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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-08-2006, 06:14 AM Thread Starter
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trouble with corners

As some of you may know from my previous posts i own a POS 1990 ex500 ninja. I recently took it in some local twisties winding slowing roads. i decided to take the turns a little more agrevisely having gained some confidence. As i took a medium grade bend it started bucking around wobling from side to side, almost causing me to lowside. I'm guessing this might have something to do with my badly worn rear shock absorber or the really choppy throttle that jerks the bike forward. Or is it just bad riding on my part? That's what's really annoying me, i have nothing to compare to, never rode anybody else 500. I guess my question is, should a horrible suspension combined with bad throttle response prevent me from trying to attempt any decent turns?
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-08-2006, 06:44 AM
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problem #1 - ex500 is a shitty bike

problem #2 - your suspension has probably NEVER been rebuilt, cleaned, or serviced in any way

problem #3 - ex500 is a shitty bike

problem #4 - you probably just aren't used to tight corners, it takes some practice, but you would be better on a better bike because the ex500 is a shitty bike

solution - buy a new bike, and ill give you a few hundred for the ex500 so my gf has a little bike to learn on so she doesnt crash my nice bikes
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-08-2006, 07:36 AM
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Neller is being a bit harsh. Sure, your EX is older and a bit technologically dated. However, it's not that bad. I guarantee that I could take an EX and wax most of the squidly 600 riders I come across on my local canyon roads. Personally, I think the EX-500/Ninja 500R is a great beginner ride.

However, the problems you describe are out of the ordinary. As Neller said, your rear shock may need to be rebuilt or replaced. (check e-bay) You might want to have the front fork springs and fluid replaced as well. While you're at it, have the steering head bearings checked too. Also, tires can make a BIG difference in handling. What condition are they in?

I admit, the EX can have somewhat abrupt throttle response and this can interfere with smooth corner exits. Some of this may be due to your being a newbie rider and needing a bit more time to learn smooth throttle control. However, it could also be due to several mechanical factors. One easy-fix possibility is to make sure all the slack is taken out of your throttle cable. (easy adjustment). Also, some of it may be due to Kawasaki's notorious propensity for building bikes with excessive driveline lash. This can somewhat be addressed by making sure that the cush drive in your rear wheel is in good condition. A cush drive is basically just a big rubber block in your rear-wheel hub that is supposed to dampen the application of power to the rear wheel. (best way I can describe it) If the cush drive is really worn and compressed, it can lead to clunky on/off throttle situations. Thirdly, perhaps your carbs need to be adjusted and/or rebuilt.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-08-2006, 08:58 AM
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or carbs atleast cleaned out and then adjusted, maybe rebuilt but if its running fine i wouldnt mess with it. id say if your bike is honestly cornering that bad its in some horrible need of some type of rebuilding.

first off, check your tire pressure. run around 30 psi in both tires, NOT the max 44psi or whatever it says, and NEVER under 20 (unless stunting, which i doubt you are)

next, try and fully compress your rear shock by putting as much weight on it as you can, and see how it rebounds. no or slow rebound = bad. interestingly enough, i, along with about 20 other bikers from detroit, went to a "suspension clinic" yesterday. you wouldnt believe all the stuff that has to be good for that to work right. if your suspension has never been rebuilt in that bike, i can guarantee that is the biggest problem you have cornering. to be honest, your suspension is probably junk. but a rebuild on them (full valve job and all) will be like 300 for the front and 300 for the rear, so that would be $600 into a bike i dont think is barely worth that (dollar wise, it might be worth it to you just because its your only bike).

suspension setup could be way wrong for your weight too. that could make a big difference. but im guessing its just that your susp. is bad. no big deal, do what you can for now, and then in the future when you have a newer bike, you will be better.

and my first response in this post is pretty sarcastic. its hard to show sarcasm on a computer screen, i guess u just have to know me
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-08-2006, 10:00 AM Thread Starter
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I've rebuilt this bike head to toe, front forks got new springs new oil seals the whole deal, the back i rebuilt and regreased, but the shock absorber is really bouncy and i'm looking for a new one if i get the rigth price, as far as the throttle i know something isn't right either a vacum problem, or it could be the throttle closing cable. The cable is really loose and the pulling cable is really tight. When i trun the bars to their extremes the throttle gets stuck and revs higher. I've taken the carbs apart and rebuilt them and checked the rubber carb boots all seem okay. I also took off the chain and cleaned it all up with solvent, when i put it back on it had too much slack it rubs against the swingarm. The rubber absorber boot seems fine when i was greasing the rear wheel and bearings. Tires just had new ones put on, but they were from a shaddy mechanic, maybe crusiser tires for all i know. They're called avon venom. This throttle response cant be normal. A girl i know let me ride her GS-500 around and i was way more confident cornering with that bike.

