Much like the stock grips, the stock levers on the 2019 Z400 weren’t particularly great. They got the job done, in so much as they allowed for the use of the brake and the clutch. However, they were needlessly bulky and the lack of adjustability meant that the reach to and throw of the levers was too long for the smaller hands of our female owner. It led to discomfort and fatigue for the rider, which are things you definitely want to avoid when riding. To remedy the situation, we tracked down some MZS Adjustable Levers on Amazon.
There wasn’t a set listed specifically for the Z400, but knowing that the Z400 shares most of its components with the Ninja 400, we picked up the levers for the Ninja 400, knowing they would fit. MZS makes levers in a variety of colors that fit hundreds of bikes, so it’s pretty easy to find a set that’ll fit almost anything.
The price tag of under $40 was awesome for a full set of levers made of machined billet aluminum with six positions of adjustability, especially considering that competing products can cost as much as $100+ per lever. We placed the order, and had the levers in hand a couple days later (thanks Amazon Prime). Quality looked every bit as good as the competition. Pretty impressive. Time to dive into the installation.
What you’ll need:
First thing to do is remove the old levers. This process will vary from bike to bike, but most new’ish metric bikes are going to be pretty similar.
The brake side is easiest, so we’ll start there. You’ll typically have a pivot bolt running through the lever, and a nut on the underside of the lever housing threaded onto the bolt to hold it in place. The easiest way to do this is to secure the nut on the underside in place with a combination or adjustable wrench, then use a ratcheting socket wrench on the top of the bolt to crack it loose. Once it’s plenty loose, you can just turn it with your fingers to remove the nut, slide the bolt out, and remove the lever. Set the bolt, nut, and any spacers aside, as you’ll be reusing them in a bit to install the new levers.
Moving on to the clutch side, if you have a cable-operated clutch (and you probably do), you’ll need to loosen the clutch cable enough to free it from the lever. Just turn the adjuster at the lever all the way out so there’s a maximum amount of slack available. On the Z400, there was enough slack at this point to remove the cable from the lever. If you still don’t have enough slack to remove the cable, you’ll need to loosen it more down at the clutch housing. Once the cable is free, you’re all set to repeat the process from the brake side to remove the bolt. If your clutch is of the juicy hydraulic variety, there’s no cable slack business to deal with, and you can just remove the pivot bolt from the lever. Once again, set the bolt, nut, and any spacers aside to use later for the installation of the new levers.
Now we reverse the process to get the new levers installed. To keep the lever protected and moving smoothly, we’ll start by applying some lubricant to the points on the new lever where it contacts the lever housing, as well as to the pivot bolt and any spacers. I like to use a silicon lubricant like WD-40 Silicone Spray for this, since it’s easy to apply, stays in place, is clear and colorless, and lasts a long time.
Starting on the clutch side, simply slide the lever into the housing, reinsert the pivot bolt (reusing any spacers needed for a solid fit), apply some thread locker to things, thread the nut on until it’s finger tight, then tighten it the rest of the way using the dual wrench combo from before (one to hold the nut in place, the other to tighten the bolt down). Don’t over-torque here, it doesn’t need to be super tight, just enough to be solid and secure. Re-adjust the slack on the clutch cable to get the appropriate amount of free play at the lever. For the Z400 it’s 2-3mm. Give the clutch lever a couple pulls to make sure the clutch is actuating correctly.
Move over to the brake lever side, and repeat the installation process. Make sure the lever is lined up correctly, and that the contact point on it presses the plunger on the master cylinder in the correct spot. Once the pivot bolt is tightened up on the brake side, you should be good to go. Gently roll the bike back and forth a bit and give the brakes a gentle squeeze to make sure everything is good and the brakes work correctly.
Now we’re all done, and have a slick new set of adjustable levers on our Z400 (or whatever bike you have). It’ll take a little adjustment to find the right setting for the levers, but the easy click-and-roll adjusters on the MZS levers make that easy. Time to get out and ride.