Kawasaki GPZ500S Specs and Information (1987 to 2004 – aka Kawasaki EX500)

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GPZ500S specs
1998 Kawasaki GPZ500 S (‘R’ reg – D5 model)

Kawasaki GPZ500S Specs…..

The Kawasaki GPZ500S was a bikini faired, 498cc sports motorcycle produced by Kawasaki in the UK between 1987 and 2004.
Confusingly, the bike was called the ‘GPZ500S’ in Europe and the UK, the ‘EX500’ in the US and other areas for a while then the name outside Europe was changed to the ‘Ninja 500’ in the mid 1990’s and the Ninja 500R in the late 1990’s).

The GPZ 500 S was a popular mid range sports bike with good reliability, decent handling and a good engine that loved to be revved. The bike was marketed to the ‘biking on a budget’ crowd, and although this showed in some areas (like brakes and shocks), it was generally cheap to run, maintain and insure making it very popular with commuters, 1st time ‘big’ bikers and couriers.
Although probably a bit ‘long in the tooth’ by today’s standards, it’s still a popular bike and things like the fairing and engine still make it fun to ride for commuting or a weekend blast.

Need parts for your GPZ500S? Kawasaki GPZ500 parts on Ebay…

A little bit about the Kawasaki GPZ 500…..

Basic model info…

Manufacturer: Kawasaki
Model: GPZ500S
Model code: EX500
Also known as: EX500, Ninja 500 and Ninja 500R
CC: 498cc
Engine type: Parallel-twin (4 stroke)
Years in production: 1987 to 2004
Style of bike: Sports bike
Insurance: Group 8 (of 17) – Get an insurance quote from Carole Nash

Servicing your bike? You’ll need a GPZ500S workshop manual…

Models and years (in the UK)

Note: The bike is referred to as the ‘EX500’ in the info below, but the ‘EX500’ and ‘GPZ500S’ are the same bike (EX500 was the model code Kawasaki used for the GPZ500S).

