Kawasaki Ninja 400 vs KTM RC 390 vs Kawasaki Ninja 300: specifications compared

    We pit the recently launched Ninja 400 BS6 against its stablemate, the Ninja 300, and its Austrian rival, the new KTM RC 390 BS6.

    Published On Jun 29, 2022 10:35:00 AM


    Kawasaki Ninja 400 vs KTM RC 390 vs Kawasaki Ninja 300: specifications compared
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    Two years after it was discontinued in our market, the pricey little sportbike, the Ninja 400, is back in its BS6 avatar. The Ninja 300, meanwhile, was only updated to feature dual-channel ABS and meet the stricter emission norms, and remains the same as it’s ever been. Meanwhile, the recently overhauled RC 390 from KTM has long been a popular choice in our market and is the closest rival to the Ninja duo from Kawasaki. 

    Let’s stack them up and see what’s what (on paper).

    Ninja 400 BS6 vs RC 390 BS6 vs Ninja 300 BS6: engine and output

    Engine & Output
    Kawasaki Ninja 400 BS6KTM RC 390 BS6Kawasaki Ninja 300 BS6
    EngineLiquid-cooled, 399cc parallel twin engineLiquid-cooled, 373cc single-cylinder engineLiquid-cooled, 296cc parallel twin
    Power45hp @ 10,000rpm43.5hp @ 9,000rpm39hp @ 11,000rpm
    Torque37 Nm @ 9,000rpm37 Nm @ 7,000rpm26.1 Nm @ 10,000rpm

    As we can see, there’s a stark contrast in the way these engines make their power. The Kawasaki’s little parallel twins mimic four-cylinder engines in that they reserve their performance for those willing to explore the entirety of its rev band. The KTM, meanwhile, sports a single cylinder that has a punchy mid-range, albeit, with a lower redline compared to the Kwackers.

    One similarity between the three is that they all feature 6-speed gearboxes mated to a slip-and-assist clutch. 

    Ninja 400 BS6 vs RC 390 BS6 vs Ninja 300 BS6: suspension, brakes

    Suspension, Tyres & Brakes
    Kawasaki Ninja 400 BS6KTM RC 390 BS6Kawasaki Ninja 300 BS6
    Suspension (f)37mm telescopic fork43 mm upside-down fork37mm telescopic fork
    Suspension (r)Preload adjustable monoshockPreload & rebound adjustable monoshockPreload adjustable monoshock
    Tyres (f)110/70-R17110/70-R17110/70-R17
    Tyres (r)150/60-R17150/60-R17140/70-R17
    Brakes (f)310mm disc (dual-channel ABS)320mm disc (dual-channel ABS)290 mm disc (dual-channel ABS)
    Brakes (r)193mm disc230mm disc220mm disc

    In this area of comparison, the KTM has the clear upper hand with its superior hardware compared to the Japanese rivals. Not only does it feature more sophisticated suspension in terms of an upside-down fork but its monoshock is adjustable for rebound as well as preload. Both Kawasakis have telescopic forks and preload adjustable monoshocks.

    All bikes here feature dual-channel ABS, but the KTM trumps the Kawasakis again by bringing cornering ABS and supermoto ABS (the option to turn rear ABS off) to the table. 

    Ninja 400 BS6 vs RC 390 BS6 vs Ninja 300 BS6: weight, dimensions

    Weight & Dimensions
    Kawasaki Ninja 400 BS6KTM RC 390 BS6Kawasaki Ninja 300 BS6
    Kerb weight168 kg172 kg179 kg
    Seat height785mm835mm780mm
    Fuel capacity14 litres13.7 litres17 litres
    Ground Clearance140mm153mm140mm

    When the covers were first taken off the BS3 version of the RC 390 in 2014, it was a lithe little thing weighing just 164kg. Fast forward eight years and the RC 390 in its current guise weighs nearly 8kg more at 172kg.

    The 168kg Kawasaki Ninja 400 is the lightest bike here, while the Ninja 300, at 179kg, is the heaviest. The Ninja 400 also has a seat height that’s lower by a significant 50mm, compared to the KTM, which should make it the better choice for those vertically challenged. That accessible seat height comes at the cost of ground clearance. The Ninja has only 140mm of ground clearance, which could pose a challenge over our mountainous speed breakers, especially if riding two-up. 

    Showing its age here, the Ninja 300, in its current iteration, weighs 7kg more than its Orange rival and nearly 11kg more than its larger stablemate. The only plus point here is its lowest seat height of 780mm.

    Ninja 400 BS6 vs RC 390 BS6 vs Ninja 300 BS6: features

    The RC 390 benefits from having the same colour TFT screen as seen on KTM’s other 390 offerings. The KTM’s arsenal of electronics includes a switchable Traction Control System as well as an up-and-down quickshifter. A nifty feature that the RC gets is adjustable clip-ons to tailor your ergonomics as you see fit.

    The Ninjas don’t feature any electronic aids to speak of beyond their dual-channel ABS units. The instrument consoles doing duty on the Kwackers, albeit different on both models, are quite dated in their design, featuring an analogue tachometer paired to a small LCD screen. Another glaring absence on both the Kawasakis here is that of adjustable levers.

    Ninja 400 BS6 vs RC 390 BS6 vs Ninja 300 BS6: price

    Price Comparison
    Kawasaki Ninja 400 BS6KTM RC 390 BS6Kawasaki Ninja 300 BS6
    Price (ex-showroom, Delhi)Rs. 4.99 lakhRs. 3.14 lakhRs. 3.37 lakh

    Perhaps the greatest chink in the Ninja 400’s armour is the unrealistic price it commands. The price delta is highlighted even further by the fact that the KTM RC 390 gets better componentry, an array of electronic aids that would put a few larger-capacity motorcycles to shame as well as a price tag that undercuts the Kawasaki Ninja 400 by a huge Rs 1.85 lakh. It would have been fantastic to see Kawasaki localise the Ninja 400 for our market (as they did with the 300) and replace the old 300 altogether, but that's something that is yet to happen. 

    The clearly outgunned Ninja 300 commands a Rs 20,000 premium over the KTM. However, for those seeking the thrills of a smooth, high-revving twin cylinder motor, the thoroughly outdated Ninja 300 is still the most affordable option in the market, which explains why it remains Kawasaki's bestseller. Therefore, when it comes to sheer bang for the buck, the updated KTM RC390 remains unbeaten in this comparison.

    All prices mentioned are ex-showroom, Delhi.

    Would you shell out the extra dough for either of the Ninjas over the RC? Let us know in the comments section below.


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