New Kawasaki Ninja 250R Key System

Thirty years ago replacing lost keys for motorcycles was a simple procedure. Most cycles had the key code stamped on the face of the ignition lock. The hardest part was having the correct key blank. Brands like Honda, Suzuki and Harley used a variety of key blanks. Locksmiths had to stock dozens of motorcycle key blanks in order to be prepared.

In addition to needing a full stock of motorcycle key blanks today, locksmiths must also hone their skills at key fitting because key codes have been eliminated from almost all motorcycle locks. One holdout is Honda which still prints key codes on most of their cycle locks. Many current cycles have chosen Zadi locks using the 8001-9554 series. You can use the Ilco X270/ JMA ZA-9P1/ Bianchi ZAD20P key blank for most locks using this series.

One motorcycle which uses a completely new key codes series and a new key blank is the 2008+ Kawasaki Ninja 250R model. The full code series range is unknown at this time, but original key codes found so far all fit within the 1000-2000 range. The ignition lock used for this article had a code number of 1582. Kawasaki does print the key code number on this ignition lock housing.

Locksmith Ledger was first alerted to this new lock system by Houdini Locksmiths in Philadelphia. Larry Schwalb called to ask for information about this new model. None of the available aftermarket key blanks would fit into the lock. They were stumped and so were we. This prompted a visit to our local Kawasaki dealer to find out more information.

First, some information about Kawasaki ignition locks. For several years Kawasaki has printed some helpful information on the face of the ignition lock. Look for a “KM” listing. If the listing is KM5 or KM8, then the code series should be Z5001-Z6000. If the listing is KM4, then the code series should be B8001-9000. If the listing is KM10, it is the new Ninja 250R code series.

As of now, no aftermarket key blank manufacturer is making a key blank for the Ninja 250R. The best usable blank found to date is the Ilco X52/SAA1 which is made for Saab cars. Similar X52 blanks made by some other manufacturers may also operate, but they must be tested individually. We tested a Silca YM22 Saab blank which would not fully enter the Kawasaki lock because it is made of thicker metal stock as compared to Ilco blanks. Original rubber head Ninja 250R key blanks from Kawasaki cost $12.00 each. The part number is 27008-0053.

Changes to the Ilco X52/SAA1 blank must be made. Shoulders must be trimmed back to produce a longer blade. Distance from the tip of key to shoulder must be 1.175”. A small part of the keyhead must also be trimmed back to provide clearance with the face of the ignition lock.

The Internet can be an interesting but not always helpful source of information. Either on purpose or by error, depths and space numbers shown on one Internet site for the Ninja 250R are completely incorrect. There are 8 tumblers in the ignition lock. According to Houdini Locksmiths, the gas and seat locks use tumblers in spaces 3-8.

The correct spacing is: 315-413-512-610-709-807-906-1004.

There are three depths: 1) 281 2) 252 3) 222.

Spacing for the ‘08+ 250R is the same as for the B8001-B9000 Kawasaki series plus one added space, but only three depths are used in the new series.

The ignition has ‘off/on’ and ‘lock’ positions. When in the ‘lock’ position, the key must be pushed inward before the plug will turn. The outer face is separate from the lock plug. As the key is pushed in and turned, the faceplate also turns, but does not move inward. This is to deter lock picking. A specialized turning tool would be required to enter through the outer face and simultaneously depress the inner plug while exerting turning tension on the inner plug. In addition, there are 8 tumblers to manipulate.

Until the key code series becomes available, the best key fitting suggestion would be to first fit a key to the 6 tumblers in either the gas or seat locks, then impression spaces 1 & 2 in the ignition lock.

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