Last updated on December 28th, 2018
Did you just buy your first motorcycle, and it’s a 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 or 2017 Kawasaki Ninja 300? If that’s the case, congratulations and I hope you enjoy it! Welcome to the brotherhood. And as part of the motorcycling community, you’ve probably noticed that customizing your bike is an integral part of the experience. If you’re looking for some inspiration, here’s my Kawasaki Ninja 300 upgrades list with all the improvements I’ve personally done to my motorcycle.
Through the years I’ve definitely tried some parts that were great, others so-so, and a few that downright sucked. Here’s what I ended up deciding are good enough to keep on this little motor bike. Also, I’ve written detailed DIYs on how to install more than a few of them – you’ll see them linked. Regardless of if you’re looking for a specific part or just need some motivation, keep reading. You might find something useful in here.
My 2015 Kawasaki Ninja 300
There’s no denying that the Kawasaki Ninja 300 is a popular, well-loved bike. Cheap, sexy-looking, fast (enough), agile… It’s the perfect beginner’s bike.
Nonetheless, how good the bike is doesn’t mean that there aren’t any worthwhile mods you can do to improve it. One benefit this bike has is the awesome aftermarket support – That means cheap, quality parts and a huge selection. If your mechanical skills are lacking, but you’re perfectly capable of following instructions, this bike is a great candidate for upgrades. There are plenty of easy to install, bolt-on parts – and I’ve probably tried most types of ’em.
Here, my main goal was aesthetic and ergonomic upgrades. If your priority is performance, you really are better off cutting your losses now and buying a bigger bike. Like they say, there’s no replacement for displacement. But even as is, the Ninja 300 is fast enough to break any and all laws if you put your wrist to it, so it’s not a big deal either.
Likewise, I want to use the bike, not have it disassembled for months. It’s easy to fall down the modding rabbit hole and come out with only a box full of parts at the other side – Been there, done that. These days, I mostly avoid any parts that I can’t install in a weekend. Anything else just isn’t worth the hassle on your only bike. On the other hand, if this isn’t your primary bike, it’s a great candidate for a racing or project bike given the low-cost.
So if you find yourself in a similar situation, let’s see if you don’t like any of the parts I’ve tried and been happy with.
First, a note on Compatibility
But first, let’s talk about part fitment and interchangeability for the squids. Don’t worry, we all started there. If you’re a veteran weekend mechanic, you already know this. But there’s still a lot of people in forums asking about compatibility between model years all the time. The quick answer is:
All Kawasaki Ninja 300 parts fit all the Ninja 300s from its generation – be it 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 or 2017. That means that if you have an EX300 (the technical name for the Ninja 300), the parts will fit. You don’t have to ask if an accessory for the 2013 will fit a 2017 – it does. By the way, some people also refer to this bike as the N300.
Likewise, brake components aside, Non-ABS model parts will fit ABS-equipped bikes, and vice versa. With very few exceptions, the only parts that aren’t compatible are the brake lines. All other parts on the bike are identical and interchangeable, so don’t sweat it.
Also, there’s overlap between compatibility for the Ninja 250 and the Ninja 300. You should always double-check, but whenever you see a part from the Ninja 250 (EX250) that looks like it will fit, there’s a half-decent chance it will. It’s far from 100%, but worth investigating nonetheless. The same occurs with the Z300 sold in some international markets.
In other words, find out the first year that generation of your bike’s model came out, and the last year it was produced – Parts from every year in between are interchangeable as a general rule. It doesn’t exempt you from doing your homework before pulling the trigger, but it is a reliable hard and fast guideline.
Kawasaki Ninja 300 Upgrades List
So here’s a bullet-point list of the accessories, upgrades and mods that I’ve done to my own 2015 Kawasaki Ninja 300. Not all of them, but the one’s I’ve actually kept. Some are quick bolt-on accessories, and others are full-blown DIY projects. But the majority are quick and easy to install with basic tools, even if you’re unskilled. Regardless of your technical capabilities, if you’re looking to mod your bike (or ‘tuning’, how it’s called in Europe), you’re likely to find something you’re curious about. At the very least it’s a good starting point for ideas.
Where possible, I’ve linked to the exact item I installed (though links may go bad and need updating over time). And as ironic as it may sound, I’ve probably forgotten a few things on this list. Like they say – if it aint broke, keep fixing it ’til it is.
