Kawasaki was one of the very few brands in India that offered quarter-litre sports motorcycles a substantial number of years ago when Bajaj Pulsar was considered a very fast bike and the likes of Kawasaki Ninja 250R and Honda CBR250R were aspirational sports bikes. But in between the two, there was a price gap of almost half of the Ninja's Rs 3 lakh price tag. Hence, a very obvious phenomenon was that the CBR250R was sold a lot more and hence the Ninja 250R is now a rare sight. Launching a motorcycle at almost twice the amount has been Kawasaki's old habit in India, and now the Japanese brand seems to have done it again, with the newly launched Kawasaki Ninja 400.
Powered by a 399cc parallel twin liquid-cooled engine that puts out 48 hp at 10,000 rpm and 38 Nm at 8,000 rpm, Kawasaki Ninja 400 will be a fantastic upgrade for those who've owned a 250cc for some time now. But then, they wouldn't mind upgrading to a 650cc either.
Kawasaki Z650 is priced at Rs 4.99 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), as opposed to the Ninja 400 at Rs 4.69 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). The Ninja 400 will be a fantastic machine that will promise a sublime real world and track riding. But the Kawasaki Z650 naked streetfighter will offer more power (67 bhp) and more practicality. If one is hell bound on buying a fully faired bike, then the difference between the Ninja 400 and Kawasaki Ninja 650 (Rs 5.49 lakh, ex-Delhi) isn't stellar large either.
But let's not get into Ninja 400 or Ninja 650, because there is a considerable difference for someone who is already stretching their budget to Rs 4.7 to 4.9 lakh. But I had the money to buy the Kawasaki Ninja 400, why wouldn't I want the Kawasaki Z650 instead?
Kawasaki Ninja 400 is one example. We had a fair amount of expectations from Kawasaki at the 2018 Auto Expo. We thought that they've made their presence clear so there will be products really worth waiting for, but Kawasaki Ninja 400 and Kawasaki Z900 RS didn't show up.
There are 1000cc to 1200cc classic motorcycles available in India that are just as great to look at and promise good performance as well, such as the Triumph Bonneville T100 and T120, both of which are available at well under Rs 10 lakh. The Kawasaki Z900 RS which looks so inviting and will perform fantastically as well thanks to the Z900 engine, however, is quite out of reach at a price tag nearing Rs 16 lakh (ex-showroom).
Not showing up at the expo is no problem at all, but then when these two motorcycles did see the light in the Indian two-wheeler market, the price tags are rendering them difficult to buy.