2018 Kawasaki Ninja 400 First Trip Assessment

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2018 Kawasaki Ninja 400

Editor Rating: 85.25%

Suspension/Dealing with13.zero/15
Look/High qualityEight.5/10
Total Rating85.25/100

Kawasaki might have simply discovered the candy spot with its new Ninja 400. At a look, the brand new bike has undergone a considerable weight discount remedy, a displacement enhance of 103cc, and an attractive styling redesign – all whereas remaining at the very same value level. Non-ABS fashions begin at $Four,999 whereas ABS is an extra $300. Kawasaki was out for blood when it went again to the drafting board for its new entry-level bike.

2018 Kawasaki Ninja 400: Unique Dyno Run And Measured Weight!

When Kawasaki began to really feel the stark competitors from bikes like Yamaha’s R3 and KTM’s RC390, they started working in an effort to “take again what was theirs,” in line with Kawi. That might be the light-weight entry-level sportbike class. With one have a look at the facet by facet spec chart, it’s fairly apparent they’ve completed so. After spending a day using the brand new Ninja 400 on the winding again roads of Sonoma County and a day of spinning laps at Sonoma Raceway, I’m right here to report that the 2018 Kawasaki Ninja 400 will probably be a power to be reckoned with within the light-weight sportbike class.

So, the place to start out…

Engine: Extra CC’s, please

Kawasaki Ninja 400

Ah, the age-old-adage: There’s no substitute for displacement. Whereas this isn’t at all times the case, perhaps it’s as a rule. Kawasaki has boosted the cubic centimeters of its smallest Ninja by 103cc, placing it atop the spec chart when facet by facet with its classmates. Nonetheless a parallel-twin, bore and stroke are elevated to 70.zero x 51.Eight whereas compression ratio is bumped to 11.5:1 from 10.6:1 discovered within the 300.

Engine efficiency revisions could be seen all through, together with bigger diameter head pipes at 31.8mm, a lighter flywheel, extra exact tuning permitting for the elimination of sub throttles, lighter cast camshafts, optimized consumption and exhaust valves, a brand new piston with decreased squish and a flatter crown which can be made to be lighter because of the oil jets cooling it from beneath. The cylinder can be sleeveless and makes use of plated bores.

The radiator has additionally been redesigned to raised direct warmth away from parts the rider will come into contact with, all whereas utilizing no new components says Kawasaki.

Kawasaki Ninja 400

Impressively, Kawasaki has managed to extend displacement and optimize efficiency, all whereas preserving the engine comparatively the identical dimension because the 2017 Ninja 300.

Kawasaki Ninja 400

The brand new downdraft consumption supplies probably the most direct path of air into the cylinder for a extra environment friendly consumption system.

Additionally attributing to the not-so-wee Ninja’s new-found efficiency is the bigger 5.Eight-liter airbox with a brand new downdraft consumption which supplies probably the most direct path of air into the cylinder. This creates a extra environment friendly consumption system. The consumption funnels themselves are totally different heights permitting Kawasaki to tune out most dips within the torque curve. Kawasaki says this has been particularly essential to improved engine efficiency at excessive rpm. The airbox was additionally engineered with extra rigidity on the high to remove undesirable noise, whereas nonetheless delivering a transparent consumption observe which was current in the easiest way at excessive rpm at Sonoma Raceway.

Kawasaki Ninja 400

As we will see on our unique dyno run of the Ninja 400, the torque curve is impressively flat, peaking at 25 lb-ft of torque at Eight,000 rpm. Maybe extra notably, is the truth that 20 lb-ft can be found just below Four,500 rpm. Horsepower can be considerably elevated from the earlier Ninja, in addition to the competitors, with 44 hp obtainable at 10,000 rpm.

Newbie-Ish Sportbike Shootout + Video

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The transmission has additionally undergone some revision. Shut gear ratios and the help clutch make flipping by means of gears a breeze, whereas the slipper perform will forestall the rear tire from hopping or skidding throughout aggressive or unintended downshifts. Kawasaki says the pull on the clutch lever has been decreased by 20% which can be welcomed on the road; nonetheless there have been occasions throughout our monitor day when it was tough to really feel the engagement level.

Dealing with: Absolutely Flickable

Kawasaki Ninja 400

To say the Kawasaki Ninja 400 is maneuverable would perhaps be the understatement of the yr. As I picked the bike up off of its kickstand it turned clear simply how light-weight the Ninja 400 was. Just a few corners later it was obvious how a lot enjoyable I used to be about to have for the subsequent two days. The usable mid-range energy, mild clutch pull, and ease of dealing with make for a enjoyable and unintimidating entry-bike for these trying to start their foray into motorcycling.

Let’s check out how Kawasaki made an already agile bike right into a razor-sharp, apex-mauling, corner-killing, Ninja.

Kawasaki Ninja 400

When contemplating the power-to-weight ratio of bikes, dropping 17.7 lbs supplies a considerable enhance in efficiency. After we had the Ninja 400 on the dyno we additionally had an opportunity to weigh it. Stuffed with three.7 gallons of gasoline, the 2018 Kawasaki Ninja 400 with ABS weighs 366 lbs. The final Ninja 300 we examined, with a Four.5-gallon tank, weighed 381 lbs, so we’re a few 10-lb drop in actual weight.

Kawasaki Ninja 400

Though I touched on the engine’s weight financial savings earlier on this article, weight decreasing efforts could be discovered all through. The brand new Ninja 400 is constructed round a trellis-style body derived from Kawi’s work on the Ninja H2, which provides rigidity whereas decreasing weight. The rigid-mounted engine can be now used as a confused member, with an aluminum swingarm mounting plate bolted to the again of the engine. This all results in added stability and fewer weight.

