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ZXR400 v Ninja 400R

Progress? Maybe! There has been a lot of positive comments about the new Ninja 400R and it would seem to be a good machine. But the 400cc sports bikes of the 90's take some beating.

The press reports have been pretty unanimous. The new Ninja 400R has all the bells and whistles that are apparently essential on today's bikes. Slipper clutch,ABS and, wait for it, an Economical Riding Indicator!! (Sports bike riders have changed a great deal). Lets have a look at the cold hard facts.

Ninja 400R

Engine type: Liquid-cooled, 4-stroke Parallel Twin

Displacement: 399 cm³

Bore x stroke: 70 x 51.8 mm

Compression ratio:11.5:1

Valve system: DOHC, 8 valves

Fuel system: Fuel injection: Ø 32 mm x 2

Starting System Electric

Lubrication: Forced lubrication, wet sump

Maximum Speed: Approx 177kph (110mph)

0-60: 5.5 secs

Frame type:Trellis, high-tensile steel

Trail: 92 mm

Wheel travel front: 120 mm

Wheel travel rear: 130 mm

Tyre, front:110/70R17 M/C 54H

Tyre, rear:150/60R17 M/C 66H

L x W x H 1,990 x 710 x 1,120 mm

Wheelbase: 1,370 mm

Ground clearance: 140 mm

Fuel capacity: 14 litres

Seat height: 785 mm

Curb mass:168 kg

Brakes, front: Single semi-floating 310 mm petal discs.

Caliper: Single balanced actuation dual piston

Brakes, rear: Single 220 mm petal disc. Caliper: Dual-piston

Suspension, front: 41mm telescopic fork

Suspension, rear:Bottom-Link Uni-Trak, gas-charged shock with adjustable preload

Maximum power:33.4 kW {45 PS 44.3hp} / 10,000 rpm

CO2 emission:100 g/km

Maximum torque: 38 N•m {3.9 kgf•m} / 8,000 rpm


Final drive:Sealed chain

Clutch:Wet multi-disc, manual

ZXR 400

Engine:398 cc (24.3 cu in) 16V DOHC inline 4

Bore / stroke: 57 mm × 39 mm (2.2 in × 1.5 in)

Compression ratio:12.1:1

Top speed: 221 km/h (137 mph)

Power: H model 45.6 kW (61.2 hp) @ 12500 rpm L model 47.8 kW (64.1 hp) @ 13000 rpm

Torque: H model 39.2 N⋅m (28.9 lbf⋅ft) @ 10000 r/min (rpm) L model 36.3 N⋅m (26.8 lbf⋅ft) @ 12000 rpm

Ignition type: Battery and coil (transistorized)

Transmission: 6-speed, constant mesh, return shift

Frame type: Tubular, diamond

Suspension Front: Telescopic fork Rear: Uni-Trak swingarm

Brakes Front: Dual discs Rear: Single disc

Tires Front: 120/60 VR17 Rear: 160/60 VR17

Rake, trail: 24°, 85 mm (3.3 in)

Wheelbase:1,395 mm (54.9 in)

Dimensions: L: 1,995–2,035 mm (78.5–80.1 in) W: 700–705 mm (27.6–27.8 in) H: 1,125 mm (44.3 in)

Seat height: 760–765 mm (29.9–30.1 in)

Weight: H model 163 kg (359 lb), L model 159 kg (351 lb) (dry)

Fuel capacity: 16 L (3.5 imp gal; 4.2 US gal)

Oil capacity: 3.0 L (0.66 imp gal; 0.79 US gal)

Turning radius: 3.2 m (10 ft)

So, lets have a look at the specs.

Power: ZXR

Top Speed: ZXR

Torque: ZXR

Weight: ZXR

Fuel Capacity: ZXR

Fuel Consumption: 400R

Seat Height: ZXR

Upside down forks: ZXR

Easiest to ride for Joe Average: 400R

Ok, enough. I think that the specs speak for themselves. The 400R, good though it is is not a patch on the ZXR as a sports bike. Why is this? Well it is not just Kawasaki that find themselves in this predicament. Strict emission laws are strangling the performance out of bikes. To maintain the required level of performance bike manufacturers are having to raise the cubic capacity of bikes, which works but where, as here, the cc's are the same the outcome is clear.

Another thing is that many of today riders consider the electronic aids an absolute must. A ZXR without slipper, ABS etc just would not cut the ice at the coffee shop boasting.

Slipper clutches baffle me I must admit. My question is WHY? I know the answer, I have mentioned the reason elsewhere on this site but it boils down to manufacturers wanting to make bikes easier to ride and less dangerous so as to broaden the market. I get it but.........

I am not knocking the 400R, it is, by today's standards a good bike but had it been produced in the mid 90's it would have been purchased by commuter riders and not sports bike riders who would have laughed over their shoulders as the roared of into the distance.

For me, the clearly better bike is the ZXR400, in every way it excels and to my eye it is beautiful as well.

The 400R should have the prefix Z not Ninja

The ZXR 400 is the true Ninja.

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