Kawasaki ZXR400 H (1989 to 1990) Specs

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Kawasaki ZXR400 H

Kawasaki ZXR400 R Specs (H1/H2 models – 1989 to 1990)…..

The Kawasaki ZXR400 H (aka ZXR400R) was a fully faired sports bike that was manufactured in Japan between 1989 and 1990 and unofficially imported into the UK (sold as a ‘grey market’ bike).
As with alot of Jap import bikes, the ZXR400 had features that put many of the bigger (600, 750) cc bikes to shame, like upside down forks, alloy frame, 17 inch wheels and a screaming engine!

. The ZXR400 H was replaced in 1991 by the ZXR400 L, which was available officially from Kawasaki UK.

Servicing your bike? You’ll need a ZXR400 workshop manual…

Basic model info…

Manufacturer: Kawasaki
Model: ZXR400 H
CC: 398cc
Engine type: Inline 4 cylinder (4 stroke)
Years in production: 1989 to 1990
Years reg marks: 1989 – F reg
1990 – G reg
Official UK bike?: No, only available as a grey (non official) import (the ZXR400 H was not available new in the UK, only as a used, import bike)
Kawasaki model code: ZX400
Style of bike: Sports bike (fully faired)
Replaced by: ZXR400 L
Insurance: Group 12 insurance (of 17)

Looking for ZXR 400 parts? Buy ZXR400 spares on Amazon…

ZXR400 H1

Side/front view of a 1989 ZXR400 H1

Kawasaki ZXR400 Specs…

Engine and gearbox stuff…
Displacement: 398 cc
Engine type: Inline four cylinder, four-stroke
Cam configuration: DOHC (double overhead cam shafts)
Number of cylinders: 4
Cylinder firing order: 1 – 2 – 4 – 3
Compression ratio: 12.1
Bore and stroke: 57.0 x 39.0mm
Cylinder compression: 686 to 1079 kpa
Power: 62 HP (45.6 kw) @ 12500 RPM
Torque: 39.2 Nm (4.0 kg-m or 29 ft.lbs) @ 10000 RPM
Clearance between piston ring and cylinder bore: 0.043mm (when new) to 0.070mm (max clearance)
Valves per cylinder: 4 (16 valves in total)
Inlet valve clearance (with cold engine): 0.131mm to 0.140mm
Exhaust valve clearance (with cold engine): 0.85mm to 0.180mm
Cam shafts: Double overhead cams (DOHC)
Fuel type: Petrol (unleaded petrol – 95/4 grade, e.g. petrol from your local garage)
Engine oil capacity: 3 litres
Oil pressure: 216 to 275 kpa (31 to 40 psi) at 4000 rpm and 90 degrees centigrade oil temp
Oil system: Forced lubrication (oil pump) from an oil sump with oil cooler
Oil pump: Trochoid type oil pump

Note: A Trochoid oil pump has an inner and outer rotor with different numbers of teeth (e.g. the outer rotor can have 5 teeth and the inner can have 4 teeth). The difference in teeth creates uneven spaces inside the pump which causes the oil to move to fill the gaps as the inner rotor rotates (example below, not from a Kawasaki engine).

Trochoid pump

Unfortunately, these pumps do suffer from pitting if the incorrect oil has been used in the engine (e.g. car oil).

Recommended engine oil: 10w40 Semi synthetic

Note: You can use any grade oil in the ZXR400 engine (mineral, semi synthetic or full synthetic). Although fully synthetic is the best and will offer the best protection for your engine, we normally recommend a semi synth as it’s a good balance between engine protection and price. More info…

Engine oil capacity: 3 litres
Engine oil filter capacity: 0.2 litres
Oil filter: Hiflo HF303 / Champion F306
Oil change interval: 5000km or 12 months (approx)
Cooling system: Liquid cooled
Cooling system capacity: 2.3 litres
Cooling system change interval: Change every 30,000km or 24 months (approx)
Clutch: Wet, multi plate type clutch
Clutch part no: EBC CK4446 (plates) and EBC CSK007 (springs)

Note: You’ll need a clutch holding tool (EBC part: CT004) for removing it, a clutch lever if you’ve dropped it and possibly a clutch cable if it’s suddenly stopped working!

Clutch operation: Mechanical – Operated by a clutch cable and lever

ZXR400 H1 rear

Side/back view of a ZXR400 H

Final drive stuff…
Final drive: chain
Chain length: 108 link
Chain pitch: 520
Free play: 20 to 35mm

Why is the chain free play important? The free play allows the chain to remain tight enough to drive the bike as the swing arm moves (the swing arm movement increases/decreases the chain tightness).
If the chain is too loose it’s likely to skip over or off the sprockets and if too tight the chain can snap and trash the engine casing.