Kawasaki Ninja 400

A fast have a look at the Ninja 400’s new chassis dimensions additionally allude to the nimbler character of the 2018 mannequin. The general wheelbase has been shortened by 1.Four inches, whereas the steering angle has been decreased by 2.Four levels placing rake and path at 24.7°/three.6 in. Seat peak has been saved the identical at 30.9 inches. The quite upright “clip-ons” set the handlebars again towards the rider by 15mm from the earlier mannequin, whereas the footpegs have been moved 9mm backward.

All issues Kawasaki on Motorbike.com

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The suspension has additionally been upgraded with a non-adjustable 41mm Showa fork from the Ninja 300’s 37mm tubes. A KYB rear shock with a brand new Uni-Trak linkage is now used out again with five-way preload adjustment. Whereas the suspension is considerably tender, I by no means had any bottoming points, and it soaked up imperfections on the road fairly properly. On the monitor, stiffer suspension can be most well-liked, but it labored properly sufficient for us to completely benefit from the bikes at Sonoma Raceway.

Kawasaki Ninja 400

Kawasaki has additionally upgraded the Ninja’s stopping energy up entrance to a single 310mm rotor clenched by a dual-piston Nissin caliper, whereas the rear rotor stays 220mm with a single-piston caliper. Though braking energy was satisfactory, it turned one of many few issues most journalists mentioned they might change first if track-duty was the project. Metal braided brake strains and a set of racing brake pads would possible repair the sponginess and tender preliminary chunk. On the road, it’s not a lot an issue. I did overhear different a lot sooner journalists complain about brake fade (cough* Ari Henning *cough* lap file holder at Sonoma Raceway within the 300 class *cough). I didn’t have that situation.

Whereas revising the whole bike, Kawasaki didn’t neglect the tires. The Ninja 400 now makes use of Dunlop Sportmax GPR300 rubber, which supplied good grip on the road in dry and damp circumstances and wasn’t unhealthy at Sonoma Raceway both.

Fashion for miles

Kawasaki Ninja 400

Since 2008, Kawasaki has completed an excellent job at making its entry-level bikes look far more like their bigger displaced siblings. For 2018 Kawasaki has continued with styling that’s undeniably Ninja.  

Kawasaki Ninja 400

From the KRT graphics (a $500 improve that features ABS), to the trellis-type body and tail’s triple-peak motif, the Ninja 400 shares styling and spirit with its larger bros. LED lighting is discovered all through on the Ninja, giving it that premium bike really feel. As talked about beforehand, the triple-peak motif tail part and small chin spoilers on the underside of the entrance cowl had been derived from the Ninja H2.

Kawasaki Ninja 400

The brand new five-spoke wheels look slick and are mentioned to be lighter than the earlier model.

Kawasaki Ninja 400

The cockpit additionally has refined really feel with out unfastened cables or wires hanging round obtrusively, quite the whole lot is properly sure and routed neatly out of the best way. The sprint additionally appears nice whereas offering a good quantity of knowledge with the gear-selection indicator entrance and heart. In harsh daylight, the display could be quite tough to learn.

The Verdict

Kawasaki Ninja 400

There appears to be some confusion concerning the 2018 Kawasaki Ninja 400’s place out there and Kawi’s line-up. First, Kawasaki will not produce the Ninja 300. Numerous of us appeared to suppose it will proceed the 300, however this isn’t the case. The 400 is now Kawasaki’s smallest sportbike. 

Kawasaki Ninja 400

Secondly, this isn’t a motorcycle you’ll get uninterested in in every week! There are such a lot of feedback on Kawasaki’s social media channels coming from guys saying issues like: Smallest bike I might recommend for a newbie is a 600, or condescending remarks like, Who’s shopping for these cute lil issues. What occurred to males? … These are actual feedback from Kawasaki’s Fb web page on the promotional video with Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea. Whereas I want to go on a rant about this, I’m going to go away it at that and allow you to of us duke out your emotions about it within the feedback part.

Kawasaki Ninja 400

Closing ideas on the Ninja 400: It’s a extra versatile, unintimidating light-weight sportbike that motorcyclists can develop with. The Ninja 400 can be a straightforward first bike that you possibly can get into monitor days with as properly. To me, and lots of others who’ve ridden the 400, the enhance in displacement feels excellent. You may have easy-to-use mid-range energy that comes on robust with out being intimidating, extremely mild and exact dealing with, and styling for days. And guess what?! They’re in dealerships now, so hunt down your native vendor or demo day and take a look for your self. 

Kawasaki Ninja 400

What do you concentrate on the growing displacement of the light-weight sportbike class? Tell us within the feedback part. Additionally, if there’s something I haven’t addressed on this article that you’re inquisitive about, go away a remark and I’ll get you a solution as quickly as potential.

In Gear

Kawasaki Ninja 400Avenue
Helmet: AGV Corsa (Now not in manufacturing)
Jacket: Dainese Tremendous Velocity Textile Jacket
Pants: Dainese Over Flux Overpant
Gloves: Racer Gloves Dash
Boots: Alpinestars SMX Plus Boot

Kawasaki Ninja 400Monitor
Helmet: AGV Corsa (Now not in manufacturing)
Go well with: Alpinestars GP Plus V2 Leather-based Go well with
Gloves: Alpinestars Supertech Glove
Boots: Alpinestars SMX Plus Boot
Again Protector: Dainese Manis D1


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