Hi everybody , it’s Peter, and in this video I’m gonna do a complete in-depth review of the 2023 Kawasaki Z400, and I’m gonna compare that to the 2023 Kawasaki Ninja 400. So we’ve done these VE vehicles before in a previous video where I was outside, but not the 2023 model. But that’s what we’re gonna do on this channel. If you’re interested in these bikes, we’re gonna come back to them again and again and again. And if you have questions, let me know when the comments below and just subscribe. We’ll continue to answer your questions there and we’ll come back and answer your questions in future videos. So I’m gonna try to hit on some of the things that I didn’t hit on in the past in these bikes because they’re carryover models. , Jim Gilbert’s Power Sports.
This is the largest volume Kawasaki dealer in the country and they gimme complete access to their vehicles to allow me to make more videos for you. So let’s get going with our view. We’re gonna start with the Z400. So I wanna start off being clear that I am a huge fan of both of these bikes. I really, really like them and there’s a whole bunch of misconceptions about smaller bikes out there and let’s just clear a few of them outta the way right off the bat. First of all, this 400 cc bike goes about 200 kilometers an hour. You don’t have to believe me, you can search on YouTube when you’re done watching this video and you will see them going about 200 kilometers an hour, 120 ish miles an hour. They have all the speed you need and there’s a turn that people use about smaller bikes that you outgrow them.
From here you can watch Peters Video by clicking YouTube or read his transcript… enjoy…
It’s not a term I use here because I think small bikes can be perfectly suitable for experienced riders. And to be very blunt, there are guys that take, can take these 400 cc bikes around a track and just smoke bigger bikes. So I don’t think you outgrow with bikes like this. Uh, and especially with this 400 uh, CC class of bike, I do think that some people sometimes want more speed, a little bit more acceleration, that kind of thing. And hey, if that’s what you want in the future, absolutely no problem. But let’s not use the term outgrow because this is a bike that is a blast for experienced riders. And what’s cool about it for experienced riders is you can’t move up in size up in engine size from these bikes and replicate the feeling of these bikes. These bikes are both really lightweight that makes them so much fun to drive.
It’s just something that you can really flick back and forth. There’s not a fun feeling in any other bigger bike that can match what these do, and that’s what makes them kind of amazing for what they do. So they’ve got all the power you need, uh, and there’s still enough power to be fun, but the overall riding experience, the entire experience is fun. It’s not just when you give the throttle and go well beyond legal speeds, the entire bike is a blast to ride. So when they had these smaller CC bikes, which again used to be two 50 s 300 s, now they’ve moved up to 400 as the smaller CC Ninja and Z model. The big problem with the previous bikes is they looked like small bikes. They had scrawny little wheels, they had like simplistic looks, they were super narrow and they just looked like toys. These ones have always done a good job of looking like a real motorcycle. Now it’s still very compact and when I sit on this bike compared to the ninja, you’re gonna see the seating positions different. So we’ll get to that a little bit later in this video as well.
But for 2023, they’ve touched up the frame here in this green color. Now it will zoom in closer enough in a little bit, uh, here just so you can see it up close. But this green color makes this look exactly like the Z 900. So again, that big bike feel from a distance especially, you’d have trouble telling these two apart if you’re just an average motorcycle person or even just an average person. But it really has that big bike feel to it, which I really appreciate. It’s also fairly comfortable, it’s very approachable, it’s very rideable. So let’s take a look at some of the details here as we move through this bike and then we’ll pull an engine, show you some of the differences with that bike, some of the things you get on that one that aren’t on here, and the pros and cons of each.
And then we’ll talk about who these bikes are probably for and who would enjoy them the most. So I wanna start off with saying, oh, it’s gonna steer itself away. I wanna start off with saying the styling of this bike, this is a naked class of bike. They used to call this a standard class of bike and the standard bikes used to have all the round headlight and kind of the basic kind of look naked bikes. The idea was no faring. Well, this one’s got a little bit of faring in here just for styling. And the idea with this faring is to give you an aggressive sport bike type look. But you still have a fairly upright CD position and your hands are at a different angle. Now, to be fair, the Ninja 400 is also a fairly upright sport bike. Uh, but there’s a very different hand position.
So we’re gonna show you some of that in here. What I like here is this housing here is very modern full L E D lighting out front, well full L e d head lighting out front here, which is really nice. Not only is it very bright, but it also that white color helps you easily identify what you’re seeing because that white color is closer to daylight. So your brain doesn’t have to do an extra process of thinking, you know, what is it that I’m seeing? It just, you’ll right away recognize things at night with these bright headlights here you’ve got signals on the stalk here that’s gonna be different on the ninja, you’ve got a different dash in here. We’re gonna cover some of that. And then the whole handlebar and uh, mirror replacement are also different and there’s pros and cons to that as well.
