Will it replace the Ninja 300 as the new entry-level sportsbike or just be another addition in the lineup?

Back in July, a Milwaukee television news broadcast had managed to give us a glimpse of the 399 cc green machines while they were parked on the streets for a commercial shoot. The footage gave us the kicks for the number plate clearly showed "Ninja 400" on it, and it was only time before it was confirmed.

Looks like it has now arrived. Spotted by friends at motorcycle.com, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) documents published indicate that the 399cc Kawasaki motorcycle will be coming to US shores amidst the existing Ninja 300 and the 650.

Kawasaki Ninja 400 is US bound for 2018. Exterior
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The TV grab showing the Ninja 400 on the streets of Milwaukee for a commercial shoot

Will it replace the Ninja 300 or will it add to the Kawasaki’s scheme of entry-level rockets for the states? is a question yet to be figured out. For now, all we know is that it is coming.

If it does replace the 300, it is sure to get the upper hand in the entry-level sports bike market that is filled with the likes of the Yamaha YZF-R3 and the KTM RC390 fully faired machines that have until now played spoilsport to the Ninja 300’s presence.

Kawasaki Ninja 400 is US bound for 2018. Exterior
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Kawasaki Ninja 300

This move from Kawasaki will also wade off an early competition check with Honda planning to launch the lethal CBR250RR or revive the iconic CB400F and before BMW plans to put its G310 in a fairing.

We had witnessed similar situations with the Ninja 250R and the Ninja 300 before the latter took over as the brand’s ultimate small-displacement machine. The 400 too, just like the 300, is expected to be sportier, more aggressive and more fun to ride than the lesser cubed Ninja. The 400 is also likely to be packed with enough alphabet-soup tech acronyms that will make it very entertaining and accessible to riders.

Kawasaki Ninja 400R produced for the Asian market a while back

But if Kawasaki makes the 400 as the new entry-level, it seems a bit unfair for the riders wanting to get into the league of motorcycling. Kawasaki will force them to go and opt for other competitors offering cheaper motorcycles with a lesser grunt that makes handling comparatively easier.

Of course, this wouldn’t be an issue if Kawasaki decides to keep both the Ninja 300 as well as the 400 in their product line-up. Kawasaki will at least get to continue to compete in the World Supersport 300 Championship.

Kawasaki Ninja 400 is US bound for 2018. Exterior
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Kawasaki Ninja 650

When the Ninja 400 makes way here, expect it to carry a machine that will run around the 45 hp bracket and not cross the 47hp A2 license cut-off for the European markets. The styling will resemble the Ninja 650 with a wider body kit compared to the 300. Fit and finish will be top-quality typical to Kawasaki.

Also expect to see upgrades to the suspension and braking hardware, while ABS will be offered as standard. Kawasaki could also introduce ride-by-wire and subsequently riding modes on the new Ninja 400.

Kawasaki Ninja 400 is US bound for 2018. Exterior
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The CARB document showing Kawasaki’s 399cc motorcycle

We are not sure of how Kawasaki reached to making the 399 cc motor. It could be an all-new engine designed from the ground up or a sized-up version of the Ninja 300’s engine. While speculations are running high, it could also be a smaller version of the Ninja 650’s powerplant like the Ninja 400 produced in Asia a while back.

For few looking for a small displacement in-line four, this could turn out to be a disappointing story since this Ninja 400 will be a parallel-twin cylinder pocket rocket that will qualify for Japan’s sub-400cc license class.

Whatever the speculations might be, it will all be put to rest at this year’s Tokyo Motor show that will start next week, or the EICMA Milan show happening next month.

Source: motorcycle.com

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