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Been reading the threads in here, one of the very few places that I can find information on the KLE500.
What I really would like help in is as follows.
I have never really ridden a bike before, but am very serioulsy thinking of getting one for commuting to work and back. Work is approx 23 miles away in nice countryside, 1 small town to go through.
I have bought a few bike mags and none really have a good word to say about the KLE500, I have read through the forums and people seem to like it. I guess I will get a kind of biased view here probably, but once I pass my bike test, is it a good bike to have ?
I am not interested in speed, but think that I will just enjoy riding, I also do not want a low slung racing bike, I want something where I am sitting up and enjoying what is happening. I am also interested in mpg, I want the bike to be able to pay for itself in the long run.
Also, any advice on any othe rpossibly suitable bikes, just the KLE500 is for sale brand new from £3000 in the UK.
Thanks for any advice
Mike (38 yrs, 18 stone, 5ft 10inches, if that helps)
mike, i just bought a secondhand (even cheaper) kle, its my second bike, i have been riding a NTV 650 for 3 years. great bike but i wanted something higher for a planed long trip. only just got the KLE but i think its a good bike, slower than my old NTV but more comtable, (except for the sadel but i'm working on that) i'm about 80 kilos (have no idea how much a stone is) and am 1,80 meters (think thats about 6 foot) a bit high to get on but if your in the sadel its ok. comfable highway driving just not verry fast (don't go autobahning with it) haven't used it for long travels yet but i think it will do ok. i haven't heard annyting really bad from annyone who owns one, it just seems that the magazines don't like it. minor points are: the sadel (not comfable, but sheepskin or something like it should do the trick, or so i have been told) small tank (take a jerrycan),
miles per gallon (whats in a name): i do 22 kilometers to the liter (but i have been called captain slow)
I have recently taken delivery of a new KLE500 and rate it very highly - especially for a new rider.
It can be a stretch to get on it, but once underway, it's very nimble and surprisingly swift. They are criticised for low power, but mine has no trouble cruising at 100 - 130 kph (60 - 70 mph). On minor roads it will be all you need.
They do seem to be "the forgotten one" in the bike world but my opinion is that they are brilliant value for money, appear to be very reliable and economical to run.Do a Google and see what appears.
Come on over to Dunedin, New Zealand and rent one off me and you'll be sold on it - NZ and the bike !
I am also new to biking and so have had to do some research on the KLE 500 as it is also a bike that I am interested in purchasing. I have found a good web site which gives ratings on all types of bikes, the link to the KLE 500 (2005 Model) is: http://www.bikez.com/bike/index.php?bike=22222
I am certainly convinced that this is the bike for me as it gets a decent rating and is good value for money. I should get my bike round about mid September and will then provide some additional opinions...for what it's worth.
I live in South Africa and bought a new KLE 500. It is a great dual purpose bike and offer excellent value for money. Basically 60% road 30% dirt. But it won't dissapoint you on the latter. Slightly more expensive than the KLR 500 but much smoother because of the twin engine and looks quite attractive. The front end a bit soft under braking. Overall, it will keep up with any 650 cc dual purpose bikes like BMW 650 etc but costs 30% less locally. Obviously not an overland or super bike. Performance, however, more than adequate and will do 120km per hour with a passenger with ease.
We have quite a little fan club growing for the KLE500 here. I got mine in May/June this year and have clocked up 2,700 miles and will (hopefully) be going London to Milan and back on it next week. I love this bike and it does everything I ask of it. I have done all kinds of riding on it (motorway, a-road, b-road and short trail rides) and it is as sure footed as a mountain goat. mpg's not so great on short rides (2-3 miles), but on longer runs (150+ miles) you'll find that the tank lasts a lot longer than expected. Alright, it's not the most powerful bike out there, but the magic ton is available and I've found it a couple of times. Low ratio gearbox means that 70mph comes up pretty quick (3rd gear), so acceleration is good. Fantastic riding position means you never really get tired and the seat does soften up considerably. My first run down to Devon I was seriously considering a sheepskin, but the second time around, I never even noticed it. Also, if your confident with working on it yourself, it's all very straightforward. There are no complicated systems and everything's fairly easy to get to. The only issue is the fuel tap which is automatically off when the engine's not running, but there is a "prime" position to override this. Oh, and I still haven't found the reservoir for the water cooling, but then I haven't really had to look yet. Maybe there isn't one.
1. Ditch the stock Dunlop Trailmax tyres. My rear only lasted 1500 miles and I was not amused. I swapped them for Avon Distanzias and they seem the business so far.
2. Fuel economy is actually slightly better with the lower octane (regular unleaded) petrol we get in Britain. I normally use high octane stuff because I'm still running the engine in, but when the price goes over the £1 a litre mark, I'm not that stupid.
3. Get good front brake pads. The front brake is a bit crap and mine is even worse since I swapped the pad for what I believe is a cheaper one.
4. If you can get one, get a bigger front screen. The stock one just seems to blow the wind and any residual water right into my visor. My dad rode mine with his open faced helmet and said he couldn't see over 60mph. Ermax do one for the Z1 which should fit (same front end), but it's £70, so that's on my "to do" list.
