2011 Kawasaki Ninja 250R Special Edition
The red and black 2011 Kawasaki Ninja 250R Special Edition is the Green Team's aesthetic answer to the 2011 Honda CBR600RR Leyla. Unfortunately, this begs the question who is Leyla and what the heck is she doing on the side of my fairing? Whoever she is, she seems to be caught in flagrante delicto as a still from a porn movie. Exactly Honda did this is truly difficult to understand, as is what the cards and the skull and crossbones is doing on the same paint job. Subliminal, or just creepy? (Let's not get started on the same skulls all over the 2011 Victory Cross Country, shall we?)
At least the 2011 Kawasaki Ninja 250R Special Edition doesn't reach this level of creepizoidness. Instead, inept seems to be a more appropriate word. The basic Ninja paint scheme is essentially unchanged from bikes more than two decades old. And to slap on some weird gray Celtic stencil on the side simply reeks of both desperation and lack of creativity on the part of Kawasaki.
Not that the extra few bucks for the Ninja 250R Special Edition is going to make this an overpriced bike, as it is still a bit over four grand and given the current state of the Kawasaki price list, this is a real steal with or without Celtic creepiness.
The Ninja 250R Special Edition has had its rake decreased by 1 degree to improve low speed handling and has all new bodywork, which unfortunately looks a bit too similar to the all old bodywork. The 249 cc liquid-cooled, DOHC, four valve per cylinder, parallel-twin engine fed by twin Keihin CVK30 carbs is the same reliable engine that Kawi has been building since the Cretaceous era, but what it lacks in innovation it makes up in reliability and decent power generation.
The suspension is a full class above the Ninja 250R Special Edition's league with a 37mm hydraulic telescopic fork which allows 4.7 inches of travel and a rear bottom link 5-way adjustable preload UniTrak with 5.1 inches of wheel travel. The suspension can be easily dialed in for a rider's weight and riding style so that even though you can't afford a ZX-14 you can imagine you're riding one in the mountains.
Would a triple disc setup be nice? Sure, but would it be necessary on a 250 that only weighs 374 pounds soaking wet? Certainly not, especially if it would serve to punch the price up. After all it's the price which is one of the most appealing aspects of the 2011 Kawasaki Ninja 250R Special Edition. It sure isn't the paint job!
2011 Kawasaki Ninja 250R Special Edition At A Glance
Base MSRP: $5,199
Engine Displacement: 249 cc
Engine Type: 4-stroke Parallel Twin
Bore & Stroke: 62.0 x 41.2 mm
Ignition Type: Digital with anti-hotwire circuit
Compression Ratio: 11.6:1
Valve Train Type: DOHC, 8 valves
Transmission Type: 6-speed, return with positive neutral finder
Final Drive Type: Sealed Chain
Front Tire: 110/70-17 MC (54H)
Rear Tire: 130/70-17 MC (62H)
Wheelbase: 1400 mm
Saddle Height: 775 mm
Curb Dry Weight: 170 kg
Fuel Capacity (US): 18 litres
* Specs/pix apply to 2010 model, updates as released