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Not sure why so many people have “passing issues” with this bike. It may be due to me being a bit lighter than most, but I dont even need to downshift shift or tuck (lol) when passing on the highway at 6th gear and im already at 80mph (not often). And in the canyon, if in the correct gear and if youre actually faster than the dude in front of you, passing wont be an issue either. If you need the power to pass someone in the canyons, you probably need to work on your riding. My personal riding experience aside, ive seen ninja 250s & 300s/R3s smoke countless liter bikes. That applies to both 30-70mph technical twisties, to 100mph+ canyons full of sweepers. But if you actually maxed out the bikes limit and cant pass the big bikes, id say take it to the track before you inevitably lose the gamble with death.
Tl;dr you will be more than happy with the 400 imo
If you're passing big bikes in the twisties, roads you should be on a track because you are not going to do it on the straights. While breaking in my still street legal 400 I did a few days on the Dragon with a bunch of friends on big sport bikes. I would intentionally stay back 30-40 feet heading into the tight stuff and still had to let up to keep from running into them mid corner. But as soon we hit a short straight they are gone. On tight roads you can't pass in the turns because of safety concerns.
 

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And in the canyon, if in the correct gear and if youre actually faster than the dude in front of you, passing wont be an issue either.
It's all a relative thing. My big bike can double it's speed in no time to make really small safe overtaking windows, can not say the same for the Ninja 400, irrelevant of how fast/light anyone is on it. So you need to pick your spots better.

It's all still doable eventually, and quick for what the bike is, but if I treated it like the S1KRR I'd probably be squished at this point.

So yeah, you can pass fine, but clean road overtakes in short distances are all about torque/power.
 

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It's all a relative thing. My big bike can double it's speed in no time to make really small safe overtaking windows, can not say the same for the Ninja 400, irrelevant of how fast/light anyone is on it. So you need to pick your spots better.

It's all still doable eventually, and quick for what the bike is, but if I treated it like the S1KRR I'd probably be squished at this point.

So yeah, you can pass fine, but clean road overtakes in short distances are all about torque/power.
Exactly. On the little bike it's all about momentum and speed in the turns. On the street that's hard to use. Big bikes can "squirt" in an instant. :)

I was riding one time, on my KTM 990, which isn't slow, but with a friend on a Panigali. I swear there were times when watching him looked like someone stepping on a tube of toothpaste. Talk about instant squirt. :)
 

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Well I am old and remember the days when the go to bad ass bikes were the Honda 400F and Yamaha RD 350. So this bike puts them to shame, of course. Technology makes that happen.
You should test ride one. If the dealer won't let you, just tell them they lost a sale forever.
Anyway, I have ridden and owned many machines and this is one of my favorites.
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Well I am old and remember the days when the go to bad ass bikes were the Honda 400F and Yamaha RD 350. So this bike puts them to shame, of course. Technology makes that happen.
You should test ride one. If the dealer won't let you, just tell them they lost a sale forever.
Anyway, I have ridden and owned many machines and this is one of my favorites.
In my opinion the dealer/manufacturer mentality of expecting people to drop thousands on a vehicle they’re not allowed to test out is one of the more ridiculous aspects of our sport. I can understand it when it comes to private sales but think dealerships would have a system is place to accommodate... most Harley dealerships (and a few “upscale” Ducati/BWM in my area) do, so why not Japanese brands?? It’s just become an accepted fact that most are happy to put money down so although I’ve made it clear to dealers I won’t be purchasing without a test ride, all of them sent me out the door with a shrug of their shoulders and a “good luck”.

Which is exactly why owners’ forums like this continue to be a valuable asset.
 

