Reviews : Riding my Kawasaki Z250

Reviews of Kawasaki Z250 (2014)

After a bad experience with my Honda CB500F (and with the Honda Big Wing dealer) I bought again a Kawasaki motorcycle. My first big bike was a Kawasaki Versys 650 that I did ride for 3 years but sold it as I wanted a bit smaller bike. The CB500F was a perfect mid-range bike .... IF the engine would not be consuming oil. So not wanting to buy any Honda again in 2014 there were not much small bikes to choose from. Now in 2016 and 2018 there are some other nice small bikes and some bigger bikes have become cheaper. So I bought my new motorbike at the Kawasaki Big Bike dealer in Khon Kaen. It is not my favourite Kawasaki dealer but it is the only one in a range of 120 km.

The Kawasaki Z250 is a naked version of the Kawasaki Ninja 250. Same frame, same engine, most parts also the same. Only less fairing and a other handle-bar. It looks like you will sit up a bit more straight, but in reality it does not difference much from the Ninja 300. I think the Z250 is only sold in Thailand, Japan, Malaysia and Indonesia where the Ninja 250 is replaced by the Ninja 300. It is a 249 cc, 2 cylinder engine with a red-line at 12.500 rpm and a said top speed of 170 km/h. Really?? My top-speed has been 140 km/h. Now I can feel I could still go a bit faster but I not think up-to 170 km/h.

* 17 inch rims with hard IRC Road Winner tires (110 in front and 140 rear)
* No hazard-light switch (solved)
* A bit simple dashboard with dark signal-lights that I hardly see
* Seat is a bit hard (solved) as is the suspension also
* No ABS brakes (you could install ABS but a bit expensive)
* As naked bike of course no windscreen (solved)
* Handle bar is a bit low for my short arms (solved)

And ....
* A nice 17 liter gasoline tank
* Easy to check cooling fluid
* Only 168 kg, easy for maneuverings
* Quit a big space for tools under the seat
* Seat height of only 785 mm
* Easy & cheap to replace air-filter
* Smooth gearing
* Due to the low gravity center a nice way of riding & handling.

One of the surprising things about the motorbike is the break-in period, it is recommended for the first 800 km not to go over the 4000 rpm and until 1.600 km not over the 6000 rpm. Remember the red-line is at 12.500 rpm ! So that are going to be slow first 1.600 km. First service schedule is at 1.000 km. After that every 6.000 km. The motorbike is in Thailand sold with a Thai Owners Manual, but Kawasaki Thailand has an English version for download at Owners Manual Z250 English

Interesting to read that the Thai model has 31 PS while the Z250's sold elsewhere have 32 PS. And also the Thai model is 10 mm longer and has 44 tooth rear sprocket while the Z250's sold elsewhere have 46 tooth rear sprocket. Would the Thai model have a other ECU?

Price-wise I think the motorbike is good value for money. It is of course a bit old fashion and it is of course not the best quality. As of now the bike is riding smooth, gearing is super smooth, engine oil is still OK and clean. As the handle bar is narrow it is easy to manoeuvre the motorbike in traffic, but as result of that on the left mirror I only see my shoulder.

Fast forward : Now April 2018 I am still riding the little Z250 and have done almost 28.000 km. I am still using the standard tyres. But they should be replaces before hitting next cool season. If I had the money I would upgrade to the new Kawasaki Z650. It is about the same size, only 20kg more weight but has 400cc more and ABS. And a much better frame and a little bit better suspension.

My first 3 days ride (800 km)
So finally had some time to make a longer ride. I learned a few things while riding
  • On the highways the power is enough for me. With the naked concept it makes you feel going 130km/h when you are doing 100km/h.
  • At higher RPM there is surprisingly much power for overtaking, but I am missing a 7th gear (I am not used to high rev bike)
  • The seat is a bit hard, but that might have to do with me lowering the seat for my short legs.
  • Brakes are fine but when making a quick stop for a u-turning car my rear wheel slipped a bit.
  • I love my new handle-bar from a ER6N
  • Going up Khao Kho (mountains) needs a bit more shifting and just does not goes that easy (as the Versys)
  • The little engine is doing great millage (much better as the Versys or CB500F)
  • Mirrors are very narrow, especially my right one shows more of my arm as of the road. So I installed mirror extenders that also rise the mirrors a little bit. So now they are about 2-cm wider and about 3-cm more in front. Much better view now!
  • Average gasoline usages is 28 km with 1 liter. For a 250cc working very hard that is actually not so bad. But kawasaki bikes are not know for their green rides.
Via a Thai Z250 club on Facebook I learned that there is a public recall for certain models of the Z250 and Ninja 300 in Thailand. But it does not involve my motorbike (other frame/engine-number). Asking about this at my Kawasaki dealer I learned that there is also a silent recall for leaking rear shock of the Z250 (and maybe also for the Ninja 300). Actually I did just see on the Japanese web-site of Kawasaki that the problem with the leaking rear shock is not a silent recall anymore (but a public recall).

Modifying my bike a little bit

I added
  • RAM mount for my Garmin Zumo 340 navigation device
  • Bolts for service-stand (really missing a center-stand)
  • And I did cut-out the seat to have a bit better contact with the ground
  • I did install an hazard-light switch (from Kawasaki ER6N) and a new flash-light relay

For sitting more straight up I installed a handle-bar from a Kawasaki ER6N

I had the standard low handle-bar replaced with the a bit higher handle-bar from an Kawasaki ER6N. Luckily all the electric cables are long enough, but the clutch-cable, throttle-cable and front-brake-line have to be replaced.

For less wind I installed a bigger windscreen over the original cockpit-cover

To have better sight I installed mirror extenders

For better grip with my short fingers I installed adjustable levers

To loose some weight and for some extra sound I installed a after-market muffler

And of course a tax holder

And a DMV 12v-outlet with relay (1.000 THB)

To protect the tank

For less vibration rubber foot-pegs from a Kawasaki ER6N (1.000 THB)

Orange fairing + rim tape

That are 2 rear parts + 2 mid-side parts + 2 front cockpit parts + front fender + 4 decal stickers.

Disc-lock holder

Because I did get tired of getting my disc-lock in/out the rear-compartment I had a small piece of steel installed where I can put the disc-lock.

Radiator mud-guard

Bigger foot

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