Prepping For The Commute With A Kawasaki Ninja 300

A few key accessories for the versatile Ninja 300

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hanks to its decades-deep pedigree, the Kawasaki Ninja 300 enjoys a large and devoted following among riders who prize its outstanding blend of performance, efficiency, and value. It’s a stinkin’ blast to ride thanks to its revvy engine and near-telepathic handling, so much fun it seems a crime to let it sit around Monday through Friday while you head out to handle business. That leads to the obvious question: Why not shift over to your little road warrior for your weekday trips? Mechanically speaking, the Ninja 300 is all set to carry you to work or school, but a few commute-oriented additions can make the daily trip easier and more enjoyable. Storage First, let’s start with storage capacity for the ride. You’ll likely need to carry a lunch, papers, and/or a laptop when you leave home, and there are a few ways to handle this chore. Each carries its own set of pluses and minuses, and while total storage capacity figures into this equation, there’s also a lot of room for individual preference regarding style of carry.

Cortech Super 2.0 Backpack
Cortech Super 2.0 BackpackCortech

Backpacks serve as a convenient form of ultra-portable storage that most people already own. Carrying on your back is an excellent way to isolate a computer from the bumps, bounces, and vibrations that might otherwise be inflicted while carried on the bike itself. Aerodynamic drag, wind buffeting, weight on your shoulders, plus restricted torso motion can factor into the minus column however. A sternum strap helps with stability and security, so this feature is included with many riding-centric backpacks. Pick a smooth, aero-shaped pack for less wind drag, choose a pack loaded with exterior pockets for handy storage, or opt for anything in between. Dozens of riding-oriented backpacks can be found bearing familiar brand names such as Ogio, Dainese, Alpinestars, Cortech and more.

Aerostitch Dispatch Bag
Aerostich Dispatch BagAerostitch

Messenger bags lend a one-shoulder alternative to the backpack mode and are favored by many; Aerostich was one of the first in the industry to offer its handy and well-proven Dispatch Bag back in 1985. Also, if you stow a small, inexpensive shoestring backpack in the 300’s tailsection, you will always have some quick and portable carrying capacity on tap for a quick stop at the market on your way home.

Chase Harper Sport Tail Trunk
Chase Harper Sport Tail TrunkChase Harper
Kawasaki Tank Bag
Kawasaki Tank BagKawasaki

If a loaded backpack proves overly irritating, store your stuff on the bike instead. Soft tank bags and tail bags can be attached to the bike and removed fairly easily upon arrival, soft saddlebags can be affixed semi-permanently, or pick a fixed, hard top case for a more permanent and secure option. Kawasaki offers a Soft Top Case and Tank Bag as branded accessory items at competitive pricing, but, again, dozens of luggage options can be had from familiar brands such as Icon, Wolfman, Chase Harper, Tourmaster, and more. A hard top case that bolts up to a rear rack offers a lockable and weatherproof way to carry and store your stuff, maybe even your helmet. Givi cases come in a wide variety of sizes and types, while Shad and Saddlemen also offer multiple options.

Givi 29 Liter Tech Case
Givi 29-Liter Tech CaseGivi

Comfort

Riding five more days every week will add significant seat time, so you might as well get comfortable. Many riders find the Ninja 300 seat a bit sparse, so you can go with a Kawasaki accessory Gel Seat or a custom seat from suppliers such as Corbin and Saddlemen. If the $300 to $500 tab for full-on seats seems a bit steep, go instead with add-on pads such as the Airhawk or a strap-on gel pad.

For commutes including lots of highway speeds, a taller windscreen can add significantly to rider comfort. Zero Gravity, National Cycle, Puig, MRA, and Hotbodies Racing all offer alternatives. Heated grips can make a huge difference when air temps drop, and an electric vest turns chilly mornings into smug comfort.

Corbin Ninja 300 Seats
Corbin Ninja 300 SeatsCorbin

Cool Stuff, Smart Stuff

As you spend more and more time aboard your bike, you’ll find that details count. So here are a few small items that can make life easier and more enjoyable aboard two wheels. A bandana or scarf will keep wind, grit, and bugs off your neck and chin; as a high-tech alternative, check out the Ultrasuede Wind Triangle from Aerostich. Earplugs cut down on fatigue from wind noise and help protect your hearing over time. A bungee net, shop towel, and flat-tire repair kit are also good to have on hand, stored perhaps in the bike’s tailsection. Leave a good hardened-steel chain and lock at work or school to secure your bike. A kickstand pad can prove invaluable should you need to park on a soft surface; I’ll never forget the sight of my bike keeled over when blazing noonday sun softened the curbside asphalt enough to allow the foot of the sidestand to sink precipitously. As a free alternative, a little scrap of plywood or a drink can flattened end to end will also serve here. Make sure you have roadside assistance through your insurance company or a club membership, and bring along a spare ignition key.

Zero Gravity Windscreens
Zero Gravity WindscreensZero Gravity

Last but not least, should rain or cold or other extenuating circumstances such as an impromptu happy-hour celebration lead to unsafe riding situations, call a taxi or grab an Uber ride. It’s always better to err on the side of safety, and problems always appear eminently more approachable in the morning light.

With that, you’ll be pretty much set to roll. Enjoy your new view of the world as you slide past your fellow commuters who are confined to their cages.