New Ninja 400 versus old EX500? - Ex-500.com - The home of the Kawasaki EX500 / Ninja 500R
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-28-2019, 10:05 AM Thread Starter
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New Ninja 400 versus old EX500?

I was wondering which one do you think is best?

Looks like the EX400 is less aggressive than the EX500 engine, weirdly enough.

What are the overall differences?
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-29-2019, 3:08 AM
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Be patient. Kawi is as susceptible to cc-creep as any manufacturer. H1 500 became H3 750. 400 twin became 440. 454 became 500. 600 became 636. 900 became 1000 > became 1100 > became 1200 > became 1400. 1300? well, it was deep sixed.

Standby for a new 450 or even 500.


The main difference 400/500 is there's not much interwebz support for the new 400. And, with EFI, you really can't work on it except for plugs (which you won't need to), air filter and tires.

I finally figured out why I like Ducatis: With their exhaust note and dry clutch, they sound almost like a Guzzi!

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-29-2019, 9:14 AM
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With exhaust and EFI flash, they’re getting +8-10hp out of 400. In stock trim, 400 is 10-sec/lap faster than fully race-prepped EX500s from decade ago @ Thunderhill Raceway. Hard to overcome 76-lb weight advantage under braking and cornering. Not to mention difference in stiff vs. wet-noodle frame.

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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-29-2019, 10:28 AM
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Spurgeon at Revzilla's Common Tread has written a lot about the 400. Though he says many positive things, he estimated the service costs for the first 15k to be over $1,500 at the shop. And while he says this includes parts, I don't imagine he's talking about tires, pads, sprockets, chains, batteries n such. I think he's talking about labor costs mainly. Of course if you do the work yourself, you pay only a fraction of that. This said, the number suggests that maintaining the 400 may be just as labor intensive in the end as the 500. And while the 400 doesn't seem to be a tech heavy bike by today's standards, I get nervous at the idea of having to take a bike into a shop for computer "diagnosis" which very well may tell you "Replace this expensive part." I don't have to worry about that with the 500. The 400 has fuel injection--but knock on wood, I have never had a problem with the 500s carbs in 60,000 miles of riding. You'll be able to get the 500 a lot cheaper, and the insurance, at least in my neck of the woods, will be a good bit cheaper too. For all of these reasons, I prefer the 500.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-29-2019, 10:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gedde View Post
I was wondering which one do you think is best?
Looks like the EX400 is less aggressive than the EX500 engine, weirdly enough.
What are the overall differences?
your intention of use and definition of "best", please?

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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-29-2019, 9:50 PM
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I was just in this boat as I was looking at both bikes to buy. The EX500 is much heavier and way older technology. EX400 is better in every way except the price. I got my 500 for $1300. The 400 still cost well over 3x that price. For my money the EX500 was the better choice for my needs (30 mile commute and canyon carving on the weekends).

When the 400 comes down in price I’ll probably look at buying one again.

Last edited by ndogg; 10-29-2019 at 9:53 PM.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-30-2019, 10:04 PM
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Quote:
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I was just in this boat as I was looking at both bikes to buy. The EX500 is much heavier and way older technology. EX400 is better in every way except the price. I got my 500 for $1300. The 400 still cost well over 3x that price. For my money the EX500 was the better choice for my needs (30 mile commute and canyon carving on the weekends).

When the 400 comes down in price I’ll probably look at buying one again.

I'd look for a used one. A lot of the 400's are starter bikes that people already paid the dealer fee's/taxes/freight. They're ready for something bigger and the smaller bikes, IMO, can be negotiated with a lot easier! They don't always sell as quickly as the bigger sized bikes.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-31-2019, 5:00 PM
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The torque and power issue would lead me to chose the old 500.

The race times are probably explained because the GPZ 500 was never that sporty in terms of frame/suspension/brakes.

Unless you're racing the 500 will likely do better on normal use.

my two cents of course
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-4-2019, 4:28 AM
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We still don't know what criteria OP uses to determine "best".

