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Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Kawasaki Z500 and Ninja 500 Incoming

Without much detail, Kawasaki has announced 2024 models designated Z500 and Ninja 500. Describing the twin-cylinder engine as “new”, we suspect it is a version of the 451cc unit found in the recently introduced Eliminator.

Here is a press release from Europe. We have yet to hear anything from Kawasaki U.S.:

Since the legendary Mach III of 1969, the model name “Kawasaki 500” has energised and excited riders globally. For 2024, Kawasaki is set to unleash both a Ninja 500 and Z500 to join the battle for sales in the hard-fought mid-capacity sector. 

The aggressively styled Z500 is powered by a new twin-cylinder, water-cooled engine equipped with an Assist and Slipper clutch. The responsive power unit is housed in a lightweight trellis type chassis delivering reassuring handling and easy reach to the ground for A2 licence holders. More experienced riders will be keen to take advantage of the lithe cornering and instant urge during sporting weekend rides.

Equipped with a LCD meter, the 2024 Z500 will also be available as a Special Edition model with its own unique livery plus the addition of an under-cowl, a colour TFT meter providing the ability to access information via the latest version of the Kawasaki Rideology App on the rider’s Smartphone and USB-C outlet.

According to the market where it is sold, the SE version might also include smoke style instrument panel cover, radiator screen, crash sliders, pillion seat cover, tank pad plus knee grip pads. In terms of genuine accessories, the Z500 owner enjoys a plethora of choice including large windshield (in clear or smoke), an ERGO-FIT high seat (+30 mm), tank bag and wheel rim tape.

Enjoying the same core trellis type chassis and invigorating twin-cylinder, water-cooled engine as the Z, the 2024 Kawasaki range also features a new Ninja 500. Presented in the new more aggressive Ninja family look with angular upper cowl and a comprehensive performance styling package, the Ninja 500 meets European A2 licence regulations widening its appeal across experienced riders with a desire for a narrow chassis and easy reach to the ground plus reassuring low speed manoeuvrability matched to genuine sporting performance.

Boasting the possibility to increase the seat height by 30mm via the fitment of an ERGO-FIT high seat, the range of other genuine accessories is comprehensive allowing riders to create a truly personalised mount. And for those that want to start their Ninja 500 ownership experience with an increased specification straight out of the box, the Ninja 500 Special Edition is a bike made for them. Equipped with its own unique colour graphic treatment, the SE includes KIPASS keyless ignition as standard plus a TFT meter and USB-C outlet. Like the Z500 SE, it may also feature a variety of other parts in its specification according to market including, radiator screen or pillion seat cover among other items. In the 500 class, 2024 is the right time to make a statement!

Colours for the 2024 Z500 models are: 

  • Metallic Spark Black/Metallic Matte Graphenesteel Gray (BK1)

Z500 SE 

  • Candy Persimmon Red/Metallic Flat Spark Black/Metallic Matte Graphenesteel Gray (RD1)
  • Candy Lime Green/Metallic Spark Black/Metallic Matte Graphenesteel Gray (GN2)

Colours for the 2024 Ninja 500 models are: 
Ninja 500

  • Metallic Spark Black/Metallic Flat Raw Graystone (BK1)

Ninja 500 SE 

  • Lime Green/Ebony (GN1)
  • Metallic Matte Dark Gray/Metallic Flat Spark Black/Metallic Moondust Gray (GY2)


  1. Mick says:

    What did you replace it with?

    Er…oops! Sorry. This was supposed to be a reply to Harry down there near the bottom.

  2. Jim Cox says:

    And….Canada’s Kawasaki webpage is calling the Eliminator a 500! Who’s in charge?

    • Jimmihaffa says:

      The economists. These bikes scream budget and bottom line all the way. My guess is that while rehashing the 90’s, the suits decided rebranding a name would save time and money as well.

  3. Tank says:

    I have a friend that sells motorcycles. He says some new riders can afford the bikes, but they cant’t afford the insurance. Motorcycles will never be as popular as they once were. Cell phones don’t help.

  4. TP says:

    I had a 300 Ninja and rode it 33,000 miles. One of my favorite bikes. A 500? Sounds jim-dandy.
    The engine could be a bored 451 Eliminator or a de-stroked 650 Versys/Ninja.

  5. Gary in NJ says:

    I’d like to see Kawasaki invest in a more up-to-date 270 degree crank for this platform.

  6. Teddy says:

    For those of us old enough, seeing this is a back to the future. Back in the late 80s, seemed like every squid owned an EX500… Those things were great; inexpensive, relatively good power and handling…

    • Mick says:

      I had a number of friends who used to endurance race EX500s back in the day. The bikes where supposed to be stock. But if you didn’t cheat you were dangerously slow. The scrutineers came from some organization for the blind.

