As Kawasaki was shooting a commercial on the streets of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, local NBC affiliate WTMJ may have revealed something Kawasaki didn’t want us to see yet. Based on the footage the station got, it sure looks like the lightweight Ninja 400 is coming to America. The Ninja 400 is basically a smaller, cheaper version of the parallel-twin Ninja 650 which would make an excellent bike for beginners or for urban adventures.
What we see is a pair of green sport bikes with a high-mounted muffler, curvy bodywork, and a narrow build. We’re not going to pretend we can tell by looking at an incomplete picture of the motorcycle that it’s a 400, the mock license plates on the back of these bikes say “Ninja 400.”
Why Milwaukee? “I think it has something to say about Milwaukee being seen nationally as kind of an up and coming cool place as opposed to the old Laverne and Shirley image,” Andy Larsen, a partner and VP at Boelter & Lincoln, told WTMJ. Boelter & Lincoln is a Milwaukee ad agency not affiliated with the shoot.
“I think maybe they're going for more of an urban feel,” Larsen said. “They may be trying to reposition and get away from only in the desert type position.”
It’s possible that they’re shooting an international ad in the urban cityscape of Milwaukee to use in their home Japanese market where the 400 is already available, but we think it’s pretty likely we’ll see it stateside. More affordable, lightweight motorcycles available would be great for getting more new riders into motorcycles, which is happening at a rather slow pace right now.