Some beginner bikes are sheep in wolf’s clothing, or they have serious flaws in their setup (crappy tires, super-soft suspension, wooden-feeling brakes) that inhibit an otherwise solid package. Fear not, because the Ninja 400 is quite capable and and has enough sporting prowess to keep you entertained for years to come—it certainly kept this 25-year veteran smiling in his helmet, even at the racetrack (more on that in a moment). The little green rocket is a gem on a winding road, slicing through corners with ultralight steering and excellent stability that’s leaps and bounds better than what the Ninja 300 offered. The new Dunlops grip better than they have any right to, the suspension has adequate support for aggressive riding, and the power and sound of the high-revving engine are genuinely exhilarating. The only drawback is the front brake, which, despite being all new, isn’t great. It works well enough, but when the pace picks up and you want precision the lever feels spongy and doesn’t offer a lot of feedback. The clutch lever is also so light that it’s occasionally hard to tell where freeplay ends and tension begins, but you’ll likely get used to it quickly.