Post Posted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 11:30 am
 Subject: 100 mile report.

On Thursday I picked up my 300 with ABS.
I rode it around the at the dealership for about 5 minutes before heading home. The ABS seems a bit slow to react. I'm pretty sure that if I got into trouble on a dirt road the ABS wouldn't always save me. I did a couple of hard stops on gravel and the front end moves an inch or two sideways before the ABS releases it - I had to put my foot out to keep from dropping it almost every time I attempted to lock the brakes on a loose surface. It moves far enough that it wouldn't recover if it happened in snow.

So far I've only hit the Rev limiter once. On the last heat cycle ride before the oil change at 85 miles, I pulled out in front of some on-coming traffic and used full-throttle to stay out in front of them. Hitting the rev limiter came as a surprise! I knew I was running the RPM up, but didn't expect to hit it so soon and so hard. The engine was still pulling well and didn't seem like it was ready to shift yet.

It's also very quiet. Part of that may be due to the new helmet, but the bike just doesn't make much noise. For the last year I've been riding a 2000 Suzuki GS500s. It is quieter than my old Ninja 250, but at about 6000 RPM, the Suzuki starts to vibrate. It just doesn't like revving past there even though the redline is around 11000 or so. The 300 just keeps spinning faster and faster until Kawasaki reins it in.

I changed the oil at 85 miles after the last ride yesterday. The drain bolt is on the right side, but the kickstand is on the left with no center stand. I had to lean the bike over against a support to drain the oil. It's handy to have the oil fill on the high side, but the drain should have been on the low side to allow it to be changed without an additional support.

(added) Fuel economy isn't very good on this first tank. Flashing low fuel came on at 147 and a couple of miles later, it took 4.0 gallons of fuel for an average of 37 mpg.
Post Posted: Tue May 06, 2014 11:55 am
 Subject: 700 mile day on Sunday

After checking the valve clearance and changing the oil again at 400 miles, I went for a longer ride on Sunday.

As part of the maintenance on Saturday, I also changed to a 15 tooth front sprocket. Unlike the older 250, the new 300 has an electronic speedometer with the sensor on the front sprocket. This means that changing the sprocket also changes the speedometer reading. With the 14 tooth sprocket, it was 2 mph high at 70, the new 15 tooth sprocket changes it to about 3 mph low. New gearing makes it almost 9 mph per 1000 RPM in 6th.

I also built a platform to replace the rear seat. I strapped an old tankbag to the platform since I haven't had a chance to buy a new RubberMaid? ActionPacker?. The platform works very nice. I took a sheet of steel and cut it to roughly the shape of the rear seat, welded a piece of 1" square tubing to the bottom, the tubing is cut to fit just behind the helmet hooks. I put a felt furniture foot on the frame under the tubing to take up the slack. I used a 1/2" steel rod cut to about 1 1/2" long tapered and slotted to replace the front post. At the back of the plate, I notched and bent the two fingers that hold down the rear. This plate fits just as solid as the rear seat and pops on and off just as quickly. Pictures when I get the Action Packer installed.

I had a few places to visit on the DelMarVa peninsula. I laid out a route and left around 5:30 AM. At 8:00 I discovered that I had not checked the ferry schedule and found myself with an hour to walk around the dock before the first ferry arrived at 9:00. This bike is awesome, the new sprocket makes it a bit less like the old 250, now the midrange on the 300 is even more apparent. I can still rev the engine if I want to, but with the higher gearing, it seems like less of a requirement. Somehow that seems backward; maybe I'm just getting old. The longest continuous run was about 100 miles, on that segment, I did get some butt burn, but like the old Ninja, a bit of squirming around every few minutes kept it manageable.

Each of the 3 tanks of fuel that I used had the fuel gauge blink at about an indicated 200 miles (the longest was at 208.) I haven't had a chance to run the tank completely dry, but Kawasaki says it has 0.9 gallons left when that happens so I expect another 45 to 55 miles before it's completely dry. I don't know if any of them have a charcoal canister, mine doesn't. It has two over-flow tubes, one is connected to the fuel cap and allows the tank to vent through the cap. The other is connected to the well beside the filler. If I fill the tank to the absolute limit while holding it up-right, it takes 4.1 gallons right after the bar starts to blink. If Kawasaki is correct on the reserve, then the advertised 4.5 gallon tank can be used to hold 5.0 gallons. CAUTION: If the tank is filled to that level and the bike is then parked on the sidestand, it will leak fuel. Therefore, the rule is only fill the tank completely full if riding a minimum of 20 miles immediately after. It also means using the rest room first, then filling the tank and riding away.

I got home around 11:00 on Sunday night. I haven't had a chance to go over the bike and make sure everything is ok, so I've been riding my Suzuki GS500 to work for the past two days. When I rode my ZX6 to Alaska for 15,000 miles in 30 days, I rode the Ninja 250 to work and knew that the 250 was the bike for me. After riding the Ninja 300 for a 700 mile day and then taking the GS500 to work, I want my 300 back. I'm ready for more time on it.
Post Posted: Tue May 06, 2014 12:55 pm
 Subject: Great report, Leon. :)

I'm interested in the 300 so it's good to hear first hand, knowledgable experience.

Is checking the valves required this early or just for peace of mind?
Post Posted: Tue May 06, 2014 1:39 pm
 Subject: Rev limiter at 85 miles?

What's the break-in requirement on this bike? I know a lot of sportbike owners drive themselves nuts for the first 500 miles or so, trying to keep things below 5000 RPM or so, but I don't know anything about the 300's requirements.
Post Posted: Tue May 06, 2014 1:51 pm
 Subject: I didn't follow the recommended break-in.

The FAQ has a couple of items about breakin. One of them gives Duke's very detailed version of my Ninja 250 motor

On the current bike, I haven't been quite as diligent about following procedures.
Post Posted: Tue May 06, 2014 1:57 pm
 Subject: Peace of mind.

As mentioned in my other comment, I didn't follow Kawasaki's recommendations on break-in. Based on that, I wanted to make sure the valves were about right before riding as far as I did in one day.

If this engine dies before 50K miles, you'll know I did it wrong.
Post Posted: Tue May 06, 2014 2:01 pm
 Subject: Break-in

funkshn wrote:
What's the break-in requirement on this bike? I know a lot of sportbike owners drive themselves nuts for the first 500 miles or so, trying to keep things below 5000 RPM or so, but I don't know anything about the 300's requirements.

Well, the owners manual will give you the "correct" break-in for it, but there's a lot of different opinions.

I recently spoke with a pro engine builder who has experience building Nascar and Pro Stock engines about "break-in". He said that because of the tight tolerances, precise fitting, and advanced honing techniques used today the break-in of old isn't required.

They run their new engines up on a dyno at 40% for 1 hour, then check it with a leakdown test to confirm the rings are seated. He liked conventional oil initially, with a quick oil change to Mobil1 racing oil (for the auto race engines) before it's run in the car.

One thing he said surprised me. They run 0W-30 in almost all of their race engines. Lot of people like to go to a higher grade than recommended in their engines because they think it gives better protection, and they go with a lower grade than is typically recommended for street use in the specific engines.
Post Posted: Tue May 06, 2014 3:03 pm
 Subject: IBR; Leon - will we see you at the IBR or in Denver?

Post Posted: Tue May 06, 2014 3:12 pm
 Subject: Probably not. MD2020 yes, Void maybe.

No IBR in my near future. I had an edge when GPS first came into use, now that everyone has them, my advantage is gone.

I'm doing support for the Mason Dixon 2020, the ride on Sunday was to verify Rally Book info for the Memorial Day event. I'm staying relatively local for the next year or so.

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