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2004 Kawasaki Ninja 500
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Step 1: Finding some...

That's the hard part, isn't it?

As with most of the cooler exhaust options that once existed for these bikes, the Cobra sport bike series mufflers have been discontinued for a very long time. So I knew I had my work cut out for me...

I scoured the for sale pages here on the forum. I messaged random people who had once sold Ninja 500's on Facebook Marketplace. I typed in all variations of "Ninja 500 EX500 GPZ500 Muffler Exhaust Slip On Cobra F1 F1R" that you can possibly imagine. I looked around for days on end. Any spare moment, I would search Craigslist, or Offerup, or Ebay, or Amazon. I contacted RonAyers and other larger vendors who used to sell these things... I put in work!

And then it happened!

I found a Motorcycle Salvage yard on Ebay who had listed some "1989 Ex500 Mufflers" and inquired about them. They were rusty. They were completely without packing. They were overpriced. But this place knew they were never really going to sell them otherwise so they made me a deal and I got them in hand 3 days later.

Step2: Restore them!






Upon arrival, they were better than I expected, but worse that I wanted. So the strip down and clean up began immediately.






A wire brush, some 500 degree engine enamel, a giant bag of packing material, and a few rivets, a half bottle of aluminum polish and a sore elbow later, they were almost as good as new!

This is a simple enough process.
1: Drill out the stock rivets
2: Twist and pull until the canisters come off the mid pipes, being careful not to bend, dent, or damage anything.
3: Clean everything until your heart's content.(Mine were structurally ok, aside from missing all packing material. But they were aesthetically poor)
4: Eliminate rust anywhere you see it - A wire brush and a drill works best!
5: Clean your rust free pipes with alcohol or mineral spirits - and repaint the mid-pipe/body of the mufflers.
6: Polish your canisters before repacking!
7: Slide the canisters over the packing material, being careful to lineup your rivet holes before the final PUSH into place.
8: Install new rivets and revel in your handiwork.








The only thing I'm still waiting on are new muffler to mid-pipe gaskets. (Part # 11009-1667). Those should arrive Wednesday. So, until then, I just have to stare at my little beauties and daydream about being a wicked 1990's half-liter street bike hero.
 

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2004 Kawasaki Ninja 500
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42 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
The Follow-up







These things are just as awesome as I remember!
I have around 200 miles on them already and the lower tone, nice growl under load & at speed, lightweight and low temps of these cans are everything I could have wanted out of a set of mufflers. I realize this style of muffler is no longer desirable and wouldn't match any modern sport bike. But Cobra had really knocked it out of the park with these. I'm surprised they haven't tried to make a more modern variant.
 

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84' Goldwing Aspencade, 91' EX500, 98' Ninja 250/17' 300 engine, 07' EX500
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3,887 Posts
I have a pair of Cobra F1r on my 91 aka Phoenix, which a bit louder than the S version. They have a higher pitch note and sound a bit raspy, almost to the point where they're annoying but not that bad.

Mine don't look as good as yours do for sure, but they work.

Tire Wheel Fuel tank Vehicle Automotive lighting


Tire Wheel Automotive tire Vehicle Motor vehicle


I got them used off eBay, and they already had a rough life. I then repacked using ACOUSTA-FIL, which is one of the best I've ever used over the years, and now my go-to. I used it in my Vance and Hines SS2r full system on my 07 aka Nightwing . This system has a nice sound to it for 2 into 1, thanks to the ACOUSTA-FIL, it gives more of a berbal, lower tone, instead of brappy sound if you know what I mean. It's one of the best setups I've heard for these bikes, most sound too high pitch, brappy sound, IMHO they sound bad to my preference.

For those who may not be familiar with ACOUSTA-FIL, below is a link so you can check it out

 
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2004 Kawasaki Ninja 500
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42 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hey, I have a set of these on a bike I'm likely going to part out, cosmetically they look good. Since you've looked so much, what would you say they're worth?
$90 is what I paid for mine. If they're in great shape, I'd go up to $150.

They're usable on every model of EX500 ever, for the record.
 

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2004 Kawasaki Ninja 500
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42 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I have a pair of Cobra F1r on my 91 aka Phoenix, which a bit louder than the S version. They have a higher pitch note and sound a bit raspy, almost to the point where they're annoying but not that bad.

Mine don't look as good as yours do for sure, but they work.

View attachment 56160

View attachment 56161

I got them used off eBay, and they already had a rough life. I then repacked using ACOUSTA-FIL, which is one of the best I've ever used over the years, and now my go-to. I used it in my Vance and Hines SS2r full system on my 07 aka Nightwing . This system has a nice sound to it for 2 into 1, thanks to the ACOUSTA-FIL, it gives more of a berbal, lower tone, instead of brappy sound if you know what I mean. It's one of the best setups I've heard for these bikes, most sound too high pitch, brappy sound, IMHO they sound bad to my preference.

For those who may not be familiar with ACOUSTA-FIL, below is a link so you can check it out

Love it! They just need a once over with some metal polish!
 

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84' Goldwing Aspencade, 91' EX500, 98' Ninja 250/17' 300 engine, 07' EX500
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3,887 Posts
Love it! They just need a once over with some metal polish!
I was thinking about doing that, but decided to keep them as is for a few reasons.

1 I couldn't replace the decals.
2 the bike isn't perfect, it's a good 20/20 bike.
3 too lazy 😂
4 didn't want to through all that work, and hate the way they sound.

Someday maybe....
 

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When the aluminum pop rivets loosen up or start leaking, replace them with stainless rivets.
 
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84' Goldwing Aspencade, 91' EX500, 98' Ninja 250/17' 300 engine, 07' EX500
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3,887 Posts
Stainless steel is stronger 💪

Keep in mind, those stainless steel pop rivets will.be much harder to drill out when the muffler needs to be repacked. Invest in at least one excellent quality drill bit to drill those out, and the same can be said about the pop rivet gun.

No harbor freight tools🔥

You'll thank me later.
 

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Can also Dremel the rivet heads with a small pointed stone bit or carbide. When I packed mine, I wrapped the glass in Helix stainless screen which keeps the glass from packing as badly and blowing out.

The head pipes are carbon steel, but rather thick. I have 22 years on mine and they needed re-painting and re-packing. I polished the cans, as originally they are pretty much matte finish. I think they are 3" aluminum irrigation pipe repurposed.
 
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Anyone know of a good vinyl graphics outfit? I have the last known stock of F1 stickers. I emailed Cobra a few years ago and the fellow who responded dug through some drawers and mailed me the last of the original F1 stickers they had.
 

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Premium Member
84' Goldwing Aspencade, 91' EX500, 98' Ninja 250/17' 300 engine, 07' EX500
Joined
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3,887 Posts
Anyone know of a good vinyl graphics outfit? I have the last known stock of F1 stickers. I emailed Cobra a few years ago and the fellow who responded dug through some drawers and mailed me the last of the original F1 stickers they had.
Actually I do,

Yellow dog graphics in California. They've been doing all my graphics for the past 8 years.

 
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