Finally, keep in mind that my Kawasaki is ‘Lime Green’. Depending on your bike’s color you’ll probably prefer a different scheme. Many of the “aesthetic” components offer a choice of colors anyway.
Bodywork & Exterior Upgrades
- Radiator Guard – You can decide whether this one’s just for the looks, or if it’ll actually protect the radiator from small impacts. In any case, it looks nice and it’s cheap so I fell for it. You can see it in the picture above the upgraded horns.
- Real Woven Carbon Fiber Tank Pad – Installing a pad keeps your gas tank free of zipper and button scratches. This rubberized woven carbon-fiber model is the nicest I’ve ever seen for a reasonable price. I put it on all my bikes.
- CNC Fender Eliminator Kit – Deleting the rear fender is one of the most popular motorcycle upgrades, bar none. I’ve tried and looked at quite a few for the Ninja 300, and this is the one I kept. Though it’s universal, it’ll bolt right on. The adjustable CNC design looks awesome.
- Genuine Carbon Fiber License Plate Frame – Chances are your bike came with one of those cheap frames with the dealership’s advertising. I promptly swapped it out for a true carbon fiber frame as soon as I got the chance.
- Rear Single-Seat Cowl – The EX300 is a bike better enjoyed solo. If that’s how you ride, you might wanna consider getting this. It certainly looks sleeker. There are also cheaper aftermarket versions. The generic one I tried worked okay, but the quality was iffy and the green didn’t completely match the paintwork.
- Rear Brake Fluid Reservoir w/ CNC Cap – The black plastic cap on the rear brake fluid reservoir was bugging me. As a mod I swapped out the reservoir for this one.
- K&N KA‐2508 High Performance Air Filter – There are two main upsides to this part. First, it helps the engine breath and sounds a bit better. The second is what makes it ideal for pretty much everyone – it’s washable so you’ll never have to buy another air filter again. Both of those aspects make a K&N air filter a no-brainer for me.
- Danmoto Carbon Fiber GP Slip-On Exhaust – This mod looks and sounds great. Danmoto is among the cheaper brands out there, but their quality has little to envy from Yoshimura. If it’s more power you want, the gains are mediocre. Nonetheless it’s a hard upgrade to resist and doesn’t need a fuel controller.
- EZ-109 Oil Drain Valve – This is a staple mod for any vehicle I own. Oil changes are way cleaner and faster thanks to it. To see how to install and use it, check here.
- 2x NGK CR8EIX Iridium IX Spark Plugs – Upgraded Iridium spark plugs will last pretty much forever while staying cleaner and improving fuel economy (albeit marginally). The fine electrode made of exotic metal produces a more intense spark with less effort, which in theory can improve performance.
- Dynojet Research Power Commander V 17-046 – I’ve got mixed feelings about this one. I installed it, but ended up removing it after I had an error during a firmware update. The performance benefit is there, but it’s small. To be honest, I’d hold off on it unless you install a full-exhaust.
- JT Sprockets JTF1539.15 15T Steel Front Sprocket – This stretches out the gears a bit. If you do a lot of highway miles, look into it.
- Reflective Rim Tape – If you want to make sure cagers see you, one option is wheel tape like this. Plus, it’ll make your bike look awesome at night. Note – The precurved ones in cut strips are easier to install than the rolls.
- Guardian Bell – These bells are a huge part of motorcycling tradition. You’re supposed to gift one to your riding buddies.
- Smoked Front Turn Signal Housing – Maybe it’s just me, but I love how smoked turn signals look on this bike. It blends the enclosure into the black plastic behind it.
- Anodized Front Sprocket Cover – I tried a couple and liked this one most.
- Extra-Wide Aluminum Kickstand Plate – This part is half for the aesthetics, half for the functionality. It looks good, but better yet, it keeps your kickstand from sinking into hot asphalt. Plus it makes the side stand easier to push down while you’re sitting on the bike. I got the black one.
- CNC Oil Filler Cap – Green – The stock plastic cap looks chintzy as hell. A nice CNC aluminum bolt looks way better.
- Clutch Lever Adjuster Upgrade – CNC Anodized Aluminum (Titanium) – Adjusting the stock adjuster is a pain. Especially with gloves. This is a cheap way to improve that.
- Front CNC Brake Fluid Cap – If the safety warnings on the stock lid annoys you, this looks a lot better.
