There are few people, experienced riders or not, that don’t appreciate the KZ1000 silhouette. Mean, aggressive, naked and raw, it is a machine that its inner beastly power is physically converted for all to see in its styling package.
The Kawasaki Z400 is just as mean looking and raw but without the insane power thumping out of the engine. Let’s take a look at the Z400 in depth and what it offers riders.
Kawasaki Z400 Review
There are two key names that people think of with Kawasaki motorcycles and that is the ‘Ninja’ series and the ‘Z’ series so entering into the world of small capacity machines it would only be logical that a Ninja 400 and Z400 would be the two to shoot for as opposed to completely new models.
The Kawasaki Z400 replaces the Z300 and the intention is to just give riders a little bit more oomph.
The world of motorcycles is seeing smaller machines at the forefront of the market at the moment. Having always been popular in Asia, Europe has followed suit with a need for small bikes and even riders in the US are seeing a purpose for smaller, lighter bikes.
In the UK being able to buy a mid-range bike to step up to after learning on a 125cc is very attractive as a 400cc doesn’t seem quite as intimidating as a 600cc plus, yet they are very capable and provide awesome road learning experiences.
Kawasaki and other manufacturers however, see no reason for a ‘learner’ or ‘stepping-stone’ bike to be any less than the bigger bikes in the line-up and plenty of attention to detail is paid to them. That is evident with the Kawasaki Z400.
The model is built in Thailand as opposed to Kawasaki’s factory in Japan, which helps to reduce costs. There are very few complaints about fit and finish and no feel that the parts used are inadequate.
Angular body work, sharp edges, crisp paintwork oozes quality out of the bike and you will get a lot of looks from people thinking the bike is bigger than it actually is.
A low seat height, narrow saddle, and the bike’s weight are all features that make for a very agile ride with light, precise handling.
Tall riders may prefer to look elsewhere for a rival machine if they plan to spend many long days riding as the Kawasaki Z400 can feel a little cramped and too light. This won’t be unfamiliar for riders stepping up from a 125cc but riders may want to go for something that feels a bit more like a big bike.
The engine is strong, with enough power and torque for most real world situations. Up at highway speeds or in bends at speed however, there are some vibrations that come through. The chassis can feel a bit too light in these situations and you might feel a bit blown around by headwinds, or unstable when a bit quick into a bend.
The Ninja 400 is fully-faired and counters some of these problems that the lighter naked Z400 faces.
“While not being a full on streetfighter, the Z400’s wider bars and more upright riding position all contribute to make it a confidence inspiring and ultimately fulfilling ride. Within just a few miles, I felt that I was in charge, the bike responding obediently.”Bennetts
Touring on the Kawasaki Z400 would not be out of the question as it has a very natural riding position that reduces rider fatigue quite a lot. If you are hunched over a sportsbike, after a few hours, your wrists and back are going to pay for it.
Tech is pretty minimal with an LCD dash with all the usual helpful information in a ‘Carbon-Fibre’ surround; LED lights all round and ABS braking system.
An important note is that there is currently not a 2021 Z400 available in the UK as it has not been made Euro 5 compliant. However, Kawasaki states, “Dealer stocks of certain models will mean end users will experience little disruption to availability. Engineers in Akashi are working to bring key models back into production in the shortest time frame possible.”
The Kawasaki Z400 is fully expected to make a return as the company is going out of their way to cater to all needs in the market.
Is the Kawasaki Z400 a Good Beginner Bike?
The Kawasaki Z400 makes a solid choice for a beginner bike. Here are a few points as to why you should consider one if you are just starting out (or moving up from a 125cc):
- Lightweight – Making it agile, easy to handle, perfect at slow speeds and traffic stops.
- Low Seat – Easy for most to flat-foot the bike, inspiring confidence when stopping, combined with being lightweight, riders need not worry about dropping the bike too much or at least not being able to pick it back up again.
- ABS – Brilliant safety feature for all riders, but particularly new riders. If you grab too much front brake in an attempt to stop quickly the ABS will kick in and bring you to a controlled stop.
