Kawasaki to introduce the naked Z400 as the 2019 model
CARB documents brings out confirmation for the sameby Sagar, on
The Kawasaki Z400 is not a badge you’ll see for the first time on a Kawasaki machine. The Japanese used to make the ‘KZ400/Z400’ between 1974 and 1984 for Asian and American markets. The KZ400 even outsold Honda in the 400 cc twins market through the 1970s. But was culled from the showroom floors after a decade from its launch.
Now though, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) documents published indicate that the 399cc Kawasaki naked motorcycle will be coming back to the US shores after the launch of the full faired Ninja 400 last year and will look much similar to the Z300 it will replace but run on a brand new engine borrowed from the Ninja.
The Z400 will come to fill the huge gap created by the exit of the Z300 last year since the Japanese decided not to overhaul the 300 to conform to Euro IV norms and will firmly stand between the Z125 and the Z650 in the naked lineup. Coded as ‘ER400DK’ in the CARB docs, it is ‘naked’ In Kawasaki’s tongue – the faired Ninja 400 is an ‘EX’ model.
The 400 too, just like what the Z300 did to the Z250, is expected to be sportier, more aggressive and more fun to ride than the lesser cubed Ninja. This will make the Z400 as the brand’s entry-level super naked having greater performance, better-structured chassis, better features, more rider aids, and top-quality fit and finish compared to the Z300 it is replacing. It will also be much lighter than the Z300 it is replacing.
The newly built 399cc powerplant will pump out 45 hp of peak power compared to the 38 hp from the Z300; thanks to the new downdraft intake and the larger airbox offering increased intake efficiency. The motor is similar in size to the Z250 and Z300 but is 2.2 lbs lighter than the former even with the larger bore and stroke.
The bike is sportier, more aggressive and more fun to ride than the lesser cubed Z naked. It will get a new Assist & Slipper clutch for effortless gear shifts, and aggressive downshifts without the rear wheel chatter.
The bodywork will be an all-new affair with the Z400 taking cues from the elder siblings Z650s’ and the Z1000s’. It will come with the swingarm mounting plate and the lightweight steel trellis frame. It also shares the same instrument cluster with the Z650, contributing to the high-grade feel of the package. As with modern times, the Z400 gets all around LED treatment including headlamps and the taillights. The fuel tank, however, has shrunk in size offering only 3.6 gallons while the Ninja 300 had a 4.5-gallon fuel tank.
Like the Ninja 400, the naked version will also run on 41mm forks to give the rider precise feel and action. The bike comes equipped with the latest ABS unit from Nissin, clamping down on a 310mm semi-floating disc (the largest in its class). Adding to the lightweight program will be the 5-spoke wheels which give improved lateral rigidity and cornering stability. The Z400 will also get fatter rear rubber with 150/60R17 tire ratings.
This move from Kawasaki will also wade off any competition with the Honda CB300R, or the KTM’s lethal Duke 390. Also, there is BMW’s G310 that is showing many promises the world around. Whatever the speculations might be, it will all be put to rest at this year’s EICMA Milan show happening next month.