With rivals like Honda CB 500 and CFMoto 450 SR/NK, Kawasaki must have figured it was time to enter the half-litre street bike fray. So at EICMA 2023, the company unveiled the Ninja 500 and Kawasaki Z 500, a new engine powering the pair.
Few details are available about the 500-class twin-cylinder motor Kawasaki has installed in its new Ninja 500 and Z 500, but it is a water-cooled unit and both models feature an Assist and Slipper clutch. It’s thought that the engine will be the same as that in the Eliminator 500 cruiser, displacing 451cc, and producing 45hp at 9000rpm and 43Nm at 6000rpm. Kawasaki says the motor is learner legal, so it is unlikely to generate more than 35kW. Both bikes come with a single axial-mount disc up front.
Underpinning each is a trellis frame while the entry-level examples feature an LCD display. An optional Ergo-Fit seat raises the riding position by 3cm.
As with the 400s, the pair will be available in ‘Special Edition’ guises. These feature TFT screens instead of LCDs, and add connectivity to the Kawasaki Rideology app, along with a USB-C outlet. Furthermore, the Ninja 500 gets keyless ignition in SE guise.
The standard bikes come in black and grey colours while the SEs have a mix of red, grey and black, or lime green, grey and black for the Z 500s. Ninja 500 SE comes in lime green and black or grey and black.
Both variants should be available here by mid-2024.