Kawasaki EX 500 Adventure Bike

Discussion in 'Some Assembly Required' started by 11motos, May 7, 2019.

  1. 11motos

    11motos Feral Rider

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    Inspired by other threads I was looking for a donor bike to try a crossover from a road bike to something we can use to get into the dirt up to a moderate to medium level of complexity.

    So I stumbled on a opportunity to get a ninja 500 pup that was sitting on death row.
    For whatever reason this called my instincts and decided to bring her home from the pound.

    I do not have much to make a super interesting thread but I figured I post some pics of DA BEAST and then others can chime in with ideas, suggestions and basically because I have never done full surgery. Fixing engines, replacing forks but not interchanging between brands and bikes and nmuch fabricating. I do have a lathe and know how to use it so that is a plus.


    upload_2019-5-7_21-41-29.png

    upload_2019-5-7_21-42-6.png


    What I like about the little 500 is:

    A) Great Price for a low millage bike and to see what it can do.
    B) It has a delta with craddle chasis just like dual sport and enduro bikes do.
    C) I already took some chit/dead weight out of it and is 391lbs as it sits and I have not even started yet when I take those boat anchors it has for exhausts.
    D) It is not a powerhouse but in stock form (not the restricted ones) produces 52-53hp at the rear wheel. 0-60 in 4.3 seconds and 13sec in the quarter mile. but the main reason is because it is a docile twin with pretty decent torque and certain low end push at low rpm.30 ft-lb is not much but it is good for a bike specially with 20ft-lb at 5.5krpm. Not the modern ninja but it is simple and rugged.
    E) Affordable parts and aftermarket everywhere on the planet.

    What I don't like:
    And some of these are objectives of this mod....

    A) Carburators. They are good carburators so I will keep them but will be rejetted and fitted for adventure. I know is not injection but hey, if I break down in the middle of nowhere I might be able to fix them with some players and wire. The devil you know.

    B) Of course suspensions have to go otherwise there is no aventure anything. I am researching and bearings seem to be compatible with many great potential donors. DR650 might be.
    Shock has to go too and swing arm possibly too. I need some serious beefed up stuff with serious
    ADV travel. I am 6.2 and 242 lbs so this baby is going up. Although this might end up being my brothers bike when he visits, who is lighter, I want it to be able to take a hit suspension wise.

    C) Needless to say suspensions will follow with a pair of spoked wheels 18-21 if I can otherwise
    17 and 19 so we will see.

    D) Pegs will be lowered 3 inches and advanced 2 inches or so.

    E) Gas tank is ok but if I can I will reshape it and add 1 or 2 gallons.

    F) Seat will be reapolstered so it is straight like dual sports, wide 28mm handle bars, burkbusters, leds, etc...

    G) Weight will come down. Not a lot but I see a few items that are already shaving weight.

    At the moment I am cleaning and making sure engine and electrical is up to the task.

    Like other threads this is open to suggestions, advice and healthy criticism.
    There are so many great and inspiring members that is hard to mention them all but please feel free to chime in.

    THIS PUP SURVIVED AND IS GETTING A SECOND SHOT At LIFE
    #1
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  2. 11motos

    11motos Feral Rider

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    PUP 1 vs PUP 2 .... At least the ninja will no be chewing on my shoes!

    upload_2019-5-7_21-50-21.png


    No much going on. Just washing. Broken fairing is off for transport and never coming back on.

    upload_2019-5-7_22-0-41.png

    Ajax dish-soap + hot water is a wonderful de-greaser grime killer + rinse gently with the hose. next time power washer.


    upload_2019-5-7_22-1-36.png
    #2
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  3. draco_1967

    draco_1967 Spoon!

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    The bike cleaned up nicely! Good luck with your build.
    #3
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  4. TonyKZ1

    TonyKZ1 Long timer

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    Yeah, good luck and keep us updated with your progress.
    #4
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  5. everready

    everready Stuck in Ohio....Ugh!!!

