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2021 Kawasaki Z400
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys! I'm interested to know if money (and availability) was not a factor, what would be your next bike after the 400? I know that a significant percentage of people here probably already have "bigger" bikes either before the 400, or since they owned a 400 (or have gone back and forth between smaller and bigger bikes), so the answers are probably going to vary alot.

The reason I ask is, in my circle (which is quite small, and has mostly people on smaller bikes or have not been riding for a long time), it seems to bring up some heated discussion when you say "I would love my next bike to be a Z H2 or a Ninja ZX10R!". It seems to bring up some negative reactions when you want to jump from your first bike thats a small CC bike to "a big boy bike".

I would love to get some thoughts on this topic from a larger group with far more variance in experience. If you have already been through this I would love to hear what your progression was through different sized bikes or different category bikes!
 

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2019 Ninja 400 ABS, Pearl Storm Gray
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I've only owned 400-600 cc bikes... But there can be a huge difference even in that range. The ZX-6R is only 1.5x the engine size (well, a bit more since it is a cheater!) of the N400, but it has 2.5x the horsepower of the N400!!! I still can't figure out how they do that! I'm sure it is too much bike for me, but I'd still love to have one!
 

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2017 Suzuki GSXR1000 2010 Suzuki GSXR600 x2 2018/19 N400
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read what I just wrote on the "big bike" topic i have both gsxr600 and a nasty gsxr1000 which for the street I riden the liter bikes since 2005....most people are INCAPABLE of riding a liter bike to its full potential where as the 400 you can out muscle it ! i love love love my bmw eating gix but I'm all smiles on the N400
 

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21 N400, USB, Air delete, full exhaust,Hi flow filter/snorkel delete, Clutch springs
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I’ve had a couple of 250’s, a Yamaha V Star 650 cruiser, and now currently own a 21 Ninja 400 and an 04 Gixxer 750. I don’t believe in the idea that you must follow a certain progression and keep “moving up” in bikes. Find a bike (or bikes) you like and enjoy without feeling pressured to change. I love being able to go full throttle on the 400 and run it through all the gears on my daily commute. If I rode the Gixxer like that I’d never make it out of second gear, lol.
 

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R6 has always been my dream bike and I’ve loved it even more with the facelift it got in its final generation. Got into riding for the purpose of being able to drive one eventually. Just bought an n400 first so I could learn. So eventually I’d get an r6 or a new r7 once I save up enough
 

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I've always wanted a 05-06 zx-6R since they were new so I'm currently looking for one. I'm keeping the 400 though and will most likely continue to ride the 400 the most. I also have a Vulcan S for when I go out with my cruiser buddies, I hate the v twin engine vibrations so the Vulcan is perfect.
 

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I've only owned 400-600 cc bikes... But there can be a huge difference even in that range. The ZX-6R is only 1.5x the engine size (well, a bit more since it is a cheater!) of the N400, but it has 2.5x the horsepower of the N400!!! I still can't figure out how they do that! I'm sure it is too much bike for me, but I'd still love to have one!
And a MotoGP bike has 57% more displacement than a zx6r but about 115% more power! A 400 is not built for outright performance. A 400cc engine can be significantly more powerful than the ninja 400 is. Different engine configuration, better materials, tighter tolerances, better internal bearings, smoother surface finishes, and more importantly higher RPM....all those things lead to more hp/liter. The 400 is about 112 hp/liter whereas a MotoGP bike is 260ish. But those engines also don't last long before needing a full rebuild, which no typical bike owner would want to do, especially with a $5000 bike lol Honda is especially known for "de-tuning" their bikes all in the name of reliability.

I've had 3 ZX6R's...my first ever bike was a ZZR600, which was basically a renamed 2001-2002 ZX6R. Had an '09 and my current '14. They are cool bikes. Wouldn't want one as a street bike though, but great for racing or track days :)
 

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Hey guys! I'm interested to know if money (and availability) was not a factor, what would be your next bike after the 400? I know that a significant percentage of people here probably already have "bigger" bikes either before the 400, or since they owned a 400 (or have gone back and forth between smaller and bigger bikes), so the answers are probably going to vary alot.

