MotorcycleDaily.com – Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Kawasaki Ninja 400 Announced for U.S. Market: All the Details and Specifications

As announced by Kawasaki this morning in New York, the all-new Kawasaki Ninja 400 is coming to the U.S. market. Base price will be $4,999 (ABS models start at $5,299), and the base model will be available in two colors, including Metallic Spark Black and Candy Plasma Blue, while the ABS models will be available in Metallic Spark Black, Pearl Solar Yellow/Pearl Storm Grey/Ebony and Lime Green/Ebony.

This is an entirely new motorcycle with an exciting ground-up redesign of the Ninja 300. Despite the larger engine and greater power, the Ninja 400 is nearly 20 pounds lighter than the Ninja 300 (claimed wet weight of 366 pounds).

Here is the full press release from Kawasaki, and you can follow this link for full features and specifications:  Ninja 400.

The stacked and always competitive small displacement sportbike class once again has a new leader by which all others will be judged: the all-new Kawasaki Ninja® 400 ABS and Ninja® 400. The sporty, lightweight, nimble handling platform of the Ninja 400 offers riders plenty of excitement, while also maintaining its reputation for appealing to a broad range of customers.

Kawasaki is no stranger to leading the way in performance and technology in the small displacement sportbike segment, one which Kawasaki pioneered with the Ninja® 250R motorcycle. The all-new Ninja 400 encapsulates the winning formula of its Ninja® predecessors and a decade’s worth of small displacement, sportbike knowledge of how to build the optimal motorcycle. One that not only has stunning looks, but also increased engine performance, improved handling, and lighter weight, all to get to the head of the class. 

The Ninja 400 was developed to suit a wide range of riders, allowing them to have a bike that provides plenty of excitement while still feeling in control. Thanks to its efficient design, the new compact, lightweight engine provides a class leading power to weight ratio. The power delivery was designed to be smooth and manageable, with abundant low-end torque to give smooth throttle control for all riders. Complementing the performance and handling of the new Ninja 400 is the sharp looking Ninja sportbike styling, designed to catch the eye of even the most seasoned of riders.

The newest addition to the Ninja family, the Ninja 400 is packed with premium class leading components and advanced technology, such as the 310 mm front disc and 41mm inverted fork. Supplying the power to let the good times roll is an all-new 399cc parallel twin four-stroke engine, which is paired with an all-new lightweight trellis frame. 

Highlights of the 2018 Ninja 400

  • Powerful, Rider-Friendly 399cc Parallel Twin
  • Lightweight Trellis Frame, providing nimble, confident handling
  • Significantly Lower Weight
  • Relaxed, Sporty Riding Position
  • Easy Reach to the Ground
  • Superb Ride Comfort & Excellent Wind Protection

Parallel Twin Engine & Transmission

The Ninja 400 features a compact, lightweight, and efficient 399cc liquid-cooled four-stroke parallel twin engine. The increased displacement comes by way of the 70.00 mm x 51.8 mm bore & stroke.  Performance increases were also achieved through airbox and intake modifications, as well as engine internals.

Significant performance gains are due to the new downdraft intake, which increases performance especially at high rpms and larger air box, which offers increased intake efficiency. The downdraft intake utilizes the shortest and most direct path for air to enter the cylinder, which improves cylinder-filling efficiency and contributes to increased engine power, especially at high rpm. Airbox volume has been significantly increased to 5.8 liters. The new airbox features revised rigidity at the top of the airbox, which eliminates unwanted noise, enabling riders to more clearly hear the engine’s intake note when accelerating. Different height intake funnels contribute to the engine’s smooth response by allowing torque valleys to be tuned out.

Starting from scratch, a new engine design allowed Kawasaki engineers to build the optimal performance engine with high grade components, such as the new 32 mm throttle body that helps flow the greater volume of air from the revised intake, contributing to strong high-rpm performance. The throttle body butterfly valves are oval-shaped to allow their closed position to be set at an angle, allowing for quicker throttle response as the valves open from initial valve rotation. Intake and exhaust valve diameters were chosen for optimal high-rpm performance. The intake valves are 27.5 mm, while the exhaust valves are 23.5 mm. The new intake design allowed for the injectors to be positioned closer to the throttle valves, enabling them to spray fuel directly onto the valves, which increases combustion efficiency and results in a linear throttle response. Kawasaki’s modern fuel-injection tuning allowed for the elimination of the sub-throttles on the Ninja 400 providing for additional weight savings.

