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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
New to the boards here.

I've been doing some looking around into buying a bike. At first I had my mind set on a ZZR600 or F4i. After being pointed towards some helpful reading, and getting a solid concensus across the board, I decided to look smaller.

So I arrived at a 500R as a starter bike.

There's a guy on here who lives about 4 hours away from me w/ a 2004 500R for sale for 3600 :bs (which I'll get him to lower here real soon).

I contacted a lady at a local Kawasaki dealer looking into a new one, and she said they didn't have a 500R on the lot, but they had a 500EX. I couldn't find any direct info on kawasaki.com about the 500EX. Are they essentially the same bike? Or am I missing something here? Is the 500EX a "discontinued" model? Of course she tried to pitch me on their fixed 49.99/mo. & low APR, blah blah blah.

Can anyone give any help as to if they're similar enough not to worry about, any major differences, used (for a starter) vs new?

Thanks for any input.
 

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EX500 and 500R is the same bike really, but if Im not mistaken the EX500 was what they was called in the past but now they're called 500R's so just check the year on it, but I would go for the used one for $3600 as long as its in good shape, I would have done it myself but I needed to get one through the dealership so I could just pay payments, but anyway good choice on a starter bike I've got about 5,000 miles on mine and it still keeps me happy. and Im really glad I didn't go with the b***** bikes, I've made some mistakes while out riding that would have cost me alot if I was on a 600 or b*****.
 

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Arguably one of the best starter bikes you can get. Easy to learn on, but not so that you'll get board of it anytime soon. It's a real fun bike to ride.
 

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There are some serious differences between the 500R and the EX500. EX500 is still the model designation for newer versions '94 to present. EX500 not Ninja was the model designation from '87 to '93. The Ninja name wasn't added until '94.

The engine is identical for all years. Changes to be aware of (even though you can swap a ton of parts between them):

Forks: '87-'93 is a 36mm and '94 to present 37mm
Tires: '87-'93 is 16in. and '94 to present is 17in.
Sprockets: 16/42 - 16/41 (16/44 is a nice setup!)
Brakes: Single disk front/drum rear '94 + is single disk front and rear
Handlebars, plastics, seat, igniter module (if I remember correctly) are also different.

Much easier to get good tires for '94+ models. The older versions aren't bad bikes if taken care of and can be found for cheap. Parts can be had on ebay for cheap too. Not hard to find parts for. I paid 1k for my '91 and ride it everyday (commute to work, twisties, etc). Maintenance is simple on older or newer. Great starter bike. Find a used one in good shape. Get good gear and wear it. Ride as often as you can.

Great bike to start. Freeway or commuting no problem (especially if you do a sprocket mod!). I've had mine for a year and a half. Rode a Ninja 250 for six months before that. My 500 has been a great learning tool!
 

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I had a 93 ex 500 and I bought it with 3200 miles on it in 98 and it looked brand new. It was a great first bike I sold it with 27,000 miles on it for 1800. It was great because I was flat footed and sat almost strait up and could just handle it okay. If you get one and feel you do exhaust because you want a different sound on single sided look do the muzzy but a warning it is real loud. I wish I wouldnt have sold it, 1800 wasnt any real money and I want to try track days know and that would have made a great first time track bike.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks guys! All of your input is helpful and appreciated from this no0b.
 

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I went with the 04 500R for my first bike as well. Found one used near me, went and picked her up for 3650. Which is actually a pretty good price considering they go for 5K brand new then you gotta pay about 3 hundred in tax anyways. Tons of fun, I ride mine like crazy. Would definitely reccomend this one to ya. Have fun!!!!
 

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I agree that the 500r is a great bike. I love mine.

Also that $3600 price tag isnt at all BS. Like teddykgb stated they are about $5300 or so with tax included new.
 

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I Bought A 2001 500 Last July For $3300.00 With 3600 Miles On It. It Says Ninja 500r On The Bike But Ex500 Inside. I Can Get Parts For It Either Way.
Everyone Told Me To Go No Lower Then A 600 When I Was Looking But I Got The 500 Anyway And I Am Very Glad I Did. Its A Perfect Learning Bike, Light But Still Powerful.
 

