Kawasaki ZXR400 (1995-1998) Review | Specs & Prices


  • Fantastically entertaining 400cc screamer
  • Race-spec handling
  • Decent build quality

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 3.7 out of 5 (3.7/5)
Annual servicing cost: £260
Power: 62 bhp
Seat height: Low (6.3 in / 160 mm)
Weight: Low (353 lbs / 160 kg)

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

‘Extreme’ is a word that’s bandied everywhere these days. But when it comes to motorcycling, they don’t come much more so than the Kawasaki ZXR400. Small, light, stumpy, extremely revvy and a fabulous handler, the little ZXR is refined essence of four-cylinder sportster with all the good and bad that implies. It’s not big, it’s not particularly clever, but show it some well surfaced bends and it’ll show you how good handling can be.

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Exceptionally firm and taut, the suspension is unyielding and doesn’t compress much even with a heavy rider on board. On smooth roads or track days this equates to scalpel-like precision, but throw in some undulations and the wheels are in contact with the ground about as much as a freestyle snowboarder. It’s a jarring and pummelling ride that makes it hard to stay in the saddle, but then people don’t buy sporting 400s for their comfort.

Kawasaki ZXR400 is one seriously impressive handler


Next up: Reliability
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Dinky four-cylinder addictively shrieks and screams and comes complete with the frenzy of a 14,500rpm red line. Nothing much happens below 10,000rpm, so any progress is accompanied by a flurry of revs and a banzai-like howl from the end can. But all this fury is worth it because the little ZXR produces 62bhp, which can propel it to an almost unbelievable 140mph-plus top speed.

Kawasaki ZXR400 is a lightweight screamer

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
3 out of 5 (3/5)

It’s all bolted together well enough and (unlike some 600s which, being built down to a price, are often the poor relation of their superbike kin) it gets everything its big brother 750 has. But, as they demand thrashing, servicing and being looked after is critical even though the ZXR is reasonably robust…

Kawasaki ZXR400 could be a reliable bike, or the engine could let go...

Our Kawasaki ZXR400 owners' reviews show one thing that jumps out. There's a potential weakness in the engine. Our reader reports: "I started it on a cold morning on full choke, the revs jumped to 4000 (as was usual) and the next thing I know there's an awful rattle. The same day the dealer diagnosed the problem: the cam had become dislodged and wrecked the engine. Apparently, it's not particularly uncommon, regardless of how well you maintain your zxr400! Strengths: Handling, looks, speed. Weaknesses: The one that effectively wrote it off."

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Even though it’s ‘only a 400’ you still get an awful lot of bike for the money. The ZXR is also one of the best value, most robust of the Japanese 400s, was the one officially imported for the longest period (although watch out for cheaper grey import versions) and posts the highest top speed. Choose wisely (and there’s lots out there) and it’s good value.

Kawasaki ZXR400 is a lot of bike for the money


3 out of 5 (3/5)

Fairly typical mid-90s Kawasaki fare. Reasonable analog instrumentation squeezes inside the cockpit; half-decent mirrors (the other half show your elbows, natch) sprout off the compact full fairing and so on. That said, for a 400 it’s got everything the 750 version and more have, so is a quality bit of kit.

Don't expect much kit on the Kawasaki ZXR400 spec list


Engine size 398cc
Engine type 16v transverse four, 6 gears
Frame type Aluminium twin spar
Fuel capacity 16 litres
Seat height 160mm
Bike weight 160kg
Front suspension Preload, rebound damping
Rear suspension Preload, rebound damping
Front brake 2 x 310mm discs
Rear brake 240mm drum
Front tyre size 120/60 x 17 in
Rear tyre size 120/60 x 17 in

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 42 mpg
Annual road tax £52
Annual service cost £260
New price -
Used price -
Insurance group 12 of 17
How much to insure?
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage

Top speed & performance

Max power 62 bhp
Max torque 26 ft-lb
Top speed 139 mph
1/4 mile acceleration 12.9 secs
Tank range 140 miles

Model history & versions

Model history

  • 1991: Model launched.
  • 2003: Model discontinued.

