2014 EICMA: 2015 Kawasaki Ninja 250SL and Z250SL Preview

by Admin

Kawasaki announced it would introduce the single-cylinder Ninja 250SL sportbike and naked Z250SL to the European market as lighter, less expensive alternatives to the company’s on Ninja 300 and Z300.

Discuss this at our Kawasaki Ninja 250SL and Z250SL Forum.

The Ninja 250SL models was introduced to the Asian market in February with the Z250SL following at the end of April. We weren’t expecting Kawasaki to introduce either model outside of Asia, so their launch at EICMA was something of a surprise. It’s unlikely we’ll see either model in North America however, and it’ll be interesting to see how Kawasaki’s four similar small-displacement models may split the market.

The 250SL models are powered by the same liquid-cooled, fuel-injected 249cc engine. Kawasaki claims a peak output of 27.6 hp at 9700 rpm and 16.7 lb-ft. at 8200 rpm, both down from the 300 models’ parallel-Twin which claims 38.9 hp and 19.9 lb-ft. The single-cylinder models do reach their peak numbers at earlier rpms however and claim strong low- to mid-range torque.

The Ninja 250SL claims a curb weight of 332.9 lb. (335.1 lb. with ABS) while the Z250SL claims 326.3 lb (330.6 lb. with ABS), putting them about 45 pounds lighter than the twins. The 300 models, however, still have the edge in power-to-weight ratios.

The SL models share the same trellis frame. The Z250SL has the same 30.9-inch seat height as the 300 models but the Ninja 250SL is slightly lower at 30.7 inches. The Singles however have shorter wheelbases at 52.4 inches compared to 55.3 inches on the Twins. The Z250SL has higher handlebars for a more upright seating position while the Ninja 250SL has more aggressive clip-ons that are even lower than the ones on the Ninja 300.

The Ninja 250SL and Z250SL use the same suspension with a 37mm telescopic fork and spring preload-adjustable rear shock. The brakes are also the same, with a dual-piston caliper grabbing the single 290mm front brake disc and a dual-piston caliper paired with the 220mm rear disc.

The 250SL models have their own styling to visually differentiate themselves from the 300s. The Ninja 250SL has a bit less bodywork than the Ninja 300, revealing part of the trellis frame while up front it sports a single headlamp.

European pricing is yet to be announced, but the Ninja 250SL and Z250SL should be less expensive than their 300 counterparts.

Follow the rest of our 2014 EICMA Show coverage for more information on new 2015 motorcycle announcements.


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Join the conversation
  • Backroad Bob Backroad Bob on Dec 02, 2014

    Wish all you want, but ride what you have.

  • D. Paul League D. Paul League on Jun 14, 2015

    It's a single cylinder 250 only a few cc less than the Honda CBR300. It's lighter, similar performance, and much cheaper. I think Kawasaki is missing an opportunity to eliminate Honda from the competition, to allow them to focus their energy on Yamaha and KTM. For the first time, North America would have several levels of small sportbikes, and yes there is a large market for these bikes. Just ask Yamaha why they are having a difficult time meeting the demand for R3 in the North America, and around the world. A new generation is finding motorcycling to be fun, who have not been jaded by those who think bigger is always better. It seems street riding has been influenced by too many wannabe MotoGP riders who will never even race on a track. Bring the little ones on!