So we’re gonna talk about that here right now. So taking a look at the dash here, I kind of like this. It’s very, uh, simplistic and uh, very modern in a lot of ways. So we’ll just turn the key here. My second key is actually stuck in the handlebars there. There we go. Turn the key here like that. And you can see you’ve got a full digital dash beneath a marker here. So the entire thing is digital. You’re gonna see on the ninja there’s a different tachometer here, but you sort of saw how that built when we turned it on. Uh, you can very much see what you’ve got for tachometer. This bike is completely outta gas, that’s why there’s some flashing down here. Uh, but you’ve got some sort of nice basic features in here. So as we cycle through, you’ve got kilometers per liter I believe you can do liters per a hundred kilometers.
Uh, you’ve got the average kilometers per liter, same thing with liters per a hundred kilometers. Then you’ve got your range, which is your distance to empty. All this is again on the bottom here and uh, then the clock down there as well. You’ve got your temperature gauge over on this side here, which is a little harder to see on the angle. We’re filming at big red warning light, all the warning lights that you need. And then what I like is you have your gear indicator front and center. Whether you’re a beginner rider or an experienced writer, a lot of experienced writers will say, oh, I don’t need a gear indicator. Let me tell you, guaranteed indicators are super helpful for having fun on the road.
You can down know exactly what gear you’re in, you’ll know what to do when you release that clutch and off you go. So that just is just a really compact, clear, easy to read dash that gives you everything you need and really nothing you don’t. It’s nice to have that fuel efficiency numbers in there so you have a sense of how you’re riding. Even when you’re riding aggressively, you can sort of see, oh, it doesn’t really affect fuel efficiency that much on this fairly efficient bike. So that’s one of the things I like down there. Now we’re gonna talk about seating position when we sit on the bike, but the handlebars here, which we’ll get to in a second, uh, there are benefits more than just seating position. So we’ll, we’ll just get to that in one second as before as we show you the controls first, then we’ll get there.
I’m going to keep coming back to this handlebar position. Obviously I kind of muffled my words there because there’s a lot of little benefits to these handlebar things. First of all, the controls are the same on each bike. So you have a little trigger over here which can flash your high beam. You have your high beam and low beam right there, signals of course right there. Uh, simple, simple stuff. And then a horn down here. Same thing on both bikes. You also have what’s called a slipper and a CST clutch. And if you’ve ever hopped on any motorcycle, you’re gonna find that the clutch is much heavier on basically every other motorcycle than this. So the slipper and assist clutch does two things for you. One, it makes for a very light clutch pull. I can pull this in with just my pinky quite easily, uh, like that.
So really nice if you’re driving in traffic with this, if you’re on and off the clutch, a lot really easy to pull in, which makes it just easier to drive. The other thing that the same system does, one of the things the system does is make it a light clutch pull. The second thing it does is if you are aggressively downshifting, you can create a lot of engine braking and on an aggressive maneuver, high rev maneuver, whether you screw up or whether you’re on the track or something like that, sometimes a a quick release of that clutch when you’re in the high revs can cause the rear wheel to slip a little bit. If you don’t have this system Now it still could slip, but the idea is this will work to prevent a rear wheel slip when you mess up a downshift and it’s something they use on the track so you can do it aggressively.
But I think on this bike it’s also useful just in the street. If you just kind of release that clutch a little too quick on your shift and you have the revs not where they need to be, instead of having that really, you know, you know, having the back wheel just kind of step out a tiny, tiny bit, this is gonna work against that. So it’s a race type feature that is both beginner friendly and useful for everybody. And that’s again example of this bike. These are the bikes I recommend most often to beginners, but they’re also something that is, have features that are good for every kind of rider. The only thing I wanna point about the handlebar here is you’re gonna notice on the ninja there’s no handlebar. There’s what they call clip-ons. Handlebars can be nice to add accessories, phone mounts, different GPS type things. Uh, there’s lots of benefits to having a round handlebar. We’re just gonna slide the camera over here as well. If you wanted to put something in the center here, you’ve got that option. So sometimes this is a little easier way to mount some of those accessories than something like the ninja will have with its clip-ons. But again, there are options on both bikes. So that’s just a couple pieces of the different hand position. The other thing you’re gonna notice here is on the ninja, you’re gonna have it pulled in like
Where on the uh, z, it’s a little bit out like that. Again, we’ll show you the seating positions moving forward, but that’s a couple things to look for as I sit on both and some of the key differences between these two bikes. I wanna show you the front wheel here of the Z 400. It’s gonna be the same idea on the Ninja 400. So you’ve got a single disk on this side, so not dual disk, which for the speed you’re doing here, you’ve got all the stopping power you’re gonna need. And then you also have this little ring here that’s part of your ABS sensor. So you can see a little abs sticker here. So you have really good quality front brakes, they’re ventilated. This pedal style can also help dissipate heat, although I think they uh, are more style than heat dissipation with this pedal style rotors, uh, because some of the bigger bikes have moved away from these pedal styles back to round rotors again.