Other versions


Owners' reviews for the KAWASAKI ZXR400 (1995 - 1998)

9 owners have reviewed their KAWASAKI ZXR400 (1995 - 1998) 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 ZXR400 (1995 - 1998)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4.1 out of 5 (4.1/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Engine: 4.7 out of 5 (4.7/5)
Reliability & build quality: 3.7 out of 5 (3.7/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.2 out of 5 (4.2/5)
Equipment: 3.3 out of 5 (3.3/5)
Annual servicing cost: £260
4 out of 5
30 August 2022 by Pooley

Version: L9 2002

Year: 1998

Annual servicing cost: £150

A very good bike overall.This was my first "biggish" bike from a 125. The power and screaming 4 cylinder engine never gets old, Sounds great and much better than any modern 400cc bike.I used the bike for all sorts from commuting, weekend fun etc. Its not a great commuter as the MPG is very poor and suspension very stiff and uncomfortable I found but manageable. Its a very small bike compared to most 600s, I also own a 2007 fireblade and it makes this bike look like a dwarf in comparsion. Very low seat height which could be good for some people. I'm just under 5 10 and not a particular large person and I feel this bike is small, Any bigger person would dwarf it.The engine has been very reliable and strong but mine has only done 12k miles. Mine sadly has had issues with corrison but mine was stored outside for a part of its life so that's most likely to blame, Its all cosmetic and everything still works fine. I do feel the finish/quality isn't as good/resistant to the weather as Honda/Yamaha bikes but not far off.

Ride quality & brakes 3 out of 5

I found the suspension very hard and quite uncomfortable, Its very stiff. Every bump in the road you feel it. I'm sure on track this would be good but for the road, not the best.Brakes ok, Good enough for the size and power of bike but could be better. I'm sure some brake upgrades, Decent pads, discs and braided lines would be then bring it up to scratch. That said the brakes are more than good enough for the road.

Engine 5 out of 5

The best bit about this bike. The engine is very powerful for its size and quite impressive. It would smoke any modern day 400 which are mostly all parallel-twin and don't sound no where near as good as this bike, Its a screamer once you get it going.Its not very good MPG wise but this never bothered me and can still get 100+ miles on the tank if riding sensible.Also can be restricted for A2 license holders.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

Mine has never failed, Even after all these years it still runs great I've left mine sitting for a while and it still starts up straight. Mechanical wise mine has been very good in 4 years of ownership never had a single issue with the engine, all though mine has only done 12k miles but seen these go for up to 25k.Its bulit fairly well but mine was left outside for some of its life and the weather has took its toll a bit (Correded wheels and some other bits rusting - its only comestic and not major). Its not as good as Honda quality (Fireblade owner also here) but not fair off and very good for an older machine.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

Very good value. Never had a single issue, servicing is the same as any other bike. Oil and fitler changes now and then, Tyres, Chains and sprockets etc.The bike is quite greedy on fuel though so 4 out 5.

Equipment 2 out of 5

Pretty poor on this bike but expected as it is a bike from the 90s.No fuel gauge but you can always reset the trip once you fill up. Its all very anagloue and quite dated now. no abs, no traction control (But most bikes till 2010+ don't even have these features), Its got everything you need all be it a bit dated.

Buying experience: I bought from a dealership, £4000 in 2018 and it was mint at the time.These bikes are now becoming collectable and going up in value, a good investment.

4 out of 5 realy quirky, great fun, brilliant ice breaker, girls always want to sit on it... but not for everybody
22 August 2022 by duncan

Version: L model

Year: 1995

Annual servicing cost: £200

its seriously uncomfortable....... but man is it fun! seriously good handling and purely a race bike with lights on it, even down to the way its built its designed to quickly remove all the lights and parts you dont want on the track. 4 bolts and an unclip and the number plate, pillion seat and subframe are gone... that simple. the suspension up front... brilliant... at the rear.... like taking punches to the kidneys even on its lowest setting (adjustable front and rear) seating position is super 90's attack mode thats very aggresive .....as a result this bike sucks at 30mph or cruising the m way. engine is gutless under 6k rpm, 6-8k is useable power 8-10 iths starting to show signs of life 10 - 14.5 its an on off switch. if you love working hard on a bike like rossi this is the bike for you as it needs your bum off the seat even at low speeds. if you want to sit on a bike and go easy with grunt... look else where. these bikes are no frills so no fuel guage,... needs warming up on choke and youll hold everyone on a group ride because it hates being cold. such a quirky bike but its aged absolutely well and always an ice breaker at bike meets. its a small bike so its crampt for space and im 5ft 7 so trust me its tiny.... bonus is women will come over and ask to sit on it as the low seat height and size of the bike appeals to pettit women... which i like as im 5ft 7 hahaa bbut the bike rides so well. bit clunky and less refined but really different. brakes arnt the best but youll lean the thing right over as the rear sets are crazy high stock.