- CNC Anodized Rear Sprocket Nuts – Just a cute little upgrade for the looks. They’re a direct replacement for the original ones.
- Custom Seat Creations “Black Windows” Seat Cover – This is the seat upholstery I put on my bike. I can’t find a link to their site, regrettably.
Frame & Suspension Mods
- Puig R12 Frame Sliders – Model 6562N – Nowadays, I really recommend new riders install “sliders” as soon as possible. Especially after witnessing a friend tip over their new bike before making it a mile away from the dealership. I chose these due to price, aesthetics and design. It’ll always be cheaper than spending hundreds to repair damage from a single stand-still fall.
- Machined Aluminum Frame Caps – These look way better than the cheap plastic caps on the N300, and installation only takes seconds. It includes Four caps, covering the two holes on each side of the bike.
- Arashi CNC Aluminum Racing Rearsets – Titanium Gray – I really like how this bolt-on mod makes shifting a lot crisper. Plus, it helps adapt the riding position to my height. To boot, this is an upgrade that can pay for itself, considering that the OEM rear sets (in good condition) are highly sought-after parts in the aftermarket – A lot of people damage the originals.
- GSX-R 750 Upgraded Rear Shock – One cool thing about the Kawasaki Ninja 300 is that it takes very little effort to bolt a GSX-R 750’s rear suspension to it. And you can find them for cheap in good used condition on eBay – they’re the yellow spring ones with an external reservoir. As far as why, it provides increased adjustability and better handling. For more info, check here.
- CNC Extended Swingarm Spools (8mmx1.25mm) – I install these specifically on every bike I get the chance to. The advantage of this model is that the extended design and “side plates” keep your rear stand from scratching the bike’s swingarm. You might want to upgrade the bolt, though.
Comfort & Ergonomic Upgrades
- Adjustable CNC Clip-On, Preload Adjuster, Bar Ends & Triple Tree Cover – If you bend the original control bars, this is a lot cheaper than OEM replacements. Plus, these clip-on tubes are replaceable. The kit even includes front suspension preload adjusters and bar ends, too! I definitely didn’t regret installing it. You can see mine in gray above.
- Folding & Extendable Adjustable Brake & Clutch Levers – These levers are adjustable on the fly, and they’ll fold (instead of breaking) if you low-side. You can install them for looks or for functionality. I like ’em for the better ergonomics. You can see its style up close in my control cable lubing how-to.
- StompGrip Anti-Slip Tank Pads – Grippy tank pads help both new and short riders hold on to their bike more comfortably with less effort. They make a big difference.
- Cruise Control – Kurakyn Cruise Assist (6218) – Basic cruise control just makes life easier on motorcycles. I often use it for quick zipper or backpack adjustments mid-ride. It’s easily one of the most interesting ergonomic accessories on this Kawasaki Ninja 300 upgrades list.
- Smartphone/GPS Ram Mount Holder – I use my smartphone in a phone mount for GPS everywhere I ride. I made a detailed how-to on the best way to install one on the EX300.
- Ultragel Motorcycle Seat Pad (Small TR) – Honestly, I hated the original Kawasaki Ninja seat. It’s literally a pain in the ass after anything but the shortest rides. This fixes that.
Bulb & Light Upgrades
- Philips H7 Upgrade Headlight Bulbs – While far from HID-grade, the bulb options are limited to begin with. This is the best compromise I could find. The other option is to go with an HID headlight assembly, but it’s quite a bigger investment. Whatever you decide, just do me a favor and don’t pop in xenon bulbs into the stock reflector housing.
- Front Position Light Bulbs Upgrade – 2x JDM ASTAR Extremely Bright 30-EX T10 – I used a lux meter to objectively compare a bunch of different T10 bulbs. These were the brightest value-priced bulbs I could find. Plus, JDM Astar’s customer service is top-notch. It really helps minimize how bad the Ninja 300’s original “cyclops” headlight looks.
- Front Turn Signal Bulbs Upgrade – JDM ASTAR 5730 Chipsets BAU15S Led Bulbs, Amber – As with the bulbs above, I tested a few yellow ones, too. These are the most intense LED bulbs I measured that weren’t over-priced.
- Spirit Beast Upgraded LED Rear Turn Signals, Amber – I initially tried some Rizoma copy-cat Action Turn Signals with really poor visibility. After installing these I’m much more satisfied. They look great, shine bright and blink fast. Combined with an adjustable LED Turn Signal Relay, they can improve your visibility.
