Upgraded from a Yamaha R15 to the 2022 Ninja 300: Initial impressions

A near perfect sports tourer considering the good ride quality, smooth engine and the massive 17L tank .

BHPian Paavan_Shetty recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

The Initial Regret!

Hello BHPians! It’s a bit of a shame that I’m writing my first proper detailed review/post on this forum 4 years after joining a place where I feel right at home. Nevertheless as it is said, “It’s never too late!”. For some weird reason, I kept on postponing writing a good read, thinking I’m the busiest or the most loaded (everyone have their own set of issues to handle, so clearly I’m wrong in thinking so!) person. Back in 2019 when I joined the forum, I had kept photos of my then comparatively new YAMAHA R15 V2 ready to write a travelogue on the innumerous trips I did on the bike, but never wrote one!

Inception of the journey…

So finally the time comes to pen down my thoughts. So as the post title would suggest this post will be more about my current vehicle, the Ninja 300 2022 MY and my adventures with it. But before that I would give a brief intro about my love for automobiles in general and my journey so far! So sit back and enjoy the long read!

The curiosity and love for automobiles was in me from the moment I started to understand the world around me as a kid and it just kept on growing, to become my everything from profession to daily activities. As a kid I used to be fascinated by all machines around me, especially automobiles, for them being moving one’s! And my father used to ensure that his son doesn’t get disappointed on his birthdays, with those automotive toys ranging from 2W’s, 4W’s and even rikshaws!

My second birthday pic with one of my favorite toys! The Rikshaw!

And the madness kept getting bigger, as I reached my engineering studies (I had decided myself at a young age that I would be nothing other than an automobile engineer!), where I got my first chance to exploit this love of mine. I joined our college Formula Student Team as a young prodigy full of energy to be unleashed. And in true fashion my then team captain, friends and even my family supporter me a lot to give my best in what I loved to do. I started that little journey (3years – from 2nd year to 4th year of the engineering course) with tuning the KTM DUKE 390 engine using Performance Electronics ECU – PE3 (USA based aftermarket ECU maker) and on the way built custom cooling system (the engine being used in a car weighing around 230kgs gives out more energy in the form of heat due to the increased load) and became on the team drivers, especially for the acceleration and endurance events (kind of makes total sense considering the fact that I weighed less at 62kgs and knew the engine performance IN and OUT). The journey ended on a high note with our team (Team Octane Racing representing COEP college) gaining it’s best result till that date, standing in at 4th in the event and we embarking on a journey to turbocharge (to take on our fellow competing colleges some of which had the mighty 600cc engines from Honda, Kawasaki and KTM) the crazy 390cc engine from Austria! But as is with all good things, part of the journey being the end, I got separated from my college team work as I got placed in Chennai R&D center of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, miles away from Pune, to give any kind of support to the team in the tough job that they had in their hand! (The team did a splendid job of successfully turbocharging the beast in next two years albeit with a healthy hand of help from BAJAJ AUTO R&D center; in the process making India’s only turbocharged KTM 390cc engine!)

Our team (me doing the customary rituals) praying the newly sponsored KTM 390cc engine (by BAJAJ AUTO) to support us all round the year!

The last car of our team that I rode as a driver and the 3rd one designed and manufactured by my batch.

The Honeywell Sponsored Turbocharger (the same is actually used in the TATA ACE 2 cylinder diesel engine!) modified for our unique application.

The turbo setup on our 2018 car! One last of it’s kind ; after which the team switched to electric powertrain!

But life is all about embracing new challenges and adventures and I started my hyper riding journey from there on.

Start of the hyper riding journey…

The craze of owning and experiencing the driving dynamics of a sports bike was rooted in my mind from childhood as most of us enthusiasts have those dream bike posters on our walls. It all came true in 2017 when I graduated as a mechanical engineer and stepped into the real world of automotive engineering, with the purchase of the segment conquering Yamaha R15.Having previously owned the venerable HERO HF DELUXE, this was a huge jump indeed. I didn’t have the patience to wait for the launch of the V3 model back then and don’t exactly regret the decision as performance wise there wasn’t a night and day difference between the two variants and I particularly like the engineering quality of the panels of V2 over V3.

Start of the Sportsbike Journey…with some much required blessings!

