The little Ninja has been to the gym and has just been shown in New York
Kawasaki has used the New York Progressive International Motor Show to debut their latest small displacement sportbike in the Ninja 400.
Replacing the Ninja 300 that has populated Supersport 300 grids in Europe and long been one of the company’s best sellers, the 400 is a ground-up redesign with a new engine, chassis, and bodywork that should put it right at the forefront of the junior sportbike class in both looks and performance. The 400 comes in three different version (400 ABS, 400 ABS and 400 KRT Edition), but aside from the variances in paint and ABS, they are all the same.
Under the skin of the 400 sits a new 399cc parallel-twin four-stroke that sports a downdraft intake system, with airbox volume, increased to 5.8L and a new 32mm throttle body. Kawasaki claims the new intake system allows the injectors to be positioned closer to the throttle valves, enabling them to spray fuel directly onto the valves, which increases combustion efficiency and results in a linear throttle response. Further inside the motor sit new flat top pistons, an increased compression of 11.5:1 and some trick forged camshafts.
The gearbox is a close ratio unit with a new slip and assist clutch, meaning this little Ninja should go extremely well in the hotbed of the Junior Supersport category due to be launched in MotoAmerica next year.
As for the steel trellis chassis, it’s been made more rigid with the motor mounted as a stressed member, and the wheelbase has been shortened while a longer swingarm has been employed. The wheelbase is now a short 53.9 inches—nearly an inch shorter than the old 300. The swingarm mounts directly to the engine and is made from square steel tubing, similar to the old 390, without the need for a heavy cross member.
The front steering geometry is also steeper for sharper turning although 41mm front fork is unadjustable. The rear suspension gets five-step preload adjustment. Braking is taken care of by the largest-in-class dual 310mm discs and two-piston caliper up front and a twin-piston caliper clamping on a 220mm disc out the back.
The little 400 gets totally reworked styling for 2018 with new bodywork, LED front and taillights and a 3.6-gallon gas tank, and there’s an all-new LCD dash with all the usual features like speed, trip, and revs but now with a gear position indicator.
The Ninja 400 will have an MSRP tag of $4999 for the base model, up to $5499 for the KRT and ABS versions.