EX500 A1 (Jan 1987 to April 1988)…..
Frame number started: EX500A-000001-
Description: Middle weight sports bike with an 8 valve, water cooled parallel twin cylinder engine producing around 59 bhp. The GPZ500S also featured box section frame, lightweight 16 inch cast wheels, side and center stand, single disc front brake, drum rear brake, 2 into 2 exhaust with alloy wrapped end cans and a half fairing and belly pan.
Available colours: Ebony or red
Price (new):
EX500 A2 (May 1988 to Dec 1989)…..
Frame number started: EX500A-010001-
Description: Same as above model with new graphics (‘twin cam 8 valve’ logo on the sides of the fairing) and a new ‘limited edition’ colour added to the range.
Available colours: Ebony, red or ‘limited edition’ green/white
Price (new):
EX500 A3 (Jan 1989 to Aug 1990)…..
Frame number started: EX500A-020501-
Description: Same as above model but with ‘500S’ logo on the belly pan.
Available colours: Red/white or white/grey
Price (new):
EX500 A4 (Sept 1990 to Dec 1990)…..
Frame number started: EX500A-033001-
Description: Same as above model.
Available colours: Blue/white or red/white
Price (new): £2949
EX500 A5 (Jan 1991 to Dec 1991)…..
Frame number started: EX500A-060001-
Description: Same as above model.
Available colours: Ebony/grey or red/white
Price (new): £3370
EX500 A6 (Jan 1992 to Jan 1994)…..
Frame number started:
Description: Same as above model with new graphics and no longer has the ‘twin cam 8 valve’ logo on the side of the fairings.
Available colours: Ebony/grey or blue/white
Price (new): £3499 for a ‘J’ reg
£3425 for a 1992 ‘K’ reg
£3365 for a 1993 ‘K’ reg
£3495 for a 1993 ‘L’ reg
EX500 D1 (Feb 1994 to Dec 1994)…..
Frame number started: EX500D-000001-
Description: Now has rear disc brake, new, larger 37mm forks, 17 inch front and rear wheels, new bodywork and lower seat height.
Available colours: Black or wine red
Price (new): £3995
EX500 D2 (Jan 1995 to Dec 1995)…..
Frame number started: EX500D-009001-
Description: Same as above model with new graphics.
Available colours: Red or blue
Price (new): £4095 for an ‘M’ reg
£4195 for an ‘N’ reg
EX500 D3 (Jan 1996 to Dec 1996)…..
Frame number started:
Description: Same as above model.
Available colours: Red/grey or ebony/grey
Price (new): £4395
EX500 D4 (Jan 1997 to Dec 1997)…..
Frame number started:
Description: Same as above model.
Available colours: Black or red
Price (new): £4395
EX500 D5 (Jan 1998 to Oct 1998)…..
Frame number started: EX500D-040001-
Description: Same as above model.
Available colours: Same as above model.
Price (new): £4395
EX500 D6 (Nov 1998 to Dec 1999)…..
Frame number started: JKAEX500DDA048001-
Description: Same as above model.
Available colours: Black pearl or candy red
Price (new): £3450 for an ‘S’ reg
£3450 for a ‘T’ reg
£3550 for a ‘V’ reg
EX500 D7 (Jan 2000 to Oct 2001)…..
Frame number started: JKAEX500DDA055001-
Description: Same as above model.
Available colours: Blue or ebony
Price (new): £3750 for a ‘V’ reg
£3750 for a ‘W’ reg
£3750 for a 2000 ‘X’ reg
£3795 for a 2001 ‘X’ reg
£3795 for a ‘Y’ reg
£3795 for a ’51’ reg
EX500 E9 (Nov 2001 to Oct 2002)…..
Frame number started:
Description: Same as above model.
Available colours:
Price (new): £3750
EX500 E10 (Nov 2002 to Oct 2003)…..
Frame number started:
Description: Same as above model.
Available colours:
Price (new): £3795
EX500 E11 (Nov 2003 to Oct 2004)…..
Frame number started:
Description: Same as above model.
Available colours:
Price (new): £4145
EX500 E12 (Nov 2004 – Discontinued)…..
Frame number started:
Description: Same as above model.
Available colours:
Price (new): £4145
EX500 specs
GPZ500S in blue and white

Engine and gearbox specs…..

Displacement: 498 cc
Engine type: Parallel-twin

Note: A parallel twin engine is slightly different to an inline twin engine. In very simple terms, they both have two cylinders placed side by side, but with a parallel twin both the pistons go up and down together (known as a 360 degree crankshaft angle, so they are at the top or bottom of the cylinder together), an inline twin has opposite pistons, so when 1 is at the top of the cylinder the other is at the bottom (known as a 180 degree crankshaft angle).

Stroke: 4 stroke
Bore×Stroke: 74x58mm
No. of cylinders: 2
Cam shaft configuration: DOHC (double overhead cam)
Compression ratio: 10.8:1
Cylinder compression pressure (GPZ500 A – Up to Jan 1994): 8.8 to 13.5 bar (128 to 196 psi)
Cylinder compression pressure (GPZ500 D/E – Feb 1994 onwards): 9.0 to 13.8 bar (131 to 200 psi)
Valves: 8 valve (4 per cylinder)
Spark plug (GPZ500 A – Up to Jan 1994): NGK DR8ES (x2)
Spark plug (GPZ500 D/E – Feb 1994 onwards): NGK DR9EA (x2)
Spark plug gap: 0.6 to 0.7mm
Spark plug torque: 14nm
Firing order: 1 – 2
Engine oil (GPZ500 A – Up to Jan 1994): 10w40 API SE/SF or higher
Engine oil (GPZ500 D/E – Feb 1994 onwards): 10w40 API SG or higher

