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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Wanted to introduce myself here. I had a great season of track days this past summer on my 701SM and entered my first race at Loudon, NH in the NEMRR "super street" class. From there I decided to step up to race novice next season and looked for a Ninja 400 to run as the platform feels perfect to me. Not too big, not too small, and easy on tires. I ended up connecting with a forum member here and found the right bike for me. I picked it up this weekend and will be getting it prepped the rest of the way over the winter. This forum (the track & racers discussion in particular) provided me with a ton of info as I was doing my homework. I'm sure I'll be posting up over the winter looking for guidance and to see who is selling what for used parts (I still need a couple random things) but for now I just wanted to say hello. So stoked on the little Ninja!


best,
Hanna
 

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2021 Ninja 400, 1998 Honda VTR1000 SuperHawk
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Welcome to the forums and another N400 being raced at the track. 馃憤
Who said these were bikes for beginners? 馃槀
Enjoy your stay and pics when it happens. 馃
 

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Wanted to introduce myself here. I had a great season of track days this past summer on my 701SM and entered my first race at Loudon, NH in the NEMRR "super street" class. From there I decided to step up to race novice next season and looked for a Ninja 400 to run as the platform feels perfect to me. Not too big, not too small, and easy on tires. I ended up connecting with a forum member here and found the right bike for me. I picked it up this weekend and will be getting it prepped the rest of the way over the winter. This forum (the track & racers discussion in particular) provided me with a ton of info as I was doing my homework. I'm sure I'll be posting up over the winter looking for guidance and to see who is selling what for used parts (I still need a couple random things) but for now I just wanted to say hello. So stoked on the little Ninja!


best,
Hanna
I used to have a 690 SMC back before KTM stopped selling them in the US, then I got a 701 SM a few years back. Very fun bikes!

you will really enjoy racing the ninja 400. Such a great little bike!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you both for the welcome. The 701SM was a great bike to progress on at the track after a lot of time away. Very forgiving, but as my pace improved I started wanting something track focused, especially since the 701 is my daily rider on the street. I took an SV out for a few laps and it didn't click with me. Sat on a ninja 4 and it all just felt right. Love having less power to work with rather than being overwhelmed by a bigger bike, and anything that cuts the tire bill is a huge help. Previous owner put a lot of good parts on the bike, bodywork, clip ons, rear sets, brake lines, Norton clutch upgrade. I'd rather spend $ on track time than parts so I'm thinking crash protection, fork springs, & slip on should be enough to get started. Would love to do a shock but may start with stock to see where that's at. I weigh 145 so even a gsxr 600 shock would still require a re-spring. Just thinking out loud at this point.
One question for the forum brain trust. I want to confirm the front end on this bike hasn't been lowered. I don't have a service manual yet. Can anyone tell me how much fork legs should be showing above the top triple clamp as stock?
thank you!
 

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Welcome Tacotrouble, I race the 400 as well in EvolveGT鈥榮 MotoGladiator series. As well as regular track days. Excellent bike for all the reasons you mentioned to race/track!!! Here is another reason, you don鈥檛 get as tired throwing the 400 around as a bigger bike. I track both my GSXR 600 & 750 but only race the 400, for now 馃槑. Your lighter weight will be a huge factor as well on the 400. 馃憦馃徏馃憦馃徏馃憦馃徏
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Welcome Tacotrouble, I race the 400 as well in EvolveGT鈥榮 MotoGladiator series. As well as regular track days. Excellent bike for all the reasons you mentioned to race/track!!! Here is another reason, you don鈥檛 get as tired throwing the 400 around as a bigger bike. I track both my GSXR 600 & 750 but only race the 400, for now 馃槑. Your lighter weight will be a huge factor as well on the 400. 馃憦馃徏馃憦馃徏馃憦馃徏
Thank you! I noticed the same thing regarding weight. When I borrowed the SV it felt like quite a bit of work to muscle around on the tighter sections of track. Coming from a supermoto that was especially noticeable. Less fatigue and more fun sounds like a great call to me. I've never owned a Kawi before..have run an R6, Aprila, Triumph, and Husky...but so far it seems like a neat little package. I'm looking forward to digging into the bike over the winter to get to know it a little better. I'd love to put a bunch of go-faster parts on it but am old and wise enough to know that budget is better spent on track time and better gear. This forum has been a great source of information. I appreciate the warm welcome from everyone.
 