But you do have high quality brakes here that work very well and abs is something that I think you should look for on a street bike regardless. Now, uh, it’s becoming more and more common whether you’re a beginner or not. It’s just the ability to, you know, if you’re jamming on your brakes when you’re stopping to have something, that’ll help prevent that wheel from locking up. Especially if you’re in an emergency situation. Sometimes you forget your skills for that split second. Well this is gonna work with you just to keep those wheels from locking up and of course it’s front and rear abs. Wanna take a look at this new colorway here as well as take a look at the engine here. A little, uh, hard to see on that angle, but you can see a lot of that frame in here in that green color which carries out through here.
Like I said, this is a really close matched to the Kawasaki Z900, so a much, much bigger bike and this really does give it that same look. Everything down here painted black. This is a 3 99 4 cylinder liquid cooled engine. Fully modern in every way and it has been proven reliable. It is an absolute blast drive, nice high revs, uh, and again, very manageable powertrain. So you can have fun but you can get it on it, get on it from day one and uh, kind of just feel like you’re not super intimidated. It’s still plenty quick. You have to get used to uh, the speed of the spike, but it is something that is very manageable powertrain, very nice to have. So overall look pretty clean. Look here, like I said, these frame rails in through here, the closer you get to the bike, the more you can see it with this new colorway.
I really like the way they did that. The other thing you can see on the rear here is the back wheel there again that we talked about the disc brakes and uh, everything else for the disc brake on the rear there as well. I should mention that you have 17 inch tires here. So those are race size tires. They are a little narrower, so usually a bigger bike will have about a one 20. Uh, in the front. This is a one 10, I believe it’s a one 30 in the back. Part of the slightly smaller tire size here contributes to that whole idea of giving you that really nimble bike. So again, they’re not so tiny that they’re just like budget bike tires and they look like a kid’s bike, but that little bit more narrowness gives you that real flick ability so you can really kind of get this bike back from one side to the other side in a hurry.
And again, it’s part of what contributes to giving these bikes a really unique feel that you can’t get in a bigger bike. Take a look at the sort of the rear end of this bike. This tail uh, style look, these are actually basically carryover between both bikes. I can’t really see a whole lot of difference, but there’s a couple things I wanna point out. You do have a rear seat, it looks small from that angle. It is big enough to take a passenger, but again, like any sporty type bike, it’s not a massive rear seat. Uh, to take a passenger for a long time. And for this size of bike, you’re probably not gonna take a passenger everywhere, but you absolutely can. You’ve got your foot pegs right there in the below the foot pegs here is a little hook type area that is a functional hook along with this one right here.
Hopefully you can see that right there. This is the kind of bike that is gonna have to serve more than just one purpose. It’s not like it’s only take it to the track or only do commuting. A lot of people are gonna do, you know, go to the store, go to work, go to school, do all kinds of things and this and having these little hooks here, you’ve got luggage that you can strap to here. Now I just bought a Zed 900 Rs for myself. I have luggage that’s gonna hook onto my bike in the same way that would hook on this bike. So stay tuned to this channel. Feel free to subscribe if you wanna see the types of luggage that you can put on here just to get some ideas cuz I’ll talk about that in a future video as well. But these are little things that I think a lot of people overlook that make this something that you know, you don’t have to take the car, you can take the bike because you can get some of those things you need if you set a zip up to the store to get something small, you don’t have to wear a backpack, you can get a nice little tail bag here to carry what you need.