- GS-100A Brake Light Modulator – This upgrade will help avoid a cager smashing into you. It’s great for safety and visibility. To see how you can install it yourself, take a look at this brake LED blink controller DIY for motorcycles.
- Coban GPS303G GPS Tracker Alarm with Remote Engine Disabling – I made a comprehensive, step-by-step guide on how to install this on the Kawasaki Ninja 300. Definitely give thought to installing a tracker for theft prevention. With it, you can even disable the engine at a distance using a command from your phone!
- Dual Hella Supertone Horn Upgrade – I just love ridiculously loud horns. On this motorcycle the Hellas are the loudest horns that will fit without issues – you can see them mounted to the radiator a few pics up. I never made a DIY for this bike, regrettably, but you can learn a lot from my DIY motorcycle air horn install guide. Either way, scaring cagers with open windows never gets old.
- Dummy Alarm – This can trick a thief into thinking they’ve disabled the alarm when it’s really a fake security system.
- 4.8 Amps Dual USB Rocker-Style Charger w/Blue LEDs & Voltmeter – I installed this USB phone charger on the right fairing next to the fork. Another must-have upgrade if you use your phone for GPS navigation or music.
- Secondary Phone Mount X-Grip Charger – Any experienced rider knows that their phone charger always fails when they need it most. That’s why I installed a backup. More info here.
- NOCO GC016 12V Dash-mount Battery Indicator – This makes charging comfortable. The Ninja 300 has a perfect place for installing one right beneath the battery. I use it for both charging and jump-starting, if necessary. Noco would surely not endorse that, but the starter only takes 30 or so Amps.
Miscellaneous Parts & Components
- Gear Indicator – If you plug this into the connector under the rear seat, you can see what gear you’re in. I installed the display centered over the dash. It isn’t perfect, but it sure beats trying to put the bike in 7th gear on the highway.
- Titanium M10x1.25mm Brake Banjos – Because they’re titanium and look awesome. Plus they won’t rust. Nuff’ said.
- Replacement Key #27008-0053 – Way too many people have to replace the ignition, gas cap and seat lock because they lost all their keys. That’s an expensive mistake. Get replacements before your need it – they only cost a few bucks. Any locksmith should cut the blank for under 5$. The Ninja 300’s key doesn’t have a immobilizer, so there’s no chip.
- Tire Balancing Beads – If you feel road vibrations, these might help. I installed them after upgrading the tires.
- Double-Bubble Sport Windshield – This deflects the air a lot better when tucked. The generic aftermarket ones cost much less than the Zero Gravity model (which I once had), but work just as well.
- EBC Double-H Sintered Brake Pads – FA197HH – Because who doesn’t want better brake performance?
- Pirelli Diablo Rossa II Tires – I installed an oversized 120/70R18 in the front, and 150/60ZR-17 in the rear. This’ll upgrade handling in a jiffy.
- TPMS Kit – Traction and tire pressures go hand in hand. Installing a Tire Pressure Monitoring System is the easiest way to stay safe while avoiding having to fill up your tires more often than necessary. The alternative is monthly top-ups.
Modifications you’re better off avoiding
These are a few things I regretted opening my wallet for. I generally wouldn’t recommend them.
- Carbon Fiber Engine Guard – As nice as it looks, the mounting holes didn’t line up right so I couldn’t install it. Between that, almost null protection and the price, it isn’t worth it.
- Keyless Gas Tank Cap – The expensive ones aren’t worth the cost, and the cheap ones don’t seal right. I’ve tried a lot of aftermarket gas caps for this bike and none fit well enough to keep. You’re probably better off avoiding them.
- Mirror Extensions – While the idea is great, they’re over-priced for the little advantage they provide. I don’t feel like I got much real-world value out of it.
- All Balls Steering Stem Bearing Kit (22-1014) – This isn’t a modification you should avoid as much as one you should delay. A lot of people advocate changing the stock ball bearings for these roller bearings from day one. They’re great bearings, but installation is a bitch. Once your steering bearings are shot, then it’s time for it.
- Lithium 12v Battery – I bought more than a couple of these and always end up taking them off. If you’re racing, they’re great – but for the street rider not so much. They’re much more expensive than AGM/Lead-Acid and are even more sensitive to over-discharge. There are good uses for them, but do your research first.
