February 8, 2018
| On 2 years ago

2018 Kawasaki Ninja 400: Exclusive Dyno Run and Measured Weight!

Kawasaki’s all-new Ninja 400 is ready to upend the small-displacement sportbike category by offering the triumvirate of appealing motorcycle characteristics: class-leading power, a reasonable price, and swanky good looks.

At a base MSRP of $4,999, the new 400 retails for the same price as the previous Ninja 300, and the 400 is also endowed with a seriously attractive profile. But we already knew that when the Ninja 400 was announced.

What we can exclusively report now is the Ninja 400 produces more power than anything in its class, cranking out a considerable 44.0 horsepower at its rear wheel. Its torque is also healthy, at 25.0 lb-ft when run on the Dynojet 250i at our friend’s shop, Mickey Cohen Motorsports.

Exclusive Ninja 400 dyno run shows a lot of ponies and an impressively flat torque curve from its 399cc parallel-Twin motor. That’s nearly a 30% increase in horsepower over the Ninja 300!

Of course, the Ninja 400 is armed with more engine displacement than all but one of its rivals, so it brings a size advantage to the table. But a bike with a bigger engine and similar weight priced at the same or similar MSRP threshold is a net gain. Full of fuel (3.7 gallons), the ABS-equipped Ninja 400 scaled in at 366 pounds, which compares favorably to the claimed wet weight of the 321cc Yamaha R3 ABS (375 lbs) and 384-lb Ninja 300 (with 4.5 gallons of fuel).

The dominance of the Ninja 400’s engine (dark green trace) is evident in this horsepower chart, dwarfing its 300cc competition and revving to a top-end pull that even surpasses the output of Honda’s 471cc CBR500R. Note also how the Ninja keeps pace or exceeds the 373cc Single of KTM’s RC390.

Perhaps most appealing is how Kawasaki was able to hold the line on pricing, selling for the same MSRPs as the Ninja 300, at $5,299 for ABS. The sharp-looking KRT edition colorway retails for $5,499 and includes ABS.

For context, Yamaha’s base-model R3 also retails for $4,999. Honda’s CBR300R is cheaper by $300 but is down an enormous 18 horsepower. The CBR500R, while close in power to the Ninja 400, costs much more ($6,599) and weighs a massive 59 lbs extra. KTM’s RC390 retails for $5,499 but includes ABS as standard, and it weighed 364 lbs last time we tested it.

Beginnerish Sportbike Shootout

Small-displacement sportbike engines are generally known for weak torque production, but the Ninja 400 is going to change that assumption.

In its brief time in our hands, the Ninja 400 was ridden only to and from the dyno by Sean Alexander, who, at 6-foot-2 and more than 250 lbs, isn’t the ideal candidate for a smaller sportbike. That said, Kawi’s 400 impressed him with its relative vigor, accelerating on an uphill freeway section to 105 mph while sitting upright. In a tuck on a downhill road, he saw 127 mph on the speedo and estimates an actual 120-mph top speed. He said it felt stable at speed but didn’t feel especially nimble. Brake feel, he says, was linear.

The Ninja 400 is also available in this Pearl Solar Yellow/Pearl Storm Grey/Ebony colorway.

While we never know for sure how a comparison test is going to turn out before we ride the bikes side by side, unless Kawi messed up the adroit handling of the Ninja 300, the new Ninja 400 is a solid bet to take the top honors in our 2018 Lightweight Sportbike Shootout.

Our boy Ryan Adams will be testing the Ninja 400 on street and the racetrack this week, so be sure to stay tuned to MO for his report.