The engine design of the Ninja 400 contributes to the lightweight of the bike and was achieved through a number of components. The aluminum die-cast cylinder with an open-deck design offers excellent heat dissipation and contributes to low engine weight; it is also sleeveless and features plated bores. The cylinder has been tilted forward 20 degrees to aid in achieving a short engine. Complementing the new cylinder design is a flatter piston crown with reduced squish, which contributes to the higher 11.5:1 compression ratio. Oil jets help cool the underside of the pistons to allow for a lighter piston design. Also aiding in the creation of a lighter and shorter engine was the decision to move the cam chain to the outside of the engine and the primary reduction gear line inside; it also shifts engine volume forward so that the rear of the engine could be slim. Forged camshafts, something rarely found on small displacement machines, were also utilized to contribute to the weight reduction efforts for the Ninja 400, saving nearly a half-pound. Additionally, a completely revised layout for the cooling system minimizes external piping and saves weight.

To enable smooth and seamless shifting, a close gear ratio was chosen for the transmission, with gears progressing easily from one to the next. Complementing the transmission is a new and more compact assist & slipper clutch, with less rigid operating plates that creates a lighter feel at the lever; the new clutch has a wider engagement range, enabling improved control.

When excessive engine braking occurs as a result of quick or accidental downshifts, the slipper cam comes into play, forcing the clutch hub and operating plate apart, which relieves pressure on the clutch plates to reduce back-torque and help prevent the rear tire from hopping and skidding.

Innovative Kawasaki technology such as the new radiator fan cover, which is located behind the radiator, directs hot air out to the sides away from the rider, reducing rider discomfort. Redirecting the hot air also helps keep the tank, frame and other parts that contact the rider cooler. The new heat management system was designed using Computational Fluid Dynamics analysis, and unlike the previous version it requires no parts to direct airflow inside the engine compartment. 

Chassis

Kawasaki’s advanced dynamic rigidity analysis research was utilized in designing the trellis frame of the Ninja 400 to ensure optimum rigidity and produce nimble supersport handling characteristics. A rigid mounted engine with short mounting brackets was used as a stressed member in the frame to increase rigidity. The new chassis has a supersport-style design with a short-wheelbase and long swingarm, which is complemented by a steep caster angle that delivers sporty natural handling. A shortened wheelbase on the new Ninja 400 significantly improves the handling compared to its predecessor and the overall wheelbase measurement for the Ninja 400 is 53.9 inches, nearly an inch shorter than the Ninja 300. The new frame & engine design contributes significantly to the bike’s low curb mass.

While it was important to decrease the weight and wheelbase of the new chassis design, it was also crucial to maintain the supersport handling characteristics, by adding length to the swingarm. Additional weight savings came as a result of the swingarm and mounting plate design. The die-cast aluminum swingarm mounting plate eliminates the need to add heavy additional cross member pieces to the frame because it bolts to the back of the engine, allowing the pivot shaft to go through the plate and mount the swingarm directly to the engine. Forming the swingarm from square tubing eliminates the need for additional gusseting, while maintaining rigidity and keeping weight to a minimum.

Additional weight concessions were made through slimmer seat design, a new wheel design, material trimmed from upper triple clamp, front fender brace eliminated, and new heat management system that uses fewer parts. All of these design improvements helped to create a bike that weighs in at only 362 pounds, a weight that is right in line with the smaller displacement models in its class, and is actually 19.7 pounds lighter than the Ninja 300, all while improving handling and performance.

Suspension

Complementing the ride comfort of the all-new trellis frame is a new larger 41 mm telescopic front fork, which provides riders with a much improved front end feel and increased traction, facilitating direction changes even when the bike is fairly upright. Thanks to design of the bigger fork, the front fender brace could be eliminated, helping to shave additional weight off the bike. A steeper caster angle improves the nimble handling feeling of the Ninja 400. Also aiding in the pursuit of improved handling and comfort is a new linkage and rear suspension settings. The shock features 5-way preload adjustability, which allows riders to adjust the stiffness and ride height to suit body weight or when riding two-up. The shock is easily adjustable with the on-board tool kit. The overall the suspension of the Ninja 400 offers the plushness of a much larger displacement bike.

Brakes & Wheels

To enhance handling and performance, the Ninja 400 comes equipped with a largest in class 310 mm semi-floating petal front disc, which is gripped by a balanced actuation dual-piston caliper. A newly designed, front brake master cylinder helps eliminate ineffective stroke for increased control. Handling the rear braking duties is a 220 mm petal disc, which is slowed by a new dual-piston caliper with larger 27 mm pistons. The front and rear brake hose material and dimensions were carefully selected to offer excellent brake feedback. The Ninja 400 ABS features Nissin’s latest ABS control unit.

