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Kawasaki ZX-6R Ninja Decal Set 1999 Style
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Ninja 250R
2008 Ninja 250R
Manufacturer Kawasaki
Also called EX250, GPX250
Production 1989 present
Class Sport bike
Engine 249 cc, 11.6:1 CR, liquid cooled, DOHC, parallel twin with twin Keihin CVK30
Top speed +/- 110 mph (177 km/h)
Power +/- 25 hp (19 kW)
Torque 21.7 Nm (16.0 lbft) @ 10,000 rpm
Transmission 6-speed
Suspension Front: 37mm Hydraulic Telescopic Fork
Rear: Link Uni-Trak with 5-way Adjustable Preload
Brakes Front: Single 260mm Hydraulic Disc with Two-Piston Caliper
Rear: Single 220mm Petal Disc with Two-Piston Caliper
Tires Front: 110/70-17
Rear: 130/70-17
Rake, Trail 26, 3.3 in
Seat height 30.7 in.
Weight 333 lb (151 kg)
Fuel capacity 4.8 US gallons (18 l)
Related Ninja 500R, Ninja 650R

The Kawasaki Ninja 250R is a street motorcycle sold by the Kawasaki Motors division of Kawasaki Heavy Industries since 1983. It is Kawasaki's best-selling motorcycle, experiencing steady double-digit sales growth year after year. It is renowned for its light handling, good fuel economy, sufficient power, and relatively comfortable riding posture, making it a desirable first motorcycle for new riders, and a popular machine with experienced riders who seek a second machine, or wish to enter the sportbike category. The smallest Ninja has undergone few changes throughout its quarter-century existence, having seen only two substantial redesigns.



Owners and fans of the motorcycle commonly refer to it by its platform designation, EX250. This designation is followed by an alphabetical suffix indicating the generation. Before the 2008 model, the motorcycle carried different marketing names worldwide/ The 2008 (EX250-J) model is known as the Ninja 250R in all markets. In the United States, previous generations (EX-250E/F/G/H) were also marketed as members of the "Ninja" family of sportbikes, while outside the U.S. it is known as the ZZR-250, ZX-250, or as the GPX-250R. Past models (EX250-C) have carried the base designation GPZ-250. As the smallest of the Ninja motorcycles, the Ninja 250R has received the affectionate nickname "Ninjette" or "Baby Ninja".

Description and features

In many respects, including ergonomics, chassis design, engine placement within the frame, the Ninja 250R straddles standard and sport classes. Likewise, the bike's riding position falls between standard and sport. Capable of running the 1/4 mile in 14.6 seconds at 88mph, [1] the bike's features include bungee hooks, center stand (no longer available on the 2008 model), a tachometer, and front and rear disc brakes. [2]

The bike has been heavily updated for 2008[3] with completely redesigned fairings and 17" wheels. As of 2007, the 250R is being produced in Thailand. [3]Kawasaki has marketed the Ninja 250R since 1986 [3] as an entry-level [1] [2]

The Ninja 250 has little direct competition within its class in the United States, partly due to it being one of the two 250 cc sport bikes sold. In Canada, Honda's 2007 introduction of the CBR125R has caused competition for Kawasaki's share in the entry-level sport bike market. The other main competitors are the other 250 cc "beginner bikes," namely the Hyosung GT250R, Honda's Rebel 250 and Nighthawk 250, the Suzuki GZ250, and the Yamaha Virago 250. With the exception of the Nighthawk, (standard) and the Hyosung, these bikes are all cruisers.

Before the 2008 model, neither the Ninja nor these other US 250's had changed much in recent years, but outside the United States there were many advances in small-displacement, lightweight, and/or low-cost motorcycles, including several four-cylinder, sixteen-valve 250s (e.g., the >Honda "Hornet" 250 or Ninja ZX-2R). That being said, the Ninja 250 enjoys a modest following among riders who appreciate its light weight and nimble handling as an amusing "track bike." The very fact that it hasn't changed much since 1988 means parts are plentiful and inexpensive, and the rider community is well established.

First generation

  • EX250-C - Also known as the GPZ-250. This earliest, belt-driven version was first produced in 1983, and has nothing in common with the latest generation.

Second generation

  • EX250-E - This model was sold as the Ninja 250R in Canada and the U.S. between 1986 and 1987. It was known as the GPZ-250R elsewhere. The engine from this model persisted until 2007 with minimal changes.

