2019 Kawasaki Z250 ABS First Ride Review

  • The 2019 Kawasaki Z250 ABS is a lightweight naked sportbike.

  • It demonstrates the fun in lightweight bikes.

  • Launched earlier this year, it’s priced from RM 21,998.

Ah, lightweight bikes. Forget about power, about techno wizardry… it’s all about fun. Fun from the rider’s skills. Fun from the rider’s right hand which pins the throttle to the very last moment. Lightweight and fun, like from the 2019 Kawasaki Z250 ABS?

Launched together with the Z400 SE ABS just earlier this year, the new 2019 Kawasaki Z250 ABS is the naked variant of the lightweight Ninja 250 lightweight sportbike.

They are mechanically similar, if not alike but the naked version ought to be a little lighter.

Highlights:

  • Following the Sugomi design concept, the bike has multiple slated panels.
  • The fuel tank is now more muscular.
  • New steel trellis frame that’s 4kg lighter, and inspired by the Ninja H2.
  • Wider handlebar for better leverage.
  • Raised tail section.
  • New LED taillight.
  • New LED headlight.
  • Semi-digital instrument panel (meter) inspired by the Z650.
  • Single front petal brake disc and petal rear brake.
  • Dual-channel ABS.
  • The engine is a 249cc, fuel-injected, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 4-valve, parallel-Twin.
  • It produces 37.7 hp (38.2 PS) and 23.5 Nm of torque
  • The engine is mated to a 6-speed gearbox with assist and slipper clutch.
  • Offered in Green colour scheme.

Okay, Kawasaki says its styling is heavily inspired by the Z650, sharing the Sugomi DNA that’s prevalent in the manufacturer’s line-up. While the Z250 looks distinctive, the design may not be everyone’s cup of tea. However, that’s just our personal observations and owners will sure not to mind.

Straddling the bike after getting off a heavyweight adventure tourer was a bit of a shock. The Z250 is slim, narrow and short from front to back. The seat is low so even this writer could stand over the bike and rock it from side to side.

Sticking the right thumb into the starter button and the bike comes alive to the signature sounds of the Kawasaki parallel-Twin. It needed  more throttle twist to sweep the tach needle.

Riding

Out on the streets, the engine had an appetite for revs. Just as the Ninja 250, it needed at least 6,000 RPM to make it accelerate harder. But everything started happening quickly once the needle went past 8,500 RPM.

Having the slip and assist clutch was great because you don’t lose too much speed when slowing down. The assist function kept the lever soft with just one pull of the index finger. The transmission shifted with authority, letting you know you’ve got the next cog in.

But what truly impressed us was the suspension.

It seemed that Kawasaki had chosen the test ride route with the purpose of highlighting the suspension’s performance.

The bike was so easy to flick over into a lean. From there, it’s about pinning the throttle as much as you dare through the turn. Remember, this is a small engine which thrives on revs so slowing down too much mean you have to row through the gearbox to find the right gear, so forget it. Just pin it.

Anyhow, the test road has so many potholes and those patched over, and the majority of these were in the middle of corners. With nowhere to go, I just gassed the bike over hard over the bumps with the bike on its side, fully expecting the bike to buckle like a wild mare or go wide.

Except that it didn’t. It held the chosen line and trajectory.

I tried again on another bump and the same thing happened. It got almost so unbelievable that I actually sought out bumps and ran over them on purpose. The bike shook off the insults.

Lightweight bikes would usually get kicked around when hitting bumps but not this one.

Conclusion

The 2019 Kawasaki Z250 ABS is a simple, lightweight and fun bike to have around. It’s no slouch for the daily commute while still being a nice bike to chuck into corners during the weekend.

PICTURE GALLERY

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