The wheels and tires also follow the same weight savings theme applied throughout the build of the Ninja 400.  The stylish and lightweight 5-spoke star-pattern wheels offer lateral rigidity and contribute to the bike’s sporty and lightweight image. The wheel design is a product of technology gained in World Superbike competition. The lightweight Dunlop radial tires on the Ninja 400 contribute to both agile handling and riding comfort. The 150 mm rear tire provides a more aggressive looking rear end for the all-new Ninja.

Ergonomics

The relaxed rider triangle of the Ninja 400 accommodates a wide array of riders and riding situations rather than featuring an aggressive riding position that compromises comfort. The Ninja 400 features an elevated handlebar and a more forward footpeg position that allow the rider to control the bike while also offering rider comfort. The clip-on handlebars offer sporty, slightly downward positioning. The slightly forward positioning of the supersport-style aluminum footpegs contributes to direct feel, good controllability, and comfortable riding position of the Ninja 400.

The design of the bodywork on the Ninja 400 offers increased wind protection and ride comfort.  Rather than completely blocking the wind, the fairing promotes clean airflow around the rider and helps to pull hot air out of the engine compartment. The all-new sleek and slim 3.7-gallon fuel tank design enables good contact with the bike for increased control, all while helping to shave additional weight from the bike.

The seat height and how it narrows at the front makes it even easier for riders to get their feet to the ground. A deeper seat pan allows for a 90 mm low-rebound urethane seat cushion, offering improved ride comfort.

Styling

Head-turning good looks have always been synonymous with the Ninja line of motorcycles, and the new Ninja 400 is no exception. It carries Ninja styling from the mighty Ninja® H2 and Ninja® ZX™-10R, such as the chin spoilers at the bottom of the front cowl, triple-peak motif of the tail cowl, and the LED taillight design. Its bodywork packs the punch of a much larger machine, which is reinforced by its superb fit and finish.

The clean and sharp design of the new front cowl reflects the Ninja 400’s enhanced sport performance, while also instantly identifying it as a Kawasaki Ninja. Also adding to the sharp looks are slim LED headlamps that feature dual low and high beams, as well as an LED position lamp. Built-in front turn signals have a clean, unitized appearance. Sharp rear turn signals complement the aggressive Ninja styling; both front and rear turn signals utilize clear lenses for a high-quality look. The mirrors feature new stays and are positioned higher and further apart. The bike also features a sporty compact supersport-style fuel tank, with clean and aggressive lines, and a new race-inspired minimalist front fender design that eliminates the need for a fender brace.

High-grade Cockpit

Kawasaki engineers went to great lengths to ensure that the cockpit of the Ninja 400 was as clean and tidy as possible. The sophisticated instrument design features a large analog tachometer flanked by warning lamps on the right side, a gear position indicator, and a multi-function negative display LCD screen on the left.

The gear position indicator enhances confidence while also lending to the Ninja 400’s sporty image. In addition to the digital speedometer and gear position indicator, display functions include: odometer, dual trip meters, remaining range, current and average fuel consumption, external temperature, coolant temperature, clock and the Economical Riding Indicator. The Economical Riding Indicator appears on the LCD screen to indicate favorable fuel consumption, notifying riders when they are operating within the optimal conditions to maximize their fuel efficiency.

In addition to the clean and sporty look of the gauges of the Ninja 400; a machined upper triple clamp and finished fork caps with an alumite finished were selected for their sporty aesthetics.

COLORS

There are four models in the 2018 Kawasaki Ninja 400 motorcycle family. These include the standard (non-ABS) model which are available in two colors: Candy Plasma Blue or Metallic Spark Black. The Kawasaki Ninja 400 ABS, which comes in Metallic Spark Black or Pearl Solar Yellow/Pearl Storm Grey/Ebony. The Ninja 400 ABS Kawasaki Racing Team (KRT) Edition is available in a striking combination of Lime Green and Ebony. The KRT Edition offers an exclusive look inspired by the World Superbike racing team and features Lime Green/Ebony bodywork.

Ninja 400 – Metallic Spark Black

Ninja 400 – Candy Plasma Blue

Ninja 400 ABS – Metallic Spark Black

Ninja 400 ABS — Pearl Solar Yellow/Pearl Storm Grey/Ebony

Ninja 400 ABS KRT – Lime Green/Ebony

MSRP

Ninja 400 $4,999

Ninja 400 ABS $5,299

Ninja 400 ABS Pearl Solar Yellow/Pearl Storm Grey/Ebony $5,499

Ninja 400 ABS KRT Edition $5,499

ACCESSORIES

Kawasaki offers a full line of genuine accessories for the 2018 Ninja 400, which enable customers to personalize their bikes to their liking in a number of different ways. Kawasaki Genuine Accessories offers a frame slider set, tank pad, and radiator trim to maintain the fit and finish of the bike.  To increase comfort, Kawasaki Genuine Accessories offers ergo fit extended reach seat and a tall windscreen. a few of the stylish Kawasaki genuine accessories available for the ninja 400 are the Akrapovic slip on muffler and color matched seat cowl. Other Kawasaki Genuine Accessories available are the dc power outlet, helmet lock, and premium and deluxe Ninja covers.

