Ex-500.com - The home of the Kawasaki EX500 / Ninja 500R banner

1 - 20 of 30 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
43 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
So I've had my EX500 for about 2 years now. I've put another 4690 miles on it since buying it. Yet I still dont' really feel "comfortable" on it. For insatnce entering turns I don't feel a whole lot more sure of my self then when I first got the bike. I think a lot of it is the fact that here in seattle we don't have to many curvy roads to practice smooth turns. 90% of the turns I make are from a dead stop turning at a red light. That combined with the fact that the roads are horrible in seattle and every turn I make I'm praying there isnt' some huge pot hole around the corner probably doesn't really help.

Learning to suport myself with my legs on the tank, and to relax my elbows has helped a ton. But the idea of scraping a peg seems completely impossible. Granted when I get on smooth new pavement I feel *way* more comfortable. So I'm starting to think its the suspension more then anything. But this is the only motorcycle I've ever ridden other then a dual sport at my safety training class so I don't have anything to compare it to. I think I might try ajusting the preload of the uni-track and shimming the front fork springs as I've seen mentioned in other posts. How much will this help though? I'm sorta thinking about just selling my bike and buying something with a more modern suspension.

I'm tunning up my bike now (oil, coolant, plugs, adjust valves (maybe), sync carbs). Which will probably help because it's been running like sh!t. Anyway if any of you have any suggestions I'd apreciate hearing them.

Eric
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
146 Posts
I recommend you sell the ex and buy a dual sport. You could use that extra suspension travel. Also when you crash it won't cost anywhere near as much to fix. Maybe if there is a track you could start doing trackdays. Maybe you could just stop being a wuss and lean into corners....haha. Ok that was cruel. Do what you want. I was comfortable scraping pegs by like 500 miles on my ex. That's me though. No reason to do that much just commuting though. Up near anchorage there aren't to many twisties either so it kinda sucks. You just gotta work with what you have. Move out of the city or something. Find some nice backroads. The only way to get comfortable is to do it. Learn to turn and enjoy it. If not then you may as well just go buy a Prius. Alright, I sound like an ass right now but ya. That's just my opinion. It could be that I just can't wait to get back to my bike after not being able to ride for so long.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,526 Posts
Hi and welcome to the board Eric :)

I live in Quebec, where the roads are probably worst than where you are (really not kidding here) I see asphalt half of the time, the rest it's gravel roads where I live.

In Montreal (where I work) there are gimonstrous potholes that can really swallow the front wheel. Besides the drivers are crazy there..

In these conditions, I never got a peg to scrub the asphalt (I would probably be dead or severely disabled before that) But 2 weeks ago, a bunch of guys from here went to Calabogie and we got to try our machines on the track.. I almost dragged pegs there, I feel much more confident now to take curves and even if I haven't got the front suspension modded yet, it's a world of difference.

My advice would be to try it in the proper environment, you'll fall in love again with it.

I don't think doing the suspension mod will make it more adapted to harsh terrain like you described as it's more suited for track surface quality :-\
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,348 Posts
its nothing to do with you, nor the bike, its the crappy roads that are causing most of your lack of confidence. do a few trackdays with it, and you'll understand what we're all saying. for your daily riding though, the DRZ400 supermoto would be best, considering its born out of a dirtbike, but legal on the street. best of both worlds.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
146 Posts
bobthebiker said:
its nothing to do with you, nor the bike, its the crappy roads that are causing most of your lack of confidence. do a few trackdays with it, and you'll understand what we're all saying. For your daily riding though, the DRZ400 supermoto would be best, considering its born out of a dirtbike, but legal on the street. best of both worlds.
Or you could go with the DRZ-S which is the standard dualsport. It's a bit cheaper and practically the same bike. Research the 2 and other dual sports available. Check out forums. There are plenty out there. They would be better suited for the crappy road conditions. Definitely try to hit up a trackday though. You see what the bike can do. Then realize that the street is not as nice as the track...haha.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,107 Posts
Do you have stock tires on it?
If so they are kind of hard and square, better tires with more grip might give you more confidence. Stiffen the front-end some with some spacers will be cheap and help also.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,526 Posts
I changed the handlebars for something 80cm wide (30 inches) and I love tearing down gravel roads now ;)

the ex has quite a potential for bad roads mainly dur to it's lightness.

I also got the crash cages from Renntec, which are taking worries out of the equation.

I'd love to try the DR-Z but with the amount of highway commuting I'm doing, I find that my EX is the best of all worlds (sport/off-road/cruiser riding position) with all the mods that've been done to it ;D

The Metzelers are doing a good job in many different conditions ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
530 Posts
Well.. I for one can understand where you're coming from:

I was recently riding a road I know pretty well and entered a corner at 75mph that is normally fun for me at 55mph. It was way faster than I am accustomed to riding, and I don't think I came close to scraping pegs, even though I went WAY farther than my comfort level (it was that or run wide). What was really illustrated for me though, was that I think I'd have to be going fast enough to have all the cops in the state after me before I managed to scrape any hardparts.

Doing that in a city enviroment just seems impossible.

On a side note; I've taken to "leaning off" (slight) and weighting my inside pegs. I've noticed a dramatic increase in response and I'm not leaning the bike over quite as hard as my first summer, while still being able to take turns faster.