Ninja 400 weights 75-lbs less than EX5000, which pretty much negates any power & torque differences. Both bikes have pretty much identical 0-60mph, 1/4-mile times and top-speed. Individual rider variations causes larger differences on either bike.

Now compare braking and cornering and it's like pitting Porsche Turbo vs. Crown Vic!

I currently have 2 bikes which I bought new, '86 VF500 Interceptor and '06 CBR600RR. Difference in maintenance and convenience of EFI compared to carbs is night and day! In 14-yrs of owning CBR600RR, i've never had to fill tank and drain carbs for winter, never had to rebuild petcock and carbs after winter, or store it in time-capsule for winter. I've left CBR sitting outside in cold rain and snow, knowing it'll start after sitting for 6-months (or years even) in such conditions. Heck, I've gotten cabin-fever in dead of winter night in sub-freezing conditions and hopped on for ride. VRRrroom! Starts up in less than one crank-revolution every time. None of my carbed bikes can ever hope to do that in winter.

Which is partly why I leave CBR outside, so so many times I've rolled some carbed bike back into garage after wasting over 30-minutes trying to start it. And then rolling CBR outside afterwards and VVrrooomm! It starts right up!!! Slowly but surely I've been converting all my carbed bikes to EFI wit Microsquirt. Immediately gives bonus of +5-10% more power and better low-end tractability too!
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Last edited by DannoXYZ; 11-4-2019 at 5:32 AM.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-4-2019, 6:09 AM
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Originally Posted by DannoXYZ View Post
so so many times I've rolled some carbed bike back into garage after wasting over 30-minutes trying to start it.
Up coming sub freezing cold start video , when weather permits. We'll see if the EX can beat that time. And just for fun we'll use one with over 100k miles on the engine (and carbs).

2006 Ninja500R Purchased new July 2006; 0 miles. Miles as of January 2019; 102,137. It's a GO bike, not a SHOW bike.
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-4-2019, 12:29 PM
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A lot of the EX500 starting when cold or sitting for a long while problems are due to that annoying vacuum petcock (off, run, reserve). I've got a 2002 Kawi Super Sherpa with a similar vacuum petcock but it starts just fine because its got a prime position (run, prime, reserve). When its really cold (or has been sitting for a while), just switch the valve from "run" to "prime", wait a few seconds for some fresh gas to flow to the bowl, pull the choke, and vrroom. You've just got to remember to switch the valve back to run before you drive away. Even though its easier to get started, the Sherpa does have the same cold-bloodedness as the EX until you drive it for a few blocks, however. Cold driveability is an area where EFI clearly has the advantage.
post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-4-2019, 12:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DannoXYZ View Post

Slowly but surely I've been converting all my carbed bikes to EFI wit Microsquirt. Immediately gives bonus of +5-10% more power and better low-end tractability too!
OK, Danno. Now that you've spilled the beans you've got to give us a blow by blow account on converting a carbed bike to EFI. The whole thing, throttle bodies, pump, pressure regulator, plumbing, harness, programming the Microsquirt (Megasquirt??) Maybe this winter??.....we're waiting....
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-4-2019, 9:14 PM
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I'm following Greg737's excellent guides on his Ninja 250 and Bandit 400.

http://forums.banditalley.net/suzuki...ction-project/
https://www.ninjette.org/forums/showthread.php?t=34208
https://www.ninjette.org/forums/showthread.php?t=314674

There's some irregular pulsing issues due to uneven-firing twin that can cause trouble with MAP-sensing.. I'm going to get around that by building automotive-style intake-manifold with large plenum and single throttle-body. And using MAF sensor ahead of throttle-body. That should even out pulses from each cylinder to give an accurate air-mass flowed reading. And use alpha-N blended load-sensing.
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-5-2019, 5:52 AM
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Some additional threads:

https://cbr250.com/forums/project-bi...cbr250rri.html
http://projectcbr250rri.blogspot.com/
https://thumpertalk.com/forums/topic...ction-project/
http://www.msruns.com/viewforum.php?f=93