ACCESSORIES

Kawasaki offers a full line of genuine accessories for the 2018 Ninja 400, which enable customers to personalize their bikes to their liking in a number of different ways. Kawasaki Genuine Accessories offers a frame slider set, tank pad, and radiator trim to maintain the fit and finish of the bike.  To increase comfort, Kawasaki Genuine Accessories offers ergo fit extended reach seat and a tall windscreen. a few of the stylish Kawasaki genuine accessories available for the ninja 400 are the Akrapovic slip on muffler and color matched seat cowl. Other Kawasaki Genuine Accessories available are the dc power outlet, helmet lock, and premium and deluxe Ninja covers.


See more of MD’s great photography:

Instagram


110 Comments

  1. Dan says:

    Sure hope the other manufacturers follow suite

  2. RyYYZ says:

    400 CCs is just about the perfect size, IMO. The Japanese sold boat-loads (literally) of them here in the 70s and 80s. Decent torque combined with sufficient power (especially in this modern iteration, which surely puts out more power than any CB/KZ/XS/GS 400 ever did back in the day) for highway speeds with something in reserve. Good pricing, good styling (arguably), cheap to insure (relatively). It would indeed be nice to see them make a naked/retro version, or an adventure version.

  3. Norm G. says:

    Kawi just rolled a GRENADE through the front door of the proverbial “house” containing the world’s used N250/N300 prices.

    • Dave says:

      Meh, I think they just rolled the R3 into that house, which had put the others there when it came out.

      • Norm G. says:

        what’s an R3 again…? EXACTLY.

        welcome to the “race to the bottom”.

        • Dave says:

          More like the race with the moving finish line. Hopefully somebody puts a stake in a the ground and they can all agree on what the ideal “small bike” displacement is. They’ll quickly lose their appetite for bringing short-margin bikes like these to the US if every 3 years requires a complete re-tooling to chase incremental improvement. We’ll be back to 250’s that nobody really wants and eventually a lone, 20 year old Ninja, something-or-another…

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            I don’t know what the “ideal” small bike displacement is, but I suspect Kawasaki has probably found it with the 400. I couldn’t say for sure without riding it, but the weight and power seems sufficient for the fastest roads here. That also seems mild enough to be a good bike to learn on here while also meeting important displacement and horsepower tiers for several other important markets.

        • mickey says:

          what’s an R3 again…? EXACTLY.

          a gutless tiddler fit for riding around the city and not much more imo

          • Dave says:

            ..says the guy who rides the slowest liter bike made in the past 20-30 years. (wink, wink..)

            A 300cc bike will kill you at the same 80+ mph that a 1000cc bike will, for almost any of the same mistakes. If these bikes are bringing people back into the fold, let’s not call their choices (and by extension, them) “gutless”.

          • mickey says:

            True. I would have loved to have had an R3 as a first bike instead of the 50cc Aermacci that was lucky to do 55 mph wide open down hill with a tail wind, or my second bike a CB160 that might hit 75 on a good day. Compared to those the R3 is a GREAT motorcycle and ideal for beginners.

  4. Provologna says:

    This is one of the all time most desirable and realistically priced bikes. I won’t be surprised if these are sold out soon after they appear.

    Kudos, KHI, very well done indeed.

    This bike justifies serious consideration for bike of the year. This motor, possibly retuned for fatter/taller torque curve in an adventure package, is the default winner lacking no bike currently extant.

  5. Fred says:

    I have more bikes than I can ride already, but I like this one. I’d prefer a less “stink-bug” rear end, that allowed soft saddle bags, but that’s a fairly minor quibble.

    This should be a great bike for young and old riders, and for all the riders in between that would like a fun play/commute bike. Kudos to KHI. Hope it sells well, and brings joy to a lot of people.

  6. KenLee says:

    Great to see reborn of 400 class, but sad to say, it looks like low budget solution comparing to ones from begining of nineties. I had then ZXR 400 with 4 cylinders, 65 HP, 13000 rpm, about 128 mph, inverted forks and double front discs with four piston calipers each. That was a serious machine and there were more of them: GSF 400 Bandit, VFR 400, CB-1, GSX-R 400, CB 400 Super Four and others with all available features and best solutions of their times. Now, after 25 years Kawasaki presents twin cylinder 45 HP motorcycle with standard forks, single front disc and positioning it in “sport” class. The only one extra feature is ABS available. Nice bike, but not very impresive.