Ride quality & brakes 3 out of 5

Ride quality.... its fast and precise, but not comfortable and you need a full fist if you really want to stop sharp... but it will stop sharp.

Engine 5 out of 5

heart and soul of the bike. sounds amazing and goes like hell for what it is.

Reliability & build quality 3 out of 5

very basic, not everything lines up mint but easy to work on.

Value vs rivals 3 out of 5

easy to work on,..... drinks fuel as you constantly need to rev it to get it going. to put in perspective its 3mpg less than a ducati 749 and that has twice the power and torque.

Equipment 1 out of 5

no frills. no abs, no traction and no fuel guage.

Buying experience: bought private, needed work and maybe over paid.

4 out of 5 ZXR400 L5 from France (8 months own)
21 January 2018 by Tailongwan

Year: 1995

Annual servicing cost: £500

Wonderful bike but not really comfortable especially in traffic and low speed

Ride quality & brakes 3 out of 5

Ride is not so easy for wrists and thumbs

Engine 5 out of 5

So nice

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

Very reliable after nearly 23years, some difficulties sometimes to fine tune intake

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

Insurance quite high (France)

Equipment 5 out of 5

Feel like Valentino Rossi on his bike

Buying experience: Bought privately, 3400€ @22yo, it is high, but I really wanted it (displayed price was 4200€)

4 out of 5
01 November 2015 by Big Tam

Version: L5

Year: 1995

Annual servicing cost: £350

Its not big but its clever! The most confidence inspiring bike Ive ridden to date, razor sharp turning, with surefooted and planted flickabilty incredible feel from the front end, the back skips about a bit under hard braking although it never feels unsafe. This is a small light arse up road race replica the forks chassis and brakes can take a whole lot more than they have to endure with this 65 pony engine. The end result is a moto gp handling, braking, turning bike of not so long ago. Its a great first bike and a hoot round a circuit, Ive taken a few scalps in the bends : ).

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Sublime handling and braking just needs more ponys!

Engine 3 out of 5

Nice screaming banshee over 7500 nothing much happens below then you have the wonderful 14,500 redline howl! Easy for filtering commuting will pull along at tickover.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

95 model used for sunny afternoons and the occasional track day over two years didnt miss a beat. Normal service plus front warped discs (my fault) front tyre wears quicker than the rear for me.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

with new discs and braided hoses over two years.

Equipment 4 out of 5

Its a sportsbike what equipment do you want, although the need to flick a lever for reserve fuel is annoying .

5 out of 5 Great bike. Go buy one (if you can find a decnet one out there!)
11 October 2015 by James Morgan

Year: 1995

OK I have owned three of these now. First one I bought in 1995 - then again after an R1 and a CBR600 I went back to one - then I bought another one last year. One blue and two maroon. The colour doesn't matter the engine and frame are all the same. The L9 supposidly had some engine tweaks - but not much to speak of. Obviously the H1s (89 and 90) are different - but anything from 91 onwards they are all the same. So. What to say. Well. We're talking about a 400cc with a shade over 60bhp. And a power band where not much happens till around 10,000rpm - and then all hell breaks loose. Well all the hell you can pack into 62bhp and around 160kg. But what a great little bike. Like I say I've had some big fast bikes - the R1 in particular - but this little thing in most riding conditions can keep up with the best. The handling is like everybody says spot on. The brakes are superb. The riding position is a bit cramped - I am 5'10" and its still pretty cramped. Its actually pretty good for pillions - because unlike modern sports bikes the pillion seat does not put them up with the Gods - so they have an OK time too - and its quite wide. But mainly you want to be on your own. And then this thing really howls. Between 10,000 and 14,500 it really does have a kick - and a great noise to go with it. Yes the rear shock is hard. Like hard. But really who cares on most modern roads the surface is pretty good - and there are some roundabouts where you just want to go round - and round - and round - OK you get the idea. Watch out for: People who say 'the carbs just need balancing'. Not they don't - they are most likely broken. We're talking carbs that will now be 20+ years old. Thats why fuel injection became the norm - because after about 15 years carbs just wear out - and a clean and balance will not likely sort them out. So you want one thats sorted. And don't worry about Japan imports - in case nobody told you they all came from Japan. If you can find one with less than 20,000 miles - for around £2500 - well - whats not to like?