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Go for it

I bought my 91 EX500 two years ago for a whopping $1200. The previous owner had it 7 years and put a total of 128 miles on it.

This is the perfect bike. It's got get up and go. Can comfortably ride me, a passenger, and saddle bag comfortably. It's great to commute to work, and for a fun day out on the curvy road here in Western New York with the boys.

On top of it all, it gets awesome gas mileage.

And does it all in a nice little package.

ONLY suggestion: Immediately ditch the stock seat and get yourself a Corbin seat. The stock seat is crap....
 

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Gotta agree, the stock seat is crap, but the corbin is expensive.

The 500R really is an excellent first bike. I've had two bikes before this and bought it mainly to sharpen my skills and due to the great deal I got.

If the one you buy has over 8000 miles, change out the spark plugs. Just did this on mine and it made a difference in both throttle response and starting.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
The one I'm picking up next wednesday is a 2004 w/ 2200 miles on it. The kid got it as his first bike, but never got into it, so it was garaged unless he was rollin around on it.

I'm super f-in stoked right now. Saturday I'm going to go buy my helmet, jacket, gloves, and boots (have yet to find a pair of pants I like, but the store was nice enough to let me wear the helmet home for a day so I could see if there were any pressure points). Then I have a 235 mile hike home on it from Youngstown to Piqua in OH where I'm moving back to this week. So it will give me some time to bind with my new bike :)
 

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I'm super f-in stoked right now. Saturday I'm going to go buy my helmet, jacket, gloves, and boots (have yet to find a pair of pants I like, but the store was nice enough to let me wear the helmet home for a day so I could see if there were any pressure points). Then I have a 235 mile hike home on it from Youngstown to Piqua in OH where I'm moving back to this week. So it will give me some time to bind with my new bike
Glad to hear it. Do you have your license yet? Any experience? A long interstate ride is not the best time to become accustomed to a new bike. Put around when you first get it and get comfortable. If you can, I'd trailer/haul it back if you have any fears at all. You'll have plenty of time to enjoy that bike, you'd hate to wreck it in a situation where you're over your head just becuase you were antsy. Have fun.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
It's not quite motorcycle experience, but this past year I put 8,600 miles on my 120 cc scooter. I know there's a wolrd of difference.

And don't worry, I've already mapped out my trip home using state routes. I've only ridden on the highway a few times on my scooter out here in AZ. I plan on taking my time and cruising at reasonable speeds. I figure the country route home will help me get aquainted with the bike.

And no license yet. I took an MSF course out here in Gilbert when I got my scooter, but there's no reciprocity between OH & AZ for the MSF course. I'll give myself a week or two on the bike and I'm going to just go do my DMV test.
 

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I bought a corbin seat for my 500 and it makes the world of diffrence ! The stock seat put my ass to sleep and made my legs start going numb after about 30min but the corbin is like sitting in the car. Good thing too, I have a 4 states in 2 days ride leaving tomorrow. I paid $244 for my seat and its worth every penny ! Good investment!!!
 

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i have a 2004 ninja 500r, it is also called a ex500 even the manual says ex500 on it one is a modle number and the other is bike name
i love it as my first bike, well worth the meny, but consider how many km ur gonna put on it if your gonna learn to use it properly and then become a solid rider and work at it alot u might want to consider making the jump to a 600 cc dont get me wrong the 500 is great but after using it everyday for the last three months riding the hell outta it and taking courses, im ready for something with more balls...never the less it is a great starter bike
 

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The R and the EX are the same bike, with a few modifications which came about in 1994 as Oni already outlined. Like everyone else said, great starter sportbike! I don't see me selling my EX500 unless it's to go to a good home/friend. They're very dependable, forgiving for a first timer, great commuters, and fun twisty runners.

1987-1993: Kawasaki EX500
1994+: Kawasaki Ninja 500R

Definitely take the MSF when you get the chance. Believe me, it can't hurt to have it under your belt! I plan on taking the experienced riders course next summer. :)

Have fun and always wear your gear! Get those pants soon. I still need to get mine, along with riding boots. So I'm :squid just a little!
 
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