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Kawasaki GPz500 (EX500R Ninja) Gallery

GPZ250 | GPZ500 | GPZ550 | GPZ600 | GPZ750 | GPZ900 | GPZ1000 | GPZ1100

The EX500's liquid-cooled, eight-valve, double-overhead-cam twin engine hasn't really changed much since its inception (with the exception of a digital electronic ignition replacing the previous analog version). With a quarter-mile time of 12.98 seconds at 99.0 mph and a 118-mph top speed, the Ninja 500 clearly has the most bang for the buck of any bike in its class. The engine is a willing revver, with a generous amount of midrange grunt and an even more surprising top-end rush that belies its "entry-level" status. Even with this type of power, the 498cc mill can be coaxed out of 50 miles per gallon under a mellow throttle hand.

The original EX500's bodywork was deep-sixed in favor of a nicely redesigned front fairing that offers slightly more wind protection, along with a headlight sourced from the ZX-6 that projects a much better beam at night than its forerunner. The rear tail section and side covers were also carefully reshaped, with turn signals, taillight and mirrors courtesy of a ZX-7 completing the picture.

Bike Image Description
1987 Kawasaki GPz 500S 1987 Kawasaki GPz 500S
  • Liquid cooled, four stroke, parallel twin cylinders. DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder.
  • 60bhp @ 8500rpm
  • 6 speed
  • 176kg
1990 Kawasaki GPz 500S GPz 500S  
1993 Kawasaki GPz500S 1993 Kawasaki GPz 500S The Ninja 500's chassis received a thorough going-over for this year. Wider 17-inch rims replace the skinny 16-inch hoops of the original EX, and the 37mm Kayaba front fork boasts 1mm larger stanchion tubes than last year's. The brakes were also upgraded, with a new twin-piston caliper grabbing a 280mm disc up front, and a disc setup replacing the previous drum components in back. A redesigned swingarm, pirated from the European market KLE500 (Kawasaki's Paris-Dakar replica), supplants the original's somewhat wimpy-looking stocker.

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