2017 Kawasaki Z250 review – is it good enough?

We are thankful to Mr. Abhijeet Santwani (Rajasthan Bikes) for helping us in this 2017 Kawasaki Z250 review by lending us the bike.
What’s good:
  • Powerful twin cylinder 249cc engine delivers smooth response at low rpm and hard acceleration at high rpm
  • Great handler. Provides agility in city traffic and stability on the highways
  • Relatively light clutch and easy gear shifts
  • Premium build quality, right from the engine to the switches
  • Aggressive styling is an attention gainer, especially in comparison to other 250cc bikes
  • Negligible vibrations even at high speeds
What’s not so good:
  • Absence of ABS. Kawasaki should have at-least offered single-channel ABS, even as an optional extra
  • A bit over-priced as compared to other quarter-litre bikes in the country
  • Kawasaki’s after-sales service network is meagre. The service and sales partnership with Bajaj has also come to an end.

The average Indian motorcycle enthusiast is increasingly looking for more premium and fun-to-ride bikes. This is the reason why interest in the quarter-litre segment is increasing with every passing day. This has further prompted manufacturers to launch many new bikes around this segment. But there is one quarter-litre bike that has been present in the Indian market for fairly long, but hasn’t really been able to clock sales figures compared to its more popular rivals. Yes, we are talking about the green street-fighter – the 2017 Kawasaki Z250. We took the bike for a spin around the pink city of Jaipur to find out what does it have on and under the flesh! Here’s our official review.

2017 Kawasaki Z250 at WTP Jaipur

The Kawasaki Z250, first launched in India in October 2014, is the cheapest quarter litre offering from the Japanese Green Beasts manufacturer. The street fighter was recently updated in April 2017, when the new version was launched with a BS-IV engine and auto headlamp on (AHO) function. Presently, the Kawasaki Z250 comes at a whopping price of Rs 3.08 lakhs (ex-showroom, Delhi).

The initial reason behind Kawasaki’s decision to launch this bike in India was to tackle the biggest hurdle i.e. price, since the Ninja 300 is around Rs 50,000 costlier than the Z250. Hence, Kawasaki needed a bike to be placed at a slightly lower price tag to cap the growing population of riding enthusiasts in the country. We see the Z250 as a combination of its bigger siblings of the Z-series and the old Kawasaki Ninja 250R. Its aggressive street-fighter design is inspired from the Z900, while it gets the sporty engine performance from the Ninja 250. The parallel twin cylinder 249cc engine delivers 32PS @11000 rpm and gives a pleasant exhaust note which is neither too loud nor too silent. The bike has all power and styling it needs. With the Z250, Kawasaki is competing against the likes of the Yamaha FZ25, KTM Duke 250, Benelli TNT 300 and various other street-fighters in this segment. For your information, we will be riding the Benelli TNT 300 very soon. So stay hooked to Autosite India for a comprehensive review and comparison with the Z250.

Kawasaki Z250 front quarter image

Design, build quality and dimensions

Let’s take a look at the overall design of the Kawasaki Z250. The front fascia of the bike gets an aggressive headlamp and muscular design that make this bike a head turner for everyone on the road. The huge fuel tank has sharp and edgy Z-shaped extensions on either sides which merge with the underbelly giving the bike a standout-from-the-crowd semi-faired look. These design features are pretty much identical to the Z900. Meanwhile, the instrument cluster, the rear section of the bike, split seats, Y-shaped alloy wheels and exhaust are a straight lift from the Ninja 300. The matte green finish of the bike adds to its beauty. Kawasaki has ensured a superior build quality and hasn’t left any room for doubt in this department. All panels, be it metal or plastic, look and feel well built and will easily last the distance. Moreover, the Z250’s stance doesn’t really look like that of a quarter-litre bike. The overall appearance of the bike makes you believe it is an 800 or a 1000 cc motorcycle.

On scale, the 2017 Kawasaki Z250 measures 2,010 mm in length, 750 mm in width and 1,025 mm in height. With a wheelbase of 1400 mm, a low ground clearance of 145 mm, and a seat height of 785mm, this bike offers a good connectivity with the road compared to other bikes. It has a fuel tank capacity of 17 litres. The bike is pretty light for a beefy design like this and weighs only 168 kg.