So this is the Z400. Now let’s move to the ninja and talk about some advantages and differences in that. So taking a look at the 2023 Ninja, you’ve got this new color scheme here. I really like this brighter green. It stands out more in person than it will to you on the camera, but it kind of gives it that different look a little bit more modern again. So you can really tell that this is just, you know, a new model. If you know the bike now from here back, it’s basically the same type of thing. I think the tank is probably the same, we can find that out. Uh, but over here you have the differences. One of the differences is just purely styling and we’re gonna take a little closer look at it from this angle. You’ll see some of that. You do have a little taller windscreen than just the instrument cluster here.
It’s gonna give you a little bit of extra wind protection but not a whole lot. It does give you an advantage in a tuck position, which we’ll show you that in a second as well. And the whole bike is designed for that tuck position where the Z 900 is not. And we’ll show you some of those differences and advantages. One thing that people forget when you have a look at the side here is this pH fairings here. They come out and they do give you extra wind protection on your legs, in your knees. They give you a little bit extra things. So in a little bit cooler weather you have a little bit more protection. Uh, it’s a very mild difference but it is a difference to this style. So little bit extra wind protection for both speed, for both comfort and for style. But we’re gonna show you some of the differences here with the dash and with the handlebars because that’s gonna be a real difference that you’re gonna notice between the two.
So taking a look at the dash on the ninja 400, you’re gonna see some differences here. Remember we had that sort of digital tachometer here. Well now we have a full uh, analog tack and I’m just the handle merge are spinning here just cuz they want to curl over. So we’re gonna try to keep them away there. But you can see you still have all the same information. So your digital screen is over here but your tack is over here. The engines are the same. So it’s a carryover type thing but the look is different. You still got your gear position indicator over here, your overall speedometer. But what I like about this tack is to me it is slightly easier to read. Now I don’t know that that matters to a lot of people. Both are still very legible. Uh, but again this gives that little bit more sporting.
If you’re at the racetrack, uh, you tend to look forward on a racetrack and in your peripheral vision you can see where your revs are just cuz the needle is there. To me this is a little easier to see in your peripheral vision. So it is something to keep in mind if it matters to you functionality the exact same. So I won’t go through that again. The other difference is when I do turn the handlebars here you can see that key is moving, the handlebars are moving, but the dash on this one is built into the faring so it stays straight in front of you. I don’t think that makes a difference to a whole lot of people, but it is a difference. One other difference you’re gonna see is the faring does give you a few options. So we talked about, you know, the mounting on a handlebar of your phone can be a little easier, but here you have a benefit of what this can be po punched out and you can put a 12 volt or USB socket in there right from Kawasaki’s accessories.
So that’s an option here where it just kind of cleanly mounts outta the wind outta the way, which is nice. Now again, clip-ons. Let’s talk about what clip-ons are. You can kind of see how this works. Let me just see if I can zoom in a little bit here. Yeah, I think you can see it well, we’ll zoom in a little bit here. So zooming in, you can see that there’s not really so much of a single handle baring across, but these are sort of the traditional sport bike type feel. So you don’t have that handle bar sitting there. The difference with these again, is they’re gonna be turned back more like that compared to something like the Z900. It gives you a little bit narrower feel to your hands, which helps you in that tuck position. Controls are the same, clutch is the same.
So now, now let’s show you back to back riding positions to show you those differences. So I’m about six feet tall, about a 32 inch inch sea. I think this is a compact bike and you’re gonna see that my size 11 feet here are another thing that you have to keep in mind. If you had like size 13 feet on both of these bikes, you can see I am just clearing the uh, the uh, muffler here. So when my, I’m in the right proper riding position, I can put my foot on the brake, I can come back to a proper riding position and I’m totally fine. But if you had really big feet, like size 15 or something like that, you are probably gonna sit on the heat shield there. Um, like I’m at the edge of my toes so you’d have to have much bigger feet than me, but it is a bit more of a compact feel.
So sitting on this, let’s talk about the advantages of the ninja and we’ll talk about the advantages of the Z 400. Again, handlebars are a little bit more in that’s gonna be kind of equal for comfort. You can see I have a little bit of a forward lean. We’ll show you how much of a forward lean is there. I’m sitting far forward on this seat just to give you the example sort of to minimize that forward lean. Now this windshield, when I go in a full tuck position, you’re gonna move back a little bit and it does give you the ability to kind of send the wind right over your helmet. So if you really wanted to be aerodynamic, that’s a benefit. The other difference is on the Z 400. The mirrors are back here. We’ll talk about the advantages of having the mirrors here.
