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I own a 2014 cbr500r that I have put over 57,000 miles on. When the Kawasaki Ninja 400 came out in 2018 it looked like a better bike.....much lighter, quicker, and cheaper. I got the hots for one and in the showroom it felt good. I also thought it would be the perfect bike for my daughter who also rides a cbr just like mine. She has had some problems with the cbr due to its weight and seat height causing her to have a couple of tip-overs when stopped.

I finally found a used 2018 Ninja 400 locally at a good price and bought it. It had 4400 miles and now has over 5100, so I have had some time to get a good impression of how it compares with the cbr.

The good things about the Ninja are just what I expected.....very light weight, nimble handling and a very strong engine. At 8,000 rpm, when the cbr is about to sign off, the Ninja really gets going. Good things I didn't expect were a great front brake (but previous owner had installed EBC HH pads), better instrumentation than my cbr (later cbr's might be better than mine), and a nice light clutch pull.

The bad things about the Ninja are less comfortable ergonomics, with higher footpegs and strangely downward angled clipons. The worst, though, was the suspension.......it's just harsh. I've set the shock at the softest setting, but on the bumpy roads around here I get beat up. I owned a Ninja 650 before I bought the cbr and it also had a harsh ride. Is this a Kawasaki trait?

The bottom line is I like the cbr better and I'm going to give the Ninja to my daughter. I've lowered it an inch, and with the lighter weight it should be perfect for her with the exception of the ride. She uses it mostly for an 11 mile commute in San Francisco, so it should be OK.
 

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Had the same feeling, it is a 3/4 sized bike compared to the 500. The kawasaki is strong for a 400cc, and significantly lighter than the 500, so for track duty it would be a better bike, but for all round use the 500 is a better fit.
 

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Yes, I also like to do multi-day rides on my 500 and the Ninja would not be near as comfortable for that. Another problem would be the low power of the alternator. It's only 300 watts on the Ninja and 500 watts on the cbr. This could make a difference when running heated grips, heated vest, and gps, like I do on my cbr.
 

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I own a 2014 cbr500r that I have put over 57,000 miles on. When the Kawasaki Ninja 400 came out in 2018 it looked like a better bike.....much lighter, quicker, and cheaper. I got the hots for one and in the showroom it felt good. I also thought it would be the perfect bike for my daughter who also rides a cbr just like mine. She has had some problems with the cbr due to its weight and seat height causing her to have a couple of tip-overs when stopped.

I finally found a used 2018 Ninja 400 locally at a good price and bought it. It had 4400 miles and now has over 5100, so I have had some time to get a good impression of how it compares with the cbr.

The good things about the Ninja are just what I expected.....very light weight, nimble handling and a very strong engine. At 8,000 rpm, when the cbr is about to sign off, the Ninja really gets going. Good things I didn't expect were a great front brake (but previous owner had installed EBC HH pads), better instrumentation than my cbr (later cbr's might be better than mine), and a nice light clutch pull.

The bad things about the Ninja are less comfortable ergonomics, with higher footpegs and strangely downward angled clipons. The worst, though, was the suspension.......it's just harsh. I've set the shock at the softest setting, but on the bumpy roads around here I get beat up. I owned a Ninja 650 before I bought the cbr and it also had a harsh ride. Is this a Kawasaki trait?

The bottom line is I like the cbr better and I'm going to give the Ninja to my daughter. I've lowered it an inch, and with the lighter weight it should be perfect for her with the exception of the ride. She uses it mostly for an 11 mile commute in San Francisco, so it should be OK.
I had a 2019 Ninja 400 and put 6,500 miles on it before I traded it in for a 2020 ZX6R. I bought a 2019 CBR500R a couple of days ago and put 200 miles on it so far.

I really like the 500R for its weight relative to being more stable on the highway. However, I'm a little disappointed in the power. It feels like my N400 pulled noticeably harder than the 500R does.

However, I bought the 500R more for comfort and love the way it looks. When I feel the need for speed, I'll just jump on my ZX6R which is an amazing machine. I can't ride it for long without being uncomfortable which is why i added the 500R to the garage. So far it's been really fun cruising around on it and taking it easy...just wish it felt more like the Ninja 400 in terms of power delivery and straight line quickness.
 

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Also, forgot to mention I added the $200 Kawasaki extended reach seat to the Ninja 400 with an extra inch of padding. Man it was worth it, I could ride on it all day with that seat. Stock seat was hard as a rock.

The perfect bike for me would be a 500R that felt as peppy as the N400 and redlined at 12k like the N400 did. I'm not digging the low redline of the 500R. However, I look past it since I can get rev my ZX6R to 16k rpms. The tradeoff though is my body hates me after 45 minutes.
 

