After the company introduced the Z250 in September 2013 and the Ninja 250SL in May 2014, Kawasaki Motors Malaysia Sdn Bhd (KMMMSB) continued to make clear of their intention of taking the local biking scene – particularly below the 500 cc class – by storm with the introduction of the Kawasaki Z250SL in July 2014. As the only second SL model to be offered, the Z250SL positions itself alongside the 250SL and opens up a new dimension for those who prefer naked over fairing-clad bikes, with a zestful single-cylinder engine, instead of the usual two-cylinder unit in the Z250.
Courtesy of KMMMSB, we get to sample the Z250SL for a whole month and that obviously should be enough to verdict the newcomer. As the name suggests, the Z250SL belongs to the Z ‘streetfighter’ family alongside the Z800 and the new Z1000. Although it is the lowest-ranking member with the puniest engine in the category, the Z250SL is still capable of alluring potential owners with its eye-catching angular features, in line with the brand’s “slim and sexy” design theme.
Compared to the Z250, the design of the SL here is more exposed, as evidenced by the bare trellis frame and engine. It features the same single head light as the Ninja 250SL and a cowl underneath to protect the drivetrain. The rear section of the bike – starting from the saddle to the pillion seat – looks like it’s been sculptured by an artist. This section is angled forward and looks almost like the tail of a scorpion, resulting in a really enticing side profile. The saddle is slim, not too slim, but feels unpadded and uncomfortable at times. The pillion seat is worse; it too small even for a regular sized person to sit on.
The slim and compact profile of the Z250SL may suggest otherwise, but sitting on the bike feels like sitting on a taller machine, a dual-purpose, for example. The nature of the seat makes it almost impossible for me to put my foot flat on the ground but reaching the handlebar, luckily, doesn’t require you to stretch all the way forward and put unnecessary pressure on the palms. Then come the foot pegs, which are positioned a little higher than expected to give riders total control over the bike through a sportier riding position.
As aforementioned, the liquid-cooled 249 cc single-pot engine may be smallest engine in the Z family but it’s far from a frail one. In fact, the single-cylinder unit, making 28 hp at 9,700 rpm and 22.6 Nm at 8,200 rpm, is vigorous especially at low to mid rpm. The acceleration can be felt from the very first gear all the way to the fifth. This makes the bike an excellent performer in stop-and-go traffic and would be a good choice for those who commute to work.
Not only that, the Z250 SL is also a sterling piece of machinery on open roads. Of course, the lack of protection from the wind is definitely a hindrance when it comes to riding on the highway but the bike makes up with composure and tireless performance. And thanks to its slim profile, the bike proves itself as a decent handling machine on the corners. It’s easy to flick the bike again and again into the corners because the chassis feels sturdy and the bike itself is light, tipping the scales at only 148 kg.
Smile-inducing acceleration and handsome profile aside, the refined construction of the bike also proves to be one of the contributing factor for its own riding dynamics. Because everything seems to be well fastened, unwanted vibration is kept to a minimum level – even when you’re riding long distance. Despite the lack of a gear indicator (which is actually normal for a small-capacity bike), the digital instrument cluster is well designed and provides an easy-to-read layout.
Personally, the Kawasaki Z250SL is one of the better looking 250 cc bikes I have ever seen. The build quality is excellent and its small capacity engine is definitely no pushover. At RM15,739, the bike is a steal for those looking for a versatile everyday bike.
|Engine Type||4-Stroke, Liquid Cooled, Single Cylinder|
|Power||25 hp @ 9,700 rpm|
|Torque||22.6 Nm @ 8,200 rpm|
|Fuel Supply||Fuel Injection|
|Frame||Tubular Diamond, Steel|
|Front Suspension||37 mm Telescopic|
|Rear Suspension||Bottom-link Uni-Trak with Spring Pre-load|
|Seat Height||785 mm|
|Fuel Capacity||11 Litres|
|Tyres||110/80 17M/C 52S (F), 130/70 17M/C 62S (R),|