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Old July 16th, 2019, 04:32 PM   #1
CaliGrrl
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Pondering

I'm pondering a new bike. Current bike 2006 yellow 250, pre-gen.

Option 1- used Ninja 300, $2500, green.

Option 2- brand new Ninja 400, $5400, colors all suck. I'd need to put a vinyl wrap on it to make it a decent color.

Not that I have any reason to replace current bike or anything. But.... shiny!!!!

Would it be enough of a difference to get the 300? Would I notice? Or should I jump directly to the new new bike and get the 400? I expect that would be noticeable. How do the two compare? Either bike would be fuel-injected instead of carburated.
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Old July 16th, 2019, 04:54 PM   #2
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I have not ridden the 300 or the 400 but since I bought my bike brand new with zero miles in 05 ( 35,000 on the odometer now). I would buy the new 400.
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Old July 16th, 2019, 05:00 PM   #3
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I had new gen 250, went to a 300. I did notice a difference. Instead of a 400, why not the 650?
The 400 is an improvement to the 300.
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Old July 16th, 2019, 07:03 PM   #4
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The 650 seems like it's more than I really need. I'm really digging the teeny tiny bike, and not only for the shocked looks from people who underestimate these bikes. Everybody thinks she's a 500.
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Old July 16th, 2019, 07:41 PM   #5
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I vote for 400!!!

Will keep you entertained for more years before you’re bored. It’s lighter and handles better than both 250 and 300! It’s so much fun!!
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Old July 16th, 2019, 08:18 PM   #6
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My vote is for the 300
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Old July 16th, 2019, 11:26 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaliGrrl View Post
Would it be enough of a difference to get the 300? Would I notice? Or should I jump directly to the new new bike and get the 400? I expect that would be noticeable. How do the two compare? Either bike would be fuel-injected instead of carburated.
I've ridden 250, 300 and 400 many times at exact same track, so here's my impressions over 250.

300 - slight increase in power, but weighs more than 250 so it's almost a wash. Handling definitely feels heavier and slower to respond. Kawasaki actually relaxed head-angle of 300, making it more stable and less flickable than previous 250. Lap-times of modified 250 vs. stock 300 are about same. Then again, you can still upgrade 300.

400 - right out of box in stock form, 400 feels way more maneuverable than both 250 or 300. That's because it's lighter than both of them AND has more nimble fork geometry along with shorter wheelbase. Combined with significantly more torque than 300 and there's no contest! Feels like 250 on steroids!
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Old July 17th, 2019, 01:43 AM   #8
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CB300r - have a look
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Old July 17th, 2019, 08:53 AM   #9
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your position is very difficult.
while the 400 is the newest and "greatest" iteration. it is more than twice the cost of the used 300. I have a 250 now and have had many others on the past (pre and new gen)and for street purposes there is not much more needed. I bought my wife a 300 when they first came out and it is a vast improvement over the 250s. I am interested in the 400 but until it can get into some of the lower race classes I will pass. I currently own many large capacity bikes but find the 250-300 size the most fun on the street. if there is no need to upgrade, save your money and stick with what you have, if you just want something new because....reasons the 300 will serve you well for a long time with plenty of Room for modification before you even approach the cost of the 400.
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Old July 17th, 2019, 10:50 AM   #10
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Option 1 - green 300 - gets my vote.

It should feel like an "upgrade" coming off a PreGen, and you can use any extra cash for some nice tires, suspension, etc.

The new 400s are excellent in many ways (except for the way they look IMO), but if you are happy with your older 250 I think you would be very happy on a 300.
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Old July 17th, 2019, 04:50 PM   #11
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Thanks, I appreciate your input.
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Old July 17th, 2019, 05:14 PM   #12
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I would go new 400. You would have a warranty too.
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Old July 17th, 2019, 06:24 PM   #13
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I'm leaning to the new 400. In spite of the paint colors offered this year, none of which I like at all. But it could be vinyl-wrapped and be prettier.

