700 Miles on a Kawasaki Ninja 250
A Pashnit Experience

I have to admit I have this thing about horsepower.

And over the years the horsepower of the motorcycles I've owned has continued to climb. Finally to a point where I have more than most small cars. And although the bike I have lays claim to being the fastest production motorcycle in the world, I really don't care about speed, or even going fast for that matter. It's the low-down grunt, the torque, the suckage of my eyeballs headed to the rear of my skull.

Ah yes, that yummy tasty delicious horsepower.

Fast forward a bit.

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So there I am headed up this hill, up and over a low 1500 ft pass, completely tucked in, full leathers, full armor, as if it were Moto GP, straining out every ounce of extra speed I could muster when I realized I wasn't going any faster. The throttle was turned all the way and wouldn't turn anymore.

Wide open. All 24 horsepower. A 24 horse team pulling me up the hill. Even the horses were laughing.

I was on a Ninja 250 - the antithesis of my motorcycle existence. Absorbing the sound, the feel, the vibration, the motor churning at 11,000 rpm beneath me with nary a protest. It was all there in this tiny little package - a true sportbike.

The beauty of the Pacific Coast Highway - Big Sur
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When I first swung a leathered leg over and pulled out onto the street, I clicked it into first then second- nothing really happened. Hmm, strange. The speedo showed about 5-10 mph while the sewing machine motor below me was barely audible through my foam earplugs. The motorcycle I usually ride will hit nearly 100mph in first gear, and quite briskly.

The words resonated in my mind from the owner - "...don't bother shifting till you hit 11,000 rpm". Ah, I get it! I clicked it through the gears into 6th (it has 6 gears!), and the bike settled in about 35-40 mph perfectly happy with the loping pace. Again, strange. "Is it supposed to do that?" was my thought.

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Time to roll on some creamy goodness. Up came the rpm's and along with it the little yellow sportbike indeed accelerated, settling in about 9000 rpm which is twice that of its counterparts. With the stock exhausts the bike now hummed along perfectly content- all the while I wondered if the motor was going to explode at any moment.

But then again as I looked down at the easy-to-read gauges, redline at 14,500, and on up to 16,000. It was all beginning to make more sense. The lil Ninja was just getting warmed up.

Aboard the Ninja 250 along Hwy 1
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