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Discussion Starter #1
My fiance' completed the MSF course the weekend before last. Her first reaction was that she'd be happy to have me driving, as the course was a bit overwhelming to her. Well, the next day she said that she woke up wanting to ride. Each day she felt it even stronger. I had done a lot of research and came to the conclusion that the EX500 was the perfect first bike. She had agreed until she went to a used bike dealer with a huge selection, sat on a bunch of bikes, and decided she wanted a cruiser. I naturally said that the EN500 would be ideal then, though I was dissapointed. We could not find one to buy this weekend in my price range, but we did find a EX500.

She decided to look at it again and, using a woman's perogative, changed her mind again. I had wanted her to ride it first, but it was wet and raining. She sat on it and said that it would be fine if the bars came further back. I told her that that was possible and she decided she wanted it.

We did the deal and it was time to take it home. I was now the proud owner of a Silver 2004 EX500 with 6400 miles on it. She was to follow me in her car.

I got on the bike and took note of how light and compact it was. I went straight from singles to inline-4s, and have not owned a bike this narrow in a long time. I've also not moved anything this light in a long time. Not so light as the 300-pound GN250 I could move around without thought, but a lot lighter than anything I've ridden in many years. I started the bike and was suprised by how rough it was. I'm used to inline-4s, and even though I knew it was a twin, I was taken aback by the roughness. I was also suprised at the exhaust note. It is a lot like my GN250 was, which makes sense since it is a pair of 250s breathing into their own pipes. I like quiet bikes, and this one fits the bill.

I stopped at the first Shell I could find to fill it up with V-Power, as it seemed rough even at high RPMs, and was missing a bit. The bike had not been ridden in so long that the battery had been dead, so I figured it had stale gas in it. 3 gallons later, the tank was full, and the smell of the stale gas much diminished. She ran much better, and I was able to get a feel for the power character of the engine. She does not like to be under 2500 RPM, and prefers 3k and up, but once there feels nice and torquey, with good response. Rev it above 7k and the power starts ramping up nicely, and I can see that my impression of the bike, from reviews was correct. It has a dual nature, feeling like a torquey 250 below 6k, and getting a rowdier nature above that, feeling more like a 600. I know that it will give her plenty of room to grow, while being easy to learn on. It will also be a fun ride for me, when I'm riding 1-up.

The back tire was down the the wear bars, and I was pretty nervous about the hour-long rise home in the rain, but figured that I could always rent a trailer if it proved squirelly. I was very pleasantly suprised at solid feel of the bike on wet pavement. I never got any of the losse feeling that other bikes have given me. The fairing offered decent protection to my upper body. The bike felt solid with no tracking in rain grooves, and passing vehicles did not shake it at all. It actually feels more stable than my Concours, though I've not ridden it in heavy winds yet. The riding position puts me leaned further forward than my Concours, which has bar spacers to lift them, but at speed the air supports me, which the large windshield on the Concours prevents.

The clutch has a narrower friction zone than I'm used too, but is not grabby. I had no trouble taking off in the rain. The brakes are easily modulated and not grabby at all. Again, no trouble in the rain. Shifting is light and direct, and I never missed a shift. I filled it back up when I got home, after putting some carb cleaner in the tank. Wound up getting 54 MPG for the little trip.

My fiance kept wishing it was not raining, so she could ride our new toy. I told her to go ride it as we were in the neighborhood now, and it had already been in the rain. She though I was jacking with her and got a bit upset. I told her I was serious and that if she was serious about wanting to ride, she should do it. She looked at me funny then said ok. I pushed it out and she got on and started it up. I cautioned her on the traction, that it would be less than what she was used to, but that if she took it easy, she'd be fine. She rode around the neigborhood, and came back with a huge grin. She told me that it just felt right, and that it was easier to ride than the Buell Blast she'd learned on, that she'd even be ok with the bars where they were. Looks like we got a winner, and she's not afraid of the rain anymore.
 