    • Dave says:

      The reason none of those bikes never sold well in the US was because you could buy 600,cc bikes with the same features, for the same prices, and we don’t have displacement based licensing (the reason they’re sold in other markets). The reality of production cost and the tastes of the US market hasn’t changed.

      This bike isn’t meant to replace those. These should actually sell.

      • KenLee says:

        You are probably right, but it makes my disappointment even deeper. Accountants vs. Engineers- 1:0 and the public supports winners.

        • Dave says:

          Also worth noting that while the Kawasaki will make “only” 45hp stock, it probably has more potential. Most of the speculation I have read cites this HP figure as a nod to A2 European licensing limitations (same reason the Honda CB500’s don’t make more power).

          Even at this lower HP level, the twin should be a bit more rideable than a small I-4 that is tuned to only for max HP at high rpm, making significant sacrifices everywhere else in the rev range, where most people ride, most of the time.

          • KenLee says:

            I can’t agree with you about problematic power-to-rpm relation by old R4 400 motorcycles. I still have two in my garage (Bandit as my wife’s entry level street bike and Super Four as possible future project) and both surpisingly efortless on the revs. They feel very natural around 8000 rpm, where any small twin seems to vibrate and struggle. There is no feeling, you hurt the engine reving it. Scream comes over 10000 rpm and that’s specific part of fun pack together with a kick 😉 Powerband is stable and predictable over 5000 rpm, which feels like 3000 on twin or bigger bike. Anyway, new Ninja 400 is not a bad bike, but thinking about purchase, I would rather pay more for better forks and brakes. Single disc with one-sided two piston caliper is a 125 commuter class standard…

    • Curly says:

      Ken, the bike you are asking for is a ZX-6R with smaller bores and shorter stroke. That bike would have to retail for over 11,000 bucks for Kawasaki to make a decent profit on. Who would buy it when the 600 version would sell for just a few hundred more? Right, nobody.

      This new twin represents a return to a sane level of useful performance at a price that a lot more people can afford. I consider a 400 twin like the Kawasaki to be the bottom level of performance that can handle real life on highways. Yes you can do it on recent 250-300 class bikes but they are pretty much at their useful limit at 75mph. This bike is in the same price range as the 300s but should handle those speeds the way a good 500 or 650 did back in the 70s. Good move Kawasaki.

      • Selecter says:

        I agree with your whole first paragraph – this is why hoping for 400cc high-tech sportbikes is like peeing into the wind. Nobody would buy them unless taxation or licensing would basically force them to. Heck, even the 600cc bikes are a hard sell these days, being $12,000, and the liter sportbikes start at only a couple grand more.

        However, I rode a LOT of miles on 250cc sportbikes at a dang sight more than 75MPH! That’s not to say, though, that I’m not thrilled to see the little 400 now, because I am. $5000 for this bike seems like a very fair price. But the 300 was such a blast, and there are DEEP discounts on them now, that it seems like an equally good value. It’s good to have choices for the small-sportbike buyer!

        • Curly says:

          I didn’t mean to imply that 75 was the top speed for 250s but that their practical top cruising isn’t any more than that and that the available power reserve at that speed isn’t a lot. I’ve ridden my modded SRX250 on Interstate trips and it was fun but not much left on top. Now it’s a 350 and the extra torque makes a big difference. A 400 twin has a bit more cushion and that makes them more useful.

    • randy says:

      Man! I envy you having all those little buzzbombs! You are right, that was the high point of small bikes. I still miss the baby 250 Inteceptor I had, never rode the 500(darn it). I don’t envy paying for or setting valves and syncing all those carbs. You gotta pay to play.

    • Provologna says:

      For the record, Honda released a bland, ultra-pedestrian looking CB400 Hawk twin a few years after the CB400-Four you mention. The Hawk ran circles around the 4. Cycle magazine reported their test Hawk had among the most abundant cornering clearance of all road bikes ever tested, and IIRC they scraped no hard parts.

      I presume, adjusted for inflation, the ZXR400 would be close to twice the price of this new Ninja 400. That’s an apples/oranges comparison.

      I am virtually positive even the most high performance bikes made considerably less than the 162.5hp per liter spec to which you refer (65hp per 400cc). In that era, I presume Yamaha’s 1000 sport bike made more like 120hp. If the ratios were equal, that pegs the 400 around 48hp.

  7. Al says:

    Hey guys there is a new forum website that’s been set up for the Ninja 400.
    Check it out at http://www.ninja400riders.com

  8. OldGuy says:

    I really don’t like all this angular styling or the HUGE gap between rear wheel and seat/frame. Some countries have rain¬ we need some kind of weather protection back there. I’m getting old.