5. The tank is small, but the reserve is pretty big. Just keep an eye on the trip counter. I usually fill up every 100-110 miles or so on longer trips (85-90 miles around London). Basically, if you do run out, the reserve should get you to a petrol station. There's another 4 litres in there.
Incidentally, my Dad's verdict on my bike was "I could get used to that", which is his way of saying if he had the money he'd get one. He's not very communicative.
I am also sad to note that despite retooling it to meet next year's emmission regulations, it seems Kawasaki is poised to replace our beloved KLE500 with their new Versys. Check out page 8 and 9 of this months "Ride".
PS: I take issue with the idea it's not an overland bike and one day (as soon as I've paid for the bloody thing) i'll prove you wrong, Charles. Note to self: buy a very big jerry can.
*Disclaimer* - I am not saying my bike is better than your bike. I am not saying my way is better than your way. I am not mocking your religion/politics/other belief system. When reading my post imagine me sitting behind a frothing pint of ale, smiling and offering you a bag of peanuts. This is the sentiment in which my post is made. Please accept it as such!
Mike - you won't regret it and as you can see, we may be small in number, but we're passionate.
When you put a KLE against a transalp or a Vstrom you will see why they are priced so well - they are cheaper in build in all respects - but you gets what you gets. They do have an excellent name for reliability, they perform (on road) as well as most single 650's - at the end of the day, if they do what you want, you're in.
I reckon with an after-market exhaust (frees up to 10 hp), better brake pads and tyres, you'd have a brilliant package.
BTW, the radiator tank is on the left side, behind the plastic panel under the seat.
I'd endorse Mutha.....s comments on improvements - the front screen needs up-sizing, front end a tad soft, and stock tyre a compromise if used only on sealed roads - all little future tweeks.
I'm just up in sunny timaru and there isn't a bike shop that is interested in letting me take a test drive on a kle. I have a dominator at the moment and take most of the back roads, mckenzie pass, the haka vally, dansey pass, lake onslow raod and the old man range when ever I head south. Have you tried any decent stuff with your kle? Anything more than gravel roads? You say you hire them out have you got any contact details? I would love to try one I don't know why bike shops think you should buy one without allowing you to ride one.
Any more info would be great
I had the same problem. None of the main dealers had one in stock, so test riding one was out of the question. What I eventually did, quite cheekily, was find a second hand one for sale at a small bike shop and took that for a test ride. Although, if you like the Dominator, you should get on fine with the KLE500. It's pretty much the same kind of thing with a twin instead of a single and thus a bit heavier. In fact, if you do get a test ride, I'd be keen to know how you think it compares.
I had the same issue here. I can understand that bike shops don't want a brand new bike "spoiled" with mileage from test rides - but why not have a demo bike ? Given that the KLE is a new model here in NZ you'd think a demo would be good for business. I have yet to see a mag write-up on the KLE - as I've said else where, the KLE seems to be the "forgotten one".
I know from perusing various South African bike forums that you can lose
32 pounds (not sure what that is in kilograms?) by replacing the stock exhaust pipe with a lighter unit, preferably in stainless steel. Pipe: Catalytic converters (catalysers) are added to each exhaust header pipe, plus a third in the manifold (three in total) ensure that the KLE500 meets Euro-II emissions standards.
Got that straight of a Kawasaki website.
Found this KLE 500 German forum, translated it for you all I hope? You have to use some imagination to grasp some of the translations, but you'll get the gist of it. Look down the list for the KLE 500 Meeting Place.
Check out the post named Dirt Driven. Some places you just should not take a bike, any bike. http://translate.google.com/translat...l%3Den%26lr%3D
I know the KLE 500 motor is the same used in the GPZ 500 and the ER 500.
I have read that London motorcycle couriers have clocked up over a 100 thousand miles on the GPZ 500 with no major problems. I also read the ER 500 is a very reliable bike.
Parts should not be a problem.
I would expect that by now the original posting mikeread will have his new kle!
I 've got mine for 6 full years now! After a major crash I had to replace the tachometer, so iam not sure how many km mine has, but surly more than 5000 km per year. Its the purple and black version and although my licence says 2000 i ve seen this model called as '99 or '01 many times!
As an advice for a new driver the bike is perfect as it is! When and if your driving skills make you more demanding then the brakes and sadle are a "must" replacement(at least that's how i feel).
About some questions now, does anyone know whats the horse power for the KLE? There seem to be many contradicting numbers and manuals even for the same year models! i ve seen from 38 to 51 hp! And mine feels slower than a friend's (with an after-market exhsaust though!) I live in greece so I would expect its the same as all european models.
Also about the brake pads, does anyone have any reckomendation? I really dont like the feeling of breaking, esecially in emergancy or high speed situations! I 've been told softer ones might do the trick but still not sure.
And finaly anyone knows of any modifications that would help on high-speed stability? I ve just returned from a trip to italy and I found that after 1 hour at 130 kph (around 95 mph i think) I am getting really tired from a "floating" feeling in the front, appart from suffering from my old sadle(i never had that on my old gsx-r) . Will a new or after-market suspencion system help? I get a bit jelous of all the bmw f-650 passing me while they are cruising with 140 kph and looking soo comfortable!
Anyway good to see the that there is some people going around with this very friendly and reliable bike.
Cheers to all
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