Skip to main content

Kawasaki Z300 – Review (2015-2018)

Massively experienced road tester



2018 Kawasaki Review Used Price Spec_04
2018 Kawasaki Review Used Price Spec_07


Price: £2000-£4300 | Power: 39bhp | Weight: 170kg | Overall BikeSocial Rating: 4/5


Claimed by Kawasaki at its launch in 2015 to be the world’s first 300cc super naked, the Z300 may be pushing the term ‘super naked’ a touch but it still makes for a very tempting A2-legal used buy. Powered by a friendly and fairly peppy parallel twin motor, the Zed shares its chassis with the firm’s lightweight sportsbike, the Ninja 300, and as such also impresses in the bends. With prices starting at £2500, the Zed is a great urban commuter that will also make you smile on a twisty B-road at the weekend.


  • Spirited and reliable motor

  • Impressive handling

  • Cool looks

  • It lacks the maximum bhp allowed by A2-limits

  • Build quality is poor in some areas

  • The brakes are disappointing


Review – In Detail

Price & PCP
For and against
Engine & Performance
Handling & Suspension (inc. weight & brakes)
Comfort & Economy
Owner Reviews


2015-2018 Kawasaki Z300 Price

Brand new in 2015 the Zed was £4349 with ABS and a few quid less without it and by the time it went off sale in 2018 it cost - £4349! It’s not often that a bike’s RRP fails to change! There was a Performance model, which added a pillion seat over and Akrapovic can for £400 more but, oddly, they seem rarer than the stock model in the used market. Nowadays prices for a Zed start at £2000 for a well-used model with a few scratches and go up to just over £4000 for a really good one. With the Z400 now on sale, you have to assume used prices may dip slightly, so it is worth having a bit of a haggle if you are looking to spend near the top end of the price range.



2015-2018 Kawasaki Z300 Engine & Performance

The Zed makes a claimed 38.5bhp with 19.9lb-ft of torque, which is lower than the A2 limit of 47bhp. In some ways this is a bit of a shame because it means that it can feel a touch subdued when compared to its more brisk rivals. There again, the Zed will happily hit 70mph and as it is a naked bike, do you really need any more performance?

On the road the parallel twin is a really enjoyable engine to ride that is happy to rev but also has a decent amount of mid-range when you want to take it easy. In town a lovely light clutch action is a welcome addition (it also has a slipper function) and the gearbox is nice and slick. Although hard to really get that excited about, by the same token the engine doesn’t disappoint and it is very reliable and frugal, which is a good news for cash-strapped younger riders or commuters.

As long as you stick to the recommended service intervals (every 3750 miles for a small sub-£100 service, 7500 miles for a major valve-clearance check service which is about £400) all should be well with the motor. As you would expect on a budget bike, there are a few areas of concern when buying used. The black paint on the exhaust’s end can is pretty thin and flakes off, leading to rust forming, and although the downpipes are stainless steel they discolour badly, which makes the bike look a bit tatty. Also check the paint on the engine, which gets a hammering from stones due to its exposed nature, and the radiator as they corrode badly if ridden in winter and not cleaned or flushed through with a gentle spray of water regularly. Generally, however, the Zed has a good reputation for reliability.



2015-2018 Kawasaki Z300 Handling & Suspension (inc. Weight & Brakes)

If you are looking at buying a used Zed, the first thing to check is if it has ABS. On early bikes it was an option but quite quickly ABS became standard. There is an ABS sticker on the mudguard and a sensor ring on the disc with a wire leading to it on ABS models. On a new rider bike, ABS is quite handy to have – not that the Zed’s brakes really need it! Pretty lacking in bite on OE pads, ideally the previous owner will have uprated the pads to higher friction alternatives, it does need them. And if by any chance the original IRC tyres are still on the bike, junk them instantly for quality branded alternatives as they are shocking – long lasting it has to be said but terrible in the wet.

These two areas sorted and the Zed makes for a really charming bike to ride. The chassis is taken from the Ninja 300 (which had its own race series remember) and is sporty enough to be fun without getting too nervous thanks to wide tyres. You can certainly fling the lightweight Zed down a B-road and although the suspension is a bit budget-feeling and bouncy, it’s not horrific. In town the Zed’s kerb weight of just 170kg and low 785mm seat height makes it really easy to manoeuvre and it also has a decent amount of turning circle, which is always handy when zipping through gaps in an urban area. When buying used, always look for tell-tale signs of a low speed spill such as scratched bar ends or scuffed pegs, and also ensure the forks aren’t leaking through their seals.



