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Discussion Starter #1
Ive been shopping between the two and it's really hard to decide. With the recent changes in the 2019 model year, they are nearly identical in features (slipper clutch, gear indicator, led everything). What I like about the Honda is the smoothness of the engine and the extreme riding range/fuel economy. Other than that you're splitting hair and I don't know if it's worth the $2k premium (dealer near me is selling the ninja 400 for $4700). I know this may be biased because it's a Honda forum but what is your opinion?
 

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If the specs are similar then go with your heart.


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Decisions, decisions, especially when it comes to money. Like the other members said ride them both & make the call. The price difference is pretty significant & the lighter weight of the Kawa is nice. However, as you mentioned, this is a Honda forum so expect some bias. Personally the best thing about the Honda is the engine. It has an amazingly predictable & linear power band which redlines at 8700 rpm. You will spend most of the time somewhere between 4000-6000 rpm on the Honda. This is mellow by Ninja standards where you would have to wind the Kawa up much more to get similar performance. I enjoyed banging 10000 rpm shifts when I was 23. At 68 I prefer shifting at 5000+- & still getting down the road at a decent clip. Matter of taste I suppose. Whichever bike you choose have fun & be sane.
 

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If i was buying a new bike i would take the ninja 400 over the cbr 500 just on cost alone and would even buy the new R3 before the cbr.I like the looks of the cbr more then the others and it's fuel economy is better but the ninja has a better power to weight ratio and is faster.Where i live the ninja is 2500 less then the 500.The kawasaki 2019 Z650 is the same price as the honda cbr500r in canada which i find strange.
 

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I was ready to buy the 400 but changed my mind when the 2019 500 information was made available.if you are doing your own maint the Honda motor is much easier to work on.the new swing arm design is more user friendly.the new clip-ons are under the triple, (lower) which is of course is a personal preference thing.the two piece frame may not be an important item for most until you have to replace an entire frame just because of a bent or broken sub frame.the slipper clutch and the new valve timing are going to make this bike better for track days or canyon carving.the weight difference was an issue for me but you just have to figure out if that one negative thing is really that important.plus the Honda looks better.
 

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I'll be following this thread too. I posted elsewhere on this forum that I'm looking to make another motorcycle purchase this spring, as I don't like my Rebel 300. The cb500f is a top contender, as is the Yamaha MT07. But the Kawasaki Z400 popped up on my radar recently. It's checking off a LOT of boxes on my wishlist, but I'm concerned the engine is a little small. But that's offset by the price!
 

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I really, really like the 60 pound lighter weight of the Ninja 400, and I am actually looking for a used one on Craigslist, but it has some disadvantages. One is the lower output of the alternator, which is around 300 watts versus 500 watts for the CBR. This means that heated gear and grips, plus things like gps, may exceed the capacity of the charging system. Another drawback for me is that there are no hard sidecases available for the Ninja, while I have the ability to mount Givi hard cases to my cbr. Lastly, the smoothness and torque of the cbr and its incredible fuel mileage is a definite consideration. Unknown, but perhaps a factor, is the build quality of the Honda.
 

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I checked out both, and thought the Ninja 400 was a better deal on specs alone, but I liked the CBR500 more when I actually rode them. The lighter weight and instrument display are the only things I liked better about the Ninja, and Honda improved the display for 2019.
The CBR500 was much more comfortable for my size (6'1", 200lbs), didn't feel like a small bike, looks better, had more linear power, flat torque curve that got off the line quicker, and was more enjoyable for commuting in traffic (what I mostly do). I have no doubt the Ninja would be a better track bike, and I really liked how much quicker it leaned over, but it wasn't nearly as good as the CBR500R for how I typically ride. With the new dash, swingarm, slipper clutch, and more power, the 2019 CBR500R is even better. But whether it's worth the premium over the Ninja 400 is something I think you will only know if you ride them both.
 

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I believe the Ninja 400 is selling like hotcakes, and Honda and Yamaha are going to have to step up to the plate and make some changes if they are going to stay competitive. Neither one made significant changes this year, but it usually takes a couple of years to come out with something really radical, like a major weight reduction on the Honda and more horsepower for the Yamaha.
 

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Not sure is it pertains to you but my CBR500 is much cheaper to insure than my ninja 300. I have rode the 400 and thought it was a fun ride but th eCBR was much more comfortable to me. Also, try out an R3. They are very fun bikes.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
The 2 top dog in this class is the Ninja and cbr500r. I don't think the r3 is even considered in recent comparisons. I guess I'm leaning towards the cbr509r more than the ninja 400 strictly due to the smoothness of the engine and gigantic tank capacity and fuel economy. Just $2000 premium is a tough pill to swallow.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Definitely not my first bike, looking to sell my 2004 Honda 919. Previously I have 09 Ninja 250, 09 Ninja 600, 13 pcx150, 13 cbr500r, 93 Nighthawk 750, and currently have a 919 and looking to get the 19 cbr or ninja.
 

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No newbie to motorcycles I see. Since you previously owned a ‘13 cbr500 I would be curious to hear your take on the ‘19 version.
Like you, I have owned a slew of different bikes over the past 50 years. Some larger & some smaller, but mostly 500s. My current ‘16 500F is certainly one of my favorites (looks aside). Hope you decide soon.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
No newbie to motorcycles I see. Since you previously owned a ‘13 cbr500 I would be curious to hear your take on the ‘19 version.
Like you, I have owned a slew of different bikes over the past 50 years. Some larger & some smaller, but mostly 500s. My current ‘16 500F is certainly one of my favorites (looks aside). Hope you decide soon.
I like the 13 cbr500r. However I sold it because I thought I wanted more power, which I did with the Honda 919. However I do miss how smooth the bike is, the 500 is very smooth, the looks, the handling and how light it is, can't say enough how important it is for a bike to be light. The 919 is clumsy in comparison. Also, the fuel economy of the 500 is out of this world amazing. No bike can go 200+ miles per tank and be so light, fun, fuel efficient. The 19 cbr500r have so much improvement compare to the 13 that it is a no brainer. Bigger has tank, led lighting, slipper clutch, sportier riding position, sportier looks, gear indicator, gas cap that doesn't come out with the key (who thought this is a good idea?) it's the perfect commuter, weekends, and touring bike.

I really hate 2 cylinder bikes though, they all sound like farts. It's just whether you want low or loud farts. If they can put an inline 4 and still retain the fuel efficiency in the 500, it would be a legendary bike for sure
 
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