How are the 400s to work on? If we set the scale 1-10, 1 being easy, a pre-gen being about a 3, and 10 being "don't bother, take it to a shop," where do the 400s land?
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Old July 17th, 2019, 07:00 PM   #14
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Personally i find 400 simpler. Much fewer hoses and clamps to get in way. So if newgen is 3, 400 is a 2. Spin-on oil filter makes oil-change easy! Swingarm bolts to engine and there’s less stuff around. Easier to oil and clean chain for some reason. Can also reach shock for adjustment easily without having to remove it. I think they learned lots from building 300 and improved on it tremendously.

Also ABS on 400 pretty much clinches deal for me.
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Old July 17th, 2019, 11:42 PM   #15
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FWIW: I had a newgen that was stock when I bought it. I put on a full exhaust, jetted it and did the other usual minor mods. When I was done it made power about like that of a stock 300.

The difference was noticeable, fun and gave the bike a lot of character, but it was not game-changing.

If it were me I'd go with the 400. The sting of the extra $$$ will fade before you know it. Speaking from the point of view of someone who went from a 250 to MUCH bigger bikes (GSXR750, track-only R6 and now a 675cc Triumph Street Triple which is my street ride), the 400 really hits the sweet spot in terms of power and weight.

The riding experience on the 300 will be what you've got now, more or less. It'll still have the performance of an economy car, which means you have to do things like plan passes well in advance and the conditions have to be right.

With the extra power, new things become possible. The GSXR was a transporter... stuck behind five slugs hogging the passing lane and a gap opens up on the right? Beam me up, Scotty. That wasn't possible on the Ninjette. Without a clear run to build up speed I just had to stay in the conga line and pass the time reading the license plate on the ass end of the SUV right in front of me.

The 400 won't be able to quite do that, but it'll certainly be more capable than the 300.
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Old July 29th, 2019, 08:42 AM   #16
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If i were in the market for a smaller bike i would go for the 400 hands down. You clearly ride enough and will keep it long enough for the initial bump in cost to make up for itself.

If it werent for riding 2-up and still wanting an unnecessary amount of power i would be looking at a 400, but instead, i think a super duke GT is next.
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Old July 29th, 2019, 11:04 AM   #17
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It really depends on what you want out of the bike. Ive ridden all the models mentioned but if it was me I would go with the 300. For me it looks the best and it's fuel injected.

The 300's are dirt cheap now a days and the 08+ 250 as well. This is all assuming that you want to stay with lightweight bikes.

If you want some power obviously you would want a 400 over the 300/250. Then again why not step up to a 650 or something faster?

I think you would like the 2019 R3 better though.
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Old July 29th, 2019, 09:18 PM   #18
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I've demo-ridden the 2018 R3, and it was fun, but again, I'm not sure it's ... "enough" to justify changing bikes. I was hoping to hit a Kawi demo-day but I seem to have missed it. I will have to do a test ride on my own.

I'm looking to stay with the lightweight bikes. I truly dig that it weighs nothing and turns on a thought.
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Old July 30th, 2019, 04:41 PM   #19
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I was looking for a 250 when I stumbled into the deal I got on my 500. Based on what I've heard of the 250 (I've still never actually ridden one), I'm glad that I ended up with a bit more power, since I'm a bigger guy riding mostly out in the country.

I always wanted FI and modern styling, but the little Ninjas were just too much of a power drop for me to justify it. With the 400, I finally felt it was close enough to the 500's numbers that I could deal with it. On paper, it's lower on power, but in everyday riding, I don't really notice it. It feels like a bit less power if I think about it, but it also revs a bit higher. The drop in torque is most noticeable, but I've never thought, "Man, I'm really missing the 500's power" while out riding. It does feel very close, and I had intake, exhaust, carb, and ignition mods on the 500 too (though I doubt they actually added much actual measurable power). The 400 also does a better job of maintaining peak power to the rev limit. It sounds like it's working a lot harder, and it doesn't feel like it's pushing you back in the seat as much, but it somehow feels like you get up to speed a little quicker than the 500. I'm sure the FI and lower weight help.

