In the one month that we test rode the Z250SL, one incident still comes to mind. I had met my friend in Bangsar and just had lunch together. As we were leaving, he waited across the street as I got on the Z250SL. He seemed to be pretty impressed by the looks of the bike. Maybe he thought it was a big bike. It was only when I started the bike that the illusion was shattered by the tinny exhaust note. The Z250SL looks pretty impressive in the metal. While the dimensions are quite compact, the red trellis frame on the Ebony black bike that I was riding evoked design cues from exotic Italian machines.
The first thing that you realise when you get on the bike is how light it is. Weighing in at 148 kg dry, the Z250SL is almost 20 kg lighter than the Z250. This, coupled with the upward sitting position and straight bars make it a perfect commuter around town. In their media release, Kawasaki even suggests that the bike is a good choice for female riders due to it’s low weight and seat height. The view from the rider’s seat is spartan. A small meter pod holds an LCD instrument cluster. The cluster includes a digital speedometer, RPM bar, and fuel gauge. The plastics are top rate items.
The bike may be made in Thailand, and completely knocked down to be reassembled in Malaysia – but the fit and quality of the finish are quite good. The engine, which is sourced from the tried and tested KLX250 is also confidence inspiring. The Z250SL has a 4-valve DOHC liquid-cooled digital fuel injection engine which produces 27.6hp at 9,700rpm and a maximum torque of 22.6Nm at 8,200rpm. The engine has a punchy character that makes the dash from 0-100 km/h quite a lively experience.
After that, coaxing the bike to gain speed becomes progressively harder. This is no autobahn mile muncher, but it is definately at home on the streets of Kuala Lumpur. Top speed is estimated to slightly exceed 150 km/h. A Uni-Trak type rear suspension with five levels of adjustment on the rear and a pair of 37mm telescopic forks up front provide adequate handling for the urban circuits. The brakes are intricate petal discs with a single, dual-piston 263mm disc up front, and a 193mm dual-piston disc on the rear.
Fuel capacity is quite limited, at 11 litres. But then, the single-cylinder engine is amazingly frugal. We filled the tank up and quite frankly the bike lasted an entire week on commuting duties without being refilled. The front 100/80-17 and rear 130/70-17 tires should also be easy to come by and quite cheap, making the Z250SL quite an economical, yet stylish choice for urban commuters. The bike retails for just RM15,739.
The girls will think you’re riding a superbike. Your wallet will know otherwise.