UPDATE: We’ve added photos of the 2018 Kawasaki Ninja 400 from to Tokyo Motor Show where it debuted.

As expected, Kawasaki has replaced its Ninja 300 with a new, larger Ninja 400, setting a new bar for the entry-level sportbike class with a 399cc powerplant. After years with the Ninja 250 and more recently the Ninja 300, Kawasaki acknowledged the recent influx of larger competitors such as the Yamaha R3 and KTM RC390 by introducing this new 2018 Ninja 400.


As with the 250 and 300 before it, the Ninja 400 is powered by a parallel-Twin engine. To reach 399cc, the Ninja 400’s engine has a 70.0 mm bore and a 51.8 mm stroke (compared to 62.0 mm by 49 mm for the Ninja 300). Boasting 44.8 hp at 10000rpm and 28.0 lb-ft. at 8000 rpm, the Ninja 400 claims a significant performance increase over the Ninja 300. While the extra 103cc has a lot to do with that, Kawasaki also increased the size of the airbox and modified the downdraft intake for a shorter, more direct airflow path. Kawasaki also redesigned the radiator fan cover to push hot air outwards away from the rider.

Like the Ninja 300, the 400 uses an assist and slipper clutch, but with a new, more compact design and (according to Kawasaki) a 20% lighter clutch lever pull.

The Ninja 400 uses a new trellis frame instead of the Ninja 300’s semi-double cradle chassis. Kawasaki says the new frame design optimizes rigidity while helping reduce weight, contributing to the Ninja 400’s claimed 370.4 pounds (which Kawasaki says is 17.6 pounds lighter than the Ninja 300). Also helping lower the weight is a swingarm mounting plate which allows the swingarm to connect to the rear of the engine without needing frame cross members.

The 41mm telescopic fork is beefier than the Ninja 300’s 37mm fork, offering more rigidity. At the rear, the Ninja 400 uses a five-way preload adjustable monoshock. The braking system is comprised of a single 310mm front disc with a two-piston caliper and a 220mm rear disc with a dual-piston caliper. ABS is offered as standard (at least, for Europe.)

The Ninja 400’s fairing is inspired by the Ninja H2, giving the impression of a larger motorcycle. According to Kawasaki, the larger bodywork improves airflow around the rider compared to the Ninja 300’s fairing design.

Poking at some of its competitors, Kawasaki says the Ninja 400 offers a more comfortable, less extreme riding position. The clip-on handlebars are positioned on top of the fork tubes, and the grips are positioned closer together than on the Ninja 300, while the footpegs are positioned slightly forward.

Other details include an LED taillight, LED headlights, the same instrument cluster as the Ninja 650, a 30.9-inch seat height and a thicker seat than the Ninja 300. The Ninja 400 also has a 3.7 gallon tank, which is smaller than the Ninja 300’s 4.5 gallon tank. The smaller tank does help contribute to the lighter weight and Kawasaki says the Ninja 400 can still get a range of 350 km (217.5 miles) on a single tank.

In Europe, the 2018 Kawasaki Ninja 400 will be offered in a KRT edition Lime Green/Ebony or Metallic Spark Black. As of this writing, the Ninja 400 has not been announced for the U.S., but we expect to hear news soon as it has been certified by the California Air Resources Board.

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  • Gruf Rude

    Price?

    • denchung

      Still awaiting US announcement first to confirm pricing.

  • Matt O

    I like everything about this. OTOH this continued escalation could be the death of the 250 class. However this leaves bikes like the grom and z125 room to grow to 175cc and up.

    • gjw1992

      Should be more 175s anyway like the grom – and maybe that honda monkey bike shown at the show. Just to edge closer to practicality. But this Kawa 400 like other ‘growers’ all seem angled to just staying within the European A2 license regs.

    • ProDigit

      125cc is ok, but barely.
      They should have made the grom 150cc from the start.
      Chinese 150cc bikes run really well.
      I can only imagine getting a Honda fuel injected 150cc. It’ll only be better (70MPH easily).

  • Paulevalence

    ugh, had me until the reduced fuel tank size… That was one of the best advantages the 300 had over the R3 in my opinion :/

    • ProDigit

      3.7 gal is pretty ok! Especially knowing you’ll probably will be getting 66MPG US avg. (which translates in round about a 250 mile range).
      If you want to extend that, change sprockets, and ride at 40 MPH, and you’ll get 300 miles range, or more.

  • StripleStrom

    Finally… They built the entry level bike that should have been all along. Just enough power. Just enough torque. Light. This thing is perfect on paper. Now, stop increasing displacement. This is right where you need to be.