    • Gary says:

      Indeed you are. It seems silly to complain about a design feature that has been around since the 1980’s. I think its now safe to say that mono-shock bikes are here to stay.

  9. JD says:

    I’ve long heard of the semi-legendary performance (?) and handling of the mid/late 80’s Yamaha FZR400, and somewhat less about the Honda VFR400 available outside the USA. I wonder how this modern 400 would compare on track to those two bikes?

    • Curly says:

      The FZR400 was one of those magic bikes that made you feel like a better rider than you really were. Stock they had a top speed of 128mph at the Yamaha test track. Not sure if this new twin would get to 120 but it should handle well.

    • ROXX says:

      I used to race an FZR400 at Willow Springs in ARRA 89-91.
      Yes the bike was magic.
      Could pass the 1000cc bikes through the twisty sections of any street or track like they were standing still.
      Funnest sport bike I’ve ever owned and I’ve had a ton of them in all sizes through three decades.

  10. Randy says:

    I’ve been waiting for a 400cc bike with new technology, and modern engine, brakes, suspension and handling. THIS IS IT! Now, how do I strip it and put a 70’s tank, seat and round headlight on it? If they can make a modern 900Z1 retro, how about a new KH400? Yeah, I’m old. But I still like this bike. I think they have a winner.

  11. DCE says:

    Kawasaki (and others) are finding out real quick that using the engine as a stressed frame member and incorporating a linked rear suspension makes road bikes both light and better handling. Now I want them to re-engineer the Versys 650 like they did for the Ninja 650, Z650 and Ninja 400.

    • Dave says:

      Honda did exactly this (rear swingarm pivot to engine case) with the vtr1000 Superhawk and VFR800 in 1998. Engine as a stressed member is nothing new.

    • joe b says:

      Really, didn’t Honda use the engine as a stressed frame member in the sixties? And havn’t all bikes from say early eighties have a linked rear suspension (not those meant to be old fashioned)? DCE where have you been? … or maybe your just not that old…

  12. Roadkill says:

    See myself buying one , it ticks all the boxs.

  13. mickey says:

    Ok been looking at it for 2 days now. I like the colors on the grey/yellow one. However for me the riding position is still way too racer boy. Look at the last pic of the guy riding thru the city, notice how the tops of his thighs and his forearms are parallel. Sit in a chair and try and make your body like that and you’ll see you have to bend forward quite a bit. at 68 I can never go for a riding position like that. I will also have to age quite a bit and get a lot weaker before I go back to something 400cc. I have considered a lighter smaller bike than the 1100cc I4 and 1300cc V4 I currently have, but my thoughts are more toward an NC700x or CB500X. Something more upright and civilized for an old guy. Probably get gobsmacked by some kid screaming the guts out of a 400 sport bike like this, but if they pull up next to me and want to race, I will just concede and enjoy my own ride.

    This would have been a great bike when I was 16-23 years old.I imagine it will sell really well. Kawasaki is on a roll… a good times roll? lol

    • Chris says:

      I actually think that is a woman riding the blue one through the city. Leaning forward a bit while accelerating? Just cruising along, it should look and feel more comfortable.

    • DP says:

      You have to terms with reality Mickey; no way around it. I am in your age bracket and while acquired CB500x two years ago I realized that is the best fit for me given circumstances. An yes I also had lot stronger bikes before.

    • VLJ says:

      XSR700. Smaller and lighter than the already small and light XSR900, with an upright seating position and no Transformers styling.

      • mickey says:

        I’ve test ridden the Yammie 700 twice and it’s just too vibey for me VLJ, and you sit over the front end like on my son’s Ducati Monster.

        Another option would be the BMW 700 or 800 if it weren’t a BMW lol

        • VLJ says:

          XSR700’s seating position is different from the FZ-07’s.

          Couldn’t tell you about the vibes, but I wouldn’t expect it to be buzzier than the smaller parallel twin in the Honda.

  14. Norm G. says:

    Rea and Grinner says see you punks at Road America, oh yeah bring both your leathers and your “A-game”…

    https://tinyurl.com/y7ys7ooc

  15. dad still rocks says:

    Looks like someone put the inverted forks on upside down!!

  16. Frank says:

    Nice Kawasaki….nice.

  17. Tank says:

    Hard to tell who this bike appeals more to, young or older riders. This is one of those bikes that you buy and keep for a long time.