But on the ninja, the advantage of of having the mirrors out here on the faring means if you do go into that tuck position, the mirrors are still in front of you. So you can sit there in a tuck position and constantly have a good view behind you. Those are really the key differences. So again, sitting on this height on the ground, very flat footed, you can be a shorter person than me without any trouble. You can be taller person than me without any trouble. You’ve got room here. Again, that faring gives me a little bit of wind protection as it comes out here in front of my knees. But this is what I look like on a Ninja 400. I’m gonna move the Z 400 in here with editing. I’m gonna try to keep it as clean as I can. I’ll sit on that bike and you can hopefully see is sort of blend into a similar difference.
So let’s do that right now. All right, so I don’t know if I got it in the exact same position but the same thing. I’m sitting up close to the tank. I feel like I’m not quite as far leaned over, but it’s at the point where neither one is uncomfortably forward. Keep in mind when you have a slight lean, uh, you’re gonna have some wind resistance anyways, which is gonna help kind of help hold you up. So there’s no real weight on your handles either way. There is a feeling of a little bit more width to the handlebar here because they’re not tucked in here, they’re out over here. So that is something you notice now mirrors over here, these are actually very good. They can be moved around in different ways. If I go into a tuck position here, the aerodynamics are not working necessarily with me.
There will be some wind coming in below me cuz I can’t get my helmet low enough to keep all the wind outta here. That’s the advantage, advantage of sport bike styling. Um, it is what it is, but, and again, if I go over here, the mirrors are behind me. But when I sit upright on this bike, which is how you’re gonna ride it, probably most of the time these mirrors because they’re closer to you now give you a little bit more of a wide angle. And to be fair, this bike was just built yesterday. And I can tell you right now the mirrors are not, uh, perfectly set up the way I’d like ’em. They, they got them to me as quick as they could. So this will be, uh, touched up before it leaves the showroom. But the idea with these mirrors being this way is because they’re closer to you.
If you ever hold a mirror closer to you, you have a wider angle view behind you. And that will be one benefit of having these mirrors the way they are on the Z400. So styling differences are there, but practical differences are also there just based on how they’re set up. So let’s talk about who these bikes are for. Well, as I mentioned off the top, both of these bikes are bikes that I recommend to new riders. They are really versatile and the difference with recommending these to new riders versus recommending bikes to new riders in the past is some bikes for new riders used to be beginner bikes and they very much were that these bikes are a little different. They have manageable power, comfortable CD positions, good safety features, and they’re lightweight, which makes them good bikes for new riders. The difference is some of those same features really make these good for experienced riders because like I said off the top, you really can’t replicate the feel of this lightweight, lightweight, nimble bike in a larger bike with a bigger engine. So there are reasons to go for more speed or more accurately better acceleration. Now these things are still very, very quick. They’re gonna be, you know, as fast as most sports cars zero to 60. So they are not slow at all. But you know, you know, mid-level to high level bikes in the Kawasaki lineup are going to have, you know, super car type zero to 60 type performance. So that’s something
To keep in mind is you do have that option by moving up. But from a pure fun perspective, these are fantastic in either way. Now I lean a little bit more to the ninja because to me some ninjas can get to an uncomfortable stage and we’ll talk about those in future videos. But this one is still very comfortable and I like that little bit of wind protection there. I like the feeling of that. But you may prefer this and that this one here for it’s a little bit more upright position, a little wider position. The mirrors being a little closer. There’s really no difference. Either one is gonna be an absolute blast and the best thing is you can come check them out for yourself. If you’re here in the Jim Gilbert’s Wheels and Deals area, not only do we have these two 20 threes that just showed up, we have a whole bunch of 2022’s which can save you a little bit of money, save, give a little extra money for a helmet or other gear or that kind of thing that you want.
We have a full line of them and there’s about 20,000 square feet of showroom space here with all kinds of bikes to see so you can come check them out for yourself. I do recommend if you can, if you’re shopping for either of these bikes that you sit on, both because you may find that you sit on one and you prefer one over the other. Like I said, for me, I kind of prefer this. Now having said that, I bought a Z series bike, A Z 900 Rs, and again, it has all the benefits of this. So again, one may appeal to you over the other, but they’re essentially the same bike underneath and that means that they’re just gonna be a lot of fun regardless of which bike you choose. So if you have questions and you wanna know more about these, let me know. When the comments below, do me a favor, subscribe. We’ll talk about luggage that can fit on these bikes. As I talk about other stuff, we’ll talk about riding, we’ll talk about all kinds of things with these bikes in the future. And let me know if you have one. Lemme know what you think of it, right? It’s in the comments below. And we’ll just create a little community here of, uh, you know, fans of this bike. Thanks everybody for watching.