This is the maintenance schedule with associated service intervals for the Kawasaki Ninja 250R EX250-J made between 2008-2012, also known as the Kawasaki EX250 in different markets. But it’s usually just known as a “Ninja 250R” or “Ninja 250”.
The Kawasaki Ninja 250R (EX250-J, 2008-2012) is a motorcycle in the Ninja sport bike line, which encapsulates everything from sporty commuters like the Ninja 250 up to hyper-bikes like the Ninja H2.
The original Ninja 250 (1988-2007) was made very similarly for many years and shares a common maintenance schedule across the period.
The venerable Kawasaki Ninja 250 underwent a big redesign in 2008, and was made the same way until 2012, at which point it was retired in most western markets. It was succeeded by the Kawasaki Ninja 300, which shortly thereafter itself was succeeded by the more powerful and lighter Ninja 400!
Originally published Oct 19, 2020, but significantly updated in the intervening years.
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Kawasaki Ninja 250R Service intervals
The Kawasaki Ninja 250R has 7500 mile / 12000 km or annual service intervals. At every service, change the oil and filter.
Kawasaki also recommends you change the air filter at each service, or at least every two years.
The valve clearance interval is also 7500 miles / 12000 km, though doesn’t have a distance attached. On the other hand, many owners of the Ninja 250R report that the valves rarely need adjusting, especially after the first service or two.
Regularly change the brake fluid, coolant, and rubber parts as they begin to fatigue.
What you need to service your Kawasaki Ninja 250R
The Ninja 250 is a popular first bike, and a great bike to start to learn to do your own service on.
Aside from basic motorcycle maintenance tools, here are a few special parts you’ll need to service your Kawasaki Ninja 250.
|Part||Ninja EX250 (250R) spec|
|Oil||You need SAE 10W-40 engine oil (manual says mineral, semi-synthetic, and full synthetic are all OK). Use a good mid-range oil like Motul 5100 10W-40 (no need for something race-spec).|
Don’t over-torque the drain bolt (spec is 20 Nm/14 lb-ft per the manual) — use a torque wrench if you don’t have experience with how much torque is enough.
|Oil filter||Use a Hiflofiltro HF401, a commonly available and high-quality replacement. Torque on the oil filter is 20 Nm/14 lb-ft.|
|Chain lubricant||The chain needs to be lubricated every 600 km/400 miles (or more, if it gets wet/dirty). Motul chain paste is cheap and well-liked.|
|Cable lubricant||Remember to lubricate your clutch cable (and brake cables if you have them) with a cable lubricant. Protect All Cable Life is a good general-purpose lubricant.|
|Brake fluid||Spec is to use DOT-4 brake fluid, e.g. Castrol DOT 4.|
|Coolant||Use ethylene glycol pre-mix coolant with a 50% mixture, with anti-corrosion inhibitors safe for an aluminium radiator. E.g. Valvoline Zerex G05.|
|Front brake pads||Replace the stock pads with EBC brake pads for better bite and less fade, code FA197HH.|
|Rear brake pads||Replace the stock rear pads with EBC double hardened brake pads to match the front — code FA197HH (same as the front).|
|Spark plugs||NGK CR8E, with a spark plug gap of 0.7-0.8mm (use a spark plug gapping tool), torqued to 13 Nm or 9 ft-lb (use a torque wrench)|
|Air filter||You can use the K&N equivalent KA-2508.|
|Grease||Use a lithium soap-based grease for all the important greasing points.|
Maintenance Schedule for Kawasaki Ninja 250R EX250-J (2008-2012)
Below is the maintenance schedule for the Kawasaki Ninja 250R EX250-J.
The original maintenance schedule for the Kawasaki Ninja 250R EX250-J was broken into three sections: Engine Related Items, Chassis Related Items, and Change/Replacement Items.
To clarify this, we combined them, then separated them into two sections:
- The main service schedule of important items like oil changes, spark plugs, and valve clearances
- The checklist of items to go over, including hoses, lights, and safety equipment
Notes on the maintenance schedule:
- For higher odometer readings, repeat at the frequency interval established here.
- Follow the earlier of the time and distance-based intervals.
- The break-in service is omitted, as the Ninja 250R is no longer sold new.
- Check the braking system more often, between services, as it’s critical to safety.
|mi x 1000||7.5||15||22.5||30|
|km x 1000||12||24||36||48||Every|
|Standard service checklist (see below) — Perform||✓||✓||✓||✓||Year|
|Engine oil – change (Motul 5100 10W-40)||✓||✓||✓||✓||Year, or more often if riding aggressively|
|Oil filter – replace (HF401)||✓||✓||✓||✓||Year|
|Air cleaner element – clean/replace (KA-2508)||✓||✓||✓||✓||Replace every 2 years|
|Valve clearances – inspect / adjust||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Engine vacuum synchronization – inspect||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Air suction system damage – inspect||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Idle speed – inspect||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Clutch operation (play, engagement, disengagement) – inspect||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Drive chain wear – inspect||✓||✓||✓||✓||More often if riding in dusty / wet conditions|
|Drive chain guide wear – inspect||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Tire tread wear, abnormal wear – inspect||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Wheels/tires damage – inspect||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Brake pad wear – inspect|
More often if riding in dusty / dirty conditions
|Uni-trak rocker arm and tie rods – inspect||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Brake fluid (front and rear) – change (Castrol DOT 4)||✓||✓||2 years|
|Brake hoses – replace||✓||4 years|
|Rubber parts of master cylinder and caliper – replace||✓||4 years|
|Coolant – change (Valvoline Zerex G05)||✓||3 years|
|Radiator hoses and O-rings – replace||✓||3 years|
|Fuel hoses – replace||5 years|
|Swingarm pivot – lubricate (lithium soap-based grease)||✓||✓|
|Steering stem bearings – lubricate (lithium soap-based grease)||✓||✓||2 years|
Standard service checklist
This is the standard checklist of things to look over when servicing your Kawasaki Ninja 250R. Do this according to the schedule above.
