Designing the Ninja 500R, Kawasaki established a perfect balance between function, form and budget that isn’t seen quite often in this domain. It is awesome for a rider to know that it buys a bike which initiates him and than becomes a nice, ready to rip ride.
With the 2008 Ninja 500R, Kawasaki intends to deliver credible performance in an efficient and affordable package.
A 498cc liquid-cooled, inline twin-cylinder four-stroke engine is the most important unit. It has the purpose of creating the user-friendly character of the entire motorcycle by delivering predictable power. A high point of the engine consists in the way it responses to acceleration; quickly and without surprises.
Having created a smooth-operating motorcycle, Kawasaki now enjoys the effect of a great success and delivers the same basic package that ruled years ago.
In 1987 the American market saw the introduction of a new Kawasaki model which was to become a true standard setter for its class, the EX500.
Having a 498cc parallel-twin engine mated to a six-speed transmission, this bike competed with the Suzuki GS500 all through the 1990s.
With the help of its liquid-cooled engine delivering predictable power for a light overall package, the Kawasaki EX500 succeeded to make its own way on a very competitive market and many people consider it one of the best starter bikes ever. These kinds of riders appreciate true entry level sportbikes in general, but this one is a general preference for many.
What really set this bike off was the ability to conform to almost any requirements. A biker would ride it to work every day and on a weekend trip when the occasion arrived. The power of satisfying the customer is what Kawasaki succeeded to deliver with the EX500.
In the year 1994, the now called Ninja 500 featured upgraded design and cool new finishing touches. Being such a great, successful product the manufacturer decided to keep producing it as it was and no mistakes were made there.
Today, the Kawasaki Ninja 500R still enjoys introducing people to riding and glory isn’t a think of the past. Just ask the countless riders who own one.
The strongest competitor for the Ninja 500R is definitely the Suzuki GS500F. Both bikes were produced and marketed in parallel for twenty years and they still managed to satisfy there own clientele.
Suzuki did it by using a 487cc, four-stroke, twin-cylinder, air-cooled, DOHC. The disadvantage compared to Kawasaki’s 498cc, four-stroke, twin-cylinder liquid-cooled, DOHC is obvious and that was pretty much the reason that determined customers to buy the one or the other.
The Suzuki GS500F implements outstanding maneuverability with the help of its low seat height and little pounds. Also, as the Kawasaki, it still proves efficient and it is appreciated when riding skills are at the highest levels. For that, it should thank to its strong acceleration and quick, clean throttle response.
So here you have them! Both are comfortable, good looking, reliable, and offer sufficient power output so you will be satisfied. The fact that they are one against the other can only mean that the final product will be better and things will move on as expected.
Beginner or not, a rider is generally attracted by how a motorcycle looks. So Kawasaki makes sure that its customers would be attracted with excellent styling and than be charmed by the awesome-performing mechanicals and the comfortable riding position.
A great feature of the Kawasaki Ninja 500R is the fact that it shares the same sporty styling of its bigger siblings, with an aerodynamic half-fairing that provides wind protection for the rider and is stylishly complemented by a lower fairing.
Also, to give it a great, sporty look, the Japanese manufacturer provided the Ninja 500R with 17-inch wheels which apart from looking cool, they also improve road performance.
A nice mysterious look is given by the Metallic Diablo Black paintjob, while the Passion Red version is a reminder of how the bike would have look back in 1987.
A ride with the Kawasaki Ninja 500R is all you need if you are willing to start enjoying life on two wheels. A combination of great power, easy handling and a comfortable riding position, this Ninja has initiated many ZX-10R riders of today and it plans on doing the same thing with you. Get ready!
Even though the 498cc liquid-cooled, eight-valve, double-overhead-cam twin engine hasn’t really changed much since the bike was known as the EX500 (except the digital electronic ignition), it performs excellent and manages to have a quarter-mile time under 13 seconds and a TopSpeed of 120 mph.
This level of performance is obtained with the help of a high revving engine delivering generous amounts of midrange grunt and an even more surprising top-end rush. Even with a sporty behavior, it still manages to go 50 miles until a gallon is consumed.
An entry-level motorcycle wouldn’t have been so efficient without a six-speed gearbox which always seems to find the best gear for every speed level. This results in excellent acceleration and that sixth gear allows for a relaxed ride down the highway.
I have to say that this is one versatile motorcycle. It is the fastest way of going to and back from work in a crowded city and in the weekend, the canyons seem to be the best way to distress and enjoy this sweet handler.
The way it handles has much to do with it being light weight. The Ninja 500R is destined to beginning riders so it has to be easy to maneuver and to control. But the nicest touch is given by the bottom-link UNI-TRAK suspension which lowers the center of gravity, allowing for a more responsive behavior.