- Great value when compared with other similar machines on the market.
- Built in Thailand and quality seems to be up to par.
- There won’t be too much depreciation if you look to sell it on as there will always be a demand for machines novices can hone their riding skills on.
- While considered a small bike, it will do you a great turn. In fact it is capable of most things so you may very well end up keeping the bike for longer than you expected.
- Not too small or big in capacity. The bike is powerful enough without being intimidating and equally has enough power to be notably different from a 125/250, so feels like a step up for learners.
- 399cc, Parallel twin engine, 4-stroke, DOHC, liquid cooled
- Bore and Stroke – 70.0 x 51.8mm
- Compression Ratio – 11.5:1
- Transmission – 6-Speed
- Assist and slipper clutch
- Max Torque – 38Nm
- Max Power – 44.8 horsepower
- Front Suspension – Telescopic Fork
- Rear Suspension – Uni-Trak® swingarm
- Front Brakes – Single 310mm disc, ABS
- Rear Brakes – Single 220mm disc, ABS
- Front Tire – 110/70-17M/C 54H
- Rear Tire – 150/60-17M/C 66H
- Frame Type – Trellis, high-tensile steel
- Rake – 24.5°
- Overall Length – 78.3”
- Overall Width – 31.5”
- Overall Height – 41.5”
- Ground Clearance – 5.7”
- Seat Height – 30.9”
- Curb Weight – 363.8lb
- Fuel Capacity – 3.7 Gal
- Wheelbase 53.9”
Color Choices –
- Pearl Robotic White
- Metallic Matte Graphenesteel Gray
- Lime Green
- Metallic Spark Black
- 12 Month Limited Warranty – Optional Kawasaki Protection Plan for up to 48 months
How Fast Does a Kawasaki Z400 Go?
Top speed for the Kawasaki Z400 is estimated to be just over 91mph.
I would suspect that most riders wouldn’t want to get the motorcycle up to those kinds of speeds for very long, but it does allow confident riders to take the bike to the track for a day and test out both their own and the bike’s skills.
Is the Kawasaki Z400 a Good Bike?
Price, weight, agility, power and torque are all huge positives for the Kawasaki Z400 and make it an all-round great machine in the lightweight category.
However, being a naked bike it requires a certain amount of maintenance to keep everything in top condition. Everything is open to the elements and if riding in all weather, road debris and water can wreak havoc.
Riders who have experience of basic maintenance on their motorcycles will of course have no issue keeping on top of this; but new riders may want to brush up on the basics to keep their new motorcycle immaculate and trouble free.
A common issue with the both the Kawasaki Z400 and the Ninja 400 is that the clutch wears out so this is something to be aware of.
As with all motorcycles, keep on top of the maintenance, regular servicing and generally look after the Z400 and it will look after you.
How Does it Compare Against its Rivals?
The obvious competitors for the Kawasaki Z400 are other naked bikes below 500cc; I have picked a few that often get put up against each other and listed some of the key specs to compare.
From a price point of view the Kawasaki Z400 isn’t bad at all, coming in more expensive than the smaller MT-03 but less than the KTM and Honda.
The Kawasaki Z400 is also one of the lightest of the bunch with a pretty standard seat height.
It is actually the slowest of the group in terms of top speed with the KTM 390 Duke being a good 22mph faster.
However, with most of these it is unlikely you will sit above 75-80mph for too long regardless so that likely won’t be a deciding factor for many people.
The package you get for the money with the Z400 is not bad at all and is very competitive in its lane.
Kawasaki Z400 Price
In the US the 2021 Kawasaki MSRP is $4,999 for the base model. In the UK the 2020 Z400 starts from £5,099.
I am a big fan of the Ninja line and therefore a 400 would be right up my street, especially with my love of smaller motorcycles anyway. However, the Kawasaki Z400 is based on the Ninja 400 in terms of engine, design, spec etc, it is just a naked version; therefore, I think it is great for those that love a streetfighter, naked style of bike.
It looks mean, looks aggressive, has the raw edge the ‘Z’ series offers to the market and for a 400 it is all round pretty impressive.