  18. downgoesfraser says:

    I rode my ’08 Ninja over 50,000, replaced it with a ’97 750 Monster, always wanted a Ducati and now wondering why. This new 400 looks to be about perfect, now if I can unload the Duc’………

  19. ben says:

    I bet this thing will eat the sluggish CBR500 for lunch

  20. dman says:

    As Dirck says, this is MD so we gotta complain about something. I own an original style Ducati Monster, and with the “beer tray” rear fender and the tail light right at the end of the seat, it’s very difficult to strap on a soft tail bag without obscuring the tail light. And this bike has the same flaw. It’s not just hypothetical, it’s a real problem. And it’s become all too common on many bikes since Galuzzi designed that otherwise beautiful bike 25 years ago. Otherwise, like many of the older readers here, this would be a great bike for me as I start downsizing. The Z900RS looks much more practical in this aspect with no aesthetic downside, even taking into account a very different style.

  21. Buzzard says:

    The colors are great. Seem like this bike would be a fun bike in city traffic and splitting lanes.

  22. todd says:

    Here’s my stab at a complaint:

    Most of the 250/300 bikes were bought by experienced riders looking for a light, small displacement motorcycle. New riders usually opt for the GSXR750 or R6 right out of the gate. Though this is probably a great bike, why get this over the 600? It’s not really all that small and simple any more.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      Why get this over the 600? Not sure if you mean the 650 or the 636, but it is a good bit cheaper than the former and less than half the cost of the latter. Plus the smallest displacement Ninja has always been been a big seller for Kawasaki. The horses difference between the 650 and the 400 is still substantial and the weight difference material, so I don’t see anyone struggling over this purchase decision any more than when it was a 250 or 300.

    • Paul says:

      Plus, insurance in my region is lower when the bike is below 400cc…this is 399cc.

    • Stuki Moi says:

      It’s smaller than ever. 366 lbs wet. Versus 425-470 for the faired 600-650s. And with less than 2/3rds of the engine size of the bigger ones, it’s closer to the sweet spot for less experienced riders, while still being fast enough for anything practical. The SV650 et al are great, but they are pretty darned powerful bikes, for someone who has never ridden before, and can be a bit intimidating.

      With ABS and the slip-assist clutch, it’s also simpler than ever. Or at least as simple as anything out there short of a DCT Honda.

      Riding position is MUCH less committed than the 636. And I’d be surprised of this thing doesn’t have steering lock allowing it to U-turn in less than the width of a football field. It also costs only $5K. With LED lights! The headlights on the 636, would barely qualify as taillights on some bikes…. And that’s coming from one of the world’s biggest 636 fans 🙂

      • dugsurfdugsurf says:

        I’m 6′-4″ 250. Raced on & off road- been on the fastest production bikes made etc. I subscribe to the philosophy: it’s funner to ride a slower bike faster than a faster bike slower. I dig the low weight of this & 400 cc at this price with the slipper clutch effect is a great target range. I’m most concerned about how comfortable it would be & whether I can find stiffer spring rates if required?

        • matt says:

          heck yeah springs will be available. FINALLY they’re using standard 41mm forks. I’ve been doing GSXR cartridge internal mods to a slew of 41mm forks for street and racer alike (SV, EX650, R3, etc). And also for the 250/300 ninja. It will be so nice to not have to accommodate 38’s any more.

        • mickey says:

          “I subscribe to the philosophy: it’s funner to ride a slower bike faster than a faster bike slower.”

          I subscribe to the philosophy that its funner to ride a faster bike faster than the slower bike will even go.

    • Dave says:

      “Most of the 250/300 bikes were bought by experienced riders looking for a light, small displacement motorcycle. ”

      When? 250’s almost always sold to beginning riders.

      • dugsurfdugsurf says:

        I bet an experienced rider on this would smoke a novice on a 600 outside longer straits, and have more fun doing it. Much less gyro effect from the engine and inertia to battle. 399xc is still plenty to get killed on well.over safe speeds.

  23. DB says:

    Wait, you haven’t yet seen Honda’s, Yamaha’s, and Suzuki’s answer to the 400cc displacement! I like the new Kawasaki, like the displacement, interesting how it starts at 250cc, then 300 or so, then 350, then 400. This is what’s great about the motorcycle industry! Always something new coming along, more power, less weight, better handling.

  24. Butch says:

    A lot of bike for the money.
    The gray and yellow would be my choice.
    Hide the hump just above the tag bracket with your pinky and . . . . .

  25. Jeremy in TX says:

    I have to say I think they nailed it with this one. It has premium looks, what sounds like a great engine, an impressive curb weight figure, and priced about the same as the outgoing 300.

    Now, a heavier flywheel and a different cam tacked on to that engine, and maybe we can start talking about a truly modern KLR 400?

    • Stuki Moi says:

      Between the Versys 300, the trend towards more “adventure” friendly adventure bikes, and the center of the world’s motorcycle universe moving towards places where bikes the size of cars make little sense, I’d consider a KLRish 400 ADV a virtual shoe-in at some point.