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Yes, if you are used to a high revving motor,then the 500 is a disappointment.
But it is a good motor for an all-round good bike. And the gas mileage is great.
 

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And if you're used to a reliable and well functioning clutch, like the CBR500.. You'll be sorely disappointed in the Ninja400. Since its introduction in 2018, Kawi has had problems with the N400's clutch. Their "new and redesigned" parts in the 2020 model, appear to have slowed the bleeding, but not cured the problem. That's really a shame, because the bike gets stellar reviews about everything else.
 

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Sorry was reading that the ninja 400 has downward angled clip ons like cbr600/1000rr is that correct? Had a 500f commuter but was looking to get cbr500r until I saw the high clip ons... have a cbr1000rr but don't want to use it as commuter bike but looking for something with similar riding position for commuter bike. Don't want to hijack the thread but please pm me on ninja 400 details.
 

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Sorry was reading that the ninja 400 has downward angled clip ons like cbr600/1000rr is that correct? Had a 500f commuter but was looking to get cbr500r until I saw the high clip ons... have a cbr1000rr but don't want to use it as commuter bike but looking for something with similar riding position for commuter bike. Don't want to hijack the thread but please pm me on ninja 400 details.
If you are looking for the aggressive riding position of a Fireblade, but the fuel economy, lightness, etc. of these bikes, you might want to look at a KTM RC390. It's the most aggressive of the entry level sport bikes. It's also a KTM, so have a budget for maintenance and repairs, or an extended warranty.

You might like a CBR650R too. It's way more docile than the Fireblade, more aggressive riding position in the CBR500R, but more comfy than the Fireblade. Still gets fuel economy in the 50+ mpg. Tuned for the street, so plenty of torque throughout the rev range. Still fast enough to be a lot of fun if you want it.
 

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If you are looking for the aggressive riding position of a Fireblade, but the fuel economy, lightness, etc. of these bikes, you might want to look at a KTM RC390. It's the most aggressive of the entry level sport bikes. It's also a KTM, so have a budget for maintenance and repairs, or an extended warranty.

You might like a CBR650R too. It's way more docile than the Fireblade, more aggressive riding position in the CBR500R, but more comfy than the Fireblade. Still gets fuel economy in the 50+ mpg. Tuned for the street, so plenty of torque throughout the rev range. Still fast enough to be a lot of fun if you want it.
So to be honest i I have a really nice fireblade and i want to get really super proficient, but also need a commuter bike as putting 80 miles round trip on a superbike with $$ parts and ins. isnt wise, esp on CA freeways - i wanted something as a commuter with a super compatible feel / riding position so that i can liteally just jump on either and the muscle memory will be there.

I had a naked more upright commuter - CB500F which i liked but moving back and forth between the 2 bikes was a bit of a challenge given that most of my time was spend on commuter - (taking the fireblade out on weekends). So I was really looking for something from an ergonomic and riding position angle (see specs below).... i also dont want a cbr600RR as that also has expensive insurance... all the Ktms ive seen are naked bikes. But def work exploring (thanks for the suggestion) - just looking for something thats going to be relativity cheap to operate, low insurance, etc.... fuel economy also nice and wanted a to stay around 400-500cc as if i really want to push it - ill take the other bike. Just wanted to find somehting a little closer to the feel of the fireblade that i can use as a commuter.

the fireblade:
  • Wheelbase: 55.3 inches
  • Rake: 23.3 degrees
  • Trail: 3.8 inches
  • Seat Height: 32.3 inches
  • Curb weight: 431 pounds
 

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So to be honest i I have a really nice fireblade and i want to get really super proficient, but also need a commuter bike as putting 80 miles round trip on a superbike with $$ parts and ins. isnt wise, esp on CA freeways - i wanted something as a commuter with a super compatible feel / riding position so that i can liteally just jump on either and the muscle memory will be there.

I had a naked more upright commuter - CB500F which i liked but moving back and forth between the 2 bikes was a bit of a challenge given that most of my time was spend on commuter - (taking the fireblade out on weekends). So I was really looking for something from an ergonomic and riding position angle (see specs below).... i also dont want a cbr600RR as that also has expensive insurance... all the Ktms ive seen are naked bikes. But def work exploring (thanks for the suggestion) - just looking for something thats going to be relativity cheap to operate, low insurance, etc.... fuel economy also nice and wanted a to stay around 400-500cc as if i really want to push it - ill take the other bike. Just wanted to find somehting a little closer to the feel of the fireblade that i can use as a commuter.

the fireblade:
  • Wheelbase: 55.3 inches
  • Rake: 23.3 degrees
  • Trail: 3.8 inches
  • Seat Height: 32.3 inches
  • Curb weight: 431 pounds
Yup. RC 390 fits the bill completely (though it's lighter, which all bikes in that class will be).
 
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