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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This will be my 3rd retirement from riding and I'd like to make is my shortest one yet. My 1st 2 were 3 years each. I've been bikeless for 6 weeks now.

I'm 69 and started riding at 14. From 90cc to 390cc dirt bikes. Then 500cc to 1200cc street bikes. Japanese, Spanish, and American machines. I even had one 200cc four wheeler.

I sold my 2008 1200cc Harley Nightster in September 2022. As I've gotten older and shorter with 2 bad discs in my back, loading a 570lb bike into a trailer is no longer anything I ever want to do again.

However, a 370lb z400 sounds like a doable option. I've owned a Suzuki GS500, previously and liked the performance. It reminded my of 125cc motocross with it's rather peaky powerband.

My closest Kawasaki dealer only had a 650Z, but I could flat foot on it, which is a must and leaning it over a bit in the showroom it felt almost weightless compared to my Sportster.

So here I am, with only one concern about a Ninja/Z400 and that is the numerous reported "slipper clutch" problems. Traditional blipping downshifts have never been an issue for me, but clutch slippage during acceleration is a deal breaker for sure.

If it's a matter of replacing clutch springs and or plates to guarantee a clutch that grips, I'm OK with that, but not digging any further into the motor.

So give it to me straight gang how big of a deal is it? and thanks in advance.
 

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One engine, 2 wheels, reformed squid rider 馃槀馃悪
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If you're buying anything from the 2021-2023 models you really shouldn't have to worry about it.

Kawasaki made some bearing changes and shift rod changes that solved most of the issues but replacing the clutch springs with the Spears racing or the Barnett springs will assure a responsive clutch grab and great shifts.

If you're worried about the clutch lever feel being too girlish then a clutch cable spring at the clutch end if the cable will get that nice feel back and ensure proper release too.

Other than that you'll have a wonderful time in the bike and hopefully a keeper for a long time.
Thanks for posting and hope to see you onboard the Z. 馃
 

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2019 Ninja 400 ABS in Candy Persimmon Red
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Also, if you run the bike at least marginally sanely, you should be just fine鈥t seems to be more the case of those taking it to the track and running it at prolonged revs of (and shifting at) 10K or similar extreme clutch load in their street riding. I have a 2019 鈥 so purportedly in the slippage years 鈥 with stock transmission, and I ride it aggressively but sanely, playing in the 7K to 9K range most of the time, and I鈥檝e never, not once in the two years I鈥檝e had it, had an issue, and I鈥檓 confident I鈥檓 much more the rule than the exception. Not that those exceptions don鈥檛 exist, but I wouldn鈥檛 let that unlikely happenstance stop you from getting the bike you want, especially鈥 as pointed out above 鈥 the last couple of years鈥 models reportedly have more robust transmissions.
 

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2019 Ninja 400 ABS, Pearl Storm Gray
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And just be sure to keep your clutch lever properly adjusted -- sometimes they are set wrong right from the dealer...

If you do decide to replace the parts (just push rod and bearing), it takes maybe a couple of hours to upgrade them to 2020+ spec.

I got a set from norton -- you don't even have to drain oil (just lean the bike on the kickstand and open the clutch cover and have a rag to catch a tiny bit of oil)...
 

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I have had my 23 Z400 for two months now and just hit 600 miles and I can say I haven鈥檛 had any issues with the clutch. I鈥檒l admit during the break in period things didn鈥檛 seem very smooth but thats kind of expected since you aren鈥檛 suppose to go over certain RPMs. Like others have mentioned the clutch issue has been fixed. I love this bike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
As with the previous street bikes I've purchased I try to do my homework up front and locate sources for upgrades I anticipate making. I now have links for all of them. (y)

If the Z400 model didn't exist I could probably stick with retiring from riding due to my age, but biking is in my DNA. My town is also blessed with some of the best motorcycle riding in Arizona. Just this week while out on a "drive" :confused: with my wife I discovered one of my favorite loop rides, that had a section of the worst pavement, had been re-paved after decades of neglect. And IT WAS AWESOME!

Unfortunately the money from the sale of my last bike must go for new A/C for our house. For those that aren't married, wives win these arguments. For my last biking retirement, she got a new car.:rolleyes: And I know I can survive until spring bikeless since I only went for at most a dozen rides during the COVID years. On the bright side our tax refunds typically would put me close to 1/2 the price of a Z.