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    I had an '87 back in the 90's. It was a great bike. Following along.
    #5
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  6. 11motos

    11motos Feral Rider

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    Draco your work (like others) has been an inspiration to try this. It should be fun. If this goes well who knows, a 650 in the future? The Kawadventure R&D department is growing fast!
    #6
  7. 11motos

    11motos Feral Rider

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    This is a 2004 with 14k miles but in essencence it is the same bike. Bullet proof stuff. Bsttle tested ( in pakistan perhaps?)
    Lol
    #7
  8. 11motos

    11motos Feral Rider

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    New filters are coming but after opening the air box I was afraid a family of
    chipmunks were living there and I would have to adopt them and feed them as well.
    This after some obvious filter neglect and being over 2 years in the shed with all the yard tools. I am going to order another of the same OEM filter since the bike runs great and inside the 2nd return box is clean as whistle.

    upload_2019-5-8_22-1-40.png

    I am going to change the airbox intake to the top of the box since the back intake is too low and too close to the
    rear fender and the wheel and it works pretty much like a vacuum cleaner in areas where you lift a lot of dust and debris like this one here
    that was in the middle of a forest road.

    Potential place to change the intake that is more suitable for off road. Screw the snorkel (vacuum cleaner), they are useless.

    upload_2019-5-8_22-7-27.png
    #8
  9. 11motos

    11motos Feral Rider

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    Following the great advice from jdrocks we are looking into the DRZ as a nice strong srong donor for the front end.

    the DRZ is a better choice. for whatever reason I made it my 2nd choice but I see the 2000-2004 49mm forks are already cartridge and the ones I want. I am trying to avoid USD because
    several preferences but 49mm tubes would do so much better.
    So that would be my 1st choice and I checked and the bottom and top bearings are the same with the only difference the top bearing OD is 52 for the DRZ and 48 for the ninja.

    SUZUKI AND KAWA Forks Bearings TOP & Model and BOTTOM Model
    Suzuki DRZ400S 2001 30 52 16 99-3521-5 30 52 16 99-3521-5
    Kawasaki EX500 Ninja 2004 30 48 12 99-3515-5 30 52 16 99-3521-5

    So all I have to do is turn the stem to reduce those 4mm difference so I can use original kawa top bearing and possibly use a bushing and/or washer and
    retread the stem for the kawa nut if needed. Things that I can easily do in the lathe.

    now the rear is going to be a bitch. Here I am checking the KLR and DR arms. Is there an easy way to find at least the most basic dimensions?

    Many thanks @jdrocks and @draco_1967 for the inspiration, ideas and direction.
    #9
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  10. draco_1967

    draco_1967 Spoon!

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    There are plenty of that generation of DRZ forks/clamps on fleabay as well.

    I have found limited information on doing part swaps, and most of it is front end dimensions; however, I was not looking for a swingarm swap. Good luck with that part. It will be a challenge!
    #10
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  11. 11motos

    11motos Feral Rider

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    Hi,
    With the help of my nephew and son ( both engineers) I verified last night that the DRZ front end will work with either minor mschining or the original stem. The bottom bearins are the same and the top only needs a 4mm OD recuction. ID is the same. Also a bushing or couple of washers.
    @mentolio also kindly informed that the kdx200 forks are a good donor so I will keep this in mind in case I run into a major interferance.

    The big job, as expected, is going to be the back group. It looks like the KLR arm might work but no sure it will take a 18 wheel that was my original preference. This slone with a nice wheel will raise the rear about 2 inches.

    This bike can go up only so much so to sssure proper clearances from the arm I need:

    - New Arm ( klr around 2 extra inches long)
    - New shock with adjustments.
    - New linkages.
    - move mounting point than means welding and modifying filter and/battery box.
    - larger sproket
    - laeger crown (48?)

    We will calculate based onnoriginal gearing to give a bit more torque and less speed but not much.