More useful tools & gear
For the sake of throwing in the kitchen sink, I might as well mention what other tools and utilities I always keep close to the bike. Considering this bike’s popularity with beginners, there’s a good chance that a handful of people reading this have nothing but the bike and no idea about what else they might need. Anyway, here are a few things just about any motorcyclist owns – or should own – that I find are a great compliment for the Ninja 300.
- Nelson-Rigg Deluxe Bike Cover (Large) – I use it for both indoor and outdoor storage. The light weight and compression bag also makes it great for touring. All in all, it’s one of the best wallet-friendly covers out there. Size Large is a perfect fit.
- Front and Rear Sport Bike Stand – Rear stands are all but necessary for basic maintenance like oil changes or control cable lubrication. These are nice starter stands, however I also bought (and love) a Paddock Center Stand (partially visible in the rear shock picture) for more serious jobs.
- Kryptonite High-Security Chain – Though an alarm can dissuade theft, there’s nothing like a big fat chain to prevent it. This is the largest one I could even remotely conceive carrying on my person. If you frequently leave your bike in public areas, you might want to look into something similar.
- NOCO Genius G1100 Smart Battery Charger – Since my bike has a GPS tracker alarm, it’s a good idea to keep it tethered to a charger whenever I get a chance. This is the one I use, and definitely one of the best motorcycle battery chargers out there. Every vehicle owner should own at least a battery maintainer, regardless of the brand and type.
- First Aid Kit – Got a pulse? Check. Ride a motorcycle? Check – Then you should carry a first aid kit, period. Don’t procrastinate!
- Sport Bike Pizza Bag – I hated not being able to go get pizzas on two wheels. First-world problems, I guess. Anyway, if that kind of thing sounds like a good idea to you, you might wanna check out the project. I use mine every now and then.
- Portable Lithium Jump Starter – In every riding group there should be someone with an emergency power pack at hand. In mine…well, I guess that’s me. Having a back up battery like this is a great way to avoid getting stranded if your alarm or electronics ever drain down the battery. I keep mine in my riding backpack virtually permanently. Most of the time I use it as a backup phone charger.
- Alpinestars Tech Aero Tank Bag/Backpack – I only use this bag for longer trips, but it’s still one of the better storage options for this bike. You can partially see it in one of the pictures in this post. I’ve tried the Kawasaki tail bags and Givi tank bags, but this is my favorite. Plus I’m an Astars groupie, what can I say.
- Tubeless Tire Plug Kit – You don’t have to be a rocket-surgeon to repair a motorcycle tire on the go, but you will need tools. Especially considering that not all tow trucks are equipped to transport motorcycles if you get caught with a flat. This is the repair tool I generally carry with all my vehicles. After all, with tire punctures it’s not a matter of if, but when. Just stash a kit like this under the seat.
But…What about power gains?
I used to be all about doing everything I possibly could to extract power out of small engines like this. Mating ports, polishing intakes, custom part modifications… I’ve spent a lot of time wasted with a Dremel that would have been better invested just getting a bigger bike. Nowadays, I avoid most work-intensive engine mods for the sake of reliability and uptime. Most engine upgrades barely add performance gains, which doesn’t make them any more tempting. At least that’s the case for fuel-efficient engines with the size of a coffee cup, like the Ninja 300 or 250.
Eventually you get tired of not being able to ride because your bike’s strewn all over your garage floor, in parts. I know it isn’t too popular an opinion among some circles, but oh well. If you wanna hear more about how I reached that conclusion, take a look at this post on why most motorcycle power mods suck. Just about anything else on this Kawasaki Ninja 300 mods list will likely give you a better return on your investment.
Well, that’s all of it! Hopefully this Kawasaki Ninja 300 upgrades list gave you a few ideas if you’re looking for the next upgrade on your bike. To be honest, this isn’t even every little mod I’ve done to this motorcycle. But at this point I’m just going to leave the post in its current form – My Kawasaki Ninja 300 upgrades list is already long enough as is. Though if you have any questions about a particular upgrade or accessory, feel free to leave a comment below. I’d be happy to give feedback.
Thanks for reading! If you found this interesting, check out what other projects I’ve been up to. A healthy majority of the content on this site is motorcycle-related, so you might want to consider subscribing to the newsletter. But for the time being, if you’re looking for something here and now, below are a few recent posts you might like: