Best Value Motorcycle of 2018: Kawasaki Ninja 400
We’ve waxed poetic about the Kawasaki Ninja 400 more times than I care to count here at MO. Just check the Best Lightweight/Entry Level category posted a few days earlier to see what we like about the bike. Aside from being a polished, handsome, and fun motorcycle for both new riders and experienced veterans alike, what we didn’t mention in the Lightweight/Entry Level piece was just how affordable the little Ninja is.
Ranging in price from $4,999 to $5,499, depending on color choice and ABS, the 400 is easily accessible for students on a budget – we’ve even had readers report dealer markdowns in their area on the Ninja 400.
So, if you’ve been curious about getting one, now is a great time to pounce. When it comes to smiles per mile and performance per dollar, the baby Ninja is hard to beat.
Best Value Motorcycle of 2018 Runner-Up: Suzuki V-Strom 1000XT
The Suzuki V-Strom 1000XT was praised by every rider on both street and dirt portions of our 2018 Big-Bore Adventure Touring Shootout. Some called it a sleeper bike amongst the flashier more expensive ADV offerings, while others flat-out chose it as the bike they would bring home to live with. Without dominating in any one category of performance, the Suzuki V-Strom 1000XT did an exemplary job, particularly for its price point, which is precisely why the Strom gets our nod for Best Value Motorcycle of 2018 Runner Up.
Suzuki’s adventure-focused XT model features its 1037cc V-Twin engine which provides strong torquey performance that’s great on-road and off, delivering 92 hp and 67 lb-ft of torque, per our MO dyno. Also adding to the V-Strom’s value, is the Bosch five-axis IMU, three levels of traction control, and a linked braking system with cornering ABS.
The V-Strom’s relatively low weight, at 554-pounds (measured on our scales), and 33.5-inch seat height also makes this an accessible adventure motorcycle to a broader audience. Tubeless wire wheels, in 19- and 17-inch sizes fore and aft, help balance on-road performance while still giving riders plenty of options for more aggressive off-road rubber.
The Suzuki V-Strom is a lot of motorcycle for the minimal mullah required to put one in your garage. The man, the myth, the legend, John “Don’t call me to ride ADV bikes” Burns even heaped the 1000XT with praise when he rode it in the San Bernardino mountains back in the summer of ’17. If that, and the comments from every test rider in our recent Adventure shootouts weren’t enough to have you consider the Strom trooper for your next adventure, maybe the Best Value Motorcycle of 2018 Runner-Up award is.