Kawasaki has a Ninja 500 back in the lineup, and a Z500 naked bike to go with it! Those new machines were revealed at EICMA today, and they appear to be a big step forward for Kawi’s entry-level machine.
Or are they really entry-level bikes? Hard to say. They’re both powered by the same 450 engine that Team Green used in the Eliminator cruiser. That means they’re closely related to the Ninja 400 and Z400 models, and we presume those bikes will be on the chopping block in the coming months.
It also means that despite little official info on the new 500 models, we do have a pretty good guess about their performance. They should have a maximum output of 47 hp, as that is the limit to fit into Europe’s A2 licence category. The Eliminator makes max torque of 32 lb-ft, and it’s likely the new Ninja and Z500 probably make the same.
Some of the chassis ideas are carried over from more expensive models, even though the frame itself is a steel trellis design that combines affordability with performance. The trend in chassis design is to stretch out the swingarm and shorten the section that holds the engine, and that’s what Kawasaki did here. That should make for in-flight stability, while careful front end design should still make for sharp handling.
Speaking of handling: Kawasaki has said little about the suspension, and not given away much of the rest of the spec sheet. We’d guess similar fork and shock to the current Ninja 400 and Z400 models, and similar weights—seat height is the same on the new bikes, at 785 mm.
The new machines have LED low beams and reflector-style high beams; running lights also come standard. The fairing is new, and so is the seat.
Neither of the new 500 models is confirmed for Canada yet, and we don’t expect to see most specs on the bikes for a few days yet, even in the Euro market. Over there, the new machines will also come in an SE variant, like the Eliminator model already does. The SE gets a TFT screen that connects to your phone via Bluetooth, as well as some flashier trim and paint. Obviously, that costs you more money.
We’ll share more info with you when we can.