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bornagainbiker

Kawasaki Z400 First Ride Review

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bornagainbiker
@kevinwingphoto_Kaw_Z400-1220-featured.j
RIDERMAGAZINE.COM

In the 1960s, a term emerged among American motorcyclists: UJM, short for Universal Japanese Motorcycle, a not very enthusiastic characterization of the CB, KZ, GS and XS models flooding our...

 


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Beemer

30 inch seat height and 364 wet (not to mention the other nice specs) I would love to ride this on some twisty country roads. I'm 5' 8" wit a 30" inseam so it's just my size. 👌


Beemer

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bornagainbiker
1 hour ago, Beemer said:

30 inch seat height and 364 wet (not to mention the other nice specs) I would love to ride this on some twisty country roads. I'm 5' 8" wit a 30" inseam so it's just my size. 👌

I was looking at this smaller, lighter bike as a possible mount for the future--when I get older and even more decrepit. 


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DewMan

Call me a displacement snob I guess, I'm not sure I could be happy with a 400cc motor. Not saying I pine for a Liter bike either but 400cc seems very limiting.

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DewMan
 
Just shut up and ride.

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bornagainbiker
1 hour ago, DewMan said:

Call me a displacement snob I guess, I'm not sure I could be happy with a 400cc motor. Not saying I pine for a Liter bike either but 400cc seems very limiting.

I know what you mean--I'm wishing it was at least 500cc.  Who knows, maybe this model will get bumped up in displacement in the future.


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robbo10
Posted (edited)

Less weight can be the top objective for those of a certain age.... I have in mind an MT-03 for when the dreaded change becomes necessary.  But I tried a Z650 and liked it a lot so a Z400 could be good for me.  Nice styling too.

Edited by robbo10
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Just do it! 

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Beemer

It all depends on what you want in a bike. When I had my XT 350 in Austin and rode on twisty roads you kind of forget that you don't have a lot of h.p. and big h.p. doesn't mean a lot in them. Even in town where most speed limits are only around 40 mph. that little 350 was a blast to ride. The power to weight ratio along with low gearing for the dirt made it feel faster than what it was. Getting up to speed from a standstill I found it to be fun because it was so light weight and punchy through the lower gears, always wanting to raise the front end up (like our beloved FZ-07). It was no slouch or at least it didn't feel like it when you could walk away from traffic with ease.

 

After 3rd gear it wasn't as exciting and definitely needed more h.p. to keep pleasing so for every day riding on more open roads with wider curves and more straights like around here forget it, give me the FZ. On twisty roads I'd love something like an older RZ350 or the 250 that Gregjet has mentioned a number of times.

 

 

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Beemer

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FZ07R WaNaB

I sat on that bike at the Progressive Bike Show. I was seriously interested in it up to that point. I am clueless why the hell some manufacturers insist on that giant hump on the gas tank. With the Z400, that hump really extends rerward. If you are a person who has a bit of a gut (me), it pretty well sucks. If you are a person who doesn't like a claustrophobic cocket pit, it pretty well sucks. I won't be buying it.

 

A local dealer is going to be allowing test rides on the 790 Duke starting n April - that I'm looking forward to!!!

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firstyammerha

I'm at that point mentioned by OP'ers in this string and had zeroed in on this bike as a possible replacement for the -07. However I saw the ready to ride weight is only about 20 lbs. less than the FZ. And it's power output is about 30 hp lower too. Since my riding style now is mainly two lane rural and small town urban roads, I could probably get by with it. It's just the weight difference throwing me. I may have to check out the new Honda CBR300. I rode a 2014 CB300F four or five years ago and it seemed good for this kind of riding. Big decision.

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gregjet

For fun riding you don't need big cc's just twistier roads. My favorite mountain road twistie bike was a CB250RS. Single 250cc's of raw gutlessness and marginal brakes. Set up right she was pure joy to fling around and flog big capacity bikes. My favourite track bike ever was a 125RS Honda GP bike with an 85cc CR watercooled 2 stroke motor in it. 70kg dripping wet. No disconnect between the rider and bike, just raw fun.

Until the bigger bikes started coming out at the end of the 70's , the majority of motorcycles for distance were 250-750cc ( some exceptions but not many. And I don't include Harleys. I did say motorcycles).

I have many friends who have ridden all over Australia on 350's and 500's.

The little Kwaka is a (finally) new motor, not just a rehash of a rehash of the 1980's motor and a quality frame. Suspension is the usual crap, but we 07 owners are not in a position to judge on that score. Not a lot of places to lighten it though. The headlight assembly could be a start after the exhaust ( as usual). On my ER6N the headlight assembly weighed 10 kgs... On the race bike I could chuck it, though on this, an alternative night relief would have to be found.

I am still waiting for a decent 500 V twin...


Go forth and modify my son...go forth and modify...

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Grip it & Rip it
On 3/5/2019 at 10:01 AM, DewMan said:

Call me a displacement snob I guess, I'm not sure I could be happy with a 400cc motor. Not saying I pine for a Liter bike either but 400cc seems very limiting.

