REVIEW: Kawasaki Z400

The new 2019 Kawasaki Z400 is the manufacturer's answer to Honda's 2018 CB500F. Possessing a maximum of 45hp for a 399cc parallel twin engine and a lighter kerb weight of just 174kg, which is 17kg lighter than the Honda, giving the new Z400 a slight edge in overall handling.

However, it should be noted that the Honda CB500F had also been replaced by its 2019 successor, which is 5kg lighter, and comes with ABS front/rear, slipper clutch/assist, 4% more power in midrange torque and vastly improved handling too.

But that's a story for another time as we focusing solely on the new Kawasaki Z400 for this review. Like its new for 2019 sibling, the Z250, the 2019 Z400 shares the same chassis, overall looks and majority of the parts utilized for the former, with the main differences being the engine capacity and the front/rear tyre sizes.

Where the 2019 Z250 features 110/70-17/140/70-17 inch tyres, the 2019 Kawasaki Z400 gets 120/70-17 for the front and 150/60-17 at the rear. The extra large tyres do make a significant difference overall in the bike's handling over its 250cc sibling.

The bigger profile tyres allowed the Z400 to lean lower during cornering, making for faster riding speeds. The other improvements in performance and handling which the Kawasaki Z400 has over the Z250 comes from the additional 150cc boost in engine capacity – 249cc vs. 399cc.

Of course, the Z400's 45hp over the Z250's 38hp is another improvement. Like its sibling, the Kawasaki Z400 also features ABS, slipper clutch assist making it a motorcycle that's easy to ride, even for riders who have just passed their B Full license.

Before we go into the positive aspects of the Kawasaki Z400 motorcycle, let's take a look at its limitations first. Every bike has them, and there's no such thing as a perfect motorcycle. If you a rider over 182cm tall, you may find the Z400 to be quite petite for your overall frame. The bike's overall size is just nice for riders with a height of 5′ 8-inch (174cm) or lower.

The engine gives out a smooth power delivery when accelerating normally but its exhaust note grows hoarser and coarser once the ante is upped for a much harder throttle revving. There's nothing unusual about this, due to the Z400's engine being a Parallel Twin instead of a V-Twin.

At higher speeds, a minor vibration could be felt from both ends of the handlebars but it does not affects the Z400's handling or stability during cornering. Lastly, I was surprised to find out the Z400, like the Z250, does not feature a hazard light option.

The rider's seat isn't that comfortable after 90 minutes of riding the Kawasaki Z400 as I could felt the heat “frying” the butt in the process but it's still bearable as I need to find out how much fuel it was consuming for after 2 hours of riding the motorcycle. Well, these are all that's available regarding the bike's limitations so we can focus on the positive aspects.

And there's plenty to talk about on them. The bike's compactness allows it to be very agile to ride, giving it the ability to simply cruise smoothly during lane splitting with ease, making the Z400 faster in this aspect than most mopeds and scooters.

Its overall width is also quite narrow, allowing the rider to cut thru traffic congestion on a space as wide as two feet apart in-between vehicles – the tips of its handlebars are well above the side-mirrors of most sedan cars so the rider won't be clipping nor scrapping them during lane splitting.

The Z400 comes fitted with Dunlop's GPR-300 tyres – the same type used on Kawasaki's Z900RS-series of retro motorcycles, making lean cornering angles a breeze. Fuel consumption is approximately 25km/litre, and given its 14-litre tank capacity, that will come to a mileage of roughly 350km distance. Its tank only needed to be filled after having consumed 343km from ride spanning 374km distance as shown in this Google Map2 below.

Z400's 374km review ride Map

Another bonus of the Kawasaki Z400 is its ability to reach higher speeds from 6th gear with ease from cruising mode. It could go from 116km/h to 187km/h without wind resistance slowing the bike down, unlike its older sibling, the Z650, successor to the ER-6N naked sports.

Reaching 187km/h is subjective to the rider's overall weight combined with any amount of luggage he/she may be carrying in the form of a backpack, a tank bag or a normal luggage/sports bag tied to the rear seat. Riding up to Goh Tong Jaya wasn't much of an issue either as the Z400 was able to take on Ulu Yam/Batang Kali's twisty segment easily by using just 3rd and 4th gears.

This Map shows the distance the Z400 had traveled during its first day

As pointed out earlier, the exhaust note gets coarser and also louder the faster the acceleration is applied but for the most part, it is still inaudible for other vehicles plying the same routes as the Z400 was riding on. There were a few drivers caught unaware of the Z400 being alongside them due to its inaudible exhaust note.

This shouldn't be an issue in general as the majority of riders are quite likely to switch to an after market exhaust muffler or the entire pipe altogether for a louder and highly audible note to avoid scaring up other vehicle owners.

Overall, the 2019 Kawasaki Z400 is a much better motorcycle than the Z300, its predecessor. It is faster, more agile and compact than the bike it is replacing. It is also great as a daily commuting machine. You won't go wrong for choosing this as your working-cum-leisure riding motorcycle.

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