Note: You can use any grade oil in the GPZ500S engine (mineral, semi synthetic or full synthetic). Although fully synthetic is the best and will offer the best protection for your engine, we normally recommend a semi synth as it’s a good balance between engine protection and price. More info…

Engine oil capacity (GPZ500 A – Up to Jan 1994): 3.0 litres
Engine oil capacity (GPZ500 D/E – Feb 1994 onwards): 3.4 litres
Engine oil drain bolt location: Bottom/underneath of the engine
Oil filter type: Canister type
Oil filter (GPZ500 A1 to A4 – Up to Dec 1990): Hiflo HF202 / Filtrex OIF003
Oil filter (GPZ500 A5, Jan 1991 onwards): Hiflo HF303 / Filtrex OIF006
Oil filter torque: 10nm
Cooling system: Liquid cooled
Cooling system capacity: 1.8 litres
Clutch: Wet (oil immersed) multiplate clutch
Clutch operation: Cable
Clutch lever free play: 10 to 20mm
Gearbox: 6 Speed manual (1st gear down, 2nd to 6th gears up, neutral between 1st and 2nd gears)
BHP: 49 bhp
Torque: 34 ft/lb
Top speed (claimed): 125 mph
0 to 60mph time (claimed): 3.76 seconds
Quater mile time (claimed): 12.7 seconds

Note: Top speed, 0-60 time, 1/4 mile time etc are all very APPROX!! as it’s not unusual for these figures to be slightly inflated by the manufacturer to help sell more bikes! 😀

Piston ring to cylinder bore clearance: New: 0.043mm / Max 0.070mm
Valve clearance (inlet): 0.13mm to 0.18mm (when cold)
Valve clearance (exhaust): 0.18mm to 0.23mm (when cold)
Idle speed (GPZ500 A – Up to Jan 1994): 1,150 to 1250rpm
Idle speed (GPZ500 D/E – Feb 1994 onwards): 1,200rpm (+/- 50)
EX500 Starter
Starter motor from a 1998 ‘D5’ model

Final drive stuff…..

Final drive: Chain
Front sprocket: 16 teeth
Rear sprocket: 42 teeth
Chain pitch/length: 520 pitch / 104 links
Chain free play (GPZ500 A – Up to Jan 1994): 35 to 45mm
Chain free play (GPZ500 D/E – Feb 1994 onwards): 35 to 40mm
Chain stretch limit: 323mm over 20 links
GPZ500S A oil filter
Hiflo HF202 oil filter – GPZ500S A1 to A4
GPZ500S D oil filter
Hiflo HF303 oil filter – GPZ500S A5 model onwards…

Carb, fuel and oil stuff…..

Fuel system: Carburetor
MPG (average): 45 miles per gallon (very approx)
Fuel tank range (approx): 175 – 200 miles

There are variations in MPG and tank range between users, mainly due to different riding styles and areas (e.g. city riding vs open road, weekend blast vs touring etc)

Fuel tank capacity: 18 litres
Fuel type: Unleaded petrol (95 octane grade – aka standard petrol from your local garage)
Carb make: Keihin (2x)
Carb type: CVK 34 (34mm flat-slide carbs)
Pilot screw opening (GPZ500 A – Up to 1993): 2 turns
Pilot screw opening (GPZ500 A – 1993 to Jan 1994): 1.75 turns
Pilot screw opening (GPZ500 D/E – Feb 1994 onwards): 2.25 turns
Engine oil (GPZ500 A – Up to Jan 1994): 10w40 API SE/SF or higher
Engine oil (GPZ500 D/E – Feb 1994 onwards): 10w40 API SG or higher

Note: You can use any grade oil in the GPZ500S engine (mineral, semi synthetic or full synthetic). Although fully synthetic is the best and will offer the best protection for your engine, we normally recommend a semi synth as it’s a good balance between engine protection and price. More info…

Engine oil capacity (GPZ500 A – Up to Jan 1994): 3.0 litres
Engine oil capacity (GPZ500 D/E – Feb 1994 onwards): 3.4 litres
Engine oil drain bolt location: Bottom/underneath of the engine
Oil filter type: Canister type
Oil filter (GPZ500 A1 to A4 – Up to Dec 1990): Hiflo HF202 / Filtrex OIF003
Oil filter (GPZ500 A5, Jan 1991 onwards): Hiflo HF303 / Filtrex OIF006
Oil filter torque: 10nm
GPZ500S exhaust
GPZ500S Aftermarket exhaust downpipes

Electric stuff…..