Front sprocket: 15 teeth
Front sprocket clamp torque: 10nm
Rear sprocket: 45 teeth
Rear sprocket bolts torque: 74nm

ZXR400 carb

ZXR400 H carbs

Fuel and carb stuff…
Fuel type: Petrol (unleaded petrol – 95/4 grade, e.g. petrol from your local garage)
Recommended fuel: 4 stroke / 95 octane
Carb: Keihin CVK-D32 (x 4)
Idle speed: 1200rpm (+/- 50rpm)
Pilot screw setting: 2 1/4 turns out (2 and a quarter)
Float height: 11mm (+/- 2mm)
Throttle grip free play: 2 to 3mm
Choke cable free play: 2 to 3mm

Why is throttle twist grip and choke cable free play important? Because the throttle and choke are mounted on the handle bars, they move as the handle bars move and this movement causes the cables to loosen or tighten.
If the cables are too tight, this can cause the throttle or choke to operate when the bars are turned, if they are too loose they may not work.
The free play allows the throttle or choke to only work when the rider wants them to (as opposed to operating when the bars are turned).
The free play should be checked with the handle bars in the central (straight ahead) position.

ZXR400 H rear shock

ZXR400 H back shock absorber

Suspension, brakes and wheel stuff…
Front brakes: Twin (dual) 300mm floating discs
Front brake caliper: Tokico 4 pot caliper
Front caliper bolt torque: 34nm
Front disc part numbers: EBC MD4008X (x2, left and right disc)
Front brake pad part number: EBC FA158
Upgrade front brake pad part number: EBC EPFA158HH (double H sintered brake pads)

Sintered brake pads are made using heat and pressure to fuse metal particles in the pads together which makes them very resistant to friction (friction causes the brakes to overheat which leads to brake fade in extreem cases). This gives better braking but they can be alot noisier then normal pads.

Rear brake: Single 240mm solid disc
Rear brake caliper: Tokico 1 (single) pot caliper
Rear caliper bolt torque: 25nm
Rear disc part number: EBC MD4009
Rear brake pad part number: EBC FA161
Recommended brake fluid: DOT 4 brake fluid
Brake fluid change interval: Check every 5,000km and change every 20,000km or 24 months (approx)
Brake hose banjo bolt torque: 25nm
Bleed nipple torque: 7.8nm
Front wheel: 3 Spoke cast
Front tyre size: 120/60-17
Front tyre pressure: 32psi
Front spindle nut torque: 110nm
Front spindle clamp bolt torque: 20nm
Rear wheel: 3 spoke cast
Rear tyre size: 160/60-17
Rear tyre pressure: 36psi
Rear spindle nut torque: 110nm
Front suspension: 41mm Upside down forks

Due to their design, upside down forks are much stronger then conventional telescopic forks which means they improve a bikes handling. The only downsides of upside down forks is increased stanchion and seal wear due to these parts being in the area most affected by road dirt and debris.

Stanchion diameter: 41mm
Recommended fork oil: Light – 5w Fork oil

Note: As a very general rule of thumb, most upside down style forks use a 5w (light weight) fork oil and most conventional forks (with the stanchion at the top) use a 10w (medium weight) fork oil.
As stated, this is a GENERAL rule so always double check with your local dealer if your unsure.

Fork oil capacity (oil change): 355ml per fork
Fork oil capacity (if forks have been rebuilt and all old oil removed): 421ml per fork
Fork oil change interval: 24,000km (14912 miles) or 2 years (approx)
Rebound damping setting: 6th Click from fully counterclockwise position
Spring preload setting: 1/4 (one quarter) turn out from fully counterclockwise position
Rear suspension: Single rear monoshock with adjustable preload and rebound damping
Rebound damping setting: Number 1 of 4 positions

ZXR400 back light

ZXR400 H rear light

Weights ‘n measures…
Dry weight (no oils, fuel etc): 163kg
Seat height: 765mm

Note: The low seat height made the ZXR400 popular with ladies and shorter riders.

Wheelbase: 1395mm
Length: 2035mm

Note: Wheelbase is the measurement between the bikes front and rear wheels (usually from the center point of the wheels), length is the total distance between the outermost points of the front and rear of the whole bike.

Width: 705mm
Height: 1125mm
Ground clearance: 120mm
Min turning radius: 3.2 meters
Fuel tank capacity: 16 litres

Kawasaki ZXR400 battery

Kawasaki ZXR400 H battery (YB12A-A).

Electrical stuff…
Starter: Electric starter motor
System voltage: 12 volts
Alternator rated output: Not less then 43 volts at 4000rpm / 23 amps at 10,000rpm

ZXR400 regulator

ZXR400 H1 regulator/rectifier (reg/rec)

Voltage regulated by: Regulator/rectifier
Regulator/rectifier location: Underneath the rear/pillion seat, just by the seat release mechanism.

