When you hear the word "Ninja," chances are the first thing to come to your mind would be a Japanese assasin clad in all black attire. For motorcycle enthusiasts, the word surely conjures up images of what is quite possibly the most iconic sportbike the world has ever seen. The Kawasaki Ninja has a long and rich heritage spanning nearly four decades. Sold in all shapes, sizes, and varying levels of performance, the Ninja has become a staple in the motorcycle industry, and has set the standard when it comes to modern day sportbikes.
These days, the Ninja namesake lives on stronger than ever. With Kawasaki's Ninja H2R holding the record as the world's fastest production motorcycle ever since its launch in 2015, it would appear that no other manufacturer has been able to beat Team Green's need for speed for more than half a decade now. While it's certainly fun to ponder about the neck-breaking performance figures of the Ninja H2 R, the truth simply is that power of that magnitude is simply too much for most riders to handle. That said, Kawasaki had beginner and intermediate sportbike riders in mind when it launched its smallest track-focused sportbike, the ZX-25R. So, what exactly makes the ZX-25R so special, and why do we think it's the ultimate beginner-friendly sportbike? Well, read on to find out.
Unlike Kawasaki's flagship track-focused machines, the Ninja ZX-10R and ZX-6R, the Ninja ZX-25R features significantly more approachable performance figures. Equipped with a 249cc inline four-cylinder motor which pumps out a decent 50 horsepower at 15,500 RPM and 22.9 Nm of torque at 14,500 RPM. While these power figures may not seem like much, especailly when compared to its bigger stablemates, the Ninja ZX-25R is plenty powerful for beginners who want to take their track riding skills to the next level.
Transferring power to the back wheel is a silky smooth six-speed manual transmission equipped with an assist slipper clutch. The folks at Team Green have gone ahead and included a bidirectional quickshifter for even smoother, effortless gear shifts when attacking corners on the track. Thanks to the bike's low-displacement multi-cylinder configuration, the ZX-25R delivers a very linear powerband, and revs all the way up to 17,000 RPM.
Capable chassis and suspension
The Kawasaki Ninja ZX-25R boasts Team Green's latest technology when it comes to its chassis and suspension. The engineers at Kawasaki designed the ZX-25R's chassis using advanced dynamic rigidity analysis, which enables designers to save weight and optimize the frame's rigidity where it matters the most. The lightweight trellis frame found in the ZX-25R has been meticulously engineered to delvier the perfect balance of strength and flex to achieve the bike's agile, superbike handling characteristics.
Meanwhile, the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-25R boasts thoroughly premium suspension components. Consisting of 37mm inverted forks up front, as well as a horizontal back-link rear suspension setup from Showa, the bike offers a full range of adjustability front and back, enabling riders to dial in their desired suspension settings depending on track and weather conditions. Kawasaki claims that the suspension componentry used on the ZX-25R is similar to that of its flagship superbike, the ZX-10R.
A lot of bike for the money
It's important to note that the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-25R wasn't designed for everybody. It was, in fact, designed as a track-focused machine meant to deliver the same riding characterisitcs as its larger, more powerful siblings in a more approachable package. In this regard, it's understandable that this bike commands quite premium in terms of price over bikes like the Ninja 400. In fact, the Ninja ZX-25R, with its P410,000 price tag, is neary as expensive as the middleweight Ninja 650, at P426,000. On top of that, the fact that it has a 250cc engine rules it out from expressway legality. Nonetheless, the Ninja ZX-25R sits in a class of its own when it comes to performance-oriented machines. At present, no other motorcycle in the market can offer the thrilling sound and approachable linear performance of this small-displacement inline-four equipped racing machine.
So, should you buy a Kawasaki Ninja ZX-25R? Well, if you're planning on taking track riding seriously, and don't mind the fact that this bike can't be ridden on the expressway, then yes, absolutely. In fact, Kawasaki Japan has begun an exclusive racing series dedicated solely to the ZX-25R. On top of this, there is already an impressive amount of aftermarket support for the ZX-25R, with reputable companies developing accessories and upgrades meant to bring out even more potential from this already capable sportbike.