Ignition type: Electronic CDI
Starter: Electric start
Electrical system voltage: 12 volts
Battery voltage (fully charged): 13 to 13.2 volts
Battery will need charging if below: 12.4 volts
Regulated voltage (GPZ500 A – Up to Jan 1994): 14.5 volts (@ 4000 rpm)
Regulated voltage (GPZ500 D/E – Feb 1994 onwards): 15 volts (@ 4000 rpm)
Spark plug (GPZ500 A – Up to Jan 1994): NGK DR8ES (x2)
Spark plug (GPZ500 D/E – Feb 1994 onwards): NGK DR9EA (x2)
Spark plug gap: 0.6 to 0.7mm
Spark plug torque: 14nm
Spark plug ignition: 2 x coil
Battery: CB14L-A2 / YB14L-A2 / GB14L-A2

Notes:

  • The YB14L-A2 battery is a 12 volt, 14 amp/hour battery and is length: 134mm width: 89mm height: 166mm in size (more info…).
  • The 1st letter(s) of the battery reference code are a manufacturers reference mark and may vary between different battery makes (different battery manufacturers use different 1st letters), so CB14L-A2, YB14L-A2 and DB14L-A2 are all the same battery just from different manufacturers (more info…).
  • Also…… Avoid buying the cheapest of the cheap type batteries online as they have a horrendous failure rate (and they can be a bug!er to post back when it fails.
GPZ500S battery
1987 to 2004 Kawasaki GPZ500S battery (YB14L-A2).

Shocks, brakes and wheel specs…..

Front wheel type: 3 spoke cast wheel
Front tyre size (GPZ500 A – Up to Jan 1994): 100/90-16
Front tyre pressure (GPZ500 A – Up to Jan 1994): Solo: 28psi (2 bar) / With pillon: 32psi (2.2 bar)
Front tyre size (GPZ500 D/E – Feb 1994 onwards): 110/70-17
Front tyre pressure (GPZ500 D/E – Feb 1994 onwards): 32psi (2.2 bar)
Front wheel spindle torque: 88nm
Front wheel spindle clamp bolt torque: 20nm
Rear wheel type: 3 spoke cast wheel
Rear tyre size (GPZ500 A – Up to Jan 1994): 120/90-16
Rear tyre pressure (GPZ500 A – Up to Jan 1994): Solo: 32psi (2.2 bar) / With pillion: 36psi (2.5 bar)
Rear tyre size (GPZ500 D/E – Feb 1994 onwards): 130/70-17
Rear tyre pressure (GPZ500 D/E – Feb 1994 onwards): 36psi (2.5 bar)
Rear wheel spindle torque: 110nm

Note: The earlier ‘A’ model GPZ500S (up till Jan 1994) had a drum brake on the back wheel so used different brake pads to the later GPZ500S D models (Feb 1994 onwards) which had a rear disc brake.