    • Dave says:

      The initial launch information about this bike indicated that one of the motivators for its development was that the 300 could not reach euro4 compliance. If the Versus 300 is a successful bike, a 400 version based on these mechanics is almost a sure thing.

  26. Fred says:

    This bike smaller size is the new future of what a big bike will be for a lot of folks. The super bike of 1000 cc is old hat and we will start the climb up from the bottom again.
    The Kawa 250 grew to 300 now it’s 400. In 2 years or so, the ‘new’ ZX 450 cc will the headline act.

  27. Curly says:

    Winner, winner, chicken dinner. 399cc will do a torque number on the R3 at 321cc and feel sportier than the CBR500R while undercutting it’s price by over a grand.

  28. jim says:

    Beak! Centerstand! Farkles!

  29. Tyler says:

    Needs more power!
    Can the alternator handle adding underchassis LED lighting?
    No aftermarket support, I can’t wait that long to stretch the swingarm.

    Seriously, nice looking and sounding bike. I would love to see a Z version of this as a companion to my 390 Duke. A guy can dream, can’t he?

  30. Trent says:

    I’m a big Kawi fan, I own two of them currently, and I really like this Ninja 400, but I just don’t understand this bike having a 3.7 gallon gas tank when an old Ninja 250 has a 4.8 gallon gas tank. They should be able to make that happen.

    • Fred says:

      It’s a sure bet it’s a lot more fuel efficient with meeting Euro 4 emission’s, so it will probably have the same range or more. That extra fuel being carried is dead weight for this class of bike.

    • Tom R says:

      It would then look like a bulbous turd.

    • Dave says:

      #1 there was never a good reason for a 250 to have a nearly 5 gallon tank. #2 smaller tank makes for good looks (as Tom points out) and a more impressive wet weight figure.

      I’m guessing the 400’s larger airbox is consuming some of that volume.

  31. steveinsandiego says:

    yep, can’t wait to fuss over a model on the showroom floor. could be my last bike, since i’m 69, and my ’15 vstrom with topbox was throwing too much weight around. let’s see, at $5299 for the black abs, i wonder what out-the-door will be here in socal. i figure $7k, presuming i avoid my typical approach: would you take $6k otd right now, following a test ride?

  32. Tom R says:

    Having gone from a 1981 Suzuki GS450S to and through about 20 other mostly bigger and faster bikes in 36 years, I think I’ll wrap up my riding career on another sporty 400 class motorcycle-this one.

    • Provologna says:

      I went with a friend to look at a GS450S he considered buying. I was mostly riding liter bikes at the time. The bike was cherry, only a few years old. Of course, on my test ride, as soon as I was out of sight of the seller I down shifted at low speed and twisted the throttle WFO, and promptly almost flipped the bike. That sucker was a lot quicker than I expected.

      Phil Cotton of Sunday Morning Ride fame in the 80s, rode a nice Guzzi 850 LeMans for a while. Later he rode a red GS450 with MotoGuzzi fuel tank badge. The bike looked decidedly European. That is really one of Suzuki’s all time better bikes, and a sleeper. Never rode the same era Yamaha Seca 400, another great looker and performer, with gobs of Euro flair, mono shock too IIRC.

  33. Tom R says:

    Having gone from a 1981 Suzuki GS400S to and through about 20 other mostly bigger and faster bikes in 36 years, I think I’ll wrap up my riding career on another sporty 400-this one.

    • Paul says:

      Me too. I’m just turning 63 and looking for my last “good” bike and this will be the one. I’ll hang onto my VFR800, will never let that go, perfect for more extended rides afield.

    • Fivespeed302 says:

      I own a R1 and I’d gladly park the Ninja 400 right next to it. I doubt I’ll buy one in ‘18, but if one of my bikes were to be in an accident or stolen, the 400 would be one of my first test rides.

  34. kawatwo says:

    I will have one. It’s just a matter of when:) I can’t wait to see some road tests. What a great all around sporty small bike this will be.

  35. Paul says:

    Perfect. I would pay the bit extra for the yellow/slate/ebony unit with ABS. This should be an excellent do-all weapon of choice.

  36. VLJ says:

    Absolutely spot-on design. Gorgeous.

  37. Gary says:

    This bike is 100% win. If this sells as well as it should, there could be a Z400, or a Z400RS in the future.

    • austin zzr 1200 says:

      a z400RS sounds tasty..no need to bolt on traction control or slipper clutch, nice and light. But what does the motor look like under all that cladding?

  38. Bill says:

    OK I’ll go out on a limb here and say Kawasaki nailed it. I see no room for improvement.

Leave a Reply to dman