Kawasaki Ninja is arguably among the most iconic motorcycles anywhere in the world and is certainly among the best-known model families from this Japanese automotive giant.
Ninjas are known for their superlative engineering, reliability, speed, and performance as well as their tremendous accessibility for riders of all levels.
This is a range that has it all, from beginners’ bikes to world-beating hypersport bikes.
This article explains “the complete guide, with specifications, of all Kawasaki Ninja models”…
How Much Weight Can A Kawasaki Ninja Hold?
|Model||Weight Capacity (lbs.)|
|Kawasaki Ninja 250||340|
|Kawasaki Ninja 300||397|
|Kawasaki Ninja 400||397|
|Kawasaki Ninja 600||420|
|Kawasaki Ninja 650||441|
|Kawasaki Ninja ZX6R||397|
|Kawasaki Ninja ZX7R||400|
|Kawasaki Ninja H2R||Est. 450|
The Kawasaki Ninja bikes are sleek, sporty, and athletic, but they are actually very capable bikes in terms of capacity. Some go to look at Ninjas assuming they can barely handle any load. This isn’t the case.
This capacity makes them very suitable for taller and heavier riders, too, so they too can take advantage of the Kawasaki Ninja difference.
It also helps to somewhat dispel the view that the smaller-cc models like the Ninja 250 are built exclusively for teens or adolescent riders.
This is also not the case.
The 250cc can handle up to 340lbs, which means most adults should be very stable and comfortable on this bike.
How Tall Do You Have To Be To Ride a Kawasaki Ninja?
|Model||Seat Height (inches)||Leg Seam (inches)|
|Kawasaki Ninja 250||30.5||32|
|Kawasaki Ninja 300||30.9||32|
|Kawasaki Ninja 400||30.9||32|
|Kawasaki Ninja 600||30.0||32|
|Kawasaki Ninja 650||31.1||33-34|
|Kawasaki Ninja ZX6R||32.7||34|
|Kawasaki Ninja ZX7R||30.9||32|
|Kawasaki Ninja H2R||32.7||34|
To know how tall you have to be to ride a Kawasaki Ninja, your overall height alone is not the most useful figure.
The most important thing is to know your leg seam length.
This will tell you if you can safely reach one foot to the ground and lay it flat while the bike is stationary.
If you are too small for the bike, you will stand on your tiptoes when the bike is stationary, and this is not safe.
As for upper body height, you should be able to sit upright and hold both arms on the handlebars while relaxed and bent.
You shouldn’t have to stretch your arms out at all.
What Size Engine Does A Kawasaki Ninja Have?
First of all, the Kawasaki Ninja’s engine is renowned as one of the most reliable and dependable anywhere on the market, regardless of displacement and power.
Engines were either two- or four-cylinder.
The majority of exact models over the years have been four-cylinder, but a number of their broader model ranges have also used two-cylinder engines. The smallest engine belongs to the Ninja 250, which is a 249cc engine. The largest engine belongs to the non-street-legal H2R which is at 1,000cc.
|Model||Engine Size (cc)||Max HP||Max Torque (lb-ft)|
|Kawasaki Ninja 250||249||29.9||16|
|Kawasaki Ninja 300||299||39||20|
|Kawasaki Ninja 400||399||43.3||24.6|
|Kawasaki Ninja 600||599||75||69|
|Kawasaki Ninja 650||636/649||64.8||48.7|
|Kawasaki Ninja ZX6R||599||135||52.1|
|Kawasaki Ninja ZX7R||748||109.2||56.4|
|Kawasaki Ninja H2R||998||310||121.5|
How Many Gears Does A Kawasaki Ninja have?
All of the Kawasaki Ninja models operate on a 6-speed manual transmission, with some minor differences between models:
|Kawasaki Ninja 250||6-speed manual|
|Kawasaki Ninja 300||6-speed manual with slipper clutch|
|Kawasaki Ninja 400||6-speed, chain drive|
|Kawasaki Ninja 600||6-speed constant mesh|
|Kawasaki Ninja 650||6-speed manual, sealed chain|
|Kawasaki Ninja ZX6R||6-speed manual with slipper clutch|
|Kawasaki Ninja ZX7R||6-speed manual with slipper clutch|
|Kawasaki Ninja H2R||6-speed manual return shift, sealed chain|
The goal of the Kawasaki Ninja was to make riding fun and easy for riders of all levels.
The addition of the signature Kawasaki Slipper Clutch in the 1990s was what really helped the brand to take off and compete with others in this regard.