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There are two sides to that of course. The manufacturer would have to compensate the dealer because now its a demo or a used bike to most people even though it has a full warranty. Would you be willing to buy a bike for full price not knowing how or by who it was ridden? I have done test rides at bike shows and seen and felt the abuse some people think is okay to subject to a bike especially when it’s not theirs. Pegging the throttle to the rev limiter, doing wheelies and power shifts even though they were told not to just shows what kind of riders they are. Of course when they show up without any protective gear and borrow it to ride I’m never surprised at the disregard. Sometimes a dealer will let you test ride a used bike that’s the same model and that can help in your decision if they have one. Good luck.
 

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I went from my 2007 Ninja 650R to my Ninja 400ABS a few years ago. I liked the lighter weight and flickability. The Kawi demo tour stopped by my dealer earlier this year and I tested quite a bit of the lineup, including the current Ninja 650 and the ZX-6R. And I'm still very much preferring the 400.

In practice, I'm not missing the extra power because the light weight makes up for that. I'm still mostly doing roll-on passes on the two-lanes, with the occasional fast pass being aided by a drop to fifth gear. I've never felt a lack of passing power. But I might ride like an old man 🧓, because I am 😁.

Sustained high highway speeds haven't been an issue. I've still plenty of passing power in the fast lane

The light weight hasn't been an issue on windy days. I think the 400 does about the same as my 650 did in the wind. I suspect that the difference in weight between those bikes isn't all that much--perhaps a 900 lb. Harley would have enough extra weight that the difference would be noticeable in a crosswind. And since you're coming from a Strom, the lower height will make it easier to handle a crosswind.

And long distances as a solo rider works well. Neither the 400 nor the 650 would have been good for extended two-up riding.
 
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Like Mr army-eod I'm a more 'experienced' rider. When I was at University a 500 was a bike bike. I went from a Suzuki SV650S to a Ninja 300, and then the Ninja 400. I guess when you're older and smaller it's nice to have a lighter, more manageable bike. But honestly I'm just as quick on the 400 than any bigger big that I've ridden.
 

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If you're passing big bikes in the twisties, roads you should be on a track because you are not going to do it on the straights. While breaking in my still street legal 400 I did a few days on the Dragon with a bunch of friends on big sport bikes. I would intentionally stay back 30-40 feet heading into the tight stuff and still had to let up to keep from running into them mid corner. But as soon we hit a short straight they are gone. On tight roads you can't pass in the turns because of safety concerns.
Funny thing is you can pass big bikes on the straights, just on the front or tail end of it. A less experienced or cautious rider (in public roads) doesn't accelerate out of corners fast and the point they start slowing down for the turn is really conservative to say the least, so those are sometimes my passing points if I'm feeling spicy in the canyon (haven't gone in awhile). But as you said, you should always play it safe. A moment of ego is not worth injury or death. I mainly pass when there's adequate room, I know the next couple turns, and I know really well how the rider in front of me behaves, or if there's a passing lane; I don't even pass cars in the canyons unless there's a passing lane or if they pull over.

It's all a relative thing. My big bike can double it's speed in no time to make really small safe overtaking windows, can not say the same for the Ninja 400, irrelevant of how fast/light anyone is on it. So you need to pick your spots better.

It's all still doable eventually, and quick for what the bike is, but if I treated it like the S1KRR I'd probably be squished at this point.

So yeah, you can pass fine, but clean road overtakes in short distances are all about torque/power.
Didn't say how I overtake so don't think that's a fair assessment. I didn't mean actual riding gear :LOL:, as a couple pounds obviously isn't going to make a difference. If your bike is in the correct gear coming out of a corner, accelerating at the correct point with enough finesse, you'll be able to safely outgun the liter bike. Of course we are talking about a less experienced/skilled rider (most likely will be in a higher gear out of the powerband, late throttler, and early braking even when they're going much slower than they need to take the corner) who also isn't very predictable so add extra safety margin. Usually, when a rider is passed in the canyon by another, they will try to follow suit. So unless there's a decent straight coming out of the corner where the person you passed will get "frustrated" and pass you, your skill in braking, cornering, and corner-exit, will leave him in your dust.
*disclosure: of course never assume, and always ride defensively like the cars/bikes around you are total wankers trying to run into you
I don't understand the s1k reference, pardon my ignorance, but I feel like the ninja is more forgiving in almost every circumstance since you aren't able to hit breakneck speeds. Well unless you're a new rider riding over you limit without a level head trying to pass someone in the canyon, but I don't think that applies to us.
Hmm I can't agree or disagree with that last statement. I've seen close calls where people were trying to pass on straights and since the rider in front didn't expect it, wasn't holding a straight line and the passer almost knocked the passee off his ass. In a spirited setting, I've seen courteous slightly slower in front give way to the follower, or predictable passes on exit/entry. I've also seen clean straight passes, and extremely dangerous around the corner passes. It's a grey area, and case by case scenario.
I don't remember if you were the OP, but tl;dr again, the 400 is great LOL.

