1987 Kawasaki EX-500
1987 Kawasaki EX-500.  Pearl white in color with sport bike styling.  A two cylinder, 500cc engine and chain final drive.

It's just what I needed at age 17.  At that time I was into hard acceleration, leaning into the corners and racing out the country roads.

We picked it up used in 1990 with around 10,000 miles and an "oops" dent in the side of the gas tank.  The first thing I remember is that gas tank.  It was wide and flat across the top with a racing inspired gas cap.  The footpegs positioned your feet under you and the handlebars had factory risers so the seating position was fairly upright.  If you were tired from the wind, you could lie down on the gastank and use the passenger footpegs to stretch out a bit.
Being a two cylinder, the engine ran a little rough at idle.  There wasn't an abundance of power when pulling away from a stop and normal acceleration through the 5 gears was not impressive.  There was however, a powerband up past 7,000 RPM and it gave you about 3,000 RPM before it would flatten back out.  This made the 500 alot of fun on those back country roads.  Winding through the hills accelerating through each corner.  Hmmm, good memories.

I rode this bike up to around 22,000 miles.  She seemed to be getting tired and the idle got progressively rougher.  After a carberator rebuild and a compression test we decided to sell her.  The compression test showed that one cylinder was indeed tired (180 left & 130 right) and the small repair items on the drivetrain seemed to be adding up.  It was a sad day.

This would be a good starter bike for anyone.  I've never ridden one of those 250cc Ninjia's, but I can't imagine feeling the need to buy anything smaller (unless you're a 100 pound 16 year old).  The low end isn't scary and you can avoid the power band until you feel you're ready to handle seeing the yellow dashed lines go by a little quicker.  I'd imagine it would last an American male (on the lighter side of 200 pounds) a year or two before he was ready for a four cylinder 600 or larger.  For me, it was the large displacement cruiser route.  I enjoy lugging around the hills more than racing through them these days.
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