No offense taken neller, i'm quite sarcastic myself. But not over the internet, ppl always end up taking it the wrong way. haha I just need somebody brave enough to test ride this bike and tell me what they think.

Last edited by mike_drz; 05-08-2006 at 10:28 AM.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-08-2006, 10:41 AM
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well the problem then is my first hypothesis...bad bike

lol, well looks like u have done your work, so i honestly dont know what the problem could be other than you rebuilt it wrong. the tires really shouldnt be the problem unless u have the wrong air pressure. the throttle issue, that could be a big problem.

after re-reading your first post, and thinking....i think that the dude that put your tires on didnt balance them properly, or at all. also, your rear shock is probably shot. your throttle problem also contributes. therefore, all those together cause your problem. just my
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-08-2006, 12:14 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah could very well be the balance of the tires, the handles do shake a lot when i'm downshifting using engine braking. This bike is really stressing me out, put so much time into fixing it. I need to take a buddies bike put it through the twisties and if all goes well then it's the bike not me, haha

Any volunteers? It's not that long of a ride up here to T.O. from Michigan. haha

Last edited by mike_drz; 05-08-2006 at 12:20 PM.
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-08-2006, 02:40 PM
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Hey mike... this may not be your case but it gave me the same problem.. so figured I'd throw it your way since you've checked out the other suggestions already..

After a friend did some work on my bike and changed out the rear tire for me my bike handled the same as you described (and this was after it had been to the track takin turns pretty well so I knew it wasn't the bike or it's set up in general) by the end of the day a friend walkin behind the bike noticed something I had not... the rear wheel was not aligned properly.. it was angled to the right somewhat.... luckily I had my tool kit there and he helped loosen her up and straighten her out and retighten and that evening on the way home the same turns I took that felt shitty and choppy were now smooth and fine as before...

You did say you changed out your tires ... maybe just by chance your rear wheel could be slightly off as well

btw... EX500 are awesome starter bikes and kick ass on technical tracks... know a few that leave the liter bikes in the dust

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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-08-2006, 06:08 PM
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I did not read about you ADJUSTING the chain slack when you clean the chain. So you could also have a woren out chain which also means a set of sprockets as well.

The throttle should not be binding when you turn the handlebars one way or the other.

Tyres on the bike might be the wrong set. Like I do not know the line you have & like neller says tyre pressure is important.

True the shock could be shot for I am assuming there is no re-bound, compression, or pre-load avaliable. Which is often true on many bikes so then the rear shock needs to be rebuilt.

Of interest some of the reasons even on some of the new bikes they are NOT offering re-bound, compression & pre-load adjustments is that 90% of the riders are not experienced in that end & could make the bike even worse.

Do not downgrade the bike for I was going at some pretty mean speeds on the road racing circuits with ridgid rear end bikes, single cam drum brakes & such plus our tyres were stimply ghastly compared to the latest junk tyres on the markets these days. Yes ridgid rear ends or some springers so only 2.5" of travel at the front & possibly a 2"spongy snake like travel at the rear, suw to springers (reason I stuck with rigid rear end till s/arm was offered in its limited form) or ridgid rear ends. Yes our 500cc Brit irons were clocking any thing from 60 to 110mph on the bends was back in the lat 40s & early 50s.

Believe me if we had a 500 like yours we would soon be turning out speeds of 100 to 125mph & bends would be a piece of cake at the circuits.

Last edited by Smitty; 05-08-2006 at 06:11 PM.
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-08-2006, 09:00 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the replies boys and girls, you're awesome. As for the chain I adjusted it to it's furthest point, it's still too loose but i don't have the cash for a sprocket + chain replacement. It's odd because the chain looks almost new yet is stretched, or who knows maybe it's not even the proper chain. The shock absorber does have a preload adjuster, before i took the rear suspension apart it was like a hard tail it didn't even move, as if it was seized. After i took the unitrack suspension apart and cleaned and greased it, that's when the shock absorber actually started to even function. That's when i noticed how bad it was, it was like one of those pony's you ride for a quarter outside the supermarket. So i tightened the preload by 2 turns and it got better but was still very spongy. When i ride at night all u can see is my headlamp moving up and down, looks as if i'm highbeaming ppl. The tires are at proper pressure as the manual suggests 32 for the back and 30 for the front. However the back may not be balanced properly for all i know.
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