Newer riders can build confidence and skill as they smoothly shift with ease on their Kawasaki Ninja 300, 400 or even 650.
It made shifting easier so that riders can focus on other things, while experienced riders can still gain a lot of satisfaction from shifting through the 6 gears as they traverse any terrain.
Kawasaki Ninja, How Much Horsepower?
|Model||Engine Size (cc)||Max HP||Top Speed (mph)|
|Kawasaki Ninja 250||249||29.9||105|
|Kawasaki Ninja 300||299||39||119|
|Kawasaki Ninja 400||399||43.3||100|
|Kawasaki Ninja 600||599||75||153|
|Kawasaki Ninja 650||636/649||64.8||130.5|
|Kawasaki Ninja ZX6R||599||135||164|
|Kawasaki Ninja ZX7R||748||109.2||163|
|Kawasaki Ninja H2R||998||310||249|
One thing that we see with the Kawasaki Ninja is that horsepower is not always a guarantee of a bigger and better top speed. It shows that the bike is more holistically and comprehensively engineered to create a more rounded experience.
It should be noted that newer riders are recommended not to exceed about 90hp when taking on their first bike.
That means everything up to Ninja 650 can work as a beginner’s bike, but it doesn’t mean that the ZX series should be completely ruled out.
For those who are getting their first Ninja, but might have some limited prior experience on motorcycles, the higher horsepower ratings of the ZX models can present an interesting challenge.
If you have zero experience, however, these 100+ hp models are not ideal at all.
The main issue is with control. More horsepower and a higher RPM redline mean that ultimately it’s easier for the rider to lose control.
The Ninja is known for its balance and ease of braking, steering, and shifting, and all with an engine that is responsive and yet won’t easily let its power get away from the control of the rider.
Best Oil For Kawasaki Ninja & How Much Oil Does It Take?
The majority of Kawasaki Ninja Models make use of Kawasaki’s own brand of engine oil, specifically the one 10W-40. Below I’ve listed the models that use the 10W-40 oil and how much oil they typically need to function properly.
|Model||How Much 10W-40 Oil Does It Take?|
|Kawasaki Ninja 250||2 quarts|
|Kawasaki Ninja 300||2.2 quarts|
|Kawasaki Ninja 400||2.1 quarts|
|Kawasaki Ninja 600||3.7 quarts|
|Kawasaki Ninja 650||2 quarts|
|Kawasaki Ninja ZX6R||3.7 quarts|
|Kawasaki Ninja ZX7R||3.7 quarts|
|Kawasaki Ninja H2R||N/A|
The Ninja H2R stands out from this selection because the H2R is not recommended to use the same 10W-40 oil at all.
It is recommended that you use a higher-end racing oil for your H2R, if you have one. The H2R has a larger total capacity of about 4.7 quarts, so you should load up about 4.6 liters of the bike’s favorite oils, which include the following:
- Stroke 4 Racing 10W40
- Full Power Katana 10W40
- R4000 RS 10W40
Best Tires for Kawasaki Ninja
First, let’s look at the H2R tires. Since the Ninja H2R is a specialized hypersport bike, it stands to reason that its tire requirements are not quite the same as the other street-legal models.
The recommended tires for the H2R are: 190/65 17 Bridgestone Racing Battlax V01R Slick Medium at the rear; 120/60 ZR17 V01F slick at the front.
Other good tire choices include:
- Gripp XL
- Blaze BR41
- Firemaxx R51
Whichever brand you choose for your H2R, you will have to stick with OEM sizing guidelines as found in your owner’s manual.
Next, for the other Kawasaki Ninja Models, let’s first be clear on tire sizes:
|Model||Front Tire Size||Rear Tire Size|
|Kawasaki Ninja 250||110/79 17||130/70 17|
|Kawasaki Ninja 300||110/70 17||140/70 17|
|Kawasaki Ninja 400||110/70 17||150/60 17|
|Kawasaki Ninja 600||120/65 17||180/55 17|
|Kawasaki Ninja 650||120/70 17||160/60 17|
|Kawasaki Ninja ZX6R||120/70 17||180/55 17|
|Kawasaki Ninja ZX7R||120/70 17||190/50 17|
The following are some recommended brands and types of tires that suit the Kawasaki Ninja bikes.
Remember that your tire size must always be the same as the OEM recommends:
- Bridgestone Battlax Sport Touring
- Pirelli Diablo Rosso II
- Continental Go!
