Manufacturer: kawasaki…….TOP Model: EX500, GPZ500S, Ninja 500R, ZZ-R500 Years Made: 1987 – Present (2003+) Style: Sport Standard Engine Type:
500cc Parallel Twin
Seat: 775mm Weight: 375lb HP: 60 Torque: 34 Top Speed: 125mph MPG: 55 New Cost: $4,599 (1987) – $5,599 (1989) – $5,700 (1991) – $5,800 (1992)
Average Used Costs: Low $1,475 Medium $2,310 High $4,095
NINJA® 500R sportbike is not only versatile; it’s also one of the best buys in motorcycling. You just can’t argue with a bike that provides plenty of power, a comfortable riding position and Kawasaki’s stellar sportbike styling.
Novice and experienced riders alike will appreciate the 500R’s liquid-cooled, inline twin-cylinder four-stroke engine. With dual overhead cams actuating four valves per cylinder, the snappy motor is user-friendly and inspirational. Indeed, exploring the top end of this engine’s rev range is entertaining for even the most seasoned of riders.
Of course, the NINJA 500R’s motor isn’t its only selling point. On twisty back roads, the bike’s lightweight, compact design makes for a great-handling machine. This is complemented by Kawasaki’s UNI-TRAK® progressive rear suspension system, standard fare on the larger-displacement NINJA models.
The 500R also shares the larger-displacement NINJA’s sporty styling cues, which contribute to both form and function. Furthermore, the sleek-looking half-fairing provides plenty of wind protection, and is stylishly complemented by the lower fairing.
– DOHC cylinder head and free-breathing 4 valves per cylinder for exciting Ninja® performance.
– Precise digital ignition and twin 34mm CVK carburetors deliver smooth throttle response.
– Liquid cooling for optimal temperature, more consistent performance and extended durability.
– Slick-shifting 6-speed transmission features Kawasaki’s exclusive Positive Neutral Finder that makes finding neutral easy.
– Integral gear-driven engine balancer smoothes out the power.
– Thickly padded seat, wind-cheating half fairing and upswept lower engine cowling add up to comfort and style.
– High-performance chassis technology: Adjustable UNI-TRAK® single rear shock suspension, sturdy box-section steel perimeter frame, front and rear stainless steel hydraulic disc brakes and wide, modern tubeless 17-inch wheels and tires.
– Comprehensive instrumentation includes tachometer and speedometer.
– Wide rear-view mirrors. Friendly rear grab rail. Retract-able bungee cord hooks. And a convenient centerstand.
The Kawasaki Ninja 500R sportbike provides performance approaching that of larger displacement machines for experienced riders, while entry-level riders will find its low seat height and smooth, predictable power and handling confidence-inspiring. Powered by a liquid-cooled, in-line twin cylinder four-stroke engine with dual overhead cams actuating four valves per cylinder, the Ninja 500 delivers power that is ideal for helping novice riders gain confidence. And although the powerband may be novice friendly, this doesn’t mean experienced riders won’t find the 500R inspiring. At higher revs this engine produces surprising performance that lets seasoned riders take command.
MBG Says: (Rating 7.5/10) The Ninja 500R should really be considered by novice riders, since it is one of the best ways of preparing for the more intense and delicate ride of a modern 600cc, usually the next level. If price isn’t a factor, then mounts such as the SV650S, Katana 600 or Bandit 600 could possibly do a better job. But at the price, the ninja remains unique.
MR says: Kawasaki introduced the EX500 as a sub-$3000 sport bike, and wanted to capture the market for beginners and bargain seekers. With its vertical twin engine, simple steel frame, and single front disc brake, it appeared that the EX would be uninspiring in the performance department, but the numbers told a different story. The little 500 made a remarkable 51.76 horses at 9500rpm, rivaling the Honda VF500F and the Yamaha FZ600, both of which had 4 cylinders. The power to weight ratio was better than any middleweight, including Kawasaki’s own Ninja 600. The single front disc, thanks to the lack of weight, had the EX stopping quicker than any other middleweight at the time. Kawasaki achieved such amazing results by producing a simple design that didn’t require huge efforts to keep the weight down. All the four cylinder bikes had trouble shedding weight. Dropping weight normally means increased production costs. The little EX didn’t have such issues. Ergonomically, the EX was quite roomy, even for 6 footers. The wide seat and tall bars, combined with the light weight, made for a comfortable ride. A few shortcuts were made in the suspension department, but the aftermarket had solutions for that. In 1993 the EX500 became the ‘Ninja 500’. Changes included bigger wheels and tires, better brakes, stiffer forks and new bodywork. Other than those, the Ninja/EX has remained pretty much unchanged for its entire life-span.
Torque is 31ft/lbs@7500rpm. Wet weight is 432lb’s.
UMG Says: Excellent twin but pre ’94 bikes had 16″ front wheel that could flip away on worn OE rubber (Avons or Michelins better). Neglect of oil changes can ruin cams by 20k but usually runs to 55k before camchain goes. Finish and suspension on early bikes go off after a couple of years.
IGM Says Ninja 500 (Best buy, Best first bike): This is one of the best beginner bikes on the market. Its forgiving 500cc parallel twin allows new riders to develop crucial skills, like smooth throttle application, yet packs enough power to keep you entertained for years. Its nimble chassis and light weight make the bike easy to learn on, yet in the hands of an experienced rider, it can run with the best bikes out there.
IGM Says (EX500/500 Ninja): Kawasaki has made incremental improvements to its 500 Ninja over its 11-year production run, but the original is still a very good bike, and the 1987 model will cost about two-thirds less than what you’ll pay for a new model.