Kawasaki Ninja 250R EX250-J (2008-2012) Maintenance Schedule and Service Intervals

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 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!

The Kawasaki Ninja 250R (EX250-J, 2008-2012) is a motorcycle in the Ninja sport bike, which encapsulates everything from sporty commuters like the Ninja 250 up to hyper-bikes like the Ninja H2.

Originally introduced in 1986 as the marque’s entry-level sportbike, the Kawasaki Ninja 250 has undergone few changes throughout its quarter-century lifetime, having received only three substantial redesigns.

The Ninja 250R’s particular ergonomics, chassis design, and engine placement have resulted in a motorcycle that straddles the standard and sports classes.

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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.

PartNinja EX250 (250R) spec
OilYou 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 filterUse a Hiflofiltro HF401, a commonly available and high-quality replacement. Torque on the oil filter is 20 Nm/14 lb-ft.
Chain lubricantThe 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 lubricantRemember 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 fluidSpec is to use DOT-4 brake fluid, e.g. Castrol DOT 4.
CoolantUse 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 padsReplace the stock pads with EBC brake pads for better bite and less fade, code FA197HH.
Rear brake padsReplace the stock rear pads with EBC double hardened brake pads to match the front — code FA197HH (same as the front).
Spark plugsNGK 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 filterYou can use the K&N equivalent KA-2508.
GreaseUse a lithium soap-based grease for all the important greasing points.
Consumables for servicing the Ninja 250R (2008-2012).

Maintenance Schedule for Kawasaki Ninja 250R EX250-J

Below is the maintenance schedule for the Kawasaki Ninja 250R EX250-J.

The maintenance for the Kawasaki Ninja 250R EX250-J is broken into three sections: Engine Related Items, Chassis Related Items, and Change/Replacement Items.

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.
  • #: Service more frequently when operating in severe conditions: dusty, wet, muddy, high speed, or frequent starting/stopping.

Periodic replacement/change items

mi x 10007.51522.530Every
km x 100012243648X years
Air cleaner element # – replace (K&N KA-2508)2
Engine oil # – change (Motul 5100 10W-40)1
Oil filter – replace (HF401)1
Fuel hoses – replace5
Coolant – change (Valvoline Zerex G05)3
Radiator hoses and O-rings – replace3
Brake hoses – replace4
Brake fluid (front and rear) – change (Castrol DOT 4)2
Rubber parts of master cylinder and caliper – replace4
Spark plug – replace (NGK CR8E)
Kawasaki Ninja 250R — Replacement items

Engine-related items

mi x 10003.757.511.251518.7522.5Every
km x 100061218243036X years
Air cleaner element – clean/replace (KA-2508)
Valve clearance – inspect
Throttle control system (play, smooth return, no drag) – inspect1
Choke operation – inspect1
Engine vacuum synchronization – inspect
Idle speed – inspect
Fuel leak (fuel hose and pipe) – inspect1
Fuel hoses damage – inspect1
Fuel hoses installation condition – inspect1
Coolant level – inspect
Coolant leak – inspect1
Radiator hose damage – inspect1
Radiator hoses installation condition – inspect1
Air suction system damage – inspect
Evaporative emission control system – function (CA model only)
Ninja 250 maintenance – engine

Chassis-related items

mi x 10003.757.511.251518.7522.5
km x 100061218243036Every
Clutch operation (play, engagement, disengagement) – inspect
Drive chain wear – inspect #
Drive chain guide wear – inspect
Wheels and tires:
Tire air pressure – inspectyear
Wheels/tires damage – inspect
Tire tread wear, abnormal wear – inspect
Wheel bearings damage – inspectyear
Brake system:
Brake fluid leak – inspectyear
Brake hoses damage – inspectyear
Brake pad wear – inspect #
Brake hose installation condition – inspectyear
Brake fluid level – inspect6 mon
Brake operation (effectiveness, play, drag) – inspectyear
Brake light switch operation – inspect
Front forks/rear shock absorber operation (damping and smooth stroke) – inspect
Front forks/rear shock absorber oil leak – inspectyear
Uni-trak rocker arm operation – inspect
Uni-trak tie rods operation – inspect
Swingarm pivot – lubricate (lithium soap-based grease)
Steering System:
Steering play – inspectyear
Steering stem bearings – lubricate (lithium soap-based grease)2 years
Electrical System:
Lights and switches operation – inspectyear
Headlight aiming – inspectyear
Side stand switch operation – inspectyear
Engine stop switch operation – inspectyear
Chassis parts – lubricateyear
Bolts and nuts tightness – inspect
Kawasaki Ninja 250 — Chassis items maintenance

Maintaining Your Chain on the Kawasaki Ninja 250R

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 itemEvery
Check drive chain lubrication condition, lubricating if necessary (Motul chain paste)400 mi / 600 km
Check drive chain slack, adjusting if necessary600 mi / 1000 km
Chain maintenance — Kawasaki Ninja 250R

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.

Tyre size and tyre pressure for the Kawasaki Ninja

The Kawasaki Ninja has the following tyre sizes standard, plus the following recommended pressures.

TyreSizeTyre pressure
Front110/70-17 M/C 54S200 kPa/28 psi
Rear130/70-17 M/C 62S225 kPa/32 psi
Kawasaki Ninja 250R Tyres and tyre pressures

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 track bike. Granted it’ll need different springs, 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 track.

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 sportbike, 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.

Manual for the Kawasaki Ninja 250R EX250-J

2012 Kawasaki Ninja 250R Maintenance Schedule Screenshot From Manual

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.

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