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Happy to see you found the right bike for both of you ;)

My only advice is that this bike was designed to run 87 octane gas, no need to get the V-power gas (if I'm not mistaken, the V-power gas is 94 grade)

Keep the rubber side down, Motorcycle Larry has some bar risers that lift them 1¼ inch :)

http://www.motorcyclelarry.com/ninja_risers.aspx
 

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Nice write up, Fazer. That was fun to read, & we'll be looking forward to your impressions w/ better weather, new tires, & maybe the pilot screw & airbox mod.

Take a look at the oil/filter topics here & see if that helps the clutch feel.
Wal-mart has inexpensive oil, & a filter for $3.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I put the V-Power in because it is the only gas I've ever found that seems to actually have some difference for rough running engines.

The carb cleaner I use, Fuel Power, is way better, but I figured I'd get it started in the right direction. Thanks for the heads up though.

Thanks for the heads-up on the mods and oil.

I'm looking at ways to convert to tubular handlebars. I've found one post related to that so far.

Looking forward to better weather, that's for sure. First things on my list are rear tire, handlebars, and frame-sliders.
 

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Might want to read some tire topics. I don't have experience there, but some members stress the importance of compatable F & R tires.

My '05 runs well on 10% alcohol BP, w/ 87 octane. I've not put a fuel filter on yet, but the vets recommend it: apparently the 500R carbs can be sensitive to tiny bits clogging the pilot jets.

The topics on the pilot jet mod says to back them out 2.5 from the (gently) seated position. My '05 jets were not quite 1 turn from seated. 2.5 was too rich. I'm now at 1.5 but may tweek them out to 1.75.
I added a small flat blade screw driver to the bike's tool kit.

The Shell Rotella T 15-40 oil, & SuperTech filter (ST7317) tested well. So did some others but these have the price & availablilty advantage, here in west Omaha anyway.
 

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Got a set of those tubular handlebars on mine. Not sure if that's the post you are referring to though. You can see them here : http://www.ex-500.com/index.php/topic,670.msg15839.html#msg15839

1 major thing, mine are so low we had to restrict the turning angle or else they'd bump on the tank (check 3rd pict) and the front fairing.

I've seem 1 other guy here who got a set installed on with the stock front fairing, they were using higher risers. Forgot who it was :-\

I guess I could ride mine so they'd fit correctly without further mods, but I couldn't go as wide as my handlebars are, the clutch cable is too short :( Let me know if you need anything and can figure out a solution to the clutch cable shortyness ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
This is the post I was referring to, but I like your mounts better;
http://www.ex-500.com/index.php/topic,490.0.html

Where did you get your mounts?

Seems like you just need some different bars to go with them, but the clutch cable issue needs to be addressed. I put Superbike bars on my Fazer, but I'm thinking of something with more pullback and rise for the Ninja. I want it to be a standard riding position.
 

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Frog said:
I'll try to give them a shout tomorrow to see what brand/model they are :)
Well, they changed their opening hours, they're not open on rainy Sundays anymore, will have to try again tomorrow :)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Tubular handlebars

Well, I wound up ordering a set of Husqvarna Handlebar Mounts from the early 70s off ebay.

I'll paint them black. I'm probably going to get a set of Bikemaster GP Touring bars, which are 28" wide and have 4.2" of pullback and rise. Want to do some measuring first though. I figure, worst case, I'll have to get the clutch cable made custom. Seems like the EN500 cable could be made to work, but the specs on Denniskirk show it being longer from the cover to the end of the cable.



Here are the mounts;


 

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Good stuff, sorry if I haven't replied, work has been Crazy these last days..

And I'm sure you paid less than 90$ for that set :)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Re: Tubular Bars

Paid $23 shipped.

Just ordered the bars and Motion Pro says they can do a custom clutch cable for $30. Soon as I get the bars mocked up, I'll figure out how much longer the cable needs to be. Hope I don't need the throttle cables and brake line as well. Should have the bars and mounts in next week.
 

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Once you figure out how long the cable needs to be, send me a PM, we might have those guys make 2 identical ones, might be cheaper ;)
 
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