2013 Kawasaki Ninja 300 vs. 2013 Honda CBR500R

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by GotMojo?, Nov 13, 2012.

  1. GotMojo?

    GotMojo? Long timer

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    I was really thinking about picking up one of the new 2013 Ninja 300's in the spring, but this new Honda CBR500R has me intrigued. I prefer the styling of the Ninja, but I wonder if I'd appreciate the extra power of the Honda.

    Anybody else out there considering the Ninja 300, but now you're looking at the new Honda? I wonder if Kawasaki wishes they would have stuck with the Ninja 250R and then re-designed the Ninja 500 instead of discontinuing it?
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  2. Grainbelt

    Grainbelt marginal adventurer Super Moderator

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    Thousand dollar spread in price.

    375lbs vs. 425 lbs

    39 hp vs. 54 hp

    :dunno
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  3. Meter Man

    Meter Man Living on a prayer

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    I would be surprised if we don't see a New Ninja 500 at some point in the next few years.

    Honda sold a lot of CB500s over the years in Europe and Kawasaki sold a lot of ER-5/EX500s over the years as well.

    Perfect market niche in Europe, and the number of years Kawasaki sold the Ninja 500 in the US indicates to me it is a large market segment here as well.
    #3
  4. ZZ-R Rider

    ZZ-R Rider Captain Fantastic

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    Almost exactly the same power-to-weight ratio ...
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  5. Grainbelt

    Grainbelt marginal adventurer Super Moderator

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    47 is a guess for the CBR, that is the euro licensing HP point they've quoted for Europe.

    Add a 180lb human to each and the story is a little different, but it will depend on how they make their power.
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  6. Grainbelt

    Grainbelt marginal adventurer Super Moderator

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    I dunno how they can fit something between the $5k Ninja 300 and the $7,500 Ninja 650R. :dunno

    When they needed a 400cc bike for a few province's insurance regs in Canada, they just sleeved down the 650 and left the chassis the same.
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  7. Navin

    Navin Long timer

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    I've added a few HP and lost a few lbs on my 300 and still spent less $ than the Honda, not that it would have changed my mind. 40-50 lbs is alot of weight and I wanted the light Ninja 250 feel with better brakes/suspension. It's getting there.

    The 300 makes good power from 4k up. It is more of a midrange motor than anything else, nothing like the 250s. 2 up is easy and I'm bumping the CS up a tooth as 1st is too short IMO. I start in second 75% of the time now.

    I had a 06 Ninja 500 as beater just a few years ago and the tossabbility was fun, the junk-o-meter was pegged though. The 300 at least looks better, still crap under the skin, which the Honda will probably be too.

    210lbs, 6-01" +35 years racing/riding, just off a KTM 950SMR.
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  8. Gryphon12

    Gryphon12 Long timer

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    It's not the peak HP rating, or the total weight, but the shape of the HP curve, and most importantly, the shape of the torque curve, that matters to me.

    There will be no beating physics. The Honda will produce more torque, and probably produce more torque per pound of motorcycle weight (official specs still pending, and differences will exist perhaps between European and US tuning of the motor). If the CB500's are tuned for gas mileage, then the cams will probably be mild, maximizing (or at least producing a flat) torque curve.

    Navin is right, the 50 lbs. weight difference between the EX300R and CB500 is quite a bit in this class, even if power-to-weight ratio is close to the same. It will be interesting to see the first reviews and dyno test results. Early numbers on the Internet can be misleading, but 47 HP and 30 ft-lbs (41 Nm) of torque have been bandied about in conversation as peak numbers for the European-tuned CB500's. This means 9.1 lb/HP and 10.4 lb/Nm @ 428 lbs. wet. Comparable Ninja 300R peak numbers are 39/20(27) and 9.8 lb/HP and 14.0 lb/Nm @ 378 lbs. wet.

    The junk factor still bothers me. Why people accept very low Japanese quality (still adequate but built to a price point) and then complain about quality from India, Thailand or China, puzzles me. The ease with which soft luggage can be added, and the Honda fuel capacity (total range) will matter to me, too.

    The new Duke 390 is supposed to produce peak 44 hp and 26 ft-lbs (35 Nm) of torque in a 324 lbs. wet package. Early specs suggest peak ratios of 7.6 lb/HP and 9.2 lb/Nm; both are better than the EX300R and CB500 (the shape of the curve still matters), so I'll wait to see the quality of the components and US price point on the India-produced KTM. I'm expecting a very small gas tank (11 liters, 2.9 gal), which may kill the deal if an after-market alternative isn't available.
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  9. Grainbelt

    Grainbelt marginal adventurer Super Moderator

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    Review in Canada said peak power is at 8,500 RPM, and the bore/stroke is almost exactly square, so I'd expect a pretty flat torque curve. My only concern there is that it could end up being really boring. If I wanted an electric bike, I'd buy one. :lol3

    Too bad it is so damn hard to get at test ride.
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  10. jbc

    jbc Adventurer

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  11. Meter Man

    Meter Man Living on a prayer

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    I hear this "Junk Factor" thing all the time. I don't really understand where it comes from.

