the official big reveal of the 2013 Ninja 300 during an unprecedented consumer marketing event that took over a portion of Times Square for several hours and offered live streaming on the Kawasaki website and at dealers nationwide.

Kawasaki officials project that the new 296cc sportbike, almost redesigned from the ground up, will welcome new riders as well as veterans seeking the styling, performance and comfort perks the 300 delivers over the previous 250 model. And they're supporting their expectations with a high-profile, high-priced event here in New York, followed by a slew of dealer-based marketing messages in the weeks ahead.

The new Ninja 300 sportbike is powered by a larger 296cc liquid-cooled, parallel twin that’s tuned to deliver smooth and predictable power around town, plus excellent high-rpm performance on the highway, Kawasaki said. This upgraded engine gives the 300 significantly more performance than the old 250, while its new digital fuel injection system provides improved cold starting, crisper throttle response and better fuel economy than last year’s bike, officials stated.

Nearly 50 percent of the new engine's parts are upgraded from the previous model. In addition to its new long-stroke 296cc displacement, other engine upgrades include:

  • new intake ports that taper from 1mm wider at the throttle body to .5mm wider at the valve seat,
  • new 23.6mm intake valves that are 1mm larger than last year,
  • a new cam chain for reduced friction,
  • a revised 10.6:1 compression ratio that allows use of regular gasoline and lowers operating temperatures, and
  • new lighter pistons that feature a hard-anodized coating for reduced friction and increased performance at all rpms. 

The underside of the pistons has been revised to more efficiently route cooling oil across their surface. New, lighter piston pins further reduce reciprocating weight and help preserve a high redline. New shorter connecting rods offset new longer crank throws, and new sleeveless “open-deck” die-cast aluminum cylinders that are 800 grams lighter feature a friction-reducing “T-treatment” plating.

Additional improvements include new thicker crankshaft balancer webs to offset the new longer crank throws, new crank journal bearings made from a stronger alloy for increased durability, new crank cases that feature improved oil passages, a new large-volume 2.4 liter oil pan with cooling fins and more ground clearance than the previous model.  Topping-off the changes, a new easy-to-access cartridge type spin-on oil filter helps simplify maintenance, the OEM said.

A revised six-speed transmission features thicker gears to help cope with the extra torque from the 300’s new engine. The transmission also features Kawasaki’s positive neutral finder to make finding neutral "a cinch when stopped," Kawasaki reported.

Operating that transmission is easier thanks to the new F.C.C. clutch with assist and slipper functions. This new clutch reduces lever effort by up to 25 percent, while increasing the clutch’s ability to handle the extra torque generated by the 300’s more powerful engine.  The new clutch’s slipper design also helps reduce rear wheel-hop that can be caused by aggressive downshifting.

Extra stopping power is offered by the 300's petal-type front and rear disc brakes, which feature new longer-lasting brake pads offering a more progressive feel.  Its 290mm front and 220mm rear brake rotors are gripped by powerful two-piston hydraulic calipers. Like all Ninjas, the new 300 is equipped with high-quality components and was tuned using feedback from professional riders at Atopolis raceway, to help ensure class-leading performance and an entertaining ride for even the most advanced riders, Kawasaki said. (continued)