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Thank you both for the welcome. The 701SM was a great bike to progress on at the track after a lot of time away. Very forgiving, but as my pace improved I started wanting something track focused, especially since the 701 is my daily rider on the street. I took an SV out for a few laps and it didn't click with me. Sat on a ninja 4 and it all just felt right. Love having less power to work with rather than being overwhelmed by a bigger bike, and anything that cuts the tire bill is a huge help. Previous owner put a lot of good parts on the bike, bodywork, clip ons, rear sets, brake lines, Norton clutch upgrade. I'd rather spend $ on track time than parts so I'm thinking crash protection, fork springs, & slip on should be enough to get started. Would love to do a shock but may start with stock to see where that's at. I weigh 145 so even a gsxr 600 shock would still require a re-spring. Just thinking out loud at this point.
One question for the forum brain trust. I want to confirm the front end on this bike hasn't been lowered. I don't have a service manual yet. Can anyone tell me how much fork legs should be showing above the top triple clamp as stock?
thank you!
You didn't like the SV huh? I am actually looking to move to an SV 650. I love the ninja 400. Great little bike but I want something a little bigger (ergo wise)

My old 2007 CBR 600 track bike had great ergos. Though it was really too much power for my skill at the time. Even now, I could not handle a 600 SS truly. Maybe after a season or 2 on a SV 650 I could put down some fast times.

After 1 season on my ninja 400, I am pulling about mid lvl times for novice at my local track.

P.S. I thought your thumb nail looked familiar. I thought that looks like the Adams go kart track in SoCal. I lived in LA for a few years. I did the SoCal supermoto school a few times on the DRZ400. Never took my 690 SMC out there. It was a blast!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
For me
You didn't like the SV huh? I am actually looking to move to an SV 650. I love the ninja 400. Great little bike but I want something a little bigger (ergo wise)

My old 2007 CBR 600 track bike had great ergos. Though it was really too much power for my skill at the time. Even now, I could not handle a 600 SS truly. Maybe after a season or 2 on a SV 650 I could put down some fast times.

After 1 season on my ninja 400, I am pulling about mid lvl times for novice at my local track.

P.S. I thought your thumb nail looked familiar. I thought that looks like the Adams go kart track in SoCal. I lived in LA for a few years. I did the SoCal supermoto school a few times on the DRZ400. Never took my 690 SMC out there. It was a blast!
for me the ergos on the SV just felt weird. Could have been the setup of the bike I was riding.
I鈥檓 from Vt but we just did a little California vacation and my wife hooked me up with 2 days at SoCal supermoto for my birthday. That was an absolute riot. My stomach hurt from laughing all day and I learned a ton. It was a great cap to a really positive track season. I鈥檓 fired up for next year on the 400!
 

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Welcome!! Another Loudon racer! A lot of my friends did the Super Street class last season--did you only do the SS races at the last round? It was my first novice season. Actually just bought a B/Rain bike because I was so annoyed at the weather from the last round on Saturday. Another +1 here for Socal Sumo, they are awesome!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Welcome!! Another Loudon racer! A lot of my friends did the Super Street class last season--did you only do the SS races at the last round? It was my first novice season. Actually just bought a B/Rain bike because I was so annoyed at the weather from the last round on Saturday. Another +1 here for Socal Sumo, they are awesome!
Awesome! I only did SS for round 6. Had other obligations the last two weekends.
 

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Awesome! I only did SS for round 6. Had other obligations the last two weekends.
Nice man! I did SS the 2nd round of the season then swapped to Novice. At 145 you're gonna fly on the 400. I'm assuming that's without gear, though? You might be able to get by with the gsxr shock still as equipment does usually add 20 lbs. I use Ohlins carts in the front and the gsxr shock with the norton adapter and it works well for me but I am a bit heavier than you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Nice man! I did SS the 2nd round of the season then swapped to Novice. At 145 you're gonna fly on the 400. I'm assuming that's without gear, though? You might be able to get by with the gsxr shock still as equipment does usually add 20 lbs. I use Ohlins carts in the front and the gsxr shock with the norton adapter and it works well for me but I am a bit heavier than you.
Thanks! SS was a great introduction to racing and helped it all feel more approachable. I'm slow but part of getting out there is the realization that it's fine to be slow. You're correct, I'm 145 no gear. my plan to start the season is with fresh fork springs and maybe the gsxr shock. I would love to upgrade more but the reality is at my current level track time is going to help my pace a lot more than parts and I'm on a budget. Also want to upgrade some of my gear...so there's that too. Since you ride Loudon, do you have any gearing recommendations as a starting point?
 

