2011 Kawasaki Ninja 400r Review

The motorcycle world has seen many contenders, but only some have managed to strike a balance between power, design, and affordability. Our 2011 Kawasaki Ninja 400R review delves into this mid-size motorcycle, exploring its capabilities, design nuances, and where it stands in the competitive market.

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2011 Kawasaki Ninja 400r Specs

2011 Kawasaki Ninja 400r Specs
2011 Kawasaki Ninja 400r Specs
Feature Information
Bike Model Kawasaki Ninja 400R
Retail Price $7,499
Engine Type Parallel twin with liquid cooling and four valves
Stated Horsepower 44 at 9,500 rpm
Reported Torque 27 lb-ft at a peak of 7,500 rpm
Engine Size 399 cc
Cylinder Dimensions 68.4 x 54.3 mm
Compression Measure 11:1
Fuel System Injected fuel system
Gear System Six-gear setup
Suspension Type 41 mm telescopic fork; preload-adjustable single shock
Wheel Distance 1,410 mm or 55.5 inches
Rake and Trail Angles 25-degree rake with 106 mm trail
Braking System Dual 300 mm discs (front) with twin-piston calipers; 220 mm disc (rear) with a single-piston caliper
Tire Sizes Front: 120/70-17, Rear: 160/60-17
Stated Weight 203 kg or 448 pounds
Height from Ground to Seat 790 mm or approximately 31.1 inches
Tank Capacity It holds up to 15.5 liters

2011 Kawasaki Ninja 400R Reviewed

2011 Kawasaki Ninja 400R Reviewed
2011 Kawasaki Ninja 400R Reviewed

The Revival of Mid-Size Motorcycles

The allure of the 400 cc motorcycle, once lost in time, has been rekindled. The sensation is surreal as one merges onto the highway, seamlessly slotting behind larger vehicles, and then the realization dawns: they’re riding a 400 cc machine.

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The Evolution of Choices

Previously, the market saw the introduction of Honda’s CBR125R and then the Kawasaki Ninja 250. However, a gap existed between these smaller bikes and the full-fledged giants of the motorcycle world. The 2011 Kawasaki Ninja 400R review suggests that this gap has been bridged.

For those seeking guidance on their biking journey, the usual recommendation has been the Honda 125 or the Ninja 250, especially for the more petite riders. But when these riders yearned for the next step, the answer was elusive. Now, with the Ninja 400R, clarity emerges.

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Performance and Power

Performance and Power
Performance and Power

Exiting the dealership and throttling down the road, one finds themselves in the sixth gear by the time they hit 45 km/h. Unlike its predecessors, the CBR125R with its almost non-existent powerband, and the Ninja 250, which demands a high rev to unleash its power, the Ninja 400R boasts a torque that kicks in from 4,000 rpm, ensuring swift acceleration. Approaching highway speeds, there’s a fleeting concern about the seemingly low gearing, speculating it might require a whopping 12,000 rpm to soar.

Yet, the engine proves to be a revelation. The digital speedometer at 7,000 rpm shows a promising 120 km/h. Beyond its speed, the engine’s finesse stands out. The 399 cc fuel-injected, balancer-shaft-equipped parallel twin with its 180-degree crankshaft offers minimal vibration at legal rates. Push the throttle further, and the bike surges to 140 km/h, leaving behind even the slightest tremor.

Design and Comfort

Design and Comfort
Design and Comfort

Designed with general street use in mind, the Ninja 400R’s suspension leans towards flexibility rather than rigidity. While a stiffer setup might enhance cornering on smoother terrains, the current configuration offers limited adjustability, primarily in the rear spring preload.

Aesthetically, if one finds similarities between the 400R and the Ninja 650R, their observation is spot on. Both bikes share the same chassis. Some argue that when fully fueled, the 400R, weighing 203 kg (448 lb), is just a tad lighter than the 650R. However, the ease with which the 400R maneuvers, whether it’s rolling out of a garage or taking a sharp turn, makes its weight seem like a mere number.

Beyond the Specifications

The 2011 Kawasaki Ninja 400R review emphasizes that mere specifications can be deceiving. Seat height, for instance, doesn’t account for the bike’s width or the seat’s design. Some bikes might have low seats, but bulky exhausts and primary cases can make them feel much taller. The Ninja 400R offers a flat, narrow tail, which might get slightly uncomfortable after prolonged rides. However, the strategically placed footpegs alleviate some discomfort, allowing riders to counteract road bumps.

Attention to detail is evident in the 400R’s additional components. The mirrors are well-spaced and functional. Removing the seat reveals hooks for securing helmets or luggage, and there’s space for a U-lock underneath. The dual front discs cater to both seasoned riders and novices, offering strength without being overly aggressive.

A Nostalgic Return

Mid-capacity motorcycles were common for those familiar with the era before the Kennedy assassination. Bikes like Honda’s 350 Twins paved the way for many. However, as technology progressed, the focus shifted to speed, power, and luxury, leading to the evolution of larger motorcycles.

In conclusion, the Ninja 400R stands out not just for its specs but for the brilliance of its foundational idea. Despite its weight and price being close to the 650, it’s not just a less powerful version of its sibling. It’s a refined concept that’s more affordable. And that’s a win in any book.

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Final Thoughts on the 2011 Kawasaki Ninja 400r Review

In mid-size motorcycles, the 2011 Kawasaki Ninja 400R has carved a niche for itself. With a blend of performance, design, and value, it is a testament to Kawasaki’s commitment to delivering quality. Whether you’re a seasoned rider or a novice, this review underscores the Ninja 400R’s potential to be a reliable companion.

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