Front brake: Single hydraulic disc brake with 2 piston caliper
Front brake disc: 280mm single disc. Part no: EBC MD4016 (1x)
Front brake pad: EBC FA129 (1x)
Rear brake (1987 to Jan 1994 – GPZ500S A1 to A6, drum rear brake models): Drum brake
Rear drum brake pad: EBC K706
Rear brake (Feb 1994, GPZ500S D1 onwards – disc rear brake models): Single hydraulic disc brake with single piston caliper
Rear brake disc: Single 230mm disc. Part no: EBC MD4051 (1x)
Rear brake pad: EBC FA067/3 (1x)
Brake fluid (front and rear): DOT 4 brake fluid
Front suspension: Telescopic forks
Front fork stanchion diameter (GPZ500 A – Up to Jan 1994): 36mm
Front fork stanchion diameter (GPZ500 D/E – Feb 1994 onwards): 37mm
Recommended fork oil (GPZ500 A – Up to Jan 1994): 15w fork oil
Fork oil volume (GPZ500 A – Up to Jan 1994): 287 cm3 (per fork)
Recommended fork oil (GPZ500 D/E – Feb 1994 onwards): 10w fork oil
Fork oil volume (GPZ500 D/E – Feb 1994 onwards): 300 cm3 (per fork)
Rear Suspension: Monoshock rear suspension
GPZ500S rear shock
GPZ500S aftermarket rear shock absorber

Weights, measures ‘n stuff…..

Overall length (GPZ500S A1): 2050mm
Overall length (GPZ500S A2 to A6): 2110mm
Overall length (GPZ500S D/E): 2095mm
Overall width (GPZ500S A1 to A6): 675mm
Overall width (GPZ500S D/E): 700mm
Overall height (GPZ500S A1 to A6): 1165mm
Overall height (GPZ500S D/E): 1160mm
Wheelbase (GPZ500S A1 to A6): 1,440mm
Wheelbase (GPZ500S D/E): 1,435mm
Seat height (GPZ500S A1 to A6): 770mm
Seat height (GPZ500S D/E): 775mm
Ground clearance: 120mm
Dry weight (GPZ500S A – no oils, fluids etc): 169kg
Kerb weight (GPZ500S A – with oils, fluids etc): 171kg
Dry weight (GPZ500S D/E – with oils, fluids etc): 176.5kg
EX500 rear light
GPZ500S rear light

Useful torque settings…..

Cam cover: 10nm
Cylinder head (stage 1): 51nm
Cylinder head (stage 2 – GPZ500S D/E models): 10nm
Spark plugs: 14nm
Front wheel spindle (GPZ500S D/E models): 88nm
Front wheel spindle clamp (GPZ500S D/E models): 20nm
Rear wheel spindle (GPZ500S D/E models): 110nm
Magneto / flywheel (GPZ500S A1 to A6): 69nm
Magneto / flywheel (GPZ500S D/E): 11nm
Cam cover: 10nm
Camshaft sprocket: 15nm
Clutch hub: 130nm
Oil filter: 10nm
GPZ500S grabrail
GPZ500S Pillion grab rail

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Service stuff…..

Servicing your bike? You’ll need a GPZ500S workshop manual…
Engine oil
Engine oil check: 3,000km (1,864 miles)
Engine oil change frequency: Every 10,000km (approx 6,214 miles) or 12 months
Engine oil (GPZ500 A – Up to Jan 1994): 10w40 API SE/SF or higher
Engine oil (GPZ500 D/E – Feb 1994 onwards): 10w40 API SG or higher

Note: You can use any grade oil in the GPZ500S engine (mineral, semi synthetic or full synthetic). Although fully synthetic is the best and will offer the best protection for your engine, we normally recommend a semi synth as it’s a good balance between engine protection and price. More info…

