08 March 2024

New Ninjas – now you see them

Ninja ZX-4RR

A more mature rider – by age at least – Paul Browne has fond memories of Kawasaki’s ZXR 400, the mid-90s pocket-rocket which very much excited bikers as they grooved along to Firestarter* on their Sony Discmans.

Now his blood is rising once more with news that there’s a couple of new Ninjas in town, the ZX-4R and the ZX-4RR.


* Ask your da.


Those of us who could loosely be described as ‘older and wiser’ fondly remember cutting our superbike teeth on 400cc Japanese machines.

The one that stood out was the Kawasaki ZXR 400R.

It was a beautiful bike, with a lineage that came straight from Superbike racing.

Now the Japanese giant has decided to re-visit the genre with an all new Ninja ZX-4RR. And it’s arrived here in Ireland.

Ninja ZX-4RR

Taking their lead from their World Superbike machines and giving the Ninja name the respect it deserves, they’ve made a bike around an inline four cylinder engine. Even the chassis that in which it resides is a piece of art that’s been inspired by the larger capacity race-winning machines.

Add Showa suspension and the bike starts to take shape.

Two up

Ninja ZX-4RRWhen I say ‘the’ bike, there are actually two.

The ZX-4R, or single R, is the one that’s finished in a metallic black.

The one that I want is the double R.

In its distinctive Kawasaki green and black it’s ready to run on a trackday where, thanks to its Ram Air, it makes 79bhp.

That’s a number we could only have dreamed of back in the day.

One of the other things that makes me all misty eyed is that the rev limiter is set at a staggering 15,000rpm.

Lit up

Ninja ZX-4RRBoth new bikes come with LED lighting. This includes the headlight, stop and tail light and even the indicators.

They also have a full-colour LCD screen. From here the rider can see and adjust features such as power modes and traction control.

In track mode the rider can see their lap times, gear position, and the bike’s RPM starting at 10,000 revs.

The ZX-4RR also comes as standard with a bi-directional quick shifter.

The RR version’s capabilities when it comes to riding on a circuit are what I like.

While the outright power may not look all that impressive to seasoned riders, the bike has the significant advantage of putting down its bhp in a way that’s predictable, controllable, and useable.

Those of us who ride one litre bikes on track should look out. We’re about to be passed on the inside on turn one!

Both the Kawasaki ZX-4R and the ZX-4RR are available from Bikeworld in Dublin. Prices have yet to be confirmed, so drop Neil an email  to learn the score.

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