- Comfortable, upright ergonomics
- Same great engine as in the Ninja 400
- Nimble handling
- Hello, cheap thrills! Great low price
- Side shrouds can cramp taller riders
Kawasaki’s Z400, small streetfighter with aggressive styling, provides cheap thrills with its near $5K price. The bike is well prepared for urban environments but also fun to ride on backroads or on the racetrack. The 400 stands out with nimble handling and a fantastic engine that riders won’t easily outgrow.
Introduced in 2019, the Kawasaki Z400 is a relatively new face to the small-displacement naked bike category. Unveiled a year after the significantly revised Ninja 400, the Z400 combines stripped-down streetfighter styling with the same capable, fun-loving 399cc parallel-twin engine found in its sibling. All the important characteristics of a small-displacement machine remain; the 400 is light and agile and its engine is great for developing riders. And for those who simply aren’t Ninja people, its upright ergonomics make it comfortable for longer commutes. It’s no wonder the Z400 followed on the coattails of its counterpart when it claimed the 2019 and 2020 Cycle World Best Lightweight Sportbike award.
Updates for 2022
Kawasaki offers the 2022 models in two color options: Candy Lime Green/Metallic Spark Black and Pearl Robotic White/Metallic Matte Graphenesteel Gray.
Pricing and Variants
The 2022 Z400 is competitively priced for the beginner motorcycle market at $5,199. The only version of this motorcycle is equipped with standard ABS.
The Z400 is not alone in its quest for attracting newer riders. The Austrians have a selection of small-displacement naked bikes with the KTM 390 Duke, Husqvarna Vitpilen 401, and Husqvarna Svartpilen 401. Competition from Japan includes the Honda CB300R and Yamaha MT-03. At the beginner/intermediate level, there’s also the Suzuki SV650.
Powertrain: Engine, Transmission, and Performance
When a motorcycle is easy enough for a new rider to tame but still exciting enough to make a veteran rider smile under their helmet, there’s usually a well-balanced engine to blame. Such is the case with the Z400; its parallel twin won’t scare off beginners, but it can be ridden hard when asked. Its assist-and-slipper clutch has an easy pull and aids in smooth deceleration into corners.
On the CW dyno, the engine delivers 44.1 hp at 9,830 rpm and 25.1 lb.-ft. of torque at 8,250 rpm to the rear wheel. The resulting power curve is linear and the torque curve is broad and flat. Power delivery is extra smooth, receiving top marks from our editors.
The nonadjustable 41mm Showa fork and preload adjustable KYB shock have softer spring rates than the Ninja 400′s suspension units. We found that the Z400 performs well over bumpy surfaces with a cushy, well-damped ride. Overall, its nimble chassis and neutral handling make the Z400 easy to control and tip into turns, and its light weight and low mass make maneuvering at low speeds easy.
Nissin calipers grab hold of 310mm and 220mm discs (front/rear). They do not provide a strong initial bite, but that’s OK for beginners. Nonswitchable ABS comes standard.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The Z400 does not shy away from longer stints between fill-ups and can regularly get 45.4 mpg.
Ergonomics: Comfort and Utility
The Z400′s rider triangle is more relaxed than the Ninja 400′s. The one-piece handlebar is wider and the pegs are in a forward position. Our test rider wrote, “I’m only 5-foot-10, but I look pretty large on the Z400. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I felt cramped on the Z400, but roomy it is not.” Significantly, protruding side shrouds also hit our taller test riders’ knees. The Z400 is, however, inviting to shorter riders with its claimed 30.9-inch seat height and slim tank. Because it does not have a windscreen or extra bodywork like the Ninja 400, the Z does not offer the same amount of wind protection.
The Z’s electronics are uncomplicated. ABS comes standard as a safety feature and an Eco mode indicator on the LCD dash lets the rider know when they are riding efficiently. The stacked instrument has a different orientation than the Ninja’s, but it also uses large display fonts that are easily readable at a glance. LED lighting illuminates the road at night.
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Kawasaki offers a one-year limited warranty with an option to extend with the Kawasaki Protection Plus program.
Beginner friendly doesn’t mean a bike has to be cheaply made. Kawasaki’s quality has improved over the years. The Z400 has a nice fit and finish with beautiful paint, clean lines, and a tidy dash.
2022 Kawasaki Z400 ABS Claimed Specifications
|Engine:||399cc, DOHC, liquid-cooled parallel-twin; 8-valve|
|Bore x Stroke:||70.0 x 51.8mm|
|Cycle World Measured Horsepower:||44.1 hp @ 9,830 rpm|
|Cycle World Measured Torque:||25.1 lb.-ft. @ 8,250 rpm|
|Fuel Delivery:||DFI w/ 32mm throttle bodies|
|Clutch:||Wet, multiplate slipper/assist|
|Engine Management/Ignition:||TCBI w/ digital advance|
|Front Suspension:||41mm Showa conventional fork; 4.7 in. travel|
|Rear Suspension:||Hydraulic shock, preload adjustable; 5.1 in. travel|
|Front Brake:||Nissin 2-piston caliper, 310mm disc w/ ABS|
|Rear Brake:||Nissin 2-piston caliper, 220mm disc w/ ABS|
|Wheels, Front/Rear:||Die-cast aluminum; 17 x 3.0 in. / 17 x 4.0 in.|
|Tires, Front/Rear:||110/70-17 / 150/60-17|
|Ground Clearance:||5.7 in.|
|Seat Height:||30.9 in.|
|Fuel Capacity:||3.7 gal.|
|Cycle World Measured Wet Weight:||364 lb.|