Engine oil capacity (GPZ500 A – Up to Jan 1994): 3.0 litres
Engine oil capacity (GPZ500 D/E – Feb 1994 onwards): 3.4 litres
Engine oil drain bolt location: Bottom/underneath of the engine
Oil filter (GPZ500 A1 to A4 – Up to Dec 1990): Hiflo HF202 / Filtrex OIF003
Oil filter (GPZ500 A5, Jan 1991 onwards): Hiflo HF303 / Filtrex OIF006
Oil filter torque: 10nm
Chain drive
Final drive chain frequency: Now repeat after me… ‘I MUST LUBE MY CHAIN LITTLE AND OFTEN!!’
Chain and sprocket size: 104 link / 520 Pitch chain
16 Tooth front sprocket
42 Tooth rear sprocket
Hydraulic brake system (front and rear)
Brake fluid change frequency: Change every 24 months or 20,000km (approx 12,427 miles)
Brake fluid: DOT 4 brake fluid
Fork oil
Front fork oil change: 30,000km (approx 18,641 miles) or 36 months
Recommended fork oil (GPZ500 A – Up to Jan 1994): 15w fork oil
Fork oil volume (GPZ500 A – Up to Jan 1994): 287 cm3 (per fork)
Recommended fork oil (GPZ500 D/E – Feb 1994 onwards): 10w fork oil
Fork oil volume (GPZ500 D/E – Feb 1994 onwards): 300 cm3 (per fork)
Cooling system
Change every: 30,000km (approx 18,641 miles) or 24 months
Cooling system: Liquid cooled
Cooling system capacity: 1.8 litres
GPZ500S tool kit
Genuine tool kit from a 1998 GPZ500S D5

Frame number location…..

The frame number is usually stamped onto the right side of the headstock (the front part of the frame just below the handle bars).

Useless stuff…..

Surprisingly sporty middle weight bike which has withstood the test of time. Although the bike was called the ‘GPZ500S’ in Europe, it was originally called the ‘EX500’ in other areas (like the US). The bike name was changed in 1994 from EX500 to Ninja 500 and then to the Ninja 500R in 1998.

The bikes high revving and sporty nature meant it was used in the ‘production twins’ racing class in the US as well as several racing series.
Because the bike was quite forgiving if you made a mistake whilst riding, it proved popular with new racers getting into bike racing and new ‘big bike’ road going owners.
Kawasaki designed the bike to be reasonably cheap and easy to maintain which meant it was a popular bike with commuters and experienced riders looking to bike on a budget.

The GPZ500S was discontinued in the UK in 2004, probably partly due to the engine not meeting the new Euro 2 emissions regulations.

Buying advice…..

Firstly, if your thinking of buying one always HPI check it (there’s still loads about so no point risking getting stuck with a lemon!).

These are good, reliable and are ideal for both experienced riders on a budget and riders looking for their 1st ‘big bike’.
Although servicing and running costs are fairly cheap and the bike is fairly bullet proof you do tend to get what you pay for, obviously a bike that’s had frequent oil changes and has a good service history is likely to be better.

As the bike had a fairing, it wasn’t very popular with rider training schools (unlike other twins like the CB500), but it was a reasonably popular courier bike and was used in a few racing series which means there are likely to be a few dog’s out there.

Exhaust downpipes and headers do rot though (mild steel!), so in the unlikely event of the bike having the original headers, best to budget for replacing them. (however due to them being a twin with a simple exhaust design, end can’s and downpipes are readily available and not stupidly overpriced.

The only other thing to consider when buying one is the age. The youngest of these beasties will be over 14 years old now, so if your buying one give it a good check over, especially rear shocks, fork stanchion condition (helps if the forks have had fork gaitors fitted), radiator (damage, leaks look for white water trails from the rad of pipework), handle bar switches, ignition, battery etc.
Obviously, it’s worth paying a bit more for a lower mileage bike with a small rainforest of service paperwork then one of the ‘barn find’ type bikes that seem to be cropping up regularly.

Happy biking 🙂

Sources / Thanks to / Useful GPZ500 / EX500 sites:

GPZ500S article on MCN
Article written by an EX500 owner
www.ex-500.com/ Loads of helpful owners and info

If you’ve got any questions, comments or suggestions please feel free to leave them below 🙂

Disclaimer: The information on this page is correct to the best of our knowledge. But the info should NOT be taken as 100% accurate as we can, occasionally make mistakes!

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