What does a regulator/rectifier do? A regulator/rectifier (or reg/rec for short) has 2 jobs. The rectifier converts the AC (alternating current) electric from the alternator into DC (direct current) electric so that it can charge the battery. The regulator makes sure the voltage is kept within certain limits so not to damage the battery and other parts.

Battery voltage capacity: 12volts / 10amps
Battery: YB12A-A / CB12A-A / DB12A-A


  • The YB12A-A battery is a 12 volt, 12 amp/hour battery and is length: 134mm width: 80mm height: 160mm in size (more info…).
  • The 1st letter(s) of the battery reference code is a manufacturers reference mark and may vary between different battery makes (different battery manufacturers use different 1st letters), so CB12A-A, YB12A-A and DB12A-A are all the same battery just from different manufacturers (more info…).
  • Also…… Avoid buying the cheapest of the cheap type batteries online as they have a horrendous failure rate (and they can be a bug!er to post back when it fails).
  • This is a conventional battery, which means it will need topping up with distilled water occasionally.
    For those that don’t fancy doing that, there are many maintenance free and gel equivalent batteries now available.


IC Ignitor (CDI) from a 1989 ZXR400 H1

Ignition type: Electronic IC Ignitor (similar to a CDI)

What does a CDI do? CDI stands for capacitor discharge ignition (or ignitor, but it does have many other names as well). Basically, CDI’s store energy which they use to tell engine parts like spark plugs, coils etc when to fire.
Because they store the electricity, this makes them much faster then conventional, mechanical parts and they don’t often need maintenance (as they don’t have any moving parts). Most bikes built after 1980 will probably have some form of CDI. More info…

CDI / IC Ignitor location: Underneath the rear/pillion seat, just by the seat release mechanism.
CDI / IC Ignitor Kawasaki part number: 21119-1271

Note: Although all the ZXR400 H CDI’s we have had have the part number ‘21119-1271’ on them, we have been told that the CDI’s with the part numbers ‘21119-1299’ and ‘21119-1270’ fit (these may have been from bikes that were imported from other countries, but as we’ve never tried fitting them please check against your old part before buying!)

ZXR400 coil

Spark plug coils from a 1989 ZXR400 H1

Spark controlled by: 2 x coil

Note: If possible, it’s always better to buy new coils for your bike. Unfortunately, although many breakers (like us!) test coils prior to putting them up for sale, because they are used, theres no knowing how long they will last, buying new coils, although often more expensive, is usually a safer option.

Spark plug: NGK CR9EK (x4)
Spark plug gap: 0.7 to 0.8mm
Ignition timing (BTDC): 12.5 degrees BTDC at 1200rpm
45 degrees BTDC at 6000rpm
Ignition advance: Electronic advance

ZXR400 oil filter

Kawasaki ZXR400 H oil filter (Hiflo HF303).

Servicing stuff…
If your new to servicing or unsure, either ask a friend to help or get a ZXR400 workshop manual…

Note: All servicing mileages and times are APPROX! (as I couldn’t seem to find an accurate list of H model service schedules…)

Engine oil change:
Oil change interval: 5000km (3107 miles) or 12 months
Engine oil capacity (including oil filter change): 3 litres
Engine oil capacity (excluding oil filter change): 2.8 litres
Engine oil filter capacity: 0.2 litres
Recommended engine oil: 10w40 Semi synthetic

You can use mineral and fully synthetic engine oils in the ZXR400. We don’t normally recommend mineral oils as they offer the lowest levels of protection for the engine (so if you are using a mineral oil make sure you change it often!). Good fully synthetic oils (from well recognised brands like Shell, Silkolene, Rock Oil, Castrol etc) are fine for use in the ZXR400, and they offer the highest levels of protection for the moving parts, but, the cost can be prohibitive (you get what you pay for, good oil ain’t cheap baby! :-p ). More info about different oil types can be found HERE.

Oil filter: Hiflo HF303 / Champion F306
Air filter:
Air filter: Kawasaki part no: 11013-1168
Change interval: 12000km (7456 miles)
Spark plugs:
Spark plug: 4x NGK CR9EK
Change interval: 6000km (3728 miles)
Cooling system:
Cooling system: Liquid cooled
Cooling system capacity: 2.3 litres
Cooling system change interval: Change every 30,000km (18645 miles) or 24 months
Brake fluid:
Recommended brake fluid: DOT 4 brake fluid
Brake fluid change interval: Check every 5,000km (3106 miles) and change every 24,000km (14912 miles) or 2 years
Front forks:
Recommended fork oil: Medium – 10w Fork oil
Fork oil capacity (oil change): 355ml per fork
Fork oil capacity (if forks have been rebuilt and all old oil removed): 421ml per fork
Front fork oil change interval: 24,000km (14912 miles) or 2 years
Fork seals: 41x53x8 (please double check, this is the size for the H1 models but may not fit the H2!)

