The Z400 performance test in compare with the CB400SF and the Z250

2019 KAWASAKI Z400 Riding Impression Test (Part-2) [vs CB400SF / vs Z250]

  • 2019/6/29

KAWASAKI Z250 vs Z400

KAWASAKI has a naked “Z” model in each displacement class from 125 to 1000 cc, which is not only a cowlless version of the Ninja but has a definite difference from the Ninja. The Z400 should be enough attractive to have a big success in the domestic market, same as the Ninja 400.

Great success with common design to the Z250, to be recommended as a 2nd-moto.

This Z400 has been added to the Z series lineup with the Z1000, the Z650, the Z250 and the Z125. Each of them has its own styling under the design concept of “Sugomi”, with a definite characteristic which is similar but not the same. And the frame of each model has its own shape and material under the common design philosophy. However, each Z model has much consistency in the direction of drivability according to my experience of riding all the Z. Simply speaking, it means that it has a wide allowable range for a rider’s skill, which is also common to the HONDA CB series, and to which KAWASAKI adds more exciting elements for riders. That makes the riding image of Z400 link to the “Sugomi” design.

It can be said that the Z400 has an essence of success in the common design to the Z250, not to the larger sized Z650, and also said that it is very attractive in the domestic market considering the limitation of the general public roads and the distinctive motorcycle license system, even if there might be some concerns in the global expansion and the cost. Surprisingly the Z400 is only 1 kg lighter than the Ninja 400, but it is 21 kg lighter than the Z650, and that might have a difficulty in deciding which one to buy.

The Z400, strongly recommended to not only a beginner but also a large motorcycle owner as a 2nd-moto, which could be a “swift” partner for a rider in the way he is for many years. 

[Z400 vs CB400] The quarter-century gap in the basic design makes a big difference. 

According to the table below, the Ninja 400 won the sales in the domestic 400 cc class in 2018, which showed overwhelming sales twice as much as the CB400SF/SB, being second. In addition to this, the former Ninja 400 ranked in the 9th (325 machines), that made its result completely out of reach. And then the Z400, based on the Ninja 400, is more powerful in the power weight ratio and is 200,000 yen cheaper than the CB400SF, that would cause the popularity in sales. Nevertheless, it might not mean to lose the advantage of the CB400SF. It’s because its quite contrasting characteristic with the unique combination of the classic naked style with a double cradle frame and twin shock absorbers and its precise mechanical inline-four engine like a precision watch.

the Ninja 400 won the sales in 2018!

Not only the Ninja 400 hadn’t have any competitor in the 400 cc class, but also it had been sold actually more than the Ninja 400.

KAWASAKI Ninja 400

[2018 KAWASAKI Ninja 400 (KRT)] It had been sold more than the Ninja 250 in 2018. It surpassed the direct competitor CBR400R in acceleration, speed and lap time at the actual measurement test which is familiar to the YOUNG MACHINE.

Actual comparing score became totally even. Both have its own charm!





[Z400 vs Z250What is the importance of existence of the smaller model against the superior larger one?


[KAWASAKI Z250] Both the smaller and the larger have equal spright rev-ups.

The expression changed along with throttling. Radial tires might be required.

It is a kind of production techniques adopted by many manufacturers all over the world to equip various displacement engines on one common platform. The riding pleasure would not be always proportional to the size of displacement, especially by the progress of the analytical technique of nowadays. 

The Z250 is just the case. It has a spright rev-up with not only the smaller displacement engine but also the shorter stroke ratio than the Z400. In addition, after increasing its torque softly between 5000 to 7000 rpm, it gets more beyond 10000 rpm. It gets more various changes of expression in the power characteristic than the Z400, and it requires more frequent shift changes with less torque, that makes me feel the Z250 even more pleasant than the Z400 from my personal point of view.

As for the handling performance, it depends on the standard tires, and the Z400 with radial tires is more superior. The Z250 with bias tires generates a small cracking vibration to feel a little hesitation to enter a corner with a thin grounding property in the process of leaning. But the body posture of Z250 while turning seems to be nearer to the back side than the Z400, and there seems to have a little turning radius in the cornering depending on the machine. Above all, it is meaningful to experience anew the difference between radial and bias tire in this test riding and the radial tires are strongly recommended to the Z250.

The Z400 and the Z250, one needs the regular inspection and the other not, have each own advantage, so that it seems hard to say in truth which one of the two is better. There should not be any regret which one to be selected.

Z250 vs Z400

The Z400 equips a pair of standard tires as DUNLOP Sportmax GPR-300, while the Z250 does as DUNLOP Arrowmax GT601. Also there is a difference in the size of rear tire between the Z400 (150/60R17) and the Z250 (140/70-17). Both of the rim width are samely 4.00.

Z250 vs Z400

The red zone of the Z250 starts at 13500 rpm, while that of the Z400 does at 12000 rpm. Incidentally the Z250 generates its maximum torque at 15000 rpm, which is a little higher than the Ninja at 10000 rpm.

Z250 vs Z400

The diameter of exhaust pipe of the Z250 is 31.8 mm, a little wiider than that of the Z400 (28.6 mm).

Z250 vs Z400

As for the exhaust silencer, each of the two is optimized its output characteristic by changing its length with keeping same cross‐sectional shape.


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