  7. Bill says:

    As I understand it, A2 compliance means a maximum of 47 HP. The 69 Kawasaki 500 had 60 HP. This bike won’t set the world on fire with 47 HP. Hopefully the US will get an unrestricted version.

    • TimC says:

      Unfortunately, this is not what happened with the 400 – detuned in the US….

    • Dave says:

      Honda seems to do pretty well with their A2 compliant 500 in the US. I think if Kawasaki tries to run this same play with this 500, it’ll be seen as a disappointment considering they had been competing favorably (and winning?) against Honda’s 500 with the current Ninja 400. I think it’ll make the CfMoto 450’s and other incoming small-mid displacement bikes that much more appealing.

      • Artem says:

        Noway CFMoto. It is totalitarian state. Replaced constitution for the leader. Uigurs. 15 millions of them even do not have the right to be muslims

        • Dave says:

          The US is full of human rights problems too. CFMoto is a company that makes motorcycles that happens to be Chinese. They aren’t agents of the Chinese government. As China grows on he global stage they’ll be under pressure to change and they will and are.

  8. Dave says:

    Considering this is a European release, it is possible that this isn’t coming the US in 2024 where they’re probably still selling through the 400’s, similar to how Honda hasn’t brought in the Hornet 750.

    • Dave says:

      According to the EU website, this bike uses the 451cc engine from the Eliminator, not a new 500cc engine. Honda’s “500” is also not 500cc, it’s 471cc. Unless it’s very competitively priced it may lose market share to the well received CFMoto 450ss and the incoming Aprilia rs457, which is well priced to the premium spec in class (alloy frame/swing arm, electronics, 270* crank, good suspension, etc.) at $6,799.

  9. EZMark says:

    ADV bikes are very popular right now, but every new bike Kawasaki has introduced this year has been a sportbike or naked sportbike. .

    • RyYYZ says:

      Ever since the Ninja/Z400 came out, people have been clamoring for a Versys 400 – a nice lightweight 400 (or 500) adventure bike at a good price. Kawasaki still hasn’t release one, but the Versys 650 soldiers on.

      • Dave says:

        Go’n have a look at the CFMoto 450 adv bike they just unveiled. If people really want a light multi-cylinder adv bike, this is it.

      • Stuki Moi says:

        They “have to” come out with an ADV version of this.

        The 400s were rather sporty. A bit peaky for ADV use. Freeway speeds with the frontal area of an ADV with bags, would probably have revved high enough to be no more thrifty than the 650.

        With the new Eliminator engine, which seems more focused on midrange, I an ADV should make more sense.

  10. Harry says:

    No way! Another stretch this time bumping up the displacement from the original 250 cc through 300, then 400 and now 500 cc? Wonder what the weight will be?

    I’m old, in my 70s. and been riding for decades. My reflexes are not as good as they once were. Also if I, heaven forbid, crash, recovery just takes longer. So I bought the Ninja 300 for the first bump. I got smoked at a stop light by a VW rabbit! No way, so when the 400 came along traded up. Really like the 400, easily keeps up with traffic. Light and flickable. My only concern is that it’s a little buzzy at highway speeds. So now the 500? This is crazy. Yes, I will stop at a dealer and test ride when available.

    Another topic, looking at buying a 42 foot catamaran (Lagoon) and going white water sailing. So all this might be mute.

    • ScotocS says:

      My only real issue with the 400 was snatchy on/off throttle response and difficulty in smoothly maintaining small throttle openings. The Yamaha FZ6R (also fuel-injected) I had was significantly smoother in this regard, almost as smooth as a fully-tuned carbureted SV650S I had before that.

      • Harry says:

        Snatchy on/off throttle? Didn’t have that problem. Wonder when I bought my bike (new) the issue was addressed?

        Also had a 2001 SV650S. God, I loved that bike! Smooth and the torque, one could wheelie all day long. But, alas, I was working for IBM and they sent me to Jacksonville Florida from Pittsburgh PA on assignment. In South Carolina I found a motel for the night. Placed a disk lock on the front wheel and a chain around a lamp post. You can guess! In the morning NO BIKE! Had to rent a car to continue. Contacted police. Never recovered. The bike weighs a little over 400 pounds. A couple of strong guys with chain cutters lifted the bike and placed it in their pickup truck. Probably parted and sold on eBay. I HATE SOUTH CAROLINA to this day! The bike was one year old, bought new.

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