The Kawasaki Ninja series is getting a lot of attention this year and with good reason. Kawasaki presents us, among others, the ZX-4RR, ready for the track with features rarely seen on a production motorcycle of this displacement and what’s more, at a reasonable price.

Kawasaki also offers us the ZX-4R, which I have the opportunity to test over the next few days as well as the Ninja 400 model. I will tell you about my experience with the ZX-4R but also make a little comparison with the other two models to fully understand the differences of each.

Kawasaki Ninja ZX-4R 2023

Conception & Design

The ZX-4R design and feel is very similar to other Kawasaki Ninjas and we like it like that. All black, its sporty look makes you want to see what it has to offer and also makes you want to ride it!

When I took possession of the Ninja, what I immediately noticed and appreciated about the ZX-4R was its size. We don’t have the impression of being on a small motorcycle despite the displacement. A plus for many, with only 20 millimeters difference with the ZX-6R on the wheelbase and 35 millimeters on the total length.

I really appreciate manufacturers who, despite the small displacement and the category that could be called “Entry-level”, do not cut corners, and offer a quality product with characteristics similar to the larger models.

Kawasaki Ninja ZX-4R 2023

Comfort and Ergonomics:

With a weight of just over 400 pounds and remarkable maneuverability and lightness, the ZX-4R is easy to tame. General comfort is satisfactory for its style and category. The sporty driving position is rather aggressive, as you would expect, but it’s not unreasonable either.

Kawasaki Ninja ZX-4R 2023

The body positions itself naturally and is ready to change driving style smoothly. It is very easy to lean on the bike for high speeds and move left and right in curves.

Technology and Features:

The Ninja’s engine is a small 4-cylinder engine with a very high rev capacity that I like! A nice power curve and superb sound is offered with this engine. Once 8,000 rpm have been reached, the concert begins, and a smile instantly appears…

The 6-speed transmission also offers an interesting speed range compared to other models in the same category. I don’t like being stuck riding at too low or too high rpm due to an unoptimized gear ratio…

I don’t always ride on highways or country roads, and I like to have a motorcycle that is easy and pleasant to drive around town which is the case with this model.

Now, to better understand their specificities, let’s compare the 3 models a bit.

Kawasaki Ninja ZX-4RR 2023

Ninja ZX-4RR:

  • 399cc DOHC 16-valve in-line four engine
  • 6-speed with assist & slipper clutch
  • Dual-Direction Quick Shifter
  • 15-liter tank
  • Inverted Forks (SFF-BP) Adjustable
  • Fully adjustable gas-charged shock with piggyback reservoir.
  • Dual floating disk with 4-piston calipers on the Front
  • Full Color TFT screen
  • Power Modes & Traction Control
  • 120/17 – 160/17 tires
Kawasaki Ninja ZX-4R 2023

Ninja ZX-4R:

  • 399cc DOHC 16-valve in-line four engine
  • 6-speed with assist & slipper clutch
  • 15-liter tank
  • Inverted Forks (SFF-BP)
  • Gas-charged shock with adjustable spring preload
  • Dual floating disk with 4-piston calipers on the Front
  • Full Color TFT screen
  • Power Modes & Traction Control
  • 120/17 – 160/17 tires
Kawasaki Ninja 400 2023

Ninja 400:

  • 399cc Parallel Twin DOHC 8-Valve Engine
  • 6-speed with assist & slipper clutch
  • 14-liter tank
  • Telescopic Forks
  • Gas-charged shock with adjustable spring preload
  • 1 Front disc with a 2-piston caliper
  • LCD screen  + Analogue-style Tach
  • 110/17 – 150/17 tires

We can quickly see the great similarity between the ZX-4R and the ZX-4RR. They differ primarily in suspension, which offers full adjustability as well as superior abuse capacity over the 4RR. Perfect for the track and those looking for optimal suspension that is precisely tuned to their preferences.

Braking capacity for the ZX-4R/4RR is also impressive with a dual front disc and 4-piston caliper that will also take abuse. Under heavy braking, the bike remained stable and predictable, and I felt fully confident. For me, strong and precise braking is essential to fully enjoy a motorcycle and of its capabilities.

There are more distinctions for the Ninja 400. It is a more modest version, but perfect for the road, daily commuting and those looking for the fun of sports models, but less suitable for track driving or aggressive riding.

Kawasaki Ninja ZX-4R 2023

Price & Value:

Taking into account what the Ninja ZX-4R/4RR offers us, I find the price rather reasonable, with an MSRP of $9,999 and $10,999 respectively. For its part, the Ninja 400 is offered to us with an MSRP of $7,299.

Final Thoughts:

Riding, curves, and fun times equal happiness on two wheels. The Ninja ZX-4R is enjoyable to ride and I would have really enjoyed riding it for a long period. A great machine to start or stay in the sport without some of the inconveniences of bigger displacement motorcycles.

A great success for Kawasaki. Whether you are an experienced rider or not, the ZX-4R is definitely worth considering, especially for those who like or who would like to do a few outings on the track from time to time.

A perfect Christmas gift to give yourself! At least to put on our list…

Jean-Sebastien Mackay

Jean-Sebastien Mackay

Riding motorcycles since the 90's - Husband - Father - Army Veteran - Founder of KNUCKLE

Kawasaki Ninja ZX-4R 2023
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