Used Bike

Class of '91 - Pocket Rockets

There’s the buzz of impending revolution in the air as UK riders demand scaled-down, high-performance pocket rockets built for the Japanese market. and the cbr400 and zxr400 are the best of them all...

As far as motorcycling trends go, the 400 import craze be the biggest to hit our shores for some time. Specialist importer outfits are springing up all over the country and providing bikes that official importers can’t, or won’t. It seems incredible that the Japanese should go to so much effort to produce smaller-scale sports motorcycles purely for their own market, where depreciation renders them virtually worthless after a matter of months. The appetite that the Japanese consumer has for the latest, greatest must-have product is leading to a growth in our market that is good and bad.

While entrepreneurs fly east on shopping frenzies, loading up containers crammed with perfectly-formed 400s, the UK importers are scratching their heads. They are clearly losing sales but the market is growing and luring new riders that are attracted to these jewel-like missiles.

Full-on superbike looks and cheap insurance provide the lure and on a purely practical note, the physical advantages give novice riders and the fairer sex a greater choice for their first sports bike. These new riders will no doubt go on to purchase larger bikes in time, thus benefitting the official retailers. So isn’t everyone a winner, or do the 400s sweeping into the UK signal the beginning of the end for the 600cc class?

Kawasaki are the only UK importer officially bringing in their gorgeous little ZXR400, so it seems only fitting to line up the ZXR against the sexy little Honda CBR that is the latest toy on the list of discerning grey-bike customer. The recipe for the breed remains unchanged – small, light and lots of revs. Size and weight are the keys here. If you are physically tall or heavy, then neither of these two should be on your shopping list. Whilst they have a reasonably impressive power output, they come with no more torque than a 250cc 2-stroke and weigh more, making them reliant on heaps of revs.

Dragging 15 stone Englishmen from corner to corner wasn’t exactly part of the original design brief whereas a jockey-sized rider of around 10 stone will be able to maximise the available performance. Even so, with a full tank of fuel and a recently devoured fry-up, we’re asking the 400’s to entertain 250kg and impress in the performance department.

Continue the pocket rocket 400 test 2/3

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