Every bike is different and it's best to convert with its particulars in mind. Twins with their uneven firing-order needs to keep that issue in mind. There are supposedly "kits" that comes with all necessary components for specific bikes. However, these kits are low-quality and many users have reported various issues:

- insufficient fuel-pump capacity. Certain orientations of fuel-hoses can cause vapour-lock.
- plastic fuel-rails with Z-type hose-clamps on fuel-hoses... really?
- incomplete configuration, doesn't come with intake air-temp sensor or TPS
- generic fuel & ignition-maps, bike barely runs and needs extensive dyno-tuning
- using 2 narrow-band O2-sensors for auto-tuning fuel-maps... seriously? No wonder bike runs great one day and horrible next when temperatures and humidity changes.

I suggest following successful conversions and see how they made it work compared to quick-fix hastily assembled "kits". Following OEM designs is best as factory engineers have spent lots more design and troubleshooting time than aftermarket "kit" suppliers. Heck, Honda's turbo bikes from '80s was amazing for its day. Uses Bosch EFI licensed to Hitachi/Denso and is very similar to how Porsche Turbos were configured during that time. Heck, those Honda factory ECU boxes can be re-programmed using same TunerPro software for hacking Porsche's Motronics 1.1 or 1.3 ECUs.

Last edited by DannoXYZ; 11-5-2019 at 6:06 AM.
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-5-2019, 1:15 PM
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Hey, Danno, thanks for the links. There is a lot of meat to digest there but I can see a winter project taking shape. I've converted cars to EFI but never a bike. On one (a 4 cylinder) I managed to get around the inconsistent MAP problem caused by individual runners by building a vacuum accumulator with a line to each runner and taking the MAP signal from the accumulator chamber. A lot depends on cam duration; long duration inevitably means less idle vacuum no matter what the set up is.
post #16 of 17 (permalink) Old Today, 3:36 AM
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I have to say, I’m a huge fan of the EX500. With that said, yeah it has a couple pitfalls. It’s not perfect, nor is it modern anymore. But something isn’t enjoyable because it’s modern or perfect. The EX500 and the new 400 are barely even comparable. Which is better, an 80’s Porsche 911 or a brand new one? It’s just not a question that should be asked.
On my EX500, a 1997, I’ve got an aluminum Muzzy exhaust. That alone must be a 25+lb weight savings over the massive, heavy twin stockies. Pair that with larger jets, wider rear tire, and well tuned carbs, I would bet the 500 walks away. Talking strictly straight line speed here. Even dropping a few teeth on the rear sprocket would make it noticeably quicker off the line. These bikes never had much for top speed anyways.
I’ll bet again that 400 won’t set off car alarms like my 500 can, no replacement for displacement.
Also, my EX500 is the most reliable vehicle I own. When every other vehicle I own is down for one reason or another this bike just won’t quit. Starts every time no matter what. It’s been left outside in the rain and snow for MONTHS at a time no cover, knocked over a few times while it’s been parked too. Used hard and put away wet. Only problem I ever had with it got fixed for good with WD-40. Good old fashioned reliability is so tedious, isn’t it?
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post #17 of 17 (permalink) Old Today, 5:24 AM
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^ I'm not disputing that you don't have a much lighter exhaust system. Just not too sure your saving 25lbs. I didn't weigh the mufflers, but I'm not too sure that they even weigh 25lbs for the both of them. I could even see it as an "upgrade" to actually put heavier mufflers on. It's the perfect location for weight. It would lower the center of gravity to do so.
I know that no one would agree with me on this (don't really care), but if I could get a gas tank with about 1 gallon less capacity, I would probably go for that. I like the way the bike handles when on reserve verses a full tank of gas. You would have to get gas more often, but that would also help keep the gas fresh.

As far as the EFI bikes:
On another forum it seems all I hear is fuel pump this and fuel pump that. Like it is the number one part to fail.

2006 Ninja500R Purchased new July 2006; 0 miles. Miles as of January 2019; 102,137. It's a GO bike, not a SHOW bike.
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