Kawasaki looks to leave its mark on the lightweight naked-bike market with the introduction of the all-new Z400. The new model is heavily based upon the current Ninja 400 supersport, which promises seriously potent performance in a package that’s confidence inspiring for riders of any level. Really, it’s set to be a Ninja that’s stripped of its bodywork.
The Z400 receives a 399cc parallel-twin engine identical to that of the Ninja 400, meaning it will have the smooth power delivery and low-to-midrange grunt that’s popular on its supersport cousin. How much power should you expect? The Ninja cranked out 43.4 hp at 9,900 rpm and 24.6 pound-feet of torque at 8,250 rpm on the Cycle World dyno—all while regularly getting more than 50 mpg.
Team Green promises lightweight and nimble handling for the Z400, which is backed up by a list of chassis components exactly the same to the Ninja, including a steel trellis frame and 43mm telescopic fork. That’s good news for the lightweight Z, especially considering that the Ninja 400 is known for its sporting prowess on canyon roads. Even the 310mm front rotor and dual-piston caliper carries over, but it now comes equipped standard with a Nissin ABS control unit—an excellent safety feature for less-experienced riders.
Most obvious differences between the Z model and Ninja are seen at a standstill; the Z model being stripped of a full fairing to join the naked-bike class. The Z400 gets aggressive styling that’s familiar with its bloodline, including a low-positioned LED headlight, sharp front fender, and aggressive fuel tank shrouds. Perched above the handlebar is a stacked instrument cluster with a large analog tachometer sitting atop an easily recognizable gear position indicator and speedometer. Quality stuff.
Ergonomics have also been adjusted, Kawasaki emphasizing on relaxing the riding position in comparison to the Ninja. Seat height is claimed to remain the same at 30.9 inches, but the Z is said to be given a wide handlebar and forward-positioned pegs for a more upright riding position; something that will be welcomed by riders looking for the performance of the Ninja 400 but in a more comfortable package.
The Z400 comes to the 2019 model year available in two colors—Candy Lime Green/Metallic Spark Black and Candy Cardinal Red/Metallic Flat Spark Black—and at a price of $4,799. While there are no details of when the Z400 will make its way Stateside, the existing lightweight naked market can expect serious competition upon its arrival.