The bike has mean looking, bow-shaped multi-reflector headlamps. It gets Auto Headlamp On (AHO) feature, but during the daytime, the illuminated pilot lamps should have been brighter. However, the headlamps serve their purpose really well in evening and night. Please refer the below image for comparison. It also has a small yet stylish visor which prevents windblast to some extent.

Kawasaki Z250 headlights off and on

The instrument cluster provides all necessary information to the rider. The analogue tachometer is dominant while the speedometer is smaller and pushed towards the right-bottom. The warning lights around the tachometer’s bezel indicate battery alarm, oil alarm, critical wiring damage, neutral gear, beam (low or high), turn signals and low fuel while the yellow lit monochrome digital display indicates speed, clock, fuel level, odometer and 2 trips distances. It would have been great if Kawasaki would have added a gear-shift and side stand indicator as well.

Kawasaki Z250 speedometer and instrument cluster

The way the instrument cluster comes to life when you insert the key is a lovely sight.

The fuel tank capacity of the Kawasaki Z250 is 17 litres, which permits you to ride long distances without the need to stop for fuel. Kawasaki has not ignored even the minor details regarding the design. The creative design of the fuel cap is a proof for it. The tank has Kawasaki written on the sides and Z250 on the top. The bike features tank shrouds and the Z-shaped extension also gets an interesting design. It partly protects the 249 cc engine and at the same time reveals some part of it to exhibit the potential it holds. The overall looks of the central part of bike get finely defined edges that justify the Kawasaki style. The Z250 is proudly displayed right in the centre of the fairing near the engine. The fairing also houses the coolant reservoir and hence it isn’t visible directly. One thing we found to be sticking out like a sore thumb was the exposed radiator. It not only looks a bit out of place but is also at the risk of being damaged due to a flying stone. It would have been better if Kawasaki could provide better protection to the radiator.

Kawasaki Z250 radiator exposed

Unlike the Ninja, the Z250 gets a one-piece flat handlebar of normal width for improved manoeuvrability. The grips are really good, more towards a softer feel and give a firm control of the bike. The switch gear is of premium quality as well and provides apt tactile feedback. The vibration dampers at the ends do justice to their purpose. The left handlebar houses switches for horn, beam level, indicator and passing light, while the right side is home to only two switches – ignition and engine kill.

Left and right switches

The rear-view mirrors are placed sufficiently wide apart on the handlebars. The mirrors are big enough and give sufficient rear view. Barely 10% of the view is blocked by the rider’s hands. We have clicked this image in traffic to give a clear idea of how the view can be for a daily commuter. Even though the design of the mirrors is good, it creates a blind spot towards the lower edge, thus limiting visibility.

Z250 mirrors and rear visibility

Indicators are big, bright and visible. Unfortunately, they come with firm attachments and hence the flexibility is restricted. A vandalising attempt by a pedestrian can easily break the stem connection. The front indicators are placed just near the visor and the rear indicators are placed on the rear mudguard, besides the number plate.

The Y-shaped black alloy wheels on the Z250 resemble the ones on the Kawasaki Ninja 300. These are wrapped with tubeless Road Winner 110/70-17M/C (54S) tyres at the front and Road Winner 140/70-17M/C (66S) at the rear. The tyres are tough for better stability and wet road traction.

As mentioned earlier, the seat of the Z250 is similar to that of the Ninja 300. It gets a split-seat layout which is fairly comfortable for the rider, but may not be as comfortable for the pillion, especially on long rides. The seat fabric is good, neither soft nor hard. The texture of the upholstery ensures that the rider doesn’t slip around the saddle. The pillion rider has a strap to hold on to but grab rails are missing. However, there are slots underneath where the pillion can hold on to. The rider seat houses the battery while the pillion seat has room for toolbox and documents beneath it. One cannot store anything more under the seat. On the lower part of the tail, hooks have been provided for bungee ropes. The sitting posture on the bike is a bit forward biased and hence the pillion foot pegs are placed relatively backwards. However, the foot pegs for the rider are pretty straight without much of an angle.