If only the economy hadn't crashed my 401K was earning me enough for a Z400 every quarter of the year. Now I'm earning 1.23%
Ah for the good old days.:oops:
 

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I've a 2019. I also read about the clutch problem before buying, but bought anyway. It hasn't been an issue. Maybe I ride conservatively as a street rider, but I've never experienced the clutch problem. I think it was mostly racers and those who rode the streets like a racetrack who had problems.
 

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I'm also a senile senior citizen who has been riding my whole life.
The clutch issue on 2020+ 400's affects those who ride very aggressively.
It occurred on my 2022 (bought used with 14k miles) after about 3 track sessions, but I could avoid it by keeping the revs higher. It did not occur on the street.
I'm fixing it with a Barnett setup, under $200 for everything.

The 400 is surprisingly quick, probably quicker than my old XLH 1000 Sportster, and perhaps on par with my old Kaw H1's when stock.
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Please leave a link here on the Barrett setup if you can. I'm probably one of those riders that will need it. ;)

On Sportster #2 I did a 1200 conversion with racing cams and Wiseco lightweight pistons. I could wheelie in 1st and 2nd. If held up in traffic when an opening presented itself I'd whack the throttle in high gear (5th) and go from 60 to 90 by the time I was even with the vehicle ahead. If they tried to keep up I'd just keep accelerating. hahahaha That was in my 50s. I've slowed down since then.:rolleyes:
 

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Please leave a link here on the Barrett setup if you can. I'm probably one of those riders that will need it. ;)

On Sportster #2 I did a 1200 conversion with racing cams and Wiseco lightweight pistons. I could wheelie in 1st and 2nd. If held up in traffic when an opening presented itself I'd whack the throttle in high gear (5th) and go from 60 to 90 by the time I was even with the vehicle ahead. If they tried to keep up I'd just keep accelerating. hahahaha That was in my 50s. I've slowed down since then.:rolleyes:
I'll take some pics, all the parts should be here by tomorrow. The clutch is weird. It uses 3 thin plates and 2 thick plate and only 3 springs. I'm going to run 5 thick plates which requires me to remove the 2 Judder springs. Here's a great writeup by Norton Motorsports: Kawasaki Ninja 400 / Z400 Clutch Slipping, Poor Shifting, False Neutrals, and Dropping Gears - Explained and Fixed!.
 
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I'll take some pics, all the parts should be here by tomorrow. The clutch is weird. It uses 3 thin plates and 2 thick plate and only 3 springs. I'm going to run 5 thick plates which requires me to remove the 2 Judder springs. Here's a great writeup by Norton Motorsports: Kawasaki Ninja 400 / Z400 Clutch Slipping, Poor Shifting, False Neutrals, and Dropping Gears - Explained and Fixed!.
The judder spring removal allows you to replace one of the small plates with a large plate. So you will end up with 3 large and 2 small plates. Not 5 large plates.
 

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The judder spring removal allows you to replace one of the small plates with a large plate. So you will end up with 3 large and 2 small plates. Not 5 large plates.
Thanks! I haven't taken one apart before, but I'll mic everything before reassy and test. I'm going by what Barnett told me, not necessarily the Norton webpage.
 
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Interesting. I had to go out and do a quick look. There are 5 frictions 3.0mm thk. The spring are 2.5mm wire 43mm tall.
Barnett sold them in a sealed kit. I guess if it won't disengage it will make first gear exciting... :eek:
 
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Seniorider, I started riding in 1964 (Yamaha YG-1, 80cc), 74 years old now and bought a 2022 Z400 in April of this year. Hard to imagine being any happier! I never had a problem with a slipping clutch but I did put the Barnett springs in at 500 miles to avoid future problems. The clutch arm return spring also gives the lever a better feel. It's a fun little bike, every time I leave the city limits I feel like I'm on a race bike, I've had faster motorcycles but never one with a 12,000 rpm redline.
 

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The judder spring removal allows you to replace one of the small plates with a large plate. So you will end up with 3 large and 2 small plates. Not 5 large plates.
DOH!!! The difference isn't the thickness, it's the ID of the frictions. All frictions have the same thickness, it's the ID that is bigger or smaller.
 
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