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KAWASAKI NINJA 400 (2018-on) Review

Published: 27 March 2018

Updated: 03 September 2019

Kawasaki’s latest Ninja offers more punch, less weight and extra class

Kawasaki Ninja 400 side profile moving riding shot

Kawasaki’s latest Ninja offers more punch, less weight and extra class

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

Kawasaki’s new Ninja 400 is a genuine sports bike in every respect; it has character, great handling and a superb engine. It’s also light and comfortable enough to be a useable all-rounder. It may be A2 friendly, but that shouldn’t stop someone with a full licence giving serious consideration to a test ride.

The old Ninja 300 couldn’t haul itself through Euro4, so was killed off to make way for this new Ninja 400, boasting greater performance than its predecessor from an all-new engine and chassis – the net effect being a claimed weight saving of 8kg.

In September 2019, the firm introduced new Kawasaki Racing Team colours for the Ninja 400 for the 2020 model year. You can see the new livery below.

Kawasaki Ninja 400 in Racing Team livery for 2020

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

Although the suspension is non adjustable (barring rear preload) it’s no real loss as Kawasaki have got the set-up spot on. The forks have been beefed up from 37mm to 41mm giving a firm and precise ride that verges on plush around town and overall balance is excellent thanks to the new weight saving trellis frame.

Engine 5 out of 5

The perky 399cc engine is the Ninja’s raison d’etre and it’s a gem. Along with extra cubes comes a hike in performance to 44.3 bhp and 38 Nm of torque, which adds up to an eager, flexible mill with bags of character. There’s enough grunt for overtaking (just) and with a top speed over the ton, it can hold its own on the motorway too.

Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5

Kawasaki’s reliability is practically beyond question these days, and if looked after, the Ninja 400 should be pretty much bomb proof. Fit and finish is in line with far more expensive models and the overall feel is of a quality item.

Insurance, running costs & value 4 out of 5

The pricing sits neatly within Kawasaki’s model range and puts the Ninja 400 on a par with its closest rival, the Yamaha R3, at the top end of the lightweight/A2 friendly class. Build quality, performance and fun should make it a solid buy for the money (£5499). Although the Yamaha is a couple of hundred quid cheaper, the Kawasaki packs another 100cc and has a few more horses than the R3's 41bhp.

The Ninja 400 replaced the 300 in the UK and was aimed at keeping it ahead of its main rivals.

As you're upping the cubes a bit with the Ninja 400, the Honda CBR500R also becomes something of a rival. Although the bigger Honda comes in at £6099 it offers 47bhp and a pretty intoxicating mix of power and poise (for a 500cc machine). The Ninja 400 has certainly got its work cut out against some serious rivals, but for those who like a mix of sporty style and practicality, the Kawasaki will tempt many.

Insurance group: 9 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 4 out of 5

As an entry-level sports bike the Ninja 400 may not have everything, but what it does have is top notch, such as lightweight Nissin brakes and an LCD panel to display speed, fuel, trip, mpg and a very useful gear indicator. A taller screen and similar seat are available as extras, as is a tank bag and 12v accessory socket.

It looks great too.

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2018
Year discontinued -
New price £5,499
Used price £4,000 to £6,000
Warranty term Two years
Running costs
Insurance group 9 of 17
Annual road tax £43
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 44.3 bhp
Max torque 28 ft-lb
Top speed 100 mph
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption 72 mpg
Tank range 240 miles
Specification
Engine size 399cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled, 8v, parallel twin
Frame type High tensile steel trellis
Fuel capacity 14 litres
Seat height 785mm
Bike weight 168kg
Front suspension 41mm, non adjustable
Rear suspension Single Uni-Trak shock, adjustable preload
Front brake 1 x 310mm petal disc with dual piston Nissin caliper
Rear brake 220mm single petal disc with dual piston caliper
Front tyre size 110/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 150/60 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

None

Other versions

KRT colour scheme at £5,399

2019: Ninja 400 Performance at £5999. For the extra £700 you get an Akrapovic Sports end can (road legal), a tank pad and a sport seat cowl to over the pillion pad.

