Join the cult of Kawasaki’s Ninja

Albany Extra - - Motoring - Stu­art Wood­bury

“Pop­u­lar” is a word that can be — and has been — stretched quite a bit over the years but la­belling the Kawasaki Ninja 250, 300 and now 400 as “pop­u­lar” would be an un­der­state­ment.

They have sold mas­sively across the globe and have cult fol­low­ings.

As for the other man­u­fac­tur­ers try­ing to com­pete against the out­go­ing Ninja 300, Kawasaki has sliced them in half with the new Ninja 400’s Katana. No, wait, you know what I mean.

Re­leased in 2008, the Ninja 250R took the world by storm as a top­class pack­age with racy Ninja styling in a fun and friendly pack­age.

I dare say a num­ber of you read­ing this now learnt to ride on a Ninja 250. Four years later, the Ninja 300 was re­leased and be­came even more pop­u­lar, lead­ing as the top-sell­ing mo­tor­cy­cle in a num­ber of mar­kets/seg­ments.

Young rid­ers had to have a Ninja and were seen as lesser be­ings if they did not have Kawasaki green run­ning through their blood.

The Ninja 400 is all new, with the trel­lis frame fol­low­ing the de­sign of the su­per­charged H2.

An “ad­vanced anal­y­sis” was used to get op­ti­mum rigid­ity with light weight and gone is the flex of the 300 frame – even the fork brace has been re­moved as the frame and larger 41mm (pre­vi­ously 39mm) forks of­fer the right rigid­ity and feed­back. The engine is rigid mounted and used as a stressed mem­ber.

The new frame de­sign con­trib­utes sig­nif­i­cantly to the bike’s low curb mass. Like the Ninja H2, the new Ninja 400 fea­tures a swingarm mount­ing plate, al­low­ing the swingarm to be fixed to the rear of the engine. This con­trib­utes to sta­bil­ity and also saves weight by elim­i­nat­ing the need for heavy frame cross-mem­bers.

Er­gonomics are re­laxed and friendly for a wide range of rid­ers.

The front of the seat is ta­pered in so even short-legged peo­ple can get a foot flat on the ground.

The body­work of­fers good pro­tec­tion, even for tall gi­raffes.

The clip-on han­dle­bars, when com­pared to the 300’s, are slightly nar­rower and lower for a more sporty look, while still be­ing at a very com­fort­able set­ting.

Kawasaki of­fers a good range of gen­uine ac­ces­sories like a 30mm higher seat, taller screen, rim tape, ra­di­a­tor cover, DC out­let, frame slid­ers, seat cowl, tank bag and tank pad — all use­ful in mak­ing the 400 more per­sonal to your lik­ing.

Styling has al­ways been one of the big sell­ers with the Ninja bikes, and the 400 takes cues from both the 300 and big boy H2.

The pack­age pre­sented is sim­ply beau­ti­ful. Boy rac­ers will be very proud to show off their Ninja 400 and the all-im­por­tant “pub fac­tor” is there in heaps, so when you pull up at the lights, other mo­tor­cy­clists are look­ing at you and your ride.

Kawasaki has fit­ted LED lights, high-qual­ity fin­ished paint­work and the in­stru­ment panel also gives a high-class feel, be­ing the same one fit­ted to the Ninja 650.

To achieve a black belt in any form of mar­tial arts is out­stand­ing. To then move on and be­come a mas­ter, sen­sei or grand mas­ter is re­stricted to a hand­ful of peo­ple around the world.

Th­ese masters push fur­ther than just a black belt and achieve lev­els of “Dan”, of which you can go as high as 10 — the Kawasaki Ninja 400 has hit level 10 and will dance rings around the com­pe­ti­tion.

It’s time to get your Ninja on!

Your lo­cal Kawasaki dealer is Al­bany Mo­tor­cy­cles 9842 2914.

Pic­ture: Colin Wright

Kawasaki’s Ninja 400 is all new with the trel­lis frame fol­low­ing the de­sign of the su­per­charged H2.

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