Kawasaki is on the offensive in the Indian two-wheeler market. It launched five new motorcycles in 2013 and it intends launching a few more this year. It is also focusing on developing its own dealer network to provide a proper Kawasaki experience to its owners moving away from just piggybacking Bajaj Probiking or - as they are known now - KTM stores. Kawasaki currently has two outlets and the plan is to grow to five at least.
But, all these new offerings have been in the premium end of the market, putting Kawasaki the brand beyond the reach of most enthusiasts. This will change this year, however, with the launch of the new Kawasaki Z250. The Z250 is your typical street naked with sharp, edgy and brash styling and visually, it draws heavily from its elder sibling, the Kawasaki Z800.
The Z250 looks like a scaled down version of the latter especially from front as it sports similar looking headlight and tank design. Design apart, it borrows heavily from the Ninja 300 parts bin. The exhaust, tail section and Y-spoke alloys are all from the Ninja. The instrument console which gets an analogue tachometer and a multi-function LCD screen that displays info relating to speed, trip and fuel level is similar to the Ninja 300 as well.
Although visually the bike looks like a combination of the Z800 and the Ninja 300, this Kawasaki shares its underpinnings with the now discontinued Ninja 250R. The 249cc, liquid-cooled, parallel-twin engine is identical to the baby Ninja. It develops max power of 32PS at 11,000rpm and an equally peak healthy torque rating of 21Nm at 9,000rpm. The engine is mated to a six-speed transmission and going by our experience with the Ninja 250R, this gearbox will most certainly have slick and precise shifts.
The chassis is a diamond type steel frame that uses 37mm telescopic forks upfront and a monoshock at the rear to handle suspension duties. Braking is handled by a single 290mm petal disc at the front and 220mm petal disc at rear. ABS, however, is conspicuous by its absence. Being a street naked, the ergonomics of the Kawasaki Z250 have been altered compared to the Ninja 250R.
It has more upright seating with a taller and wider handlebar and relatively forward set footrests compared to the 250R. The seat height remains more or less unchanged and this should make the Z250 a competent commuter and a good bike to tour on as well.
The Z250 will come to India via the CKD route and will be the third offering under the ‘Z’ family following in the footsteps of the Z1000 and the Z800. It will be priced around the Rs 3 lakh mark making it a direct rival to the recently launched Suzuki Inazuma. The latter uses a 250cc parallel-twin as well but the Kawasaki will have higher bragging rights both in terms of styling and power figures.
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