    No easy button for this that is for sure.
    #11
  12. 11motos

    11motos Feral Rider

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    It turns out the original jetting will work just fine. I am just going to give the carbs a good cleaning and see if I can improve the lift a tad since
    the bike is a bit lean off throttle.

    This project was a source of inspiration.

    https://adventure-motorcycling.com/suzuki-gs500r-overlander/

    I do believe the GS500 is an easier conversion but the ninja has more power. we will see what happens...
    #12
  13. 11motos

    11motos Feral Rider

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    These are rough measures of the swing arm for this project. I believe the DR650 arm should work.

    upload_2019-5-23_21-21-40.png
    #13
  14. villageidiot

    villageidiot Long timer Supporter

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    Looking at your bearing numbers and sizes all it looks like to me is you need a 4mm shim above the original Kawasaki bearing.

    30 being the ID, 48 the OD, and 12 the width.

    That is, depending on the stem length. Which could go either way.
    #14
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  15. 11motos

    11motos Feral Rider

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    Thanks! Yeah that is what I saw based on the differences.

    Both bikes: Top/ Bottom
    Suzuki DRZ400S 2001 30 52 16 / 30 52 16
    Kawasaki EX500 Ninja 2004 30 48 12 / 30 52 16

    I just ordered yesterday the massive DRZ400 49mm forks. Based on the diameter I could possibly go with some Harley clamps but to make fit
    precisely I am going to machine the clamps myself in the lathe that way I can give it the 50mm offset or perhaps 5mm extra for better radius.
    This way I also avoid hitting anything like radiator. The front wheel is going to be 19" with a 110-90/19 tire.

    I should be able to use the DRZ stem or otherwise I will turn one with the 10mm difference using a piece from a 45 caliber chromoly barrel I have leftover from
    re-barreling an old rifle.

    current Top clamp below (Still rough measure)

    upload_2019-5-24_20-55-45.png
    #15
  16. 11motos

    11motos Feral Rider

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    #16
  17. villageidiot

    villageidiot Long timer Supporter

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    They’re pretty cheap on the auction site.
    #17
  18. 11motos

    11motos Feral Rider

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    I ordered these massive 49mm forks from the DRZ, 22mm renthal bars and some acerbis harnguard protectors.
    Since these are so big I need to machine the triples that I am going to do from 1" T6 plates.
    upload_2019-5-26_19-56-57.png
    #18
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  19. MATTY

    MATTY BORDER RAIDER

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    A good project folowing it with intrest. A word of caution 11Motos on the filters and airbox mods. These engines are fussy on the airbox, and the carbs are terrible to get working if you interupt the air box too much. re jetting and different needles will get them running aceptably but it can take ages to tune them exactly, and in my case with a slightly detuned version to that engine in my Bike, i went for a carb swap and ditched the CVK carbs.
    I think you will be ok with different filter or a snorkel move but much more i urge caution unless you have a lot of time and patience to set them up properly.
    #19
  20. 11motos

    11motos Feral Rider

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    Wise words. Thanks.
    I am planing to leave the jets as factory and then provide a external snorkel from the default vent to a higher and cleaner spot.
    I will have a 2nd snorkel that I can move to the same height and then have a simple butterfly to adjust the negative pressure in the box.
    I will measure the pressure and make sure it doesn't fall too low therefore ensuring proper function.
    In the header pipes I am going to provide a transfer at about 12-13 inches to increase low end response and then have the 2 pipes merge
    under the bike to come to one exhaust that I want to move high on the right under the passenger seat.
    I am looking for a titanium muffler that is square and short with a lower entry point and a higher exit.
    Otherwise an FMF or similar but it has to be light.

    If there was something like the multistrada to pass behind the passanger peg and then higher then I would be doing a cut out on the fairing
    and heat shield to accommodate there. The problem is to find something that is somewhat decent and not more expensive than the bike itslef! lol

    upload_2019-5-27_22-27-34.png
    #20