EX500: Good -or- Not So Good? - Sportbike Forum: Sportbike Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-13-2000, 01:06 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2000
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I'm starting to lean towards a used Kawa EX500 ('89 - '91) as a first bike. They are cheap, good-looking, and everywhere. My questions: Are they any good? Is the engine reliable? Are there any quirks associated with this bike? And - how does it perform?


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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-13-2000, 03:12 PM
Join Date: Oct 1999
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Although I opted to get a 96 F3 as my "first" bike (having never ridden), the EX500 was recommeded as an excellent "first bike" by my instructor (of NOVA's MSF course) when I inquired. It was attested to in the mags as "best" cost/performance bike way back when. A buddy of mine who had one was able to keep up with my F3, (but this probably had to do with more of my riding ability than anything else ); after a year or so, he upgraded to a ZX6R; this could be your option as well. As you cited, it is an excellent choice when weighing all the options. Good luck.


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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-13-2000, 03:21 PM
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I had one. The motor is fun, a lot more high rpm zing than in a V-twin. The only weak points are brakes and suspension, and only when compared with full-on sportbikes. Not a very seductive sound though, like a sewing machine with stock pipes and not much character with aftermarket pipes.

'98 Superhawk
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-13-2000, 06:06 PM
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IMO EX500 is a GREAT first bike, and can be fun after newbiehood too!

Kyle J.-
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-14-2000, 05:17 AM
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Yup The brakes and suspension do suck big time , but one characteristic i love about this bike is .. It feels slow until you hit a certain rpm and then POW (please note this is only a small POW) it's like a turbo kicks in! Easy to handle.
I have one opinion when it comes to small bikes, You outgrow them quick and when you do, if you are a squidish moron like me you get to over confident with it and do something stupid!, I'veonly done this twice . on my friends bikes of course (cbx250, klr650 dumped them both) I tried to hit a jump with the cbx and ... and the klr was offroad so ..

Just the rambling's of a borderline schizophrenic.

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-14-2000, 06:20 AM
Join Date: Jun 2000
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The EX500 was voted best bike in its class by practically every sportbike mag for something like 5 years in a row. Needless to say this DOES mean something.

It is now dressed as the "Ninja500" as it got a few upgrades and face lift a couple years back, but the heart and soul is still the same.

If youve never ridden a sportbike before, i would suggest this over a GS500E or Honda Hawk. The EX500 is the best value.

Fear Green.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-14-2000, 07:16 PM
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honestly, the honda hawk is way better, but if it's cheap, there's a reason for it.

as for the ex500, the bike you asked about, it not only sounds like a sewing machine but is as rock-solid dependable as one. the frame is out-dated, the suspension is weak, but for most newbies (hell most people who don't have big egos) they work more than adequently. i didn't think the brakes were bad, but i don't use the rear brake, so i wasn't exposed to the drum brake rear. plus i think the one i rode had pads and lines. i think it's a sweet bike that can be bought on the cheap and honestly, you'll probably be faster on it than on a cbr600f1 or fzr600 because it's easy to ride.


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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-07-2000, 05:24 PM
Join Date: Dec 1999
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My old EX was a great bike to learn on. Handled well and had enough power to spare. I upgraded the suspension with Progressive fork springs and a Koni rear shock, which did help the handling, as did the Bridgestone BT45s I put on. Brakes just need some EBC pads and they are fine.

As to the sound, a set of Cobra F1r slip-ons made a big difference. Not necessarily better, just different...

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