PS - But reiterating my earlier message, if you're pushing those boundaries, keep it to the track. Otherwise the 400 is my ideal bike in almost every street riding scenario.
Also, in my experience, the 400 in the upper rev range is just as fast as a supersport that didn't downshift 2-3 times and sitting in the low range. Either that, or the rider was scared to really open it up.

PPS - just read the OP post. Looks like they were just asking for daily commute use, and "out-growing" I think. Short term memory. But yes, the ninja 400 should have adequate power for commuting purposes. And don't think it's possible to outgrow it at a tactical standpoint. if you just want POWER, then yes, you'll "outgrow" it in no time.
 

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Funny thing is you can pass big bikes on the straights, just on the front or tail end of it.
Not sure I'd class tail end as a "safe option". I'll leave out braking someone coming into a corner for the track.

I think you might be missing the point a bit with the above. If you put the same rider on a Ninja 400 and a S1KRR/faster bigger bike. Which bike do you think the rider will have an easier time overtaking in the twisties? I think it would be hard to justify suggesting the Ninja 400 would be easier.

It's definitely not impossible on the Ninja 400, but it is a lot more effort and you need to pick your places better, which is all I was trying to say, and is the biggest negative about the Ninja 400 that comes to my mind when I'm comparing my two bikes.

You're right though, if the OP's post is about commuting the Ninja 400 is a perfect bike for that. It won't have the same trying to shoot you off the back of a bike power as the "big bikes" do, but it's more than enough for commuting. I can't really relate to people that think you outgrow something like a Ninja 400 for commuting purposes, unless their commute is some epic 2 lane twisty adventure and it's putting them stuck behind slow vehicles a lot.
 

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Something I learned decades ago is that on the road there is no substitute for CC’s. Even at equal hp displacement and torque will win every single time.
 

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Not sure I'd class tail end as a "safe option". I'll leave out braking someone coming into a corner for the track.

I think you might be missing the point a bit with the above. If you put the same rider on a Ninja 400 and a S1KRR/faster bigger bike. Which bike do you think the rider will have an easier time overtaking in the twisties? I think it would be hard to justify suggesting the Ninja 400 would be easier.

It's definitely not impossible on the Ninja 400, but it is a lot more effort and you need to pick your places better, which is all I was trying to say, and is the biggest negative about the Ninja 400 that comes to my mind when I'm comparing my two bikes.

You're right though, if the OP's post is about commuting the Ninja 400 is a perfect bike for that. It won't have the same trying to shoot you off the back of a bike power as the "big bikes" do, but it's more than enough for commuting. I can't really relate to people that think you outgrow something like a Ninja 400 for commuting purposes, unless their commute is some epic 2 lane twisty adventure and it's putting them stuck behind slow vehicles a lot.
Agreed definitely not a safe option depending on how it's done, it's all relative. Sometimes you will see riders riding at a snail pace to the corner, and you easily have more than enough time to pass and enter safely. But this is a pretty douche move, and can scare the other rider. Not condoning or advocating this, but just saying that passing with a 400 or smaller bike is more than possible quite easily. I actually never use more than like 70% (TBH it's probably a lot less) braking in the canyon unless for an emergency. Agreed it's not the time or place for that.

