Is a Kawasaki Ninja 300 a Good Beginner Bike? (Explained)

The Kawasaki Ninja 300 is a low-displacement sports bike that was launched in 2012.

It’s part of the Ninja series, arguably one of the most recognizable bike lines around due to their eye-catching design and iconic green chassis.

In this article we’ll find out whether the Ninja 300 is a good choice for beginners…

Here’s the Short Answer to Is a Yamaha R3 a Good Beginner Bike:

The Kawasaki Ninja is an excellent choice for a beginner motorcycle due to its low maintenance costs, reliable performance, low price, high resale value, and the fact that it introduces riders to the feel of a world-class Ninja sport bike with a smaller, more mild-mannered engine.

Reasons Why a Kawasaki Ninja 300 is a Good Beginner Bike

1. Eases Riders into the World-Class Ninja Line

The Kawasaki Ninja 300 is lightweight and easy to handle for beginners and provides the perfect training wheels for the more aggressive riding position of the Ninja’s older siblings.

The 300’s light but stable chassis is modeled after the renowned design of the race-sized Ninjas, allowing riders to lean into corners using the same physics and feel that they would on one of the track-ready Ninjas.

Or, as this rider puts it:

“I have gone into aggressive riding and track riding, and the 300 was an excellent gateway into that scene. It’s also great for learning to become a good rider and gaining excellent road strategy skills.”

So, while the feel of the smallest member of the Ninja clan might be more aggressive than some of the other bikes in its class, if riders intend to graduate to a more significant displacement Kawasaki Ninja model, starting on a Ninja 300 will ease them into that unique style of riding.

The 300 was just enough power for me to start getting into trouble if I let things get out of hand in the twisties, but not too much to make me crash. I am 100% certain that if I had anything faster, I would have crashed a few times. But I ride as hard as possible and am out there to better myself and learn to be a faster rider, and the 300 is a perfect bike to learn cornering skills and improve quickly… I ride with the 600s and 1000s in my area when we go to the twisties, and I am plenty fast to keep up those corners!”

  • The Ninja 300 stocks a back-torque limiter that helps beginner riders ease into the aggressive throttle and rapid shifting style of sport bike riding required by the Kawasaki Ninja motorcycle line.
  •  That said, the entry-level Ninja 300 has a smaller, down-tuned engine that won’t pull a wheelie if the rider jams too hard on the throttle.
  • This more mild-mannered engine tuning lets the rider get a feel for the riding position and ergonomics of sport riding without worrying about the bike running away from them at the slightest accidental blip of the throttle.
  • Riders can graduate to one of the larger, more powerful engine-equipped models and focus on mastering the engine power and speed, having already got the feel, position, and style of Ninja riding on their 300.

2. Fuel Efficient and Easy to Work On

The Kawasaki Ninja 300 gets excellent gas mileage, even when ridden hard, which is huge upsell for a new rider.

Getting used to riding often means learning when to shift into higher gears and how and when to apply throttle power. During this typical learning curve, riders burn excessive fuel, as they’re not always riding efficiently.

The Kawasaki Ninja 300’s average of 54-58 MPG is impressive and will help the beginner rider get used to operating a sporty engine without wasting money on extra gas.

“It gets great mileage, generally doesn’t eat any oil, maintenance jobs are easy enough to learn to do them as I did, and overall takes a hell of a beating if you take care of it. I would *highly* recommend you learn to do the basic maintenance jobs on the 300 or something similar, they are very friendly to learn, and you’ll save a ton of money.”

Furthermore, a fuel-efficient engine isn’t straining when overworked like a motor that’s starved for fuel is, meaning that the Kawasaki Ninja 300 is easier to control, higher performing, and more consistent than other entry-level motorcycles.

3. Special Technology Features

The Kawasaki Ninja 300 boasts a number of tech features that make it a solid choice for beginner riders.

The Ninja 300 features high-grade LED twin headlights, taillights, and turn signals indicator lights fitted into its V-angular front fairing and augmented rear fender, respectively.

Its V-shaped visor and tined rear-view mirrors hide the fact that the entry-level Ninja 300 is any less sporty than its racetrack-equipped older siblings.

  • The Ninja 300’s Dashboard includes an LCD-enforced multi-meter display, including special features like a digital fuel gauge, speedometer, clock, odometer, and multiple riding modes.
  • Riders are also given the option of a slipper clutch, a rare treat for a small-displacement sport bike – a slipper clutch feature is ideal for new riders, as it braces the transmission acting during abrasive downshifts to prevent sudden wheel spins.

The increased control and comfort provided to beginner riders from features like economy riding modes and slipper clutch support eases the learning curve and lets new riders focus on developing their hand-feet-eye coordination and adjusting to the aggressive sport riding position.  

4. Reliable Performance

One of the key reasons the Kawasaki Ninja 300 makes a good motorcycle for beginners is its reliability and consistent performance.

New riders habitually shift abruptly and jerk on the throttle as they learn their way around their new motorcycle.

This can be problematic for motorcycles with sub-par quality, as the rough riding wears their parts early.

Some of the features previously mentioned contribute to the regulation of throttle input and clutch spills.

Still, the reliable engine and 6-speed transmission are the main factors behind its ability to take the sport riding abuse.

The [Ninja 300’s] biggest draw is the Japanese build and overall reliability. No matter how many days it’s stranded in the dust, it still cranks at the first nudge of the starter button. It is my first bike, and I am convinced it will stay with me till the end.”

SOURCE: Kawasaki Ninja 300 long-term review: final report – Introduction | Autocar India

5. Low Maintenance Cost

One of the key reasons beginner riders love the Ninja 300 is its low maintenance cost compared to other brands. Kawasaki dealerships offer specialized-technician services for a cheaper service cost than other brand-name dealerships; the cost of Ninja parts are also competitively priced.