People have said the 500 feels much bigger and less agile than the 250/300. I've heard people say the same thing going from the 500 to the 650 (though that was with the older model). I can only imagine the difference going from a 250/300 to a 650. I never thought the 500 felt that big or clumsy, but the 400 is much more agile. They shortened the overall wheelbase while lengthening the swingarm. They managed to make it even lighter than the 300. When I first got it, it really felt like it turned just by thinking about it. I still want to get some springs matched to my weight, but in stock form the suspension really isn't too bad (whereas the 500 had soft, mismatched spring rates).

The 400 comes stock with many of the mods I spent a lot of time and money putting on the 500, or never managed to work out. It has the same size wheels/tires, and floating brake rotor, as what I spent $900+ adding to the 500. The dash has a digital speedo, big analog tach with a needle that turns red at the rev limit, a gear indicator, and a clock; I looked but never found an acceptable replacement for the 500's dash. It comes with almost all LED lights, including headlights (and the rest are easy to swap). The dash has a builtin spot for a "lighter plug" for powering accessories (though Kaw's official parts are ungodly-overpriced). It has a hollow steering stem, so you can use that for a RAM mount. The mirrors work quite well stock, whereas the 500's were pretty much useless and the NewGen mirrors I swapped on were "good".

Looks are subjective. But the 400 looks like a smaller version of the new, big bikes. It's not a Fisher-Price version of the "real" bikes - it's the same parts, or the same parts scaled down a bit. If you like the new Kawasaki flagship bikes, you'll like the 400. The 500 had much less plastic on it, so full fairing coverage was a bit of a change for me. The different pieces tend to hook together and overlap, so you frequently have to take off several panels to get at whatever you're trying to do, but they're pretty simple and straightforward. I'm not sure what colors you consider good, but you may be able to get a leftover '18 (I don't think there were any major changes for '19) in a better color and save some cash too.

My biggest complaints? It doesn't have a centerstand, the same as most bikes now, but I got used to the 500 having one. The stock muffler is really close to your heel, but a cheap slip-on will fix that. The tank is smaller, so I have to refuel a little more frequently. The windscreen is quite a bit lower - about at the bottom of my sternum vs. the 500's being around my shoulders in my usual riding position (a double bubble helps that, with only 4 screws). The clutch has an extremely light pull, which makes it easy to slip the clutch when you don't mean to (there are a few mods specifically related to this). It looks like it's still got the crappy old SH regulator, so I'll probably swap in one of the MOSFET FH models. The oil drain bolt is aimed pretty much directly at the sidestand foot. They should've put LEDs in the rest of the lights.

Going into it, I expected to tolerate the downgrade to a 400. However, I've found the downgrade to be quite tiny, with a bunch of other huge improvements. Now I wish I hadn't waited so long to buy it. As others mentioned, there's a pretty big price difference in the bikes you're looking at. If you're going to buy the 300 and leave it alone, it's hard to argue with half the price. But if you're like me and going to be constantly trying to fix all the little less-than-ideal things, the 400 is starting in a much better place than older, cheaper bikes. Not to mention that a new bike has a warranty and no unknowns from the previous owner(s).
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Old July 30th, 2019, 05:43 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaliGrrl View Post

I'm looking to stay with the lightweight bikes. I truly dig that it weighs nothing and turns on a thought.
Here’s some wet-weight figures:

344lbs = ‘86-87 1st-gen
362lbs = ‘88-07 pre-gen
375lbs = ‘08-12 new-gen
385lbs = ‘13-17 EX300
438lbs = ‘94-07 EX500

366lbs = ‘18+Ninja 400, about same as pre-gen. Along with more aggressive steering geometry than all of them makes for best flickable bike ever!
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Old July 31st, 2019, 07:04 AM   #21
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Already some used 400s on the market in my area (WI).

https://madison.craigslist.org/mcy/d...939158020.html

2019 Kawasaki Ninja 400 - $4000

2019 Kawasaki Ninja 400 with only 1000 miles. As good as new. Would make a great beginner bike or daily commuter. Has been garage kept and well maintained. Selling in order to buy a larger bike. Title in hand. Asking $4000 obo.


That was quick. Ready to move up after only 1000 mi.

