2018 Kawasaki Ninja 400

2018 Kawasaki Ninja 400 | First Ride & Review

Written by The Duke of DC.
Written by The Duke of DC.


The 2018 Kawasaki Ninja 400 holds no punches in its compact, beginner friendly, and surprisingly powerful form. If I was looking for a low displacement sport focused bike, I would happily put my money towards one of these green machines.

Overview and Test Drive

New for 2018, the Kawasaki Ninja 400 has put all manufacturers and their low displacement beginner-friendly models on alert. With its 399cc parallel twin producing 43.4hp and 24.6lb-ft of torque, the little Kawi packs fantastic power to displacement figures (The amount of power produced per cubic centimeter of engine displacement). Combine this power with an ergonomically engineered riding position that would make even the most comfortable sport tourers look on in awe, and you’ve got a serious competitor for best entry level motorcycle.
Having had the pleasure of taking this motorcycle for a test ride, I can speak first hand to its magical hold over my shamefully spoiled motorcycle mindset. You might be asking yourself what in the hell I’m talking about, so let me explain. As a longtime rider and enthusiast of all things motorcycle, I’ve had the incredible pleasure of riding some of the worlds fastest, most powerful, and most expensive bikes on the market. A glorious benefit of being part of such a wonderful community, but also a hidden curse when it comes to reviewing the middle, or in this case, lowest CC class of bikes. Having explained that, I can say without question that this Kawi earned an audible “wow” from me from the moment I twisted my right wrist and hunkered down for the following jolt of power.

Pricing, Specs, MPG, and Top Speed

At $5,500 MSRP, the 2018 Kawasaki Ninja 400 comes in right around its competitors in the lower displacement beginner-friendly class, and at a weight of only 366 lbs and a height of 30.9in to the ground, even the most novice of riders will find this bike easy to control at any speed. With a top speed of 121 mph, shifting through the traditional 6 speed 1 down, 5 up transmission was smooth and predictable, never leaving you wanting for a quick shifter or auto-blipper that might be found on the more decked out 600 and up older brothers. Whereas the higher displacement bikes certainly have more power, the peppy 400 exceeds even the highest standards of efficiency at 65 mpg, meaning you’ll certainly be the last of your friends needing to fill up.
Statistics aside, you might be wondering how it felt to ride. To that, I can say effortless. At no point did I feel underpowered, poorly balanced, or even that I was riding an entry level bike. I felt like I was riding a well engineered every day mile muncher. Something you could take to work every morning, load up with gear on the weekends and hit the track or the road less traveled and have an adventure. Kawasaki may be struggling to keep up in the class-leading industries, but if the Ninja 400 is even the slightest hint of what’s to come, then all I can say is, look out world, mean green is back.
Watch The Duke of DC’s full video review of the 2018 Kawasaki Ninja 400:

Interested in buying the 2018 Kawasaki Ninja 400? See pricing, specs, speed and more here.
Note from the Duke of DC:
Welcome to my first official written review of a motorcycle. When I was approached by Rollick to not only create review videos, but to also write about motorcycles, I was skeptical to say the least. How could I ever channel my enthusiastic on-screen persona into something you can read on the fly, or perhaps in between meetings when your boss isn’t looking? So bear with me as I navigate the page and learn to share my passion in a new format.
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