    The Japanese do, in general, make a non premium motorcycle vs the Euros. That doesn't mean they are junk. Hell, my little Nighthawk 250 has spindly forks and very simple design. It does its mission adequately - It gets me to work, it takes me down a country road at 60 mph, same for the Rebel 250 which sold for decades at $2,999. Both models will still go over 100,000 miles without needed major mechanical work.

    Certainly any motorcycle - Euro or Japanese has a set of problems that are inherent to the motorcycle - KLR Doohickey, Aprilia SVX head gasket, DR650 Compression release, Buell Blast Oil Breather etc. All of these are fixable/preventable problems.

    Gone are the days of extreme leaking from HD or Triumphs etc.
    #11
  12. Navin

    Navin Long timer

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    Go turn a wrench on a ZX6 and then a Ninja 300. One is well outfitted with decent hardware, bracketry and materials. The other is rivaling a Chinese clone of a Z50. I own the latter right now. :lol3 My side panel under the seat lost a pin that secures it to the frame while reinstalling it. Just pressing it into the grommet snapped it off and I was being careful as I felt the thing and knew it was brittle junk.

    Will it work? Sure. Does it that mean it couldn't be better? My 300 has cheap steel, easily deformed and welds look like crap. By cheap I don't mean just steel is cheap. I have KTMs with good steel frames and tabs. This thing is stamped out of recycled rusty tuna cans. :deal
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  13. cogitate

    cogitate What Marcellus Wallace Looks Like

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    [/b]

    Probably is the key word. I find the value of Hondas to be in the quality of the engineering. I have yet to have a Honda that was crap under the skin, although some are simply built to meet a price point.
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  14. Navin

    Navin Long timer

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    I've had a few XR80s and 100s around for the kids and they are only less offensive because they have less stuff attached! :lol3
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  15. GotMojo?

    GotMojo? Long timer

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    How much more does that ZX6 cost compared to the Ninja 300? Isn't it more than double the price? These "junk" bikes that everybody complains about are not made for us here in the US who have been spoiled by high end expensive bikes.... they're made for the emerging markets who have lower expectations and want (or can only afford) less expensive bikes.
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  16. cogitate

    cogitate What Marcellus Wallace Looks Like

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    True, dat! :lol3


    At the same time, compared to the Yamaha (one) and Kawis I have owned (three or four), the seven or eight Hondas were light years ahead in terms of fastener quality, control feel, instrumentation, fit and finish.

    I am a certified Honda Geek, I admit it.
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  17. Navin

    Navin Long timer

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    Yeah, I know and I have about one other rider here who agrees that we need higher quality small displacement bikes built for the USA. I am left wanting for a higher spec 250-350cc streetbike but I am used to better built bikes that cost more. For now I'm building my Ninja 300 to be as good and as close to that bike as I can get it. I'd have rather spent more at the dealer for it with top notch suspension and fit/finish that doesn't feel like a Pep Boys moped but it's all I can get right now.


    Maybe the KTM 390 will be the start of a real revolution here?
    #17
  18. davidji

    davidji bike curious

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    You've got your units mixed-up. It's 7.4lb/hp. Lower is better. if it were hp/lbs, higher would be better.
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  19. Anteraan

    Anteraan Been here awhile

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    I'm looking at both, leaning toward the CBR500R at this point, but I'll simply have to ride them both before I make a call. I didn't think the new-gen 250 to N300 would be that big of an upgrade, but it certainly appears to be so, based on everything I am reading. It (the 300) is also by far better looking than the CBR (imo), especially in white, and it's $1,200 less expensive than the CBR.

    That said, the CBR looks pretty good in red (ABS also available in red, and only red), and the motor looks very, very promising. I haven't seen any dyno curves yet, but I find it hard to believe that the torque curve will be anything but broad and flat. And considering my 6'2", 200lb frame, the 500's engine changes the power to weight ratio in favor of the CBR (once I'm on it).

    Bottom line: The dealership that sold me my new-gen 250 is a Honda-Kawasaki dealership, so when spring comes, I'm looking to schedule a back-to-back test ride of the 300 and 500. Then I'll decide.
    #19
  20. Gryphon12

    Gryphon12 Long timer

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    Nice to know that somebody checks me on these things. I always worry about making mistakes. You are correct, my fingers were typing faster than my brain was thinking...again! Fixed!
    #20