It's a "beginner bike" you know...
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Old July 31st, 2019, 09:59 AM   #22
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Old July 31st, 2019, 02:23 PM   #23
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Everything I read leads me toward the new 400 rather than a used 300. Thank you, everybody, I continue to appreciate your input.
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Old August 2nd, 2019, 06:33 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DannoXYZ View Post
Here’s some wet-weight figures:

344lbs = ‘86-87 1st-gen
362lbs = ‘88-07 pre-gen
375lbs = ‘08-12 new-gen
385lbs = ‘13-17 EX300
438lbs = ‘94-07 EX500

366lbs = ‘18+Ninja 400, about same as pre-gen. Along with more aggressive steering geometry than all of them makes for best flickable bike ever!
What are the claimed power as stock of those bikes?

I had the 2010 250 (claimed 29hp) and then got the 300 (claimed '39hp) and I noticed a nice difference, especially in the highway.

I think the 400 claims 44hp stock.
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Old August 2nd, 2019, 06:39 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaliGrrl View Post
Everything I read leads me toward the new 400 rather than a used 300. Thank you, everybody, I continue to appreciate your input.
If you're sticking to the options you mentioned, I'd go with the 400. Much better bike on the papers, and I didn't hear one owner yet that didn't like it.
Very reliable as well right from the beginning. I think some people complained about the clutch slipping a bit at high revs. Also a very good price, and you can find used ones already.



But... what I'd do is to keep your pre gen if it runs well, and buy a bigger bike, at lest 600, a 1000 if you dare. Then you would have two very different wild animals. A different experience and much more to learn and enjoy.
Don't care about haters who don't like small bikes.
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Old August 3rd, 2019, 02:19 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Topaz View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by DannoXYZ View Post
Here’s some wet-weight figures:

344lbs = ‘86-87 1st-gen
362lbs = ‘88-07 pre-gen
375lbs = ‘08-12 new-gen
385lbs = ‘13-17 EX300
438lbs = ‘94-07 EX500

366lbs = ‘18+Ninja 400, about same as pre-gen. Along with more aggressive steering geometry than all of them makes for best flickable bike ever!
What are the claimed power as stock of those bikes?

I had the 2010 250 (claimed 29hp) and then got the 300 (claimed '39hp) and I noticed a nice difference, especially in the highway.

I think the 400 claims 44hp stock.
There's quite a bit of variation in official numbers for the 400 in different sales regions (one is listed as 48hp), so it's possible there's some headroom left in the tune too.

The 500 was listed as 59hp, but low- to mid-50's seems to have been a common real-world result. It was pretty close to exactly 2x the 250's numbers.

https://www.ninjette.org/forums/showthread.php?t=334158 has some dyno numbers. Here's a 300 vs. 400 comparison - 25% higher peak horsepower and 40% higher peak torque, without drastic differences in the curves.



And here's the 250 vs. 300 from when that was introduced. A similar increase of 37% for horsepower and 33% for torque.



That works out to 70% increase in horsepower and 82% increase in torque going from the '11 250 to the '18 400. Yes, it's still a little Ninja, but it's definitely quite a jump in power.


https://www.cycleworld.com/lets-see-...s-up-to-class/ compares the 400 to some of its current competition (without the other little Ninjas).
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Old August 13th, 2019, 06:00 AM   #27
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IF you hate the colors of the Ninja 400, go with the Z400.

Less plastic to cover up and it's $200 cheaper.
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Old August 13th, 2019, 04:15 PM   #28
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I looked at the Z400. The local dealer has it in a gorgeous red or a nice acid green but I rather like having a fairing. I may still consider it. Thank you for the suggestion.
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Old August 13th, 2019, 04:16 PM   #29
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Is the frame the same in both bikes?
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Old August 13th, 2019, 04:21 PM   #30
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MOTY - 2018, MOTM - Nov '17
Yup, everything same except for:

- less bodywork
- slightly softer suspension
- upright bars
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Old August 13th, 2019, 04:22 PM   #31
Topaz
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Motorcycle(s): 2013 Ninja 300

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Looks like the perfect all around bike.
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Old August 13th, 2019, 04:33 PM   #32
DannoXYZ
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MOTY - 2018, MOTM - Nov '17
Yup... Ninja 400 already more well-rounded, easier ergonomics with more upright position, easy-to-operate clutch... very Honda-like!
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