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
4 out of 5
27 May 2015 by SirJon

Version: L2

Year: 1995

Annual servicing cost: £100

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

It would be 5 out of 5 because this sports bike ride is why it is so popular. But still it is a sports bike and even on a light suspension it's a hard ride.

Engine 5 out of 5

This is the reason you should buy it.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

Even after 20+ years it still runs like it should without problems. Although mine has only done 15000km.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5

It's a bike you would want to modify in some ways but I see that as a good thing. A hobby.

Buying experience: A decent one of its age could be bought for 1500 pounds.

5 out of 5 Pocket Rocket
24 October 2012 by

This is a genuine pocket rocket. It has crisp, precise handling and an engine that is unbelievable. For a 400cc this bike packs quite a punch. The super stiff suspension and very racy position makes this bike highly uncomfortable to ride. You soon forget about this though as you a propelled to ridiculous speed, ridiculously quickly. Cornering on a smooth road is impeccable and the chassis gives you the confidence to keep pushing it that little bit quicker. Feedback from the tyres is incredibly clear thanks to the super stiff forks and shock. It is quite possible to achieve knee down with a pillion on the back although I would not recommend it (I discovered this by accident). The engine lacks the top end power of a 600cc bike but is more than sufficient to propel you to a genuine 130mph. This in my opinion is more than compensated for by the sweet handling. The engine starts to redline at about 14500 revs by which point the engine is screaming like a banshee. I warn you this noise is addictive. When I bought the bike it had a straight through exhaust on it (no baffles) and you could hear the bike coming from several miles away. The reliability of my bike seems to be pretty good considering that it has 45k+ on the clocks. The dashboard is literally the bare essentials so don't expect any gadgetry. As far as maintenance and repairs go, it is very easy to work on yourself. There is a great website called www.zxrworld.co.uk that has all the workshop manuals for free download. I cannot recommend this bike highly enough. If you can find a good condition example have no hesitation about buying. There will be no disappointment and silly quantities of fun to be had with this bike.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 3 out of 5
Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 2 out of 5
4 out of 5 Stunning
23 May 2007 by makemineapint

Since the day I first started getting into motorbikes, the ZXR400 was always the bike I wanted. Saw a few in magazine articles, then a few in the flesh, and they look absolutely stunning. After a few years of pootling round on 125's, I finally bought one. Everything I'd ever read about was true, the front end is brilliant, superb brakes when they're sorted out, average when in typical neglected condition. The rear suspension is trademark kawasaki hard but it never bothered me too much, I was too busy enjoying the bike. Of all the 400cc's these were always reportedly the fastest, and compared to the NC30's and the like, they are physically large too. The engine always seemed smooth, powerful, always ready, but then having just stepped up from 125cc 2 stroke, it would do! 400cc bikes are great bikes for new riders, something of a stop gap instead of jumping straight on a 600cc machine. They are brilliant for getting some confidence and experience on. Would I have another one? Absolutely, even today they are still one of the best looking bikes around in my opinion, trouble is, after this length of time, many are in need of some money spending on them to get them back up to scratch, but when they work, they work very well.

Ride quality & brakes 3 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
3 out of 5 Beautiful looking, but potentially let down by reliability
17 March 2006 by bartelski

I bought a mint-condition 2003 model and was staggered by its speed and handling. I was also reasonably impressed by the build quality. Like everyone says, the front end is planted and truly confidence inspiring. It's the only bike I've ever ridden that lets you get away with braking mid-corner! The rear suspension's just too hard and no amount of adjustment seems to work. All this aside, I loved that bike and used it everyday for commuting into London, which it managed with no problems at all. For a tiny 400, it was remarkably comfortable (much easier on the wrists than my gsxr 600). And then one day it all went horribly wrong. I started it on a cold morning on full choke, the revs jumped to 4000 (as was usual) and the next thing I know there's an awful rattle. The same day the dealer diagnosed the problem: the cam had become dislodged and wrecked the engine. Apparently, it's not particularly uncommon, regardless of how well you maintain your zxr400! Strengths: Handling, looks, speed. Weaknesses: The one that effectively wrote it off.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 1 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
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