Note: Fork seals normally have the size as a set of 3 numbers (e.g for the ZXR400 H1 the fork seal size is 41x53x8). The 1st number is the internal diameter of the seal (41 for the ZXR400 H1, the edge that goes against the fork tube, this will be the same diameter as the fork), the 2nd is the external diameter of the seal (53mm for the ZXR400 H1) and the 3rd number is the thickness of the seal (8mm for the ZXR400 H1).

Chain drive
Final drive chain frequency: Now repeat after me…..’I MUST LUBE MY CHAIN LITTLE AND OFTEN!!’ 🙂

ZXR400 rear

Kawasaki ZXR400 H1 rear/side view

Useful tightening torques…
Important torques
Cylinder head cover bolts: 10nm
Cylinder head bolts (8mm): 25nm
Cylinder head bolts (6mm): 12nm
Magneto / flywheel: 78nm
Clutch hub: 130nm
Spark plug: 13nm
Front sprocket plate securing bolts: 10nm
Front wheel spindle: 110nm
Front wheel spindle clamp (the ones in the fork leg): 20nm
Rear wheel spindle: 110nm
Oil torques
Oil filter: 10nm
Oil drain bolt: 20nm
Oil pressure switch: 15nm
Engine mounting point torques
Engine mounting bracket bolts: 30nm
Engine mounting bolts: 36m
Cooling system torques
Radiator fan switch: 18nm
Water pump cover bolts: 9nm
Engine torques
Spark plugs: 13nm
Cylinder head cover bolts: 10nm
Cylinder head bolts (8mm): 25nm
Cylinder head bolts (6mm): 12nm
Oil pressure switch: 15nm
Neutral switch: 15nm
Wheel torques
Front wheel spindle nut: 110nm
Front wheel spindle clamp bolts (in the fork): 20nm
Rear wheel spindle nut: 110nm
Rear final/chain drive torques
Front sprocket plate securing bolts: 10nm
Rear sprocket nuts: 74nm
Brake torques
Front caliper mounting bolts: 34nm
Front brake disc bolts: 23nm
Rear caliper mounting bolts: 25m
Rear brake disc bolts: 23nm
Suspension torques
Front fork clamp bolts: 20nm
Front fork bottom allen (drain) bolts: 39nm
Rear shock absorber nuts: 49nm
Swingarm pivot shaft nut: 110nm
Frame torques
Footpeg holder bolts: 31nm
Side stand bracket bolts: 31nm
Rear sub frame securing nuts and bolts: 44nm
Electrical system torques
Magneto / flywheel / alternator: 78nm
Alternator cover bolts: 9nm
Starter motor mounting bolts: 9nm

ZXR400 radiator

Kawasaki ZX400H radiator.

Useless stuff…
The ‘little brother’ of the Kawasaki ZXR750…… The ZXR400 was originally produced for the Japanese market (where the engine size/license restrictions mean bikes above 400cc aren’t very popular!) but loads of these were imported into the UK in the 1990’s and early 2000’s when bike prices were high. The ZXR400 is still popular today, the low seat height makes it popular with female bikers and the lower insurance and good specs (upside down forks etc) make it popular with newer sportsbike riders.
The ZXR400 also had good handling (as was often commented with 400cc import bikes it felt like it was on rails going round corners!), combined with the howling inline 4 cylinder engine and low price made it an ideal track day bike. The bike was better suited to more technical tracks with more corners where it could hold it’s own against the bigger CC rivals.

Buying advice…
Not really much to be wary of with these bikes. Obviously the normal things to be wary of apply (like ex racing bikes as they were popular as track bikes). As with most import bikes, batteries, oil filters, cables and other common parts are easy to get hold of but exhaust parts, fork parts etc can be difficult to source. Some electrical parts are used on other Kawasaki models so are available but stators do wear with age so should be checked. Alloy parts do tend to pit and suffer if it’s been used in all weathers or left outside all year. These are older bikes now, so beware of rotten exhausts, pitted forks etc.
If your thinking of buying one, there are plenty of forums about with owner/riders who can help (like www.zxrworld.co.uk and zxr400ownersclub.co.uk)

Sources / Thanks to…
Alot of the info on this page was taken from a manual we found online (here…)

If you’ve got any questions or comments please feel free to leave them below 🙂

Disclaimer: The information on this page is correct to the best of our knowledge. But the info should NOT be taken as 100% accurate as we can, occasionally make mistakes (and we have had to guesstimate a few bits due to lack of info)!


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