Test rode a Ninja 400 today - Honda CBR500R Forum : CB500F and CB500X Forums
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 07:52 PM Thread Starter
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Test rode a Ninja 400 today

I've been curious about the Ninja 400 since it came out last year, and my local dealer let me test ride a 2019 version today.

The biggest plus for the Ninja, and the one that got me excited about it, is the light weight. It's 366 lbs wet weight compares with 425 lbs for the 2014 cbr500r that I currently own. That's almost 60 pounds and a big difference. Power as tested by various sources is nearly identical (because they are both designed to be Euro compliant). I know Motorcyclist tested both on a race track and the Ninja beat the cbr, probably due to the lighter weight.

My test ride was only about 15 minutes and did not include any curvy two lane roads, so the handling evaluation was limited. However, I came away with some impressions in comparing the two:

Engine--

I expected the Ninja to have less low-end grunt than the Honda because of the higher redline on the Ninja, but this did not seem to be the case. I could easily ride around town between 4 and 5K rpm, just like with the Honda.

Ergonomics--

I was surprised to find the seat to foot peg distance felt a little cramped. I had only straddled the Ninja on the showroom floor until today and it's pretty hard to get both feet on the pegs without somebody holding the bike up for you. Reach to and height of bars felt the same, but overall the bike felt smaller. Maybe it is, or maybe its a factor of the lighter weight. I liked the Honda more. The Ninja felt more "racy", but the Honda feels more "livable".

Mirrors-----worse on the Ninja

Instrumentation----better on the Ninja, but the newer cbr might be comparable.

Clutch, transmission, brakes----pretty much the same for both bikes and pretty darn good, too. Clutch pull is very light on the Ninja, but is not a problem on the Honda.

The deciding factors----My cbr has three things that make it better than the Ninja 400 for me. First is that I could and did mount a center stand. Second is the higher output alternator (500 watts versus 300), that allows me to run heated grips and heated vest and gps with no problems. Third is the Givi hard side cases that I could transfer from my previous bike just by buying the mounting brackets for the cbr.

HOWEVER: If I were buying both new today, the price difference ($5000 for the Ninja versus $7000 for the Honda), would make it a hard choice.

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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-19-2019, 08:17 AM
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Thanks so much. I ride an R3, and I'm pretty satisfied. But the CBR500 and the Ninja 400 are both on my radar. Your evaluations pretty well verify what I would have thought. Racy vs Comfort. Both well made bikes and dependable. Really not much difference in cost. Thanks again.

To ride or not to ride? What a stupid question!... Anon
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-26-2019, 09:15 AM
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Location: I live in Hamilton Hill a suburb of Fremantle, the port for Perth Western Australia.
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Thanks for those impressions. I must admit, like you I have been interested in how the Ninja 400 would compare to the cbr500r . Your feedback from your test ride is much appreciated.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-27-2019, 03:35 AM
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I think the Ninja is the best value in small sport bikes, but like you, I thought it felt small and more cramped than the CBR500R. I could certainly ride it without a problem, but the CBR fits much better, with more room, and it feels like a full-size bike. The Ninja 400 felt like a 3/4 size bike the minute I got on it, but I'm 6'1" and 195lbs. That being said, I don't know that the CBR is worth the premium over the N400 when shopping new. If the customer is primarily commuting and wants to do some touring, then it could be worth the premium. If the customer wants to get on the track, then it's the Ninja 400 no question. But take them both out in some traffic and weather, and I think the CBR500R would shine as the better street bike for the vast majority of riders.
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