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.
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.
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.
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.
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.