My FZR 400 made 60 hp, not far off from the 07. Of course that was up at 12000 rpm or something like that, and obviously not much torque at all. But I’ve taken that bike to around 115 mph. Plenty fast. Of course modern 400s are not tuned to make power like that.

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robbo10

Most bikes around that size seem to be powered to meet regulations for starting riders. So, no efforts made  to produce the best performance for the rest of us.


Just do it! 

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robbo10
On 3/27/2019 at 8:16 PM, gregjet said:

 

I am still waiting for a decent 500 V twin...

MCNews says that Yamaha are bringing out an XT500-alike version of its XSR.


Just do it! 

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DewMan
7 hours ago, Grip it & Rip it said:

My FZR 400 made 60 hp, not far off from the 07. Of course that was up at 12000 rpm or something like that, and obviously not much torque at all. But I’ve taken that bike to around 115 mph. Plenty fast. Of course modern 400s are not tuned to make power like that.

I have no doubt they they're fast enough. But the lack of torque and the amount of RPMs needed to get power out of them seems unreasonable for my more laid back riding style.

How many RPMs are you spinning at 75mph while cruising down the interstate on a motor that size?


DewMan
 
Just shut up and ride.

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gregjet

robbo10,

You obviously missed the bikes designed for the jap "prod" racing series Forumla 3 and 4 ( I thnk that was the numbers, it may have been 2 and 3) in the 80's and 90's. The bikes were very thinly disguised race bikes and both had raceable power and handling.  Also the 250 and 500 class street racing class's in japan. Most of the great bikes were from late 80's to the late 90's.

Formula bikes include: Honda CBR250r and rr , Yamaha FZR250RR, Suzuki GSX250rr, Kawasaki ZXR250RR , Honda CBR400RR, Yamaha FZr499RR, Suzuki GSXR400R and the ZXR400R. All as close to a track bike as you could get on tthe street. Insane RPM ( Honda 250 spun easily to 20000rpm and many are still alive today and never been apart) and things like full alloy frames. and gull wing swingarms. and linkage rear suspension, and twin discs.

The Two stroke 250's and 500's were even more crazy ( and fun). Things like RGV Suzuki250 and RG500 square motor and Honda NSR 250's and 500.

They all weighed considerably less that modern lumps. Current bikes from Japan are pretty much sedate in comparison , even the so called sportbikes.


Go forth and modify my son...go forth and modify...

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shinyribs
On 3/5/2019 at 11:28 AM, bornagainbiker said:

I was looking at this smaller, lighter bike as a possible mount for the future--when I get older and even more decrepit. 

Don't give in!  Fight that old age garbage!

 364lbs for a twin is pretty light,but it all depends on how a bike is balanced. My 400cc dirt bike is top heavy in comparison to my FZ, and the dirt bike is only 270lbs. That Z looks like a pile of fun, though. I'm 6'2" and 220 lbs. I love small bikes.

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robbo10
1 hour ago, gregjet said:

robbo10,You obviously missed the bikes designed for the jap "prod" racing series Forumla 3 and 4.....

Well, yes I did.  50 years away from biking, inevitably.  Not at all in the class of those, I came back to it all with a bit of a screamer of an engine in my Kymco Venox 250 with reputedly a copy Suzuki engine. And a very sweet engine it was.  But an emphasis on low-down  torque, and comparative overall lightness, suits me well now  with the 07 coming along at just the right time. 


Just do it! 

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bornagainbiker
3 hours ago, shinyribs said:

Don't give in!  Fight that old age garbage!

 364lbs for a twin is pretty light,but it all depends on how a bike is balanced. My 400cc dirt bike is top heavy in comparison to my FZ, and the dirt bike is only 270lbs. That Z looks like a pile of fun, though. I'm 6'2" and 220 lbs. I love small bikes.

Oh what I wouldn't give to be only 48--I still thought I could take on the world then.  At 60--not so much LOL.

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Give Respect To Get Respect

https://jeff-galbraith.pixels.com/

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shinyribs
12 hours ago, bornagainbiker said:

Oh what I wouldn't give to be only 48--I still thought I could take on the world then.  At 60--not so much LOL.

My partner I've worked beside in attics and crawl spaces for the past 23 years is 67 years old. He can still hang with the best of em, but I've massively derailed this thread... sorry. 

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Grip it & Rip it
On 3/29/2019 at 7:54 AM, DewMan said:

I have no doubt they they're fast enough. But the lack of torque and the amount of RPMs needed to get power out of them seems unreasonable for my more laid back riding style.

How many RPMs are you spinning at 75mph while cruising down the interstate on a motor that size?

Yeah, there is nothing laid back about high revving tiny sportbikes. I love my fz-07 and am obviously considerably faster on it- it helps to have working brakes- but I do sort of miss the white knuckle feeling of revving the hell out of a small bike.

 

At 75mph, about 8,500 rpm... sounds high, but when your redline is at 14,000 rpm, not so bad.

 

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Soranov

lighter weight and being constantly on full throttle always gets me

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