Ok, so they had a quick-revving engine coupled with a six-speed transmission and they managed to fit them in a frame which would allow for good handling in any environment. A comfortable seat, worthy of a sport-touring motorcycle, was attached and the handlebars were highly mounted so that the riding position would be more than relaxed.
The only thing that this bike now needed to do was to stop properly and the success was guaranteed. So Kawasaki fitted it with dual-piston caliper front disc brake for the best of effectiveness. The front disc is drilled so cooling is no problem for this unit. The rear disc brake is also powerful and controllable, but it only features a single-piston caliper.
I noticed that the brakes on this Kawasaki are very effective and even though some will say that dual hydraulic discs would have provided more stopping power, I felt no need for that.
Riding the 2008 Kawasaki Ninja 500R is a real satisfaction and the rider-friendly behavior is obvious in any given riding conditions. Beginners will feel very at home on it and they will not be caught off guard while riding it.
This bike’s major attraction, apart from its user-friendly character and versatile behavior is, without a doubt, its price. The 2008 Ninja 500R is offered for the suggested retail price of $5.099, so affordability is the key with half-liter sportbikes destined to beginners. Also, by being cheap, it means that maintaining costs are reduced to a minimum so the only thing on your mind will be gathering miles and earning experience.
Featuring wonderful sporty looks, a proven parallel twin cylinder engine and a low MSRP, it is no wonder that this motorcycle is the choice of many riders every year. If you are going to be one of them, than you will have no regrets. Even more, you will quickly find yourself anxious to get through the first revision in order to see what this bike can really do.
Engine and Transmission
Type: Four-stroke, DOHC, parallel twin
Bore x Stroke: 74.0 x 58.0mm
Compression Ratio: 10.8:1
Carburetion: Keihin CVK34 x 2
Ignition: TCBI with digital advance
Final Drive: Chain
Chassis and Dimensions
Frame: High-tensile steel, perimeter design
Rake / trail: 27 degrees / 3.6 in.
Front suspension / wheels travel: 37mm hydraulic telescopic fork / 5.1 in.
Rear suspension / wheel travel: UNI-TRAK system with single shock / 3.9 in.
Front tire: 110/70-17 tubeless
Rear Tire: 130/70-17 tubeless
Front brake / rear brake: Hydraulic disc / Disc
Overall Length: 82.5 in.
Overall Width: 27.6 in.
Overall Height: 45.7 in.
Ground Clearance: 4.7 in.
Seat Height: 30.5 in.
Dry Weight: 388 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 4.8 gal.
Wheelbase: 56.5 in.
Color: Metallic Diablo Black, Passion Red
Warranty: 12 Months (Model not available in California)
Good Times Protection Plan: 12, 24, 36, 48 months
Twin-cylinder 498cc Engine:
Compact parallel-twin design
Superior engineering produces sport bike power with broad usable torque
Good mass centralization for superior handling
Provides consistent engine temperatures for long engine life and sustained power during hard use
Allows closer engine tolerances for more horsepower
Includes temperature gauges
Auxiliary Cooling Fan:
Maintains optimum temperature for best performance, fuel economy and reliability
Four Valves per Cylinder:
Provides maximum valve area for optimum flow
Better breathing for more power at high rpm and strong low-end torque
Compact combustion chamber for increased compression ratio without detonation on today’s gasolines
34mm CVK Semi-flat Slide Carburetors:
Precise fuel metering provides uniform power delivery at all engine speeds
Quick throttle response
Microprocessor-controlled timing never needs adjustment
Ultra-responsive to engine needs
Translates into a gear for all speeds, excellent acceleration and relaxed highway cruising
Positive Neutral Finder:
A Kawasaki exclusive
Just lift the shift pedal from first at a stop to find neutral easily, every time
Standard Half Fairing:
Offers rider wind protection for more comfort
Incorporates large, easy-to-read instruments with two resettable trip meters
Stylish lower fairing completes the Ninja image
Double-cradle Steel Box-section frame:
High-tensile steel perimeter frame
Lightweight, with superior rigidity for more precise handling and better control
37mm Front Fork:
Large-diameter fork tubes with thin walls for light weight and exceptional rigidity
Dual-Piston Caliper Front Disc Brake:
Disc is drilled for better cooling and reduced unsprung weight
Dual-piston caliper increases braking effectiveness
Bottom-link UNI-TRAK Rear Suspension:
Lowers the center of gravity for better handling
Progressive rate provides a smoother, more comfortable ride
Lightweight aluminum components provide quick suspension response
Rear Disc Brake:
Powerful and controllable
Wide, modern 17-inch rims fit low-profile, high-performance tires
Sidestand and Centerstand:
Permits easy parking, cleaning or servicing
Affordable retail price