Welcome to the 2015 Kawasaki Z300 review, the latest naked or more accurately half faired motorcycle entry in the learner and commuter motorcycle class. The Z300 is essentially a naked version of the Kawasaki Ninja 300 so nothing further needs to be explained as to what it is! Since I’ve already ridden the Ninja 300 we presume that it will the same experience.
The Z300 specifications are essentially the same as the Ninja 300 except in weight. The lack of additional fairing means lighter weight and less weight in this class means more performance. Mind you it’s only a few kilos but its better than nothing! Aerodynamics are also important for performance and there is enough of a fairing to direct wind around the bike. Mind you its not as light as I expected.
In terms of looks the Z300 alludes to the design language of the Z series aka Z1000 however let’s be honest it’s more ER-6 than Z. (Maybe they’re referring to the 2006 Z?) Since the Z300 treatment is not quite there yet it is still one of the better looking small capacity semi-naked motorcycle currently available. I think the best looking naked/half faired motorcycle in this class is the KTM Duke series. The Z300 also looks better in real life than in pictures.
If this style of motorcycle is what you are looking for I think the Z300 has all the right specifications to be a good choice if you can find one at the right price. That said I prefer the Ninja 300 because it does look better.
The Suzuki DR-Z250 has been around for over a decade (2002) essentially unchanged. There are clearly very good commercial reasons why and you can probably guess what they are. Cue 2015 and the competition have updated their models in the 250cc dual purpose class specifically the Honda CRF series and Yamaha WR series. As a result the DR-Z250 along with the Kwasaki KLX250 are now the oldest models in the class.
Like others in the dual-purpose class the DR-Z250 is a compromise for on and off road riding. So it features high ground clearance, light weight, plank like seats and no wind protection means good short commuting qualities but long distance touring is for people who are reasonably healthy. The ‘feature’ of the Suzuki DR-z250 is that it’s air cooled and equipped with a kick starter hence easy to maintain by being inherently less complex than the others with water based systems and of course theoretically tougher.
Still interested – some other things you may want to consider before getting the DR-Z250: An updated or all new DR-Z250 model is due any time since the competition have already been refreshed. Aside from that you need reasonably long legs due to seat height. Like all trail bikes it has a small fuel tank and if parking in insecure locations – theft due to desirability. Any off road capable model is high in demand on the off road scene legal or otherwise since there are next to no police presence in the bush.
In the end the Suzuki DR-Z250 is like the Kawasaki KLX250 and both are probably good what what they do in isolation. However 2015, the DR-Z250 biggest problem is price. It’s $800 RRP more than the CRF250 which is a big issue the last time I asked. It is in the WTF territory as the Kawasaki KLX but there’s no compelling reason why anyone should buy a new motorcycle without EFI. EFI is like the introduction of electric starters for these sort of motorcycles. For commuters and learners wanting a new dual purpose motorcycle the Suzuki DR-Z250 is better than the Kawasaki KLX250 but not as good as the Honda or Yamaha alternatives.
Suzuki DR-Z250 Key Specifications
1 cylinder 4-stroke DOHC Air cooled
Approx 17 Kw @ 10000 RPM 20 Nm @ 9000 RPM
0-100kph N/A seconds Approx Max Speed N/A Kph Approx