The blitz of fun, nimble, practical, and affordable supersport bikes continues with Kawasaki’s all new 2019 Ninja 400, which replaces, the Ninja 300 originally introduced in 2015. This road test is about Kawasaki’s new mid-sized supersports. Expect the Ninja 400 to be ridden on road and track and the experience would be a blast!
• Engine and Power
Overall, the new Ninja 400’s engine is everything you’d expect from a modern day Kawasaki motor: compact, powerful, reliable and fuel efficient. You realistically couldn’t ask anything more from a mid-sized engine at this price point.
Although Kawasaki had upgraded the engine to 399 capacity from its predecessor the Ninja 300, they managed to squeeze a 35% increase in torque and horse power between 3-7,000 RPM. We like how Kawasaki tends to favor low end power because it’s most practical for low speed conditions like commuting and also twisty road riding.
Kawasaki’s assisted slipper clutch, which not only reduces wheel hop on overly enthusiastic downshifts, and the lever pull seems effortless. The only cable clutch bike we’ve tested with a lighter pull is the Ninja 250 is with the similar slipper clutch. Weight is 7.7kg lighter than Ninja 300
Exhaust can looks slightly similar like the previous Ninja 300. As capable as the motor is in stock form, we’re still wondering how much power could be uncorked with a full aftermarket exhaust system.
Power wise we’re looking at 46hp at 10,000 rpm and 38nm of torque at 8,500 rpm. Power delivery is very smooth all the way to 199km/h. Shifting is crisp and positive through all six speeds.
Moving through the six speed gearbox is a quick and positive experience. The gear ratios felt smartly placed and had the engine working at approximately 6,000 rpm at 140km in sixth gear.
Last but not least, the roughly 300 km range from the 17litre tank results in a real-world 3.36 L/100km. For a 400cc commuter bike, it’s hard to beat this kind of fuel efficiency while I was working the 400cc engine really hard at way over highway speed limit.
• Body, Styling and Ergonomics
The completely new faring looks closer to the bigger siblings new 2019 Ninja ZX636, but the look is a largely subjective topic but we consider the update was a visually attractive modern looking package from Kawasaki. Re-worked front and side fairings are slightly wider and taller and help divert air away from the rider. The beak on Ninja 400 designed more like a H2 providing a more aggressive and Ninja style look.
In addition to a pre-molded plug for a 12v cigarette outlet to the left of the inner faring gives the convenience to stick a USB charging point, we give a big thumbs up to Kawasaki for including these small but usable changes.
The new all-digital instrument panel has a good amount of information, but is difficult to read in direct sunlight despite the nicely designed sun shade above it. I noticed the level of contrast changed slightly with viewing angle so someone who was slightly shorter may not notice this as much. (Opting for a TFT style display would be a nice touch for Kawasaki in the future release model)
Greater comfortable riding position is provided by clip-on style handlebars that give the Ninja a more sportier riding position from previous Ninja 300 model. I’ve found less handle bar vibration, especially high speed, but the front felt a little light at high speed over 170km/h but it isn’t uncontrollable even when I hit 199km/h. No excessive buzz and tingling fingers unlike its single cylinder competitor. But if I would own one I would lower the clip-on and place the clip-on under the triple clamp. (not sure if that is even possible with the stock clip-ons)
Most qualities of the new Ninja 400 have met and exceeded expectations in all major areas but there’s always room from improvement, an Up-side-down front forks would take the future Ninja 400 up another level. Despite many of the changes made to the NINJA 400, the Ninja DNA keeps its potential back as a supersport oriented bike.
All LED lighting is a great upgrade over the previous generation with now dual lights is lid up. Previous generation, was one side low beam and one high beam. We test the headlights at night, the properly focused LED lights are far more brighter. The LED ZX10R styled brake-light are clearly visible in direct sunlight, but the rear turn signals are pretty ugly. (if we were to own a Ninja 400, for sure the rear would be replaced with an after market tail tidy, or just take it off, well that us folks)
I felt would have been more important to replace the ugly looking side mirrors as it’s really a hassle to go through traffic. I immediately took out the side mirrors at a bicycle shop right after I rode out from Kawasaki Malaysia and replace my handlebar side mirror on the Ninja.
• Suspension and Handling
The Ninja 400’s foot pegs are 100% street DNA but an aftermarket would be been a nice and inexpensive touch. I’m not saying this is the case with the new Ninja 400, but it’s a detail that would have given a more comfortable and sporty riding geometry. Looking at the bike’s construction, this could be solved with the foot pegs raised up higher; however, with the standard tyres should be replaced with a stickier tyres as we were approaching the stock Dunlop Sportmax limit. Front 110/70/17 size and the rear tyre is a hefty 150/60/17 size that come standard from Kawasaki. The Sportmax surprisingly does an excellent job with all the hard riding I gave it during the road test, I was happy with the Dunlop ability to stick to the edges on tight twisty of Bukit Tinggi.
While the standard footpeg clearance with the nipple intact has pretty good cornering clearance even with my low cornering angle.
The bottom link Uni-trak suspension is pre-load adjustable in the rear with 41mm KYB front. Road manners were well-behaved and provided no surprises as I carved out some of Bukit Tinggi fast twisty. The stock suspension is competent for a wide variety of riding conditions. While those demanding more from this machine will be looking to upgrade to a harder suspension, but it should be fine for most riders and matches fairly well with the intended use.
When it’s all said and done, the Ninja 400 is an amazing value for a bike which is capable of just about anything most riders would ever want. We nit-pick because it’s our job to find problems with any motorcycles, but memories of our 2013 Ninja 250 still linger as the 250 was a practical, fun, friendly and affordable bike. This Ninja 400 add more Ninja DNA, you’re arguably getting a lot of value.
Kawasaki’s new Ninja 400 sits squarely in the middle between other 300cc and 650cc options with plenty to offer and a very friendly price tag too. Making the perfect bike to satisfy everyone is an impossible task, but it’s great that Kawasaki is trying and, more importantly, are responding to market feedback in a timely manner.
Kawasaki’s new 2019 Ninja 400 is one of the best mid-sized sportbike on the market today. Many experienced riders looking to downsize, know you could live the rest of his life with a bike like this and be happy with a few key upgrades. At the same time, the new Ninja 400 provides a solid platform for new riders to cut their teeth in track riding, commuting and exploring twisty roads.
Kawasaki is now listening more than ever to the sportbike segment, so there’s never been a better time to check out the new 2019 Ninja 400 at your local dealer or Ninja Shop.
For more information and to find a dealer near you, please visit www.kawasaki.com.my