- Dunlop Sportmax Q3+
- Metzeler Roadtec
- Continental Sport Attack 2
- Michelin Pilot Power 2CT
Choosing tires with good durability is important if you use your Kawasaki Ninja for distance riding or performance riding.
You’ll also need to invest in high-quality tires if you use your Kawasaki Ninja as a primary mode of transport.
Best Brake Pads for Kawasaki Ninja
First of all, the stock brake pads that you get with your Kawasaki Ninja are undoubtedly optimized for ideal use on that particular bike, so consider sticking with the stock brake pads at first, and replacing them with the same OEM brake pads when the time comes for a change.
On the other hand, those looking to get more performance out of their Kawasaki Ninja and brakes could look to some alternative brands that have all proven to be very popular and effective on the Ninja bike.
If you are riding a Ninja 250, 300, 400, 600, 650, ZX-6R or ZX-7R on the road, then you need pads that are optimized for on-road use.
Below are some examples of brake pads perfect for these Kawasaki Ninja models when used as road bikes:
- EBC Double H Brake Pads – est. $20 – A nice simple upgrade that claims to offer riders up to 20,000 miles of life. They come with an affordable price point, too.
- Brembo Road Sintered Brake pads – est. $45-50 – A name like Brembo will always add an air of prestige to your bike and give it an extra-dependable quality in its brakes.
- Brembo Z04 Brake Pads – est. $325 – A high-budget option for those wanting more of a track-style braking performance but on the road.
If you like the brakes to be at their keenest, then these make a nice investment.
If you are taking one of your bikes on the track, then you need something geared more to that style of riding.
Below are some ideas on these brakes for you:
- Brembo Racing Competition – est. $80 – These road sintered pads from Brembo will bed in very quickly and allow you to get into your best track performance very shortly after installing.
- Lyndall Racing Brakes Gold plus – est. $56 – A good price and a very snazzy gold look to these brake pads that are friendly to your Ninja rotors while also delivering stellar braking performance.
One more option for those wanting something non-metallic in nature for their Ninja is the Non-Metallic Organic NAO Brake Pads from KMG.
They are affordable at just $26.99 and are ideal for those who take the Kawasaki Ninja out for a more leisurely ride.
Furthermore, these brake pads are great for those whose Kawasaki Ninja is their starter bike.
It offers gentle and easygoing (but still strong performing) brake action that won’t cause any fear in new riders.
Best Chain For Kawasaki Ninja
The aftermarket for chains is extremely rich and varied.
There are dozens and dozens of potential chains that could suit different Kawasaki Ninja bikes.
Below I’ve made a recommendation for those models that are suited to altering the chain, along with a price.
Others should stick with the OEM chain for optimum performance:
Ninja 250 & 650 – NICHE Drive Sprocket Chain
NICHE have very good and well-received options for both the 250 and 650 Ninja models. Details are:
- NICHE Drive Sprocket Chain Combo for Kawasaki Ninja 250 ($59)
- NICHE Drive Sprocket Chain Combo for Kawasaki Ninja 650 ($90)
The first features a front 14 rear 42 tooth design with 530V-X X-ring and 104 links.
The second features a front 15 rear 46 tooth design with 520V O-ring and 114 links.
Ninja 300 – Vortex V3 WSS
- Vortex V3 WSS Warranty Chain and Sprocket Kit Black Anodized ($185)
Ninja 400 – Driven 520 Chain
Those wanting to inject some different color into their chain and sprockets will find the option from Drive 520 an excellent choice and is designed specifically to use with the Kawasaki Ninja 400.
MSRP is $350.
Best Air Filter For Kawasaki Ninja
The Kawasaki Ninja, the OEM air filters are designed to already deliver high performance, especially on the high-end models from ZX-6R and up. However, switching to a high-flow air filter on the lower models like the 250, 300, and 400 can really add a boost to performance.
The following are all great high-flow air filters that can enhance your Ninja’s performance:
- K&N Engine Air Filter – First 2008-2017 Ninja 250 and 300 models – $49
This filter is pre-oiled and easy to install on your Ninja 250 or 300 models.
Better yet, it’s more eco-friendly because you can wash and reuse it.
- DNA Filter – Fits the Ninja 400.
This one can increase horsepower and acceleration while keeping your Ninja 400 suitable and focused on street use.
They are also washable and reusable.