I also "maxed" out my bike today for the first time, with an idicated 130mph @ 10500rpms/6th (no GPS today so I don't know the actual).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
43 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Calculated Spring Rate: 0.90 kg/mm
For Rider Weight = 175 lbs.
Bike Weight = 437 lbs.
Bike Type = Sport Bike
Riding Style = Aggressive Street
Tank Bag = No


Here's what I got from sonic springs. Please tell me if I'm making any wrong asumptions. This is a "sport bike" right? What's the spring rate of standard springs? I'd have no problem dropping $80 on a set of these springs if people thing I would notice the different. Would it only help with response or would it also keep the front end from diving when break hard? These stainless lines kill me sometimes.


Also isn't kg a unit of mass? Aren't spring rates supose to be FORCE/distance?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
43 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
On and my tires are Pirelli Sport Demons, which are not oversized.

And I found the stock spring rate on another site which says it is 0.585 kg/mm. So I'd imagine that 0.90 kg/mm would be very noticable.

Would increasing the spring rate up front cause problems if I didn't do anything to the back? I can obviously adjust the rear for preload, and I was also thinking about replacing the dog bone the raise the rear a bit. What do you guys think?


Eric
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
146 Posts
I just put the .9s on mine. You can actually do it for free if you look at the "Cutting Springs" post in the suspension area, but I'd happily pay $80 again for the difference it made. It really transforms the bike to have the right fork springs. I'm sure that doing the same for the rear would make a big difference too, but I'm now happy pushing the bike to my limits. The fork now soaks up the bumps rather than harshly bottoming out. Once I reach the point where my limits are pushing the bike, I'll do the rear spring.

I notice my fiance is now pushing the bike harder as well, and really likes having the right springs as well. She has only been riding a month now, and is pushing it way harder than I was at that point.

I did the same thing to my Concours, putting 1.2 rate springs in, and the same transformation was made. I'm now dragging the pegs all the time with that bike, and am going remove the peg lowering kit the PO had installed so I can get more clearance.

Keep in mind that the EX has a ton of clearance. I've not scraped the pegs on it yet, and probably won't on the stock tires. Also keep in mind that the lower fairing will touch down first. I pulled that off though.

The EX is a truly great learning aid. I'm doing things with it I never dreamed of doing on my other bikes, and the difference is really making itself apparent on the Concours.
 
I

·
Guest
Joined
·
0 Posts
Sonic doesnt list the first gen 500's? does anyone make them for me??

i really want to firm up my front end as well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
70 Posts
My dad was in the exact same situation as you with the 500 which is how I ended up with the bike. I found the best way for me to get comfortable with the bike was to find an open parking lot and just practice and practice slow turns. I also would use the parking lines like cones and just weave in between them going as slow as I could while keeping control of the bike. I'm sure some people wouldn't find this helpful but it helped me out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
43 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Yeah I think I'm going to pick up a pair of 0.90 springs. I don't want to bother cutting springs or anything like that.

Is there a difference between the Race Tech springs for $109 vs the Sonic Springs for $79.95? Well other then ~$30.

Is there anything I can do with the rear other then setting the preload for the correct sag? I'm not going to spend $700 on a shock for a $2000 bike.

Also what kind of fork oil should I use? The manual says 10W20, but all the fork oil I saw at my local store was rated in just weights. So is 10w20 10 weight? If I'm going to install a set of 0.90 kg/mm springs should i consider using a different weight oil?



Eric
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
43 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
ajw said:
My dad was in the exact same situation as you with the 500 which is how I ended up with the bike. I found the best way for me to get comfortable with the bike was to find an open parking lot and just practice and practice slow turns. I also would use the parking lines like cones and just weave in between them going as slow as I could while keeping control of the bike. I'm sure some people wouldn't find this helpful but it helped me out.
Yeah it's not so much the slow speed stuff, although I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be able to do the standard figure 8 box in my 500. It's more high speed turns.


Eric
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,567 Posts
By description that's a classic symptom of not looking deep enough through the corner. Turn your head in the direction you want to go and look as deep in that direction as you can. The principle of "you go where you look", combined with looking deep through the corner to the exit point as early as possible. The further ahead you look has the effect of slowing everything down, affording a ton of comfort as well as accuracy. Looking at the road just ahead of the tire makes the bike feel like it doesn't want to turn. Doesn't cost anything to try it. :) Let us know if it helped.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
43 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Ah yeah looking ahead helps a lot too, and is easy to forget. What about turning quickly through a tight turn. Like making a 90 deg right turn through a green light. I feel like I have to slow down more then I would in my truck. On a on-ramp/off-ramp I feel more confortable because the road slowly curves and while I may eventual make a sharp turn I slowly roll into it. I'm sure i'm not looking into the the turn as much as I should in that case.


Eric
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
146 Posts
From all I've gathered, there is no difference between Racetech and Sonic when it comes to springs, and Sonic gives great support. I've not dealt with Racetech, but I've not heard any bad things about them. I plan on getting cartridge emulators from them later.

Read the booklets I linked to. That, I think, may help you quite a bit.

Even after over 20 years of riding, I often have to repeat a mantra that goes like this; "Look, Lean, Believe."

What that means is this; Look where I want to go, Lean to achieve the turn, believe that the bike will take me through the turn.

For most people, within reason of course, the bike will do much more than they believe it will do, and every day, many people run right off the road because they are looking at what they are trying to avoid or because they do not believe the bike will do what they need it to do.
 
1 - 20 of 30 Posts
Top