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Which Bike? Comments and Questions on what is the best bike for YOU, for YOUR trip. Note that we believe that ANY bike will do, so please remember that it's all down to PERSONAL OPINION. Technical Questions for all brands go in their own forum.
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AMERICA’S PREMIER MANUFACTURER OF MOTORCYCLE SUSPENSION

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  #1  
Old 16 Mar 2005
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KLE500

hi there
this is my first post
I was wondering if anyone has had any rough long distance touring experience with the KLE 500, I see it is about to be re- released in selected countries (not here in oz though).

it seems to me to have some good attributes
eg not too high tech, low seat height, 21 inch front wheel, not too much pretty bodywork to destroy, and, importantly as a lot of our miles will ultimately be on sealed roads ( although I anticipate plenty of dirt as well!),not anywhere near as much vibes as a big single.

I'm planning (it's a long way off yet though) a rtw with my better half, and want to take two identical bikes
Here in oz 2nd hand KLE's go for a pretty cheap price (although they are 10 -12 years old now) so I'm thinking cheap bike therefore cheap carnet, low seat, relatively low weight, with a few good mods (luggage, tyres, bash plate etc) a poor man's F650
what does the rest of the world think / know?

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  #2  
Old 10 Apr 2005
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Well I'm pretty sure the KLE has the same engine as the GPZ500 which, so long as you keep those oil and filter changes coming, is a strong and reliable engine. It also has screw and locknut valves, so you can do all servicing yourself, really. ( Although I seem to remember the GPZ needed all coolant drained to do the valves....)

I know that in Britain this bike is sold as the ultimate urban tool - ideal for threading through traffic jams.

Sounds good to me - although Suzuki Bandit 600s are cheaper new here!
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  #3  
Old 11 Apr 2005
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They've re-introduced in the UK, saw one yesterday. They're easy to work on & it is the same engine as the old GPZ500S. I helped a friend do the valve clearances on a GPZ & don't remember draining any coolants?

One thing to note on these engines is that the crank rotates the opposite direction to most bikes i.e. viewed from the r/h side, the crank rotates anti-clockwise. The give away is the fact that the cam chain tensioner is on the front of the cylinder block.

They're a shade under £4,000 in the UK, sounds good until you realise that an Aprilia Caponord can be bought new from On Yer Bike in Aylesbury for just under £5k.
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  #4  
Old 16 Apr 2005
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I tried one a month back, friend of a friend had one at his bike shop. I'd say there OK for the price although the write-up's are not good but it is old technology and nothing flashy about it so a mag wouldn't like it. This is good I guess if wanting to do distance stuff on it, for the price though I'd get a transalp, Honda are doing new one with heated grips and full pannier packs for about £5K. Change the spokes and off you go.

A guy at work has had a GPZ for donkeys years and all he does is change the oil plus filter every 6 months, it's still going- the chain is the rustiest thing I've ever seen! must be a good motor
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  #5  
Old 20 Apr 2005
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I haven't ridden one myself, yet I read in a mag (Bike UK - May 05 edition, yes May 05), that the saddle is quite uncomfortable. Nothing to worry, just make sure you "test drive" the saddle prior to rtw and make any required mods at home. G'luck
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  #6  
Old 22 May 2005
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thanks for the info guys,
I thought the motor was a gpz and have owned one before which seemed to be a preety tough unit, I like the idea of a twin over a single, although I'm aware of the added complexity/weight issues. No chance of me buying a new one though, -we can't get them in Oz. I'm still only in the earliest planning stages, so I've got plenty of time to accumulate info, all of which is much appreciated!
Any couriers out there been destroying one over a long period of time? anything which can survive that has to be pretty rugged.
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  #7  
Old 16 Jun 2005
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just to add to this thread. read a review recently of the KLE. remember that the engine is now has less power due to the catalytic converters fitted to it to get it through the latest euro legislation. i had a gpz500 a while back that was excellect to commute on. 35,000 miles and no probs (replaced cam chain at 25,000) an old full power kle may be a better bet. they are cheap cos no one really wants them and they have the full power engine. what would i take next trip? just done a heap of miles on a dommie in the americas but next trip would take a pre electric start ttr600.
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  #8  
Old 20 Jun 2005
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Hi All, well after months of indecision on what to get, I decided on the new KLE 500.
reasons being,If I was going to spend just shy of 5K (transalp) Id seriously think of another sports 600 instead.
But the KLE is not really sexy or high tech, just a basic reliable bike, and pre registered it was a bargin at £3299, for a brand new anything thats not bad.
My old pegaso was needing ongoing maint and it was not enjoyable anymore. The benefits of a new bike means atleast if I get motivated to do a trip this autum, not too much messing about, panniers on and go.
The speed was not too much of an issuse but the economy of a parrel twin could be useful.
Anyhow i shall give more opinions when i pick it up next month
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  #9  
Old 20 Jun 2005
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Good points about the power and emissions control in the exhaust.
I hoped the insurance would be lower for less power, and 33hp is enough unless your loaded etc, If I wanted speed id gone the popular route of big beemer.
Ref the exhaust, an option i,d consider is a replacement stainless steel complete system, then you can use leaded fuel, dyno adjust carbs for optimun performance etc, then at resale time or MOT you still have serviceable exhausts.
Depending how its restricted, there could be other ways to "boost" it up. Travelling two up is not part of my trip plans anyway..........
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  #10  
Old 15 Aug 2005
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Dear Blackjack,
Keep the KLE 500 info coming. I'm looking for a new bike for a planned UK-Australia trip and the KLE is the bike that comes closest to my budget! Would be v. interested in your impressions. Otherwise it looks like a XT 660R.
Matt
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  #11  
Old 22 Aug 2005
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hi all
due to the lack of availability of the new kle500 and the price people seem to want for the older second hand kle's I'm swinging towards spending a bit more on a f650.
However I am still keeping my eye on any kle's that come up for sale just in case something good turns up, I'm still a bit tempted by the reduced worry of taking a cheaper bike.
Would be very interested also to here how your trip goes on the kle Blacjack
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  #12  
Old 22 Aug 2005
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Just seen a new KLE500 in M&P accessories(swansea) for £3499 all in.Had a good look around it,quite basic but seems reasonably well built to me.

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  #13  
Old 21 Apr 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lukerobyn
hi all
due to the lack of availability of the new kle500 and the price people seem to want for the older second hand kle's I'm swinging towards spending a bit more on a f650.
However I am still keeping my eye on any kle's that come up for sale just in case something good turns up, I'm still a bit tempted by the reduced worry of taking a cheaper bike.
Would be very interested also to here how your trip goes on the kle Blacjack
The KLE 500 has been re-released in Oz now. From about five months or so ago.
I'm looking at buying one myself, the only thing that puts me off is the small 15 litre petrol tank. I read on a south african forum you only get 160 klicks before reserve?
I'm going to look at larger tank options.
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  #14  
Old 29 May 2006
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Performance exhausts

I've found a few suppliers for complete exhaust system for the KLE500
http://www.omexperformanceusa.com/kawasaki.html
This one is around $500 US. for a complete 2 into 1 system.
Another one is Gianelli in Italy. It sells in Oz for around $1100 Aus$. or $1300 Aus$ for the titanium. This is too much money for me, but the American one could probably be shipped here for around $800.
I haven't bought the bike yet but I think that with a sports exhaust, some carbie jetting and a more open airbox, this could be a top little bike with a low centre of gravity and heaps of suspension travel.
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  #15  
Old 29 May 2006
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I had an EX-500 (the North American name for a GPz500) for a few years. It was as reliable as a stone ax, so I don't think you could go too far wrong with a KLE500.
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