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Thanks! SS was a great introduction to racing and helped it all feel more approachable. I'm slow but part of getting out there is the realization that it's fine to be slow. You're correct, I'm 145 no gear. my plan to start the season is with fresh fork springs and maybe the gsxr shock. I would love to upgrade more but the reality is at my current level track time is going to help my pace a lot more than parts and I'm on a budget. Also want to upgrade some of my gear...so there's that too. Since you ride Loudon, do you have any gearing recommendations as a starting point?
If you're sticking with the stock chain size, the stock gearing actually works pretty well around Loudon. I was using the stock gearing 75% of the season and did fine. I upgraded (or downgraded?) to the 415 chain the last 2 rounds and the gearing to go with on that around Loudon is 18/55 (the fast Penguin motoamerica kids run this). Apparently this setup is barely off stock gearing too with the pitch change. Don't worry about being slow, like you said the best bang for your buck is track time. Pretty sure I started the season running 1:38s (real slow) and ended it running 1:26s (just barely breaking into Amateur times).
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Last night I spent some time working on foot peg position in the garage. I've never had adjustable rearsets and I was surprised at how big a difference a small adjustment in the peg position made in my ability to lock into the tank and support all of my weight with my legs.
Today I took the bike for it's first test ride (probably my last before getting it on track next year. It's far from street legal). This was my first ever real ride on a ninja 400, or small sport bike for that matter. I was laughing the whole time. What a fun little package. Ergos feel great and the bike so is light and nimble. Everything worked as it should and the bike felt straight. Brought her home feeling good.
I get why these are in such high demand and can't wait to get her out on track next season.
 

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Welcome @tacotrouble ! Lots of people racing the 400s but always nice to see another one! I've never made my way quite that far north when I lived in VA but I've raced with quite a few of the fast Loudon kids (Ben Gloddy, Teagg Hobbs, Eli Block, Brianna McHugh, Renee Franco and Jacob Crossman) at NJMP and Summit Point.

To answer your question, stock front height is about 20 mm above the triple clamps. That tends to work pretty well, but I've seen people do anything between 15 and 35 depending on overall setup, preference, tires, track, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Welcome @tacotrouble ! Lots of people racing the 400s but always nice to see another one! I've never made my way quite that far north when I lived in VA but I've raced with quite a few of the fast Loudon kids (Ben Gloddy, Teagg Hobbs, Eli Block, Brianna McHugh, Renee Franco and Jacob Crossman) at NJMP and Summit Point.

To answer your question, stock front height is about 20 mm above the triple clamps. That tends to work pretty well, but I've seen people do anything between 15 and 35 depending on overall setup, preference, tires, track, etc.
Thanks SBK! Measured mine and they鈥檙e right about 15mm. Good enough for now. So happy with my choice of platform.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Thought I'd chime back in with some updates on my progress. I've been working to bring the bike from track day prep to race prepped and we're getting there. I safety wired bolts that needed safety wiring and that was easier than expected (I had never done that before). The gsxr shock swap went well thanks to all the helpful information on that thread. I got sick of looking at the crooked nose on the bike and installed a new DB Holders fairing stay. This was a very straightforward install and a nice piece of kit. As a bonus I'm looking forward to having less trim pieces to deal with as the dash now mounts directly to the fairing stay and not to a plastic cowling. While I was at it I relocated the voltage regulator using the Norton relocation bracket. This was super easy though worth noting that the bracket does not ship with mounting hardware so you need to dig in the spare parts bin for a couple of bolts. Next up will be relocating/replacing the coolant overflow bin to a smaller motion pro unit in a less exposed location and replacing the glycol based coolant with engine ice.
I upgraded to some DP brake pads, added lever guards and tank grips as well. Still on the list are a lighter battery, case covers, a slip on, and I think she'll be about ready. I signed up for race licensing school and it's game on in the spring!
 

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Thought I'd chime back in with some updates on my progress. I've been working to bring the bike from track day prep to race prepped and we're getting there. I safety wired bolts that needed safety wiring and that was easier than expected (I had never done that before). The gsxr shock swap went well thanks to all the helpful information on that thread. I got sick of looking at the crooked nose on the bike and installed a new DB Holders fairing stay. This was a very straightforward install and a nice piece of kit. As a bonus I'm looking forward to having less trim pieces to deal with as the dash now mounts directly to the fairing stay and not to a plastic cowling. While I was at it I relocated the voltage regulator using the Norton relocation bracket. This was super easy though worth noting that the bracket does not ship with mounting hardware so you need to dig in the spare parts bin for a couple of bolts. Next up will be relocating/replacing the coolant overflow bin to a smaller motion pro unit in a less exposed location and replacing the glycol based coolant with engine ice.
I upgraded to some DP brake pads, added lever guards and tank grips as well. Still on the list are a lighter battery, case covers, a slip on, and I think she'll be about ready. I signed up for race licensing school and it's game on in the spring!
You going to be at the first round end of April?
 
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