The reason I ask is, in my circle (which is quite small, and has mostly people on smaller bikes or have not been riding for a long time), it seems to bring up some heated discussion when you say "I would love my next bike to be a Z H2 or a Ninja ZX10R!". It seems to bring up some negative reactions when you want to jump from your first bike thats a small CC bike to "a big boy bike".

I would love to get some thoughts on this topic from a larger group with far more variance in experience. If you have already been through this I would love to hear what your progression was through different sized bikes or different category bikes!
I went with the 2021 ZX6R because it fits my riding style the best. Since I ride only country roads where handling and braking are the most important factors the 250/400/600 bikes offer the best overall riding experience. I modified the ZX6R to be more street focused by installing 1.5 riser clip-ons.

I started riding over 35 years ago on an 85 GPZ550 and learned to ride it well. I test rode a ZX10 or 11 once and never got on another 1000+ sport bike.
 

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I've no reason to change bikes unless I plan to do something quite different with my riding. The 400 does urban, rural highways, and solo touring very well while staying extremely easy to control. I'd have to take up off-roading or two-up touring or track days for me to really need another bike.
 
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I am not planning to change the bike. But if I had the space and money for a second bike, I always wanted to get a BMW with the boxer engine (not sure yet which model).
 

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I have to ask... Barely on topic... Is this real? Or is it just a slow rider (on the ZX-6R) vs. a fast rider (on the Ninja 400)?

Kawasaki Battle: ZX-6R vs Ninja 400 - YouTube
I mean it's real, but definitely a slower rider on the ZX6R vs rider on N400. Not sure how they are going compared to fast laps for that track.
Corner speed on the 400 guy is higher, braking later, accelerating earlier. ZX6R guy seems to be wimpier about powering on between corners.
I mean they both have strong/weak sections compared to each other, but generally.

First corner is probably a good example, notice the N400 speed is higher initially and keeps increasing for a bit after the ZX6R speed drops (braking), 400 guy is then accelerating earlier. ZX6R guy for first corner also seems to brake hard, realise he's braked too hard and go neutral for a bit which is a decent indicator of skill.

So yeah I guess TLDR version is ZX6R guy is losing what he gains in power in braking/corner exit. If my quick skim read is sane.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I have to ask... Barely on topic... Is this real? Or is it just a slow rider (on the ZX-6R) vs. a fast rider (on the Ninja 400)?

Kawasaki Battle: ZX-6R vs Ninja 400 - YouTube
First of all, I have never raced a motorbike, nor am i an expert on motorbikes at all. I do have racing experience in the IPRA category though here in AUS with my old rx7, and i have researched this topic before (when looking at 600 vs 1000's) so I will just share what answered i've seen to examples like this.

When there is drastic differences between track times with x vs y, it almost always comes down to either driver/rider or the track itself. It takes an immensely faster vehicle to really make a big difference in track times usually when its apples vs apples with only power being the difference. You can see this in examples where people take a vehicle and run it stock, and upgrade things one by one to see the difference. and its almost always better gains come from either handling imrpovemnts or things that make the car "easier" for the driver to drive it well. you really need to increase horsepower by a significant margin before you start to see gains purely from power.

So in this specific example, looking at the speed difference in corners/straights, my uneducated unsupported thoery here is this track lends itself very well to the 400. It can enter corners faster and exit faster and so that makes up the difference for the straight line speed, which seems to be limited on that track.

This has been argued/showed lots when looking into 600 vs 1000 as well. Lots of videos on youtube with titles like "this is why 1000cc bikes hate 600cc riders" ect ect are almost always with a vastly better rider, or on a track that really plays well into the lighter "better handling" bikes. But in saying that, is there many racetracks in the world where 1000cc could dominate in every corner, in every situation? I think the nature of racetracks are all about designing a framework to allow for skill over equiptment, at the very least for atleast parts of the track. So there will ALWAYS be examples of "smaller bike beats bigger bike" because there will always be difference in peoples skill level and parts of the track that are just better suited to lighter bikes that can brake later and carry more speed in the corner.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for the replys everyone. Interesting to see others thoughts!

I absolutely will upgrade to a bigger bike at some point. And the more I discuss this with others around me, the more i get told i need a "middle" bike between the 400 and 1000. But I dont like the mentality of being boxed into a way of doing things because "thats how its always done" or "thats what others did", not to mention if i was to buy a zx6r for example, thats $17k just for a "middle step". That means its going to take me $17k worth of savings longer before i can buy a ZX10r! Which is a **** long time, lol.

