The Kawasaki Ninja 300 may seem like a long-forgotten, beginner-friendly sportbike. Indeed, in the U.S., this bike is pretty much seen solely as a starter bike or a track-focused learners' machine. Replaced by the Ninja 400, which is objectively better in nearly every aspect, the Ninja 300 is a go-to for folks on a budget, with the bike available on the used market for really low prices.
If you take a trip over to Asia – India, in particular – you may be surprised to learn that the Ninja 300 is actually a rather sought-after model. Not only that, it continues to be sold as a brand-new model there, with Kawasaki just recently pulling the covers off the little sportbike. We've talked about the Indian motorcycle market on numerous occasions before, and how consumer preference over there leans towards smaller displacement machines. As such, given how the Ninja 300 is bigger, more powerful, and holds much more heritage than other sportbikes in the market, it's not surprising that it has continued trundling along in India.
Granted, the updates to this bike are limited to styling revisions. For 2023, Kawasaki sells the Ninja 300 in three new color schemes consisting of Lime Green, Candy Lime Green, and Metallic Moondust Gray. Of course, it retains its full-fairing design, equipping slightly raised clip-on handlebars and fairly approachable rearsets. Overall, the Ninja 300 presents a rather accommodating ergonomics package, considering the fact that it's a sportbike. All that being said, when parked side-by-side with the Ninja 400, it becomes apparent that the Ninja 300's styling is incredibly dated.
For starters, it still features halogen headlights, and a fairing design that's been around for more than a decade now. On top of that, it makes use of a semi-digital and analog instrument cluster, unlike most other sportbikes these days that employ a fully digital LCD instrument panel. Even more interestingly, the Ninja 300 comes with a rather odd-looking grab handle at the back that extends all the way to the passenger foot pegs. The bike does, at least, get dual-channel ABS as standard.
In terms of performance, the Ninja 300 retains its tried and tested powerplant. Rocking a 296cc, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, parallel-twin cylinder engine, the bike pumps out 38 horsepower and 18 pound-feet of torque, making it more than powerful enough to zip through India's traffic-laden streets. Power is sent to the rear wheel via a six-speed transmission with a slipper clutch.
In India, the Ninja 300 commands quite a premium. With a price tag of Rs 343,000, or about $4,150 USD, you'd really have to be a Kawasaki fanboy to consider this bike at this price point. For reference, the TVS Apache RR 310, another popular sportbike in India, retails for just Rs 265,000 ($3,207 USD), while offering even better features and tech. Even better, the BMW G 310 RR, also based on the TVS Apache RR 310, incorporates S 1000 RR-inspired styling for just Rs 295,000, or about $3,570 USD.