Best Fuel For Kawasaki Ninja
|Model||Recommended Fuel Type|
|250, 300, 400, 600, 650||87 octane fuel or higher|
|ZX-6R, ZX-7R||91 octane fuel or higher|
|H2R||95 octane fuel|
Besides the hypersport Kawasaki Ninja H2R bike, the ZX-6R, and ZX-7R all the other Ninja models can run fine on regular 87 octane fuel.
Some dealerships tell riders that upgrading to premium would be better for preserving the engine and delivering better performance, but this is something of a myth in reality.
But, if your local gas station has 91+ octane fuel, then it is ok to use and arguably can help at least keep the engine clean which lowers your maintenance needs.
Don’t expect any miracles, though.
The general rule of thumb when it comes to fuel is to favor a higher-octane fuel when dealing with a higher-specification vehicle.
What Kind Of Coolant Does A Kawasaki Ninja Take? (explained)
As with many cars, the market for coolant is a rich one, and riders of Kawasaki Ninja bikes have a choice of products that they could turn to.
Contrary to the beliefs of many, you don’t have to use a special coolant that is designed just for motorcycles.
Some worry that the coolant you buy for cars is somehow incompatible or otherwise doesn’t work in motorcycles.
This isn’t the case.
Coolant is important because it helps regulate the bike’s engine temperature and thus keeps all the moving parts running smoothly more importantly allows the bike to operate at peak performance.
Overheating means the engine is working much harder than it should be, and that increases wear and tear on the engine, thus reducing its life overall.
Kawasaki Ninja motorcycles, like their signature color, make use of green antifreeze/coolant. Silicate-free coolants are also better for motorcycles.
Since the Kawasaki Ninja engines also contain a lot of aluminum, using products that are aluminum safe, is important too.
Another important feature is that the antifreeze contained de-ionized water and ethylene glycol along with a rust/corrosion inhibitor, especially one designed to work well with aluminum engines.
Here are some good product ideas as recommended by users:
- Kawasaki Aluma Cool Engine Coolant
- Engine Ice Performance Coolant
- Peak Global Lifetime Full Strength or 50/50
- Prestone 50/50 Prediluted Antifreeze/Coolant
How Many Miles Per Gallon Does A Kawasaki Ninja Get?
|Model||Best Combined MPG Rating|
|Kawasaki Ninja 250||70|
|Kawasaki Ninja 300||70|
|Kawasaki Ninja 400||65|
|Kawasaki Ninja 600||32|
|Kawasaki Ninja 650||47|
|Kawasaki Ninja ZX6R||37.75|
|Kawasaki Ninja ZX7R||34.6|
|Kawasaki Ninja H2R||32|
For some, imagine how such a high-performance and sport-oriented bike can be so economical with fuel.
This is the difference between the Kawasaki Ninja compared to others.
As you can see, the most efficient in terms of pure MPG is the Ninja 250 and 300.
This is not exactly surprising.
Perhaps surprising, however, is that the 650 was given a smaller 4.0-gallon fuel tank, which is only 0.3 gallons more than the 400.
When you factor in the difference between fuel efficiency, you are clearly getting a much better deal with the 400.
The gas tank on the Ninja 650 is only 10 percent bigger than that of the 400, and yet the fuel efficiency of the 400 is about 38 percent better.
That means one tank of Ninja 400 gas is a lot better value on a ride than that of the 650.
How Fast Is The Kawasaki Ninja H2R?
Looking at the table below, you’ll find a quick speed and acceleration comparison chart to show just how far ahead of the pack the track-only Kawasaki Ninja H2R really is.
|Model||Top Speed (mph)||0-60mph (seconds)|
|Kawasaki Ninja H2R||249||2.00|
|Kawasaki Ninja 250||105||7.08|
|Kawasaki Ninja 300||119||5.60|
|Kawasaki Ninja 400||100||4.63|
|Kawasaki Ninja 600||153||3.35|
|Kawasaki Ninja 650||130.5||4.30|
|Kawasaki Ninja ZX6R||164||2.90|
|Kawasaki Ninja ZX7R||163||3.40|
Remember that speed and acceleration on the Kawasaki Ninja are not everything, but people often do take a moment to remark on how impressive the bike is in these terms.
Furthermore, it’s not just the highest-performance models like the track-only H2R, but also the ZX models that perform in a very impressive way.
When most people ride a Kawasaki Ninja, one of the things that take them back is the somewhat surprising acceleration that it offers even at the lower levels.
Many have pointed out that even the 250, 300, and 400 can hold their own very well.
Furthermore, the 400, “low” as it is in the displacement rankings, is also a very capable bike that is suitable as a commuter bike and can easily make use of freeways and highways.
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