Especially when we are talking about a kawaski bike, which generally seems to get praised for being "smooth and easy to ride" even on bikes as crazy as the zx10r or the Z H2.
 

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My first bike was a 2005 GSXR 750. I bought it back around 2011. Very dumb "first" bike. I grew up riding dirtbikes but that could not prepare me for the speed of this bike. First time I really cracked the throttle it felt like warp speed from Star Trek or something.

I ran a 10.7 @ 133 mph on that bike after a few runs at the drag strip. A good rider could probably get low 10's on that bike. Modern liter bikes would blow that 750 out of the water (sub 10 second 1/4 mile times). Like Jetpilot said, most people can not handle a liter bike. $h!t.... even out of guys who actually race/track days, only a small % can REALLY handle liter bikes... and those guys are 1000 times faster than an average street rider.

For reference at my local track the fastest guy races a ninja 400 and a ZX10. On his 400 he can do a 1:40 -1:41. On his liter bike he almost set the track record at 1:31.7. So we are talking roughly 8-9 second difference. That 8-9 seconds does not seem big, but it is freaking HUGE!!! On this particular track a ninja 400 in the right hands can put down times not far off a 600 SS. It does largely depend on the rider of course. However, on a fast track like COTA, a liter bike 'could' blow a 400 away because they are high speed turns and straights. The liter bike could really stretch its legs.

Also for perspective, I have owned 2005 GSXR 750, KTM 690 SMC, 2007 CBR 600 (track bike) Husky 701 SM, Ducati 959, KTM Duke 890, and now Ninja 400 (race bike). I wish I would of started on a little bike a LOOOONG time ago. Because you have to get good and master the smaller stuff to be able to handle the bigger stuff. Some squids start on bigger bikes... some get hurt, some die. Some turn out OK (like me)

I am turning out faster lap times on my ninja 400 than my old track CBR 600 bike. Granted I am getting more seat time this season but still.... you can build a solid foundation on a smaller bike MUCH faster than you could on a big bike.

Also track riding makes you a MUCH better rider. It gives you a relatively safe environment to push the bike and yourself. No tickets... and lower chance of injury/death than on the street. A handful of track days can get you years ahead of a street only rider.
 

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I've been waiting to get a CBR600RR this year, but the local shops have not had them in stock this year. My local shop finally got one in, but I was a bit jaded by then. I really want a straight 'middle of the road' bike next. Nothing too big or out of my league, but still in my sportbike preferred style. I'm a fan of Honda products, so I would really line the CBR, but this late in the year, pandemic delays, microchip issues, etc. I just dont know if I should buy now or wait till next year.

BTW, my wife mentioned a new bike was conditional on my selling the old, but I would really rather keep the Ninja! As I am sure most here know, each bike has its own nuances and uses.
 

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I have to ask... Barely on topic... Is this real? Or is it just a slow rider (on the ZX-6R) vs. a fast rider (on the Ninja 400)?

Kawasaki Battle: ZX-6R vs Ninja 400 - YouTube
It's real, but yeah an incredibly slow rider on the zx6r. Look at his tach...it's around 7000-10000 rpm, most of the lap and almost never shifts throughout the lap. Someone that is even halfway decently fast would keep that bike around 11k-15k rpm the whole lap and shifting enough to always stay in that range since that's where most of the power is on those bikes. That rider is definitely a novice, whereas the one on the 400 is probably an intermediate level. Still looks pretty slow but not as slow as the ZX6R guy. With motorcycles it's pretty useless to compare lap times between different bikes unless it's the same person riding them. Just because so much of it depends on the rider, not the bike. The most reliable way to do that is to look at lap records from the pros because you know that at least the data is coming from some of the best in the country, who can actually ride the bikes to their full potential. At an average 2-mile track, the difference between a zx6r and a ninja 400 should be about 7-9 seconds depending on the layout.

It becomes more at longer and faster tracks. At Road America for example, the difference is about 22 seconds. At Daytona also about 20-21 seconds.
 

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Added a Versys650 to the garage as my second bike earlier this year. I wanted a more comfortable bike for longer day/multiday trips and the V650 does this perfectly. Right now, the Z400 and V650 cover everything I want to do on a motorcycle.
 
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