    • ProDigit

      Except for handling. This thing handles like a sportsbike, which sucks riding around town, all the while it doesn’t have enough power for the tracks.
      It boggles my mind, why they would create sports bikes under 650cc hi rev 3-4 cylinder bikes. They have zero performance at all!
      And it boggles my mind, why they would create a motor for the streets (anything between 125-500cc is basically meant for putting around town), but make it uncomfortable to ride on those same streets.

      If they go naked, please, place the handlebars about 1 foot closer to the position of the helmet!

      • Born to Ride

        You must have incredibly short arms or something. Whenever I’ve sat on a Ninjette before the clip ons came far enough and high enough that I barely have any forward lean. Perfectly comfortable for around town or anywhere really. My buddy who is 6”1 sat on one once and sat bolt upright. It’s designed to be user friendly

        • StripleStrom

          That was my experience, and I rode the first and 2nd generations.

        • ProDigit

          Not really. Most motorcycles are made so that smaller people can ride them easily upright. For me, 6’4”, upright seating means that I don’t have to lean forward at speeds of up to 55-60 mph, because the seating position and head wind on the chest, balance out; and don’t need to stretch my arms to reach the handlebars.

          Longer trips are very uncomfortable leaning forward.
          The best position for the handlebars to be, is when you sit on the seat of your bike the way you sit most comfortably, and then lift your hands to a place where the handlebars should be.
          You’d be surprised in some occasions, it’s more than a foot from where they are actually located!

          All great and we’ll, when you’re racing the bike at speeds of 100+mph, but at normal road speeds, over 66% of cruiser bikes, 75% of touring bikes, and 100% of sports motorcycles, do not have their handlebars at the right position, leading to hernia and back problems, wrist wear, and even shoulder wear.

  • Ron Zu

    Will the DOT allow them to build the front turn signals into the fairing like in the rest of the world? Moto Guzzi had to move them to the mirrors in the Stelvio to satisfy the U.S. regs.

    • MrPanda

      I’ve been riding my CA street legal ninja 300 with a factory turn signal on the fairing since 2013

  • MotorbikeMike

    Awesome bike, looks perfect on paper as StripleStorm said, realistically I don’t think I need anything bigger than that. I don’t know what it is, but I’m not crazy over its styling; maybe it looks better in person. I always thought the Ninja 300 was the best looking entry-level sport bike.

    • StripleStrom

      Gotta agree about the styling. It’s a step back from the 300, which was pretty nice.

    • ProDigit

      I like the styling. Just wished they would have gotten rid of that large exhaust, and gotten a bellypan exhaust system.

  • Terence Kaplan

    Not a sport bike fan (I’m old…), but I look forward to seeing where else this engine turns up. Versys seems obvious, but also maybe a “retro” JSM (like the Tu250x or SR400).

    • Gabriel Owens

      Same

    • ProDigit

      +1.
      I would prefer a naked upright, mini touring bike.

    • StripleStrom

      I would love to see this motor in a real dual sport. Just put it in the KLX chassis.

  • elgar

    Looks like a winner for Kawasaki…I like it.
    Is it just me or does it seem that 400cc and 45 hp in 2017 as on this bike seems rather disappointing considering that my very first street bike, the air cooled Suzuki GS400s (waaay back in 1980) was also rated at a similar 44 hp? Hmmmm…..

    • Terry Smith

      My first 400cc bike was a 1983 CB400N; IIRC 43 hp and 176 kg. No ABS, cat or bodywork though….

      I applaud Kawasaki (and the other manufacturers) for making some pretty decent and affordable smaller bikes. We need to keep fresh riders coming into our world.

      • ProDigit

        And not only fresh ones.
        I’ve been riding my bikes since the age of 5, and I prefer 40HP min, 375LBS max.

    • ProDigit

      You really don’t need anything more than 45HP.
      My CBR300R has 35HP (27 at the wheel), and it does 107MPH when I tuck forward.
      I can only expect more from this (like 115MPH top speed; which is more than enough for the streets).
      Even in a hurry, no one likes to ride their bikes at over 90MPH prolonged.

      • StripleStrom

        45 is plenty for real world use. The bigger thing is that the torque is increased. It makes the bike usable for those of us who aren’t test-rider sized.

  • ProDigit

    I want to see a belly pan exhaust system, Should be lighter in weight, and looks cooler!

  • lactoferment

    “is comprised of”: INCORRECT
    “comprises”: CORRECT

    • ZebraUp

      Grammar Nazi! lol!

  • JWaller

    Edging ever closer back to my first bike, the EX500. That was a bike I never really out grew. My ego told me I needed something more so I traded up to a Sprint ST. I think this Ninja 400 will be a great first bike like the EX500 was.