Ninja 400 0-60 mph in 4.14 seconds
Kawasaki’s Ninja 400 was introduced in 2018 and has replaced the hugely capable and popular Ninja 300 which itself was a replacement for the Ninja 250. Likely this was Kawasaki’s response to Yamaha’s YZF-R3 that had the edge on the Ninja 300 in-terms of engine performance.
The decision to effectively design a big-bore version of the 300 was primarily to accommodate the ever-changing motorcycle learner laws and restrictions in many markets, as well as a response to competitors offering faster and more powerful class alternatives.
The Ninja 400 engine was generally much the same as the 300 it replaced but got a significant capacity boost – up from 296 cc to a beefier 399 cc.
Peak claimed power (dependent on market) of 49 hp at the crank versus 35 hp at the crank for the Ninja 300 was a welcome boost to Kawasaki fans and those 300 owners looking to upgrade. Not surprisingly, torque was up also and to a claimed 28 lb/ft.
The larger engine of the 400 ensured that the Ninja 400 was more tractable and was less dependent on gears and rpm to make effective overtakes, and therefore the Kawasaki Ninja 400 almost had that big bike feel courtesy of its larger engine that the 300 failed to offerNinja 400 power and Torque
As you can see from the above dyno curve the new Ninja 400 makes a respectable 44 horsepower at 10,500 rpm which is impressive and not far off Kawasaki’s claim of 49 hp at the crank.
As a rule, when power is transferred from crank to wheel the average chain driven motorcycles will lose around 10-12 % of their power through transmission losses caused by friction and heat as well as the effort to actually spin the rear wheel. This is often why we see rear wheel horsepower figures differ from the actual manufacturer claims at the crank.
The Ninja 400 in terms of power sits it right next to Honda’s CBR500R as a competitor despite having a smaller capacity engine.
What is also impressive is that the little banging parallel twin produces more-than 40 horsepower from 8000 rpm and carries this to 12,000 rpm.
This spread of power makes the Ninja 400 less shift dependent as you can still make good progress without having to scream the engine to 12,000 rpm, something that you really had to do on the 300 variant which was hard work and tiresome, especially if trying keep friends on faster motorcycles in sight.
This wide spread of peak power also allows you to hold on to gears for a little longer in corners. Additionally, the engine is relatively flexible as right from 3000 rpm the Ninja 400 is making more torque than the 300 Ninja does at peak.
This meatier delivery is what make the Ninja 400 feel like a ‘big-bike’ and its performance hints at this too according to the numbers it puts down.Ninja 400 Acceleration
Kawasaki Ninja 400 Top Speed and Acceleration Review
Obviously, with more power and with a relatively light wet weight of 169 kg the little 400 is pretty quick, and is a significant step-up from the Ninja 300 which is also a little heavier at 172 kg. It does not quite have the legs on the bigger sister Ninja 650.
The Ninja 400 can accelerate from 0-100 km/h in only 4.35 seconds and for the UK/US guys, 0-60 mph is at 4.14 second. It’s still a little slower than one of its bigger capacity rivals the MT-07 though it is quite close considering the displacement disadvantage the 400 has.
For anyone that is a petrol head of any persuasion knows that a sub 5 second 0-100 km/h 0r 0-60 mph time is significantly quick at any standard and is as fast and in some cases faster than many hot hatches and sports cars.
A lot of smaller capacity motorcycles in this class can all accelerate to 100 km/h in around 6 seconds or under with the Ninja 300 at around 5.4, but as speeds increase their acceleration does starts to relent. Though the Ninja 400 is still peppy above this speed as we can clearly see from its 0-100 mph time of 11.8 seconds which is a time that is mighty impressive, and over 6 seconds faster to the same speed as its little 300 sister.
60 mph to 100 through the gears comes up in 7.75 seconds where the Ninja 300 lags behind significantly at a lethargic 12.80 seconds. To put this into perspective, the Ninja 400 can get from 0-100 mph faster than the Ninja 300 can accelerate from 60 mph to 100 mph.
The Standing start quarter mile comes up in 12.98 @ 102 mph with the terminal speed being slightly impacted by an inconvenient gear change at 100 mph and around 40m from the finish but still betters one of its nearest rivals from KTM and is a fraction faster than the naked Z400 sister.
Kawasaki Ninja 400 vs Yamaha YZF-R3 HERE
|Kawasaki Ninja 400 Acceleration|
|Top Speed||116.7 mph|
Kawasaki Ninja 400 Top Speed
With all smaller capacity lower power motorcycles eeking out their maximum speed requires a jockey-tuck and significantly long piece of tarmac. To reach its ultimate top speed of 116 mph (186 km/h) the Ninja 400 needs 100 seconds and around 4.8 km, though that would not be a fair analysis as the Ninja 400 can achieve 111 mph (180 km/h) is around 20 seconds at around 750 meters from a stop.
It is just that last few mph requires a significant amount of time and distance. Top speed is achieved in 5th, at a smudge under the redline. Hooking 6th does not change anything, as the 400 can’t really pull 6th to the redline at 129.8 mph and (209 km/h)
If we removed the mirrors and had a screen that offered better protection in a tuck, we could expect an extra few mph. Additionally, as most of these bikes will get some bolt-ons. A good exhaust system, fuelling sorted, and performance filter could see the little Ninja hitting a real 124 mph (200 km/h) Top speed.
Not everyone will get times like this, as due to the Ninja 400 still being a relatively low powered motorcycle.
To achieve optimum times like this the stars really must align, and with it being necessary for the rider to be light (65kg) and conditions perfect. As a 10-20 kg rider weight difference plus even a moderate headwind or unfavourable conditions in general will significantly hinder acceleration and top speed ET’s.
The Ninja 400 is an exceptionally good learner motorcycle, economical with cheap motorcycle insurance, while also being a very capable sport bike even for more experienced riders.
It has good straight line performance that is a significant step-up over the Ninja 300 but you may also be looking at other class competitors such as the Honda CBR650R full power, or the restricted CBR650R and little sister CBR500R.
As we test more motorcycles in this class, we’ll definitely do some direct versus comparisons. Suggestions HERE
|Kawasaki Ninja 400|
|Engine type||4-stroke, 2-cylinder, DOHC, liquid-cooled|
|Bore x stroke||70.0 x 51.8mm|
|Maximum power||49 HP 10500 RPM|
|Maximum torque||28.0 lb-ft @ 8,000 rpm|
|Lubrication system||Wet sump|
|Clutch type||Slipper and self-servo wet multiplate clutch with hydraulic control|
|Ignition system||Digital Advance|
|Transmission system||Constant Mesh, 6-speed|
|Frame||Semi-double cradle, high-tensile steel|
|Front suspension system||41mm Telescopic fork/4.7 in|
|Rear suspension system||Bottom-link Uni-Trak®, swingarm adjustable preload/5.1 in|
|Front brake||310mm semi-floating single disc|
|Rear brake||220mm single disc|
|Wheel base||1,370 mm|
|Wet weight (including full oil and fuel tank||168 kg|
|Fuel tank capacity||14 litres|