Third generation

  • EX250-F - The most widespread version of the motorcycle, it was sold between 1988 and 2007 in the U.S.. Canada received the model between 1988 and 1999, and it was available elsewhere as the GPX-250R as early as 1987.
  • EX250-G - Never sold in North America, this version was known as the GPX-250R-II. It sported dual front brakes, which slowed a wider wheel and tire (110/80-16). All other parts where identical to the -F model. It was sold after 1988.
  • EX250-H - This model came to Canada as the Ninja 250R between 2000 and 2001, after which it received a new name: ZZR-250, in line with the -H model's name elsewhere in the world, where it had existed since 1992. This motorcycle has few parts in common with the -F model, though it shares the same engine (with different casings). It sports a lateral aluminum frame, larger (17") wheels, an adjustable rear shock absorber, adjustable brake and clutch levers, a smaller drive sprocket, computer-controlled timing advance, and a revised electrical system.

Fourth generation

In 2008, Kawasaki gave the EX250 its most thorough modernization in many years. The EX250-J model is known as the Ninja 250R worldwide. Kawasaki increased the MSRP by $500 U.S., to $3,499.

Parts from the third generation are still found on the -J, but its redesigned exterior panels bring the smallest Ninja's appearance out of the '90s and into line with late-2000s sportbikes. The engine and drivetrain retain 30% of the -F model's parts, according to Kawasaki literature. The engine's compression and maximum torque have been lowered to provide 20% better midrange performance, where the motorcycle will spend most of its time. The U.S.-spec -J model uses dual carburetors like the -F model, but the European-spec and Thailand-spec model have a fuel-injection system. The wheels were increased in size to 17", the front suspension was beefed up, and the front brake rotors were replaced with a larger "petal" design. A fuel gauge, a rarity in motorcycles, was added to the instrument cluster, implying an emphasis on attracting new riders.


Since the introduction of the model in 1986, the Ninja 250 has been often used as a "starting class" bike in club racing around the world. The AFM in California has been especially involved with 250 Production racing since the bike was released, including the since faded Honda VTR250.

In 2007 (the last year of the 2nd generation EX250), the Ninja 250 of Hambone Racing, won the Overall Mini Endurance Championship with the Central Motorcycle Roadracing Association (CMRA). Piloted by CMRA longtimers Chuck Ergle and Keith Hertell, this marked the only time a Ninja 250 had ever won a CMRA Mini Endurance Championship.

Starting in 2008, the WSMC will have a class (The Ninja Cup) dedicated to the model.

Specifications and performance (EX250-F)

Engine 4-stroke Inline twin, DOHC, Liquid cooled, 8-Valve, w/ counterbalancer
Displacement 248 cc
Rated 1/4 mile time 14.3
Starting Electric
Bore x stroke 62.0 x 41.1 mm
Compression ratio 12.4:1
Carburetion Keihin CVK30 (2), Constant velocity, diaphragm-type, Fuel injection for Europe and Thailand Euro/Thai model
Ignition CDI (electronic advance)
option CR7HSA, CR7HIX
Transmission 6-speed, Constant mesh, Return shift
Clutch Wet, Multi-disc, Manual, Cable-actuated
Frame Tubular Diamond design
Rake/trail 27 degrees/3.3 in (84 mm)
Suspension, front Hydraulic telescopic fork
Suspension, rear UNI-TRAK system with single shock
Wheelbase 55.1 in (1400 mm)
Wheel travel, front 5.5 in (140 mm)
Wheel travel, rear 5.1 in (130 mm)
Tire, front 100/80x16
Tire, rear 130/80x16
Brakes, front/rear Single hydraulic disc
Overall length 80.1 in (2034 mm)
Overall width 28.0 in (711 mm)
Overall height 43.1 in (1095 mm)
Ground clearance 6.1 in (155 mm)
Seat height 29.3 in (775 mm)
Weight dry/wet 304/355 lb (138/161 kg)
Max load 341 lb (154 kg)
Fuel capacity 4.8 US gal (18 L)
Fuel type Min 91 Research / 87 avg. octane unleaded
Oil capacity 1.9 L
Oil type SE-SG Class SAE 10W40-20W50
Performance stats
0-60 mph (0-100 km/h) 5.75s
1/4 mile 14.6 s @ 88 mph
Maximum speed 105 mph (169 km/h)
Max power 36 hp (27 kW) @ 11000 rpm, 26 hp (19 kW) @ rear wheel
Power / weight ratio +/- 0.13 kW/kg
Max Torque 18 ft.lbf (24 Nm) @ 10000 rpm, 14 ft.lbf (19 Nm) @ rear wheel
Fuel Efficiency 55-75 mpg US


  1. ^ a b "Kawasaki Ninja 250 Review". Beginner Motorcycles 03/07/2007.
  2. ^ a b ".25 Caliber Shootout Three Japanese Fighters Whip Out Their Little Guns". Motorcycle.com, Dec. 15, 1997.
  3. ^ a b c "2008 Kawasaki Ninja 250R - First Ride". MotorcycleUSA.com, 2/12/2008, Bart Madson.

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