According to recently unearthed CARB documents, we’re going to see a new Z400 naked bike from Kawasaki this fall.
Specifically, the CARB paperwork refers to a “ER400DK,” which shares the same engine as the Ninja 400. So maybe that means it will be called the ER400, but in either case, it means Team Green has a naked bike coming, powered by the latest version of its beginner bike parallel twin engine.
And so, what’s old is new again. Riders who’ve been around a while will remember we’ve seen this all before, back in the 1970s and 1980s when Kawasaki built the KZ400 and KZ440 models, built around budget parallel twins. They might not have set the world on fire, but they did set a lot of riders out on two wheels who couldn’t have afforded a bigger bike.
The Ninja 400 currently puts out about 45 hp and 28 lb-ft of torque from its liquid-cooled engine. The older KZ 400-range models were rated for about 27 hp, depending who you ask, so the newer version shows just how far beginner bike tech has come in the past few years, especially when you consider options like ABS will likely be available.