Owners' Reviews

3 owners have reviewed their KAWASAKI NINJA 400 (2018-on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your KAWASAKI NINJA 400 (2018-on)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.7 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4.7 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.7 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.3 out of 5
Equipment 4.3 out of 5
5 out of 5

A Welcome Surprise

02 July 2019 by RhysC

Bought this bike 3 weeks ago as my third bike (Already have a Kawasaki Ninja 650 and H2 SX). Always been a fan of small capacity lightweight sports bikes and the Ninja 400 replaced a Ninja 250SL. This bike is definitely more than I expected it to be, it's as fast as you really ever need. It is very light and flick-able and really makes you giggle when riding although equally is easy to ride in traffic and if your'e in the mood for an evening chill ride. mpg currently just over 70 so you really can't complain. My only niggle with the bike is that the seat is a bit hard, it's not uncomfortable but really isn't what I'd call a long distance seat. Drayton Croft Kawasaki in Hinckley have supplied all three of my bikes and it was on their recommendation I looked at the 400, definitely glad I did. I hear the Ninja 400 constantly called a beginners bike and while it is great for you to start your sports bike journey on it is so much more than that. I would suggest any seasoned riders out there looking for something small and or a second bike to play on to seriously consider this bike and it is 100% worth a test ride.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Overall not bad at all, handles bumps ok, possibly a bit soft for some but I don't have issues. Not a bike I would take a pillion on even though it is possible.
Engine
5 out of 5
No problem at all here, smooth and quiet when your'e not in the mood and a great sound when you are, I have performance model so has Akrapovic exhaust is standard which helps. Engine pulls in all gears and is flexible even at low speeds, there is a definite surge around 7k and pulls well all the way through to the red line. Although motorway speeds are easily obtained, 6,700rpm at 70mph means its not really a long distance motorway cruiser.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Only had the bike for a short period so hard to tell but if my other two bikes are anything to go by then all will be good
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
Again, a bit early to say and let's face it we'd all like to pay as little as possible for a bike and servicing, but price is on par with rivals and I've always had a great deal.
Equipment
4 out of 5
Very back to basic bike apart from adjustable rear suspension but it is expected. Would like it if brake leavers were adjustable, not a real problem, but then I have fairly big hands, may be an issue if your hands are on the small side.
Buying experience

Always have great service from Drayton Croft in Hinckley and always a great deal. Always friendly and I would always buy a bike from main dealer. Have to say though not all Kawasaki dealers are equal, I ride 44 miles to them because dealers near me in Worcestershire leave a lot to be desired.

4 out of 5

11 April 2019 by Jaco Krige

I would definitely recommend the bike to any beginner or lady rider. It is very economical and a stunning bike that you won't get bored with quickly.

Ride Quality & Brakes
3 out of 5
The ride is smooth and comfortable, but the brakes are not as good as I would like them. If you have to ride fast you will not stop it quick in an emergency.
Engine
5 out of 5
More than enough power for the beginner and good power delivery when changing gears in mid range revs.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
The ABS brakes is a big plus on the bike for safety. I would definitely invest in some steering damper, cause the bike is moving too much over the road with every small movement you make on the bike.
Buying experience

The dealer was very thorough with explaining all the details and features of the bike.

5 out of 5

Fantastic beginner bike!

02 June 2018 by Chris

Ideal first bike!

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
A very decent all rounder. My first bike, very pleased with it. Lovely to ride, predictable and feels spot on in the bends, love it!
Engine
4 out of 5
All good so far, fast enough to entertain but not stupidly quick, spot on for a newbie like me!
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
So far so good!
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
Averaging around 65mpg!
Equipment
4 out of 5
Nice layout, switch gear etc. Gear indicator, fuel range & mpg nice to have!
Buying experience

Bought new from Kawasaki Dealer, no complaints.

Photo Gallery

  • Kawasaki Ninja 400 side profile moving riding shot
  • Kawasaki Ninja 400 engine
  • Kawasaki Ninja 400 rev counter
  • Kawasaki Ninja 400 front three quarter static shot
  • Kawasaki Ninja 400 action riding shot
  • Kawasaki Ninja 400 in Racing Team livery for 2020
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