Not to mention how easy these bikes are to work on compared to other, more sophisticated entry-level sport bikes.

Here’s what one beginner rider had to say:

“The service manuals are available free online, and you don’t need a ton of tools to change the oil, change the coolant, change the brake fluid or pads, change the chain/sprockets, adjust the head bearing tension, chain tension/alignment, spark plugs, and even a valve clearance job can be done at home easily.”

6. Affordable Price

One of the most fundamental reasons beginner riders choose to learn on a Kawasaki Ninja 300 is its affordable price tag. A brand-new R3 costs around $4,999, a number that either matches or is lower than other bikes in its class, despite the Ninja’s popularity and legacy.

The Ninja 300 is a beginner motorcycle. This means that, in due time, its owners will advance to a bike better suited for rides or high-intensity sport riding.

7. Resale Value

The resale value is one of the best reasons for beginners to purchase a Kawasaki Ninja 300.

While the Ninja 300’s riding position and handling make it a great way to enter the aggressive super sport and racetrack riding scene, riders who want a true sport experience will graduate to 650cc+ size Ninja models or something similar.

And while a brand-new Kawasaki Ninja 300 costs between $4,800-$5,000, used Ninja 300s go for $4,000-$4500 if they’re sold while their still fairly new and in good condition.

This isn’t the case with all beginner’s sport bikes, making it yet another reason the Ninja 300 is a great Beginner moto.

8. Surplus of Parts for Kawasaki Ninja Motorcycles

As far as new riders are concerned, one of the main selling points of the Kawasaki Ninja 300 is the slew of performance upgrades and modification accessories available for the Ninja series, both from Kawasaki and multiple aftermarket manufacturers.

These upgrades include air intake and exhaust system modifications, extra LED lights, audio speakers and Bluetooth accessories, and even replacement foot pegs and handlebars that alter the riding position, making it more comfortable for beginner riders.

Reasons Why a Kawasaki Ninja Isn’t a Good Beginner Bike

1. Single Cylinder Engine

One of the complaints new riders often air about the Kawasaki Ninja 300 is its single-cylinder engine design.

While the 300cc displacement is standard or even generous for an entry-level sport bike, there are other 300s on the market, like the Yamaha R3, which still utilize a multi-cylinder design.

The one-big cylinder concept is certainly easier to work on, inspect, and maintain, but it’s also working overtime when your push it hard, making it a shacky ride at highway speeds.

“[The Ninja 300] can be a bit buzzy on long rides, though there are tricks to dampen vibrations. Would recommend taking breaks often.”

“Unlike my friend’s 300, my Ninja 300’s single-cylinder engine tends to buzz hard at higher revs.”

2. Spongy Front Brake

While the Ninja 300’s spongy front brakes can be fixed with a quick bleed out, the frequency at which air enters its brake lines is a frequent concern for beginner riders. That said, the stopping power is great; it’s just the feel of the lever.

3. Lacks Passing Power

Another common reason new riders should be weary of a Ninja 300 is its lack of passing power in top gear, or as this real-life new rider puts it:

“[Needs] more passing power at highway speeds. I live in Texas, where everyone likes to go fast for some reason, and the Ninja 300 can sometimes be a bit sluggish in passing, especially with wind resistance at higher speeds. Sometimes I choose not to pass because it would be sketchy, whereas it likely wouldn’t be an issue on a bike with a bit more power on tap.”

4. Needs More Low-Mid Range Torque

While its ratio of the mild engine and throttle manners to aggressive riding position and seamless handling makes the Kawasaki Ninja 300 a great beginner bike for some riders, it might not be the choice for a beginner rider who wants more torque in the lower RPM ranges while they’re learning.

“More low-mid range torque would be nice. I like the sensation and utility of quick acceleration, but with the 300, I have to rev the engine up to high rpm (8,000-10,500) to get the powerband/peak torque. Don’t get me wrong, it’s super fun, but I sometimes just don’t feel like racing the bike around to use its power.”

5. Uncomfortable Riding Position

While riders who aim to graduate to the more powerful Ninja bikes find the aggressive riding position of the entry-level installment to be an effective learning opportunity, riders who simply want a fun bike to learn on often complain the riding position is too aggressive to be comfortable for a beginner rider.

That said, as we mentioned earlier, one of the joys of learning on a Kawasaki Ninja 300 is the slew of aftermarket and OEM accessories, which includes the gear required to change the riding position into something more ergonomically oriented, if the rider isn’t interested in mastering the aggressive Ninja riding style this early in the game.

“With the handles, bar risers, and lowering links, I can notice/feel a somewhat more upright/comfortable riding position. While still maintaining the appearance of a Sport Bike.”

“Handlebar Risers and the Lowering Links change the riding position and make it somewhat more comfortable.”

Still, many riders cite the aggressive, sporty, and uncomfortable riding position as a reason the Kawasaki Ninja 300 isn’t a good bike for beginners.

Best Alternatives to the Yamaha R3 for Beginners

Make/ModelPriceFuel Economy
Kawasaki Ninja 300$4,99954
KTM 390 Duke$5,79958
Yamaha R3$2,29956
Honda CBR300R$4,69957.9

Related: Is a Yamaha R3 a Good Beginner Bike? (11 Important Facts)

Author:

  • Michael Ta Nous

    I've been weaving words into stories since my early scribbling days, and my journey in the world of motorcycles and their communities spans almost two decades. Living with a talented motorcycle mechanic as a roommate, our garage transformed into a vibrant workshop where I absorbed the intricacies of...