The R15 V2 was a precision sports bike with near perfect handling dynamics (Courtesy to the Pirelli Tyres I had upgraded to in the second half of the bike’s life with me), hard charging 150cc mill, decent braking and most importantly no frills or gimmicky features to talk of. Heck it didn’t have ABS too and so the braking was very predictable even in the last few millimeters of travel with no ABS intervention to talk of. The 35000 kms of travel over various terrains and innumerous experiences are absolutely unforgettable (worth mentioning was the blastic drive down the Munnar-Theni Road; the road being the best I have driven so far)

One of the many long trips….this one being from Chennai-Coimbatore-Mangalore-Chennai

Crucial tyre change before the Munnar Trip…tyres being a pair of Pirelli Angle CITYs.

During the Munnar trip…

The longest (non-stop) so far on the R15; Chennai – Pune, during shifting the vehicle between the two cities.


Fast forward to 2022 and I was getting increasingly impatient to upgrade from the single cylinder 150cc mill to a more displacement, smoothness in the top end and a definite lust for more top speed as I wanted to experience the adrenaline rush and the dynamics of the vehicle at high speeds. My criteria’s made the buying decision ever so simple. I needed a brand new (that eliminates the option of second hand options) double cylinder sports bike not exceeding a budget of 5lakhs onroad, and that led to only one option currently on sale, the Kawasaki Ninja 300.

So the purchase was very straightforward; go to the nearest Kawasaki dealer and put down the booking amount and choose the color; which in my case was Candy Lime Green. Luckily I got a free upgrade to the 2022 color from Kawasaki which looks much brighter than the same color of the previous version.

The prefect upgrade! Pic taken during delivery.

Since I was tight on my budget, the upgrades were already decided; a set of stickier rubber from Apollo (Alpha H1 Radials) and PPF coating on the tank (learnt from the R15V experience that the tank gets a crazy amount of scratches from the tank bag and your pants near thighs area!). The delivery date was set to 7th of May, and I was ready for my near perfect upgrade. Why a perfect upgrade, you ask me; the Ninja has the same ethos as the R15 V2 of being no nonsense buy with (if R15 was a Corner craver, the Ninja is a Speedster) no frills or gimmicky stuff! So the Ninja journey started with blessings from parents and almighty Lord Hanuman.

The best cost to performance ratio tyres for the 300cc segment! Apollo Alpha H1’s. Swapped the MRFs to these on day 1 itself.

Much required PPF coating on the tank, to save the excellent paint job!

Taking the blessings…

Some noteworthy points are as follows:


  • Wicked of an engine which is absolutely docile at low speeds and totally changes its character after 7000 RPM! Ballistic Performance in the top end as I wanted it to be.
  • Super stable handling in the corners due to the long wheelbase. (which is also it’s enemy as I found out later)
  • Excellent Quality and a special mention to the paint job!
  • Good headlights!
  • Excellent driver ergos.
  • A near perfect sports tourer considering the good ride quality, smooth engine and the massive 17L tank (The only thing holding it away from taking away the trophy being that scant 135mm of Ground Clearance!)
  • Not a fuel guzzler considering the performance on offer. Constantly gives 22kmpl even when wringing the throttle all day long and about 26kmpl if driven in a calm manner.


  • That long wheelbase coupled with the low Ground Clearance value of 135mm (and not 140mm as marketed by Kawasaki) is the best recipe for scraping the exhaust over the regular nonstandard speedbumps we have here in India. Just adequate brakes with not much feel on the levers (not acceptable for a bike that can go upwards of 180kmph!)
  • Some form over function stuffs are really frustrating – Radiator gets all the muck and dirt from the front wheel and having an aftermarket rear tyre hugger is a must without which your Pillion will definitely be fuming on you during rainy days!
  • Adding to the pillion’s unwillingness to come with you for long journey’s is that seat which is a bit on higher side to get on (especially with the modification I did as we’ll come to know soon) and the sharp taper in the profile towards the rear.
  • Devoid of any features what so ever! No Gear Position Indicator, Fuel Consumption Data or any sort of Bluetooth Features! (By God’s grace there is a clock provided in the console)

Continue reading BHPian Paavan_Shetty’s review on his Ninja 300 for more insights and information.

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