Engine, ride quality and practicality

The 249 cc engine of the Kawasaki Z250 is the most amazing part of this bike, which is partly revealed by the semi-fairing panels. The block is a DOHC 4-stroke parallel-twin engine that comes with electronic fuel injection. It produces a maximum power of 32PS @ 11000 rpm and a peak torque of 21 Nm @10000 rpm.  The powertrain delivers smooth and responsive torque at low rpm and hard-hitting acceleration at high rpm. Since the engine is a twin cylinder unit, it does not compromise on power but it does affect the fuel efficiency. During our test ride, we found the fuel efficiency to be around 27 km/l. The engine is coupled with a slick and smooth 6-speed gearbox. The first two gears are short while the next three cover the power band. Once you shift to the 6th gear, the bike responds immediately and the way it picks up the pace at high rpm can’t be matched by many other bikes in this segment.  For utmost riding pleasure, try accelerating the bike from the lower gears and it will surely bring a grin to your face.

Kawasaki Z250 headlamp

The engine is pretty calm and composed, with the exhaust note tuned to be a pleasure to ears. It was surprising that the bike did not knock at lower speeds even when it was at higher gear. Also, the cooling has been aptly controlled. The radiator hardly came into action, though long traffic-runs will surely heat up the underside of the bike. The wet multi-disc clutch is light and does not sore the fingers. The gear shifts too are really good and the bike doesn’t miss-shift that often.

Being a Kawasaki, the engine comes with all high-end technical additions. It is fitted with a sleeveless, plated, die-cast aluminium cylinder & lightweight coated pistons. It is partially rubber mounted so as to minimize the vibrations. The bike shows negligible signs of vibration even at high speeds. The engine lives upto the Kawasaki standards of reliability and smoothness.

Just like the engine, the chassis also comes from the Ninja 250. The diamond frame chassis is made of high tensile strength steel. Light weight materials used in the construction result in a fairly limited overall weight, which is one of the major reasons behind its effortless performance. Suspension duties are taken care of by 37mm Hydraulic Telescopic suspension in the front and Bottom-link Uni-Trak mono-shock (Gas charged – Preload) in the rear. The wheel travel is 120 mm and 132mm for the front and rear, respectively. The suspension is a bit on the stiffer side in the rear, similar to what is seen in sll other street-fighters. The rear suspension is in-line and right beneath the rider seat, but is not clearly visible due to the side panels.

The braking system is equipped with a 290 mm single petal disc with dual-piston calliper at the front and a 220 mm single petal disc with dual-piston calliper at the rear. The braking response is good and the bike slows down and stops without any trouble. However, if you hit the brakes hard in case of an emergency, there are chances of the wheels locking up. The Road Winner tyres also play a part in this locking. Now here’s the worst part about this bike! Unfortunately, Kawasaki is not offering ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) with the Z250, even as an option. This is a major disappointment for a pricey bike like this. Kawasaki needs to get this resolved ASAP!

2017 Kawasaki Z250 review images
Our Verdict

The Kawasaki Z250 is a nicely packaged product in terms of prodigious looks, fine performance and superlative build quality. We have ridden the motorcycle in heavy traffic, highways and uphill roads, and we were pretty impressed.  The parallel twin cylinder engine ensures that you have adrenaline rushing through your veins with every twist of the throttle. The handling is superb around the corners as well as on clumsy roads. However, there are a few negatives as well, with the biggest one being the bike’s heavy pricing. The lack of ABS further makes the overall package rank a bit low on the Value for Money factor. However, for a person who is just looking for riding fun and for whom price isn’t a critical constraint, the 2017 Kawasaki Z250 makes perfect sense.

Do let us know about your views on this 2017 Kawasaki Z250 review in the comments section below.

Satyajit Desai

The two words which best describe Satyajit are - Mumbaikar & Biker. He has been riding across the country on motorcycles since the past 7 years. The love for motorcycles motivated him to write and share his experiences with motorcycle enthusiasts like him and he is thus an official contributor in Autosite India's bike section.

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