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Hi everyone! New rider, new owner of a white 2022 Z400. I love the bike but Im being “overly” careful on it and it’s caused me to dump it twice. Once while taking a turn that was too tight at a speed that was too low which locked the bars to the side and another where I was coming up the driveway and again a turn that was too slow, and NO bike stands up on its own that I know about anyways lol. And I’ve had a few “wheeeew!” moments too.

My confidence has taken a bit of a beating and I know that these bikes are not bad, it’s not the bikes fault, it’s mine, I’m just learning really slow. I’m learning more every time I go out to ride though and with every bit of info I can soak up from YouTube and other riders and in the forums. So thats not a big deal. I’ll overcome that with time.

It made me wonder though, not having much experience with riding any other bikes besides the Honda Grom, is the Z400 more “top heavy“ than the Ninja 400? There is the more upright riding position which would affect it a little bit but that’s just feeling right? Or is the Ninja, being a sport bike, built with a lower center of gravity?

Thanks for your input!
S
 

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2019 Ninja 400 ABS, Pearl Storm Gray
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I think the Z and Ninja are about the same from a spec perspective -- same frame, same seat height even... As you said, the rider might be a bit more upright on the Z (I've never ridden one), but I expect rider weight has more effect than rider position.

You'll even notice a difference in handling from a full to empty tank (and certainly if you carry gear) -- it just takes practice to get used to slow speed maneuvers.

For slow speed maneuvers, I'm a fan of using a bit of gas and slipping the clutch and holding the rear brake on a bit -- for me it seems to "tighten" up the suspension and make it a bit less twitchy (the clutch and brake are way easier to control than the throttle at small openings, IMO).
 

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I think the Z and Ninja are about the same from a spec perspective -- same frame, same seat height even... As you said, the rider might be a bit more upright on the Z (I've never ridden one), but I expect rider weight has more effect than rider position.

You'll even notice a difference in handling from a full to empty tank (and certainly if you carry gear) -- it just takes practice to get used to slow speed maneuvers.

For slow speed maneuvers, I'm a fan of using a bit of gas and slipping the clutch and holding the rear brake on a bit -- for me it seems to "tighten" up the suspension and make it a bit less twitchy.
Working the engine against the rear brake using the clutch is a trick trials riders use in real slow maneuvers. And it works against the front brake too but that requires a bit more dexterity to work the front brake lever and the throttle at the same time. Both techniques take a bit of practice but are valuable skills.
 

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You'll get used to it. Be patient and give yourself time.

I've been on both the Ninja and the Z within a day of each other when I was test riding before purchase. I don't remember noticing any difference in top heaviness. The Z has higher and wider handlebars than the Ninja, but aside from that and the fairings, they're the same bike underneath.
 

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In addition to keeping the revs up and dragging the rear brake ever so slightly, try moving your butt to the outside
(high. side) and push the bike under. Preposition in the saddle before turning so as not to upset the suspension while turning. and of course head up and nose pointed where you want to go. The N can make a U turn easily in 15' (4.6 m) easily with practice.
 

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Find a nice empty parking lot and just spend an hr doing slow figure eights and such.
This is exactly what I do at the beginning of every riding season and I've been riding for many years. Never hurts to get the slow riding practice time in. Confidence will grow with experience but if you are ever feeling you have totally got it, you are likely going to get in trouble...unless you are a professional stunt rider:unsure: .
 

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21 N400, USB, Air delete, full exhaust,Hi flow filter/snorkel delete, Clutch springs
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First, don’t feel bad. Every new rider drops a bike from time to time, it’s part of the process lol! I know it can be a hit to the ego, but it’s a wound that only time and practice can heal. As others have said, spend time practicing in empty parking lots. It’s easy to ride a bike fast, it’s the slow speed maneuvering that is tough, but trust me it gets better with time. I first started on a little 250, and yes I dumped it. For my first year riding I would start every ride by visiting a local abandoned lot and spend an hour practicing stops, starts, U turns, and 90 degree starts from a stop. I must have spent over 50 hours in that lot my first summer riding. But…now I ride a 900 pound Harley with full saddle bags and my wife on the back with no problem! You’ll get it.
 

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Practicing slow figures 8's in a parking lot is excellent advice. Anyone can be competent and therefore confident above 10 mph. Being competent below 5 mph is a HUGE confidence booster. My wife has often said he call tell an experience rider from a newbie by how they ride the bike in a parking lot or coming to a stop or taking off from a stop.

Riding slow figure 8's is also a technique trials riders use for practice. You are improving balance, clutch control, throttle control, and brake control all at the same time.

The best thing: Sign up for a Motorcycle Safety Foundation training weekend. At the end of the weekend you will feel like a pro, and learn a lot from the mistakes of others. Which is always better than making them yourself.
 

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2021 Ninja 400, 1998 Honda VTR1000 SuperHawk
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Just remember, Do not use the front brake when turning at slow speed, One jab at the front brake will drop the bike immediately, Keep that in your mind always when doing U-turns I did and it works Good luck.
This is something I will be practicing once things cool down here in the Deep South. 🥵

Anyone can track a bike but slow speed maneuvers is something I do lack and need work.
I'll be the well rounded rider I'm aiming to be by doing this.

Good advice everyone now let's do this. 🤙
 
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