Handle bar modifications
There are a number of modifications you can make to the 500 handlebars to raise or lower them for a more customized fit. Bar end weights and gel grips are also available for the 500 to help dampen handle bar vibration.
Note: Gen1 ('87-'93) handlebars handlebars and triple-tree are different from Gen2 ('94-'09). Most of the below is specific to Gen2 bikes.
|HINT - heat the bolts holding the handle bar ends on with a heat gun or propane torch (careful with the torch so as not to melt plastics) or even a hair dryer, just before removing. The idea is to melt the LockTite securing these bolts from loosening without melting or damaging any plastic. If you do this just before loosening these they should come off easily.|
Handle Bar Risers
Motorcycle Larry's makes handle bar risers specific to the Kawasaki 500. These will raise the grips 1 inch from the stock position. Installation is a 1 on a scale of difficulty of 1 to 5 and should take about 1/2 an hour.
If you find you put excessive weight on your hands, which gives you sore hands and wrists, these will improve rider comfort.
Notes: I would also recommend installing a Zero Gravity Touring Windscreen with this upgrade. The slightly higher seating position raises your body position and the higher windscreen helps compensate by improving airflow which is noticeable at higher speeds. These can be found cheap on EBay.
- Remove two bolts below steering head which attach horn and brake line bracket
- Remove bracket that holds brake line
- Reattach horn without brake line bracket. Set brake line bracket aside. This is so your brake line has more slack which will be needed with bar risers.
- Pry off 4 plastic caps covering handle bar grip bolts. See exposed bolts on left and covered bolts on right in above picture.
- Remove left side bolts.
- Loosen two screws on handle bar riser to allow inner cylinder to come loose
- Position handle bar riser on triple tree and slide cylinder in to riser to engage top of the fork tube. Tighten set screws on side of riser to hold cylinder.
- Tighten new bolts to hold grip and riser in place. Replace plastic caps.
- Repeat for right side.
Parts included two machined aluminum blocks that fit below the existing risers to raise them one inch and replacement bolts. Aluminum cylinders are for adjustment of fork height. They will install with no other changes to the brake line or cables. Note the brake line guide (attached with same bolts as horn) must be removed in order to allow the brake line to extend further.
Left grip bar has bar riser installed. Right grip is stock. Note the plastic bolt covers are not yet installed. Recommend doing both sides if your arms are the same length.
Tools required include a metric Allen key set, a 10mm socket to remove the brake line guide/horn attachment bracket and a flat head screw driver to pry up the plastic bolt covers.
Clip On Handle Bars
To be added by someone at some point in the future ......
Hudson Valley Motorcycle Parts (HVMP) produce heavy handle bar ends specific for the Kawasaki 500. As of this writing they are the only manufacturer to produce after market bar ends for the 500. NOTE: The bar ends are NOT compatible with the first gen (pre-1994) EX500s!
These weigh in at 17.2oz (extra heavy model), considerably more than the stock bar ends. They are a direct replacement for the original handle bar ends. The extra weight helps dampen bar vibration. It does not eliminate all vibration but does decrease it. They are best installed in conjunction with gel hand grips (Pro Grip 719 or similar) to combat vibration.
The HVMP bar ends are milled from solid stainless steel and are much longer than the original bar ends. As a result they can also provide some additional tip over protection as long as the bars are not turned. Because of the stainless steel construction, they do not rust if scratched.
Forum member schoolie is making bar ends for the community. He can make them in several lengths/weights, as well as doing custom options (extra length, grooves, etc.). See this thread for ordering information.
Throttlemeister's cruise control mounts in place of the stock bar end and includes a matching weight for the left side. The standard model is 1.6" long and weighs 12oz. The heavy model is 2" long and weighs 14oz. There are several finishes available.
When removing the original bar ends use a hair dryer or heat gun to first heat them up. Kawasaki used LockTite on the screws which may require heat to first soften up the LockTite.
Gel After Market Grips
ProGrip model 719 are frequently recommended and work well. Others may also work.
Grip installation notes
- use a razor blade to cut off old grips. Single cut down the length of the grip. No point in saving these.
- use this as an opportunity to spray teflon or dry lube under the throttle tube to reduce friction. Don't use grease as it is messy.
- remember there is a right and left grip. the left grip has a smaller inside diameter.
- cut out the ends of the grips off if they have them before installing
- use hairspray to make sliding the grips on easier. this also helps the grips stick after it dries. After installing the grips with hair spray let them sit for several hours before riding so it can set.