2015-2018 Kawasaki Z300 Comfort & Economy

When it comes to economy, Kawasaki claimed that the Z300 could average 66mpg, which is a touch optimistic with owners recording closer to 50mpg but not entirely out of the question (it has an ECO light on the dash if you want to try and match this mpg target). Average 50mpg and the Zed has a tank range of around 200 miles, which is great news. In terms of comfort, a naked bike is always a bit limited but riders do fit bigger screens to improve the weather protection but a lot moan about its hard seat, which is harder to cure. Taller riders may also struggle as while the Zed is a physically quite big bike, long legs can feel a bit cramped over long distances.



2015-2018 Kawasaki Z300 Equipment

The Z300 is built to a budget (in the Far East)and as a result it is left decidedly lacking when it comes to equipment and although you get a fuel gauge, an ECO light and the option of ABS, that’s where it ends in terms of tech. Kawasaki did try and tempt riders to make their bike look a bit sportier (like a super naked...) through an official pillion seat cover and also protect it with frame sliders (there was a Performance model that cost £400 more and came with a road-legal Akrapovič exhaust), but they never went overboard on accessories for the Zed. That said, it is worth noting that the Zed comes with decent underseat storage, luggage hooks and two hook-type helmet holders under the seat, which is pleasing to see on a budget bike and handy for urban riders.

In the used market it is very common to find Zeds with a taller screen, which is an ugly but useful addition, the occasional top box, heated grips and an aftermarket exhaust. That’s about where it ends as A2-licence holders tend not to go too hard on accessories. Although there aren’t that many around, Performance models do tend to sell well – everyone loves an Akrapovič can...



2015-2018 Kawasaki Z300 Rivals

The A2-legal middleweight class is quite crowded with the Yamaha MT-03 and KTM 390 Duke generally leading the way. If you want sporty, the Duke is the pick as it comes with inverted forks and a radial brake caliper as well as (on later models) a TFT dash with connectivity where the MT, like the Zed, is far more basic. There again, the Duke’s price tag tends to reflect its higher spec. The Honda, which has ABS as standard with a self-levelling function, is good looking but has never been that popular and the same could be said of BMW’s G310R, which is powerful and has a good array of optional extras. Generally, buyers of the Zed will be also looking at the MT-03 and Duke.


KTM 390 Duke, 2013-current | Price: From £2200

Power/Torque: 44bhp/27lb-ft | Weight: 149kg


Yamaha MT-03, 2016-current | Price: From £3000

Power/Torque: 41bhp/22lb-ft | Weight: 168kg


Honda CB300R, 2018-current | Price: From£3500

Power/Torque: 31bhp/20.3lb-ft | Weight: 143kg



2015-2018 Kawasaki Z300 Verdict

Yes, the Zed is fairly basic but in this class, basic can be a good thing. The parallel twin motor has a good amount of power, delivers impressive fuel economy and is very reliable, which are all things that newer riders or commuters will appreciate. And its light weight and low seat height will also tick many boxes for less confident riders. If you are a Kawasaki fan the Zed’s styling is bang on the aggressive attitude the firm likes to portray and from a distance it does look a bit like a super naked. Overall it’s a good A2-legal option, not necessarily better or worse than the MT-03 but certainly a valid alternative if you especially like green (it also comes in black...) bikes.



2015-2018 Kawasaki Z300 Technical Specification

Used price

From £2000-£4300



Bore x Stroke

62.0 x 49.0

Engine layout


Engine details

8-valve, liquid-cooled DOHC, fuel-injected


38.5bhp (29KW) @ 11,000rpm


19.9lb-ft (27Nm) @ 10,000rpm


6 speed, chain final drive

Average fuel consumption

66mpg claimed

Tank size

17 litres

Max range to empty

244 miles

Rider aids

Optional ABS


Tubular steel diamond

Front suspension

37mm telescopic forks

Front suspension adjustment


Rear suspension


Rear suspension adjustment

5-stage adjustable preload

Front brake

290mm petal disc, two-piston caliper

Rear brake

220mm petal disc, two-piston caliper

Front wheel / tyre


Rear wheel / tyre


Dimensions (LxWxH)

2015mm x 750mm 1025mm



Seat height



170kg (kerb)




3750 miles


Looking for motorcycle insurance? Get a quote for this motorbike with Bennetts bike insurance