|Kawasaki Ninja 250R Standard Service Checklist|
|Throttle control system (play, smooth return, no drag) – inspect|
|Choke operation – inspect|
|Fuel leak (fuel hose and pipe) – inspect|
|Fuel hoses damage – inspect|
|Fuel hoses installation condition – inspect|
|Coolant level – inspect|
|Coolant leak – inspect|
|Radiator hose damage – inspect|
|Radiator hoses installation condition – inspect|
|Tire air pressure – inspect|
|Wheel bearings damage – inspect|
|Brake fluid leak – inspect|
|Brake hoses damage – inspect|
|Brake fluid level – inspect|
Inspect every 6 months
|Brake hose installation condition – inspect|
|Brake operation (effectiveness, play, drag) – inspect|
|Brake light switch operation – inspect|
|Front fork — inspect (for leaks, smooth operation)|
|Rear shock — inspect (for leaks, smooth operation)|
|Steering play – inspect|
|Lights and switches operation – inspect|
|Headlight aiming – inspect|
|Side stand switch operation – inspect|
|Engine stop switch operation – inspect|
|Chassis parts – lubricate|
|Bolts and nuts tightness – inspect|
|Evaporative emission control system – function (CA model only)|
Maintaining the Kawasaki Ninja 250R’s Chain
It’s important to maintain your chain on the Ninja 250R, as on any chain-driven motorcycle. Use a good-quality chain lubricant like Motul chain paste, or a Motul chain care kit which comes with a couple of handy tools to maintain the chain.
Kawasaki recommends you follow the following chain maintenance schedule:
|Chain maintenance item||Every|
|Check drive chain lubrication condition, lubricating if necessary (Motul chain paste)||400 mi / 600 km|
|Check drive chain slack, adjusting if necessary|
Slack should be 20-30mm of free play at the loosest point.
|600 mi / 1000 km|
Notes on chain maintenance for the Ninja 250R
- Do these items (checking/adjusting slack, and checking/applying lubrication) more often if you ride your Ninja 250R in dusty or rainy conditions.
- Always lubricate the chain after washing the motorcycle.
To adjust chain slack, you need to adjust the position of the wheel on the rear axle. It’s easy with some simple home tools including a socket set and wrenches, although you do need a large torque wrench if you’re unfamiliar with how tightly to do up the rear axle bolt.
Follow these steps:
- Put the motorcycle up on its side stand on a level surface.
- On the rear axle, loosen the adjuster locknuts on each side.
- Remove the cotter pin, and loosen the rear axle nut.
- If the chain is too loose, turn in the adjusting nuts evenly. Do the converse if the chain is too loose
- Tighten the adjusting nuts evenly — to maintain wheel alignment.
- Re-tighten the axle nut (98 Nm / 72 lb-ft)
- Tighten the lock nuts.
Tyre size and tyre pressure for the Kawasaki Ninja
The Kawasaki Ninja has the following tyre sizes standard, plus the following recommended pressures.
|Front||110/70-17 M/C 54S||200 kPa/28 psi|
|Rear||130/70-17 M/C 62S||225 kPa/32 psi|
The Ninja 250R shipped with Bridgestone BT-45R or Dunlop GT501R standard, but use whatever street/sport tyres suit your regular use.
About the Kawasaki Ninja 250R EX250-J
The Ninja 250R is the quintessential first motorcycle. Affordable, easy to ride, easy to repair, and widely available, a common recommendation is for people to buy one and then to sell it for exactly what they paid for it.
But that’s not all the Ninja 250R can be. It is a simple bike, but it has the underpinnings of a motorcycle that can be used for all kinds of shenanigans. Granted it’ll need different springs for the track, maybe gold valves, better brake lines and pads… but once you’re done with that and have cleared off a lot of weight, it can be quite a fun bike to rev up to the limiter on a tight circuit.
In stock form, with its smooth and accessible power delivery, low seat height, and excellent value, the Kawasaki Ninja 250R EX250-J has all the elements to make it the perfect first sport bike, giving a new rider a taste for the style.
It’s lightweight and agile, with low ownership costs coupled with impressive performance (for the capacity). It doesn’t pull that hard, but when you wind it up, it sounds like a jet engine!
The 249cc liquid-cooled, parallel-twin engine is tuned for smooth, predictable power delivery around town and excellent performance on the highway. You have to rev it up, but the smooth and easy to use six-speed transmission (with Kawasaki’s positive neutral finder) means you can always keep it going at any speed you need.
The modern aerodynamic fairing and windscreen mean that the Kawasaki Ninja 250 not only looks great but is comfortable to ride, keeping the wind off you (and the chassis) at speed.
The Ninja 250 is also comfortable. It has a natural riding position and comfortable ergonomics. Riding it on city streets is a pleasure.
The braking power is ample for a bike this light and modestly powered with a 290mm front and 220mm rear brake rotors, each gripped by two-piston hydraulic calipers.
Like later Kawasaki Ninja models, the Kawasaki Ninja 250 has generally high-quality components and won’t let you down until you decide you have outgrown it.
The Kawasaki Ninja 250 was retired for the Kawasaki Ninja 300.
Manual for the Kawasaki Ninja 250R EX250-J
The above maintenance schedule comes directly from the user’s manual for the 2012 Kawasaki Ninja 250R EX250-J, which is available here. It’s the same for the other years.
An archive copy of the 2012 manual is below.