The Kawasaki Ninja 250R (previous generations had market-specific names) is a motorcycle originally introduced by Kawasaki in 1983. As the marque's entry-level sport bike, the motorcycle has undergone few changes throughout its quarter-century lifetime, having received only two substantial redesigns.
The fourth-generation model is marketed as the Ninja 250R in all markets. The motorcycle is also referred to by its platform designation, EX250, to which a generational suffix is attached. In the United States, previous generations of the bike (EX250-E/F/G/H) were already being marketed as members of the Ninja family of sport bikes, while outside of the U.S. the bike was known variously as the ZZR-250, ZX-250, or as the GPX-250R. One of the earliest generations, the EX250-C, was given the name GPZ-250.
The Ninja 250R's particular ergonomics, chassis design, and engine placement have resulted in a motorcycle that straddles the standard and sport classes. The Ninja's riding posture also falls between standard and sport. The bike is capable of running the quarter mile in 15.58 s @ 81.98 mph (131.93 km/h), although it had been 1 s faster in the prior generation, while providing the amenities of more utilitarian motorcycles, including bungee hooks for transporting cargo and space for a second passenger.
The latest model, the EX250-J or fourth generation, brought the Ninja's first major update in many years. Appearance upgrades included 17-inch wheels and completely redesigned fairings which give the motorcycle a sleeker, more modern appearance.
The first generation was produced between 1983 and 1984, and known by the production number EX250-C. It was sold as the GPZ-250. Sold only in its home market of Japan, this earliest, belt-driven version was first produced in 1983, and shares no commonality with later generations.The bike has 35mm fork tubes.
Produced between 1986 and 1987 was the EX250-E. This model was sold as the Ninja 250R in Canada and the U.S. between 1986 and 1987. It was known as the GPZ-250R elsewhere. When originally introduced, it was more costly than the Honda Rebel, and reviewers complained that while the 14,000 rpm redline was nice, the engine was slow to rev.