Kawasaki
Ninja 400
Kawasaki
Ninja 300
KTM
RC390
Honda
CBR300R
Honda
CBR500R
Yamaha
YZF-R3
MSRP Non-ABS: $4,999
ABS: $5,299-$5,499
Non-ABS: $4,999
ABS: $5,299-$5,599
$5,499 $4,699 $6,599 Non-ABS: $4,999
ABS: $5,299
Engine
Type
Liquid-cooled, DOHC, 4-stroke Parallel-Twin, 8 valves Liquid-cooled, DOHC, 4-stroke Parallel-Twin, 8 valves Liquid-cooled, DOHC, 4-stroke Single, 4 valves Liquid-cooled, DOHC, 4-stroke Single, 4 valves Liquid-cooled, DOHC, parallel-Twin, four-stroke, 8 valves Liquid-cooled, DOHC inline twin-cylinder; 8 valves
Displacement 399cc 296cc 373.3cc 286cc 471cc 321cc
Bore x stroke 70.0 x 51.8 mm 62.0 x 49.0mm 89.0mm x 60.0mm 76.0mm x 63.0mm 67.0mm x 66.8mm 68.0mm x 44.1mm
Fuel
Delivery
Fuel injection: ø32 mm x 2 Fuel injection: ø32 mm x 2 Electronic Fuel Injection Electronic Fuel Injection Electronic Fuel Injection Fuel Injection
Compression
ratio
11.5:1 10.6:1 12.5:1 10.7:1 10.7:1 11.2:1
Ignition TCBI with digital advance TCBI with digital advance Digital ignition timing adjustment Digital transistorized with electronic advance Digital transistorized with electronic advance TCI: Transistor Controlled Ignition
Peak
horsepower
44.0 hp at 10000 rpm 34.6 hp at 11100 rpm 34.6 hp at 11100 rpm 26.3 hp at 8400 rpm 43.0 hp at 8400 rpm 35.3 hp at 10800 rpm
Peak
Torque
25.0 lb-ft. at 8000 rpm 17.6 lb-ft. at 9700 rpm 17.6 lb-ft. at 9700 rpm 17.5 lb-ft. at 6700 rpm 29.1 lb-ft. at 6800 rpm 18.9 lb-ft. at 9200 rpm
Transmission 6-speed 6-speed 6-speed 6-speed 6-speed 6-speed
Clutch Wet multi-disc, assist and slipper clutch Wet multi-disc, assist and slipper clutch Wet multi-disc, slipper clutch Wet multi-disc clutch Wet multi-disc clutch Wet multiplate clutch
Final
Drive
Chain Chain Chain Chain Chain Chain
Frame Trellis, high-tensile steel Semi-double cradle, high-tensile steel Steel trellis Steel Steel Diamond-type steel
Front
suspension
41 mm telescopic fork with 4.7 inches travel 37mm hydraulic telescopic fork/4.7 in travel WP 43mm inverted fork. 4.9 in travel 37mm conventional fork. 4.7 in travel 41mm convenional fork. 4.3 in travel 41mm KYB telescopic fork; 5.1-in travel
Rear
suspension
Bottom-Link Uni-Trak, gas-charged shock with adjustable preload with 5.5 inches travel Uni-Trak with 5-way adjustable preload/5.2 in WP shock. Preload adjustable. 5.9 in travel Pro-Link single shock. Preload adjustable. 4.1 in travel Pro-Link single shock. Preload adjustable. 4.7 in travel KYB single shock, adjustable preload; 4.9-in travel
Front Brake Single semi-floating ø310 mm petal disc with single balanced actuation dual-piston caliper, ABS available Single 290mm petal-type disc with 2-piston hydraulic caliper, ABS available Single 300mm disc. 4-piston, radial-mount caliper, ABS Single 296mm disc. Two-piston caliper Single 320mm wave disc. Two-piston caliper 298mm hydraulic disc; ABS model available
Rear
Brake
Single 220 mm petal disc with dual-piston caliper, ABS available Single 220mm petal-type disc with 2-piston hydraulic caliper, ABS available Single 230mm disc. Single-piston caliper, ABS Single 220mm disc. Single-piston caliper Single 240mm wave disc. Single-piston caliper 220mm hydraulic disc; ABS model available
Front
Tire
110/70R17 M/C 54H 110/70×17 110/70-17 110/70-17 120/70-17 110/70-17
Rear
Tire
150/60R17 M/C 66H 140/70×17 150/60-17 140/70-17 160/60-17 140/70-17
Rake/Trail 24.7°/3.6 inches 27°/3.7 inches 23.5°/NA 25.3°/3.9 inches 25.5°/4.1 inches 25.0°/3.7 inches
Wheelbase 53.9 inches 55.3 inches 52.8 inches 54.3 inches 55.5 inches 54.3 inches
Curb
Weight
366 pounds (weighed) 383.7 pounds (claimed) 324 (dry, claimed) 357 (claimed) 425 (claimed) 368 pounds (claimed)
Seat
height
30.9 inches (claimed) 30.9 inches (claimed) 32.3 inches 30.7 in 30.9 in 30.9 in
Fuel
Capacity
3.7 gallons 4.5 gallons 2.6 gal 3.4 gal 4.1 gal 3.7 gal
Available Colors Pearl Solar Yellow/Pearl Storm Gray/Ebony, Metallic Spark Black, Candy Plasma Blue, KRT Edition Candy Plasma Blue/Pearl Blizzard White KTM Orange/White/Black Red, Matte Black Metallic Pearl White Raven, Vivid White, Team Yamaha Blue