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2013 Kawasaki Ninja 300 ABS Review: My Beautiful Ninjette

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Introduction: The Littlest Ninja Gets Punchier
2013 Kawasaki Ninja 300 ABS

The 2013 Kawasaki Ninja wears new bodywork but, more importantly, extensively upgraded underpinnings.

Photo © Kevin Wing
The beginner bike wars have heated up.

Since Honda's CBR250R debuted in 2010, the high-revving Kawasaki Ninja 250R has lagged behind the techy Japanese newbie which boasts the advantages of fuel-injection, ABS, and a modernized chassis.

Now that the 2013 Kawasaki Ninja 300 has been introduced, Honda has serious reason for concern: Not only does it offer a seriously re-worked engine with 47cc more displacement, the new Ninjette also claims 50 percent more power than the Honda, only 6 percent more weight… and to stay competitive, the Ninja 300 is finally now equipped with anti-lock brakes and fuel injection, the latter which helps make a significant boost to fuel economy. Beneath the restyled bodywork which more closely resembles the ZX-10R and ZX-6R 636, Kawasaki's new contender packs a stiffer frame, reworked suspension settings, a slipper clutch, and a transmission with a shorter first gear and a taller sixth gear. A 10mm wider rear tire (bumped to 140mm) also lends the Ninja a more substantial look.

The Ninja 300's starting price has grown to $4,799, or $5,499 with ABS. For comparison, the 2012 CBR250R starts at $4,099 or $4,599 with ABS (which is $700 and $1,000 cheaper, respectively); pricing for the 2013 CBR250R has not yet been announced.

Does the new Ninja have what it takes to unseat the Honda CBR 250R? I spent a day and a half aboard the Ninja 300 riding through the backroads of Sonoma County, California to find out.

Related: 10 Fuel Sipping Motorcycles

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