I think there is some miscommunication/interpretation between us! A bigger bike would overtake easier in the canyons, track, or almost anywhere aside a small kart track with the same rider - no doubt about that. Also my fault for mixing up users. Wouldn't say it's a lot of effort to pass on the 400 though (imo), but definitely easier if you can just blip and pass in certain scenarios. Although if you're trying to pass a slower rider on the straight with an equally fast bike, you might be at a stalemate. But I know what you mean, I just like to overanalyze sometimes.
 

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This is what I would tell you having just went through your scenario without doing my due diligence.

You are going to need to spend a fair bit of money to upgrade this bike to meet some of the basic standards the 600 bikes will offer you.

You will not have a fully adjustable suspension this alone will easily cost you a few grand even if you do the work yourself unless you use cheaper alternatives then the names people know an trust.

You may want to change out parts of the drive an will want to upgrade the breaks an lines an possibly the fuel rail too as the oem one is plastic an not aluminum.

You're gonna want to add stacks/flash the ecu remove the pair system which is a few hundred more depending on who you use.

So what I am saying is for me personally knowing how I wanted the bike to perform An how it actually preforms oem is two different motorcycles an I have about 2k in my 400 now an after realizing how much I am spending to make it truly a race bike I regret not getting a 600 again, just because some of the upgrades an performance You're used to in a 600 are all aftermarket purchases on the 400.

I am not gonna bash this little 400 of mine as I utterly enjoy blasting around the twists an turns an popping wheelies an enjoying myself, but for my personal experience I wish I would of just went with the 600 over the 400 just because I was expecting the 400 to be a little rocket bike but not realizing the over all cost to turn it into the machine I really want it to be.

If I had any real gripes about the 400 ninja it would be these.

1) The clutch. It is way to soft an at 2200 miles of racing on it, it is already showing signs of wear an loss of torque.

2) The **** horn. I don't know about everyone else here but my **** horn goes off everytime I upshift at high rpm or down shift at high rpm.

3) The seat, the OEM seat is uncomfortable for me I am 6'1" an 160ish an my arse hurts after riding for a hour or so.

4) Getting a rear pillion that matches your bikes color code from kawasaki is like winning the lottery.

That is it for me, I pretty much am in love with mine I am just at a nexus with needing to decide if I am dropping another 2 or 3 grand into it to make it what I want it to be or do I save the money pay the bike off sell it an buy a 600.

Hope this helps you out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 · (Edited)
OP here: quick update - with test rides out of the question, the comments and feedback on this forum ended up being a big contributor in swaying my decision, so I pulled the trigger on a new 2021 model a couple of weeks ago.

I can now honestly say this bike is some of the most fun I’ve ever had on two wheels. Still in the break-in stage stage so I haven’t really properly opened it up yet but so far I haven’t once felt like I was lacking power or couldn’t get out of my own way fast enough. This is definitely not like the small bikes of yore. Yes, the seat is a torture device and the gear box is a bit clunky but it’s a “budget bike” after all, so compromises have to be made. My biggest surprise was in how smooth the engine feels at speed. I was sure the p-twin would be a bit buzzy but it just glides.

Thanks again to everyone for their feedback & hopefully this thread helps anyone else in a similar position, thinking of “stepping down” in displacement.
 

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Congratulations!!! I've got a Z400 (basically the same with handlebars) and love it!! I've done a few mods, and while the bike isn't perfect, it has plenty of power for everyday use, super nimble, and a hoot to ride.
 

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Grats on your new bike, now go make it your own! The one thing I will say, while I enjoy the Ninja a lot, I am still glad to have a bigger bike as well. I am doing mostly backcountry road riding as well and the difference is definitely there. Concerning the seat, look into Norton Motorsports, they have a good option, I bought the seat for the Ninja and it is decent.
Check out my video.

 
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