Kawasaki half-liter bikes back for '09

Ninja 500R and Vulcan 500 LTD back with new colors

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Jun. 19, 2008
Kawasaki has released information for two early 2009 streetbikes, the Ninja 500R sportbike and and the Vulcan 500 LTD cruiser.

The beginner-friendly Ninja 500R returns with the same setup as in 2008 but with a change in color. The 2009 model will be available in ‘Candy Plasma Blue’ instead of 2008’s ‘Passion Red’. The ‘Metallic Diablo Black’ will also return, but the red striping has been replaced with gray.

The 2009 Ninja 500R will again be powered by a 498cc liquid-cooled, parallel twin four-stroke engine with dual overhead cams and four valves per cylinder.

The 37mm front fork has thin walls for light weight and rigidity while the rear will feature a bottom-link UNI-TRAK suspension providing a low center of gravity.The 2009 Ninja 500R is available in 'Candy Plasma Blue'.

Also targeted for first-time motorcyclists, the Vulcan 500 LTD will also return in 2009 with a just a change in color scheme coming in ‘Metallic Imperial Red’ instead of 2008’s ‘Ebony’ black.

The Vulcan 500 LTD’s engine is designed after the Ninja 500R’s, providing a sportbike’s heart in a cruiser’s body with its stepped seat, bobbed rear fender, tank-mounted speedometer and chrome-plated wire-spoke wheels. The Vulcan 500 LTD runs a similar engine to the Ninja 500R.

The 28.1-inch seat height and Kawasaki’s Positive Neutral Finder (also available on the Ninja 500R) help make the Vulcan 500 LTD a good choice for new riders.

Both the Ninja 500R and Vulcan 500 LTD are priced at $5,499.

Ninja 500R Specs
Engine Liquid-cooled Four-stroke, DOHC, parallel twin
Displacement 498cc
Starting Electric
Bore x stroke 74.0 x 58.0mm
Compression ratio 10.8:1
Carburetion Keihin CVK34 x 2
Ignition TCBI with digital advance
Transmission Six-speed
Final drive Chain
Rake / trail 27 degrees / 3.6 in.
Front suspension / wheel travel 37mm hydraulic telescopic fork / 5.1 in.
Rear suspension / wheel travel UNI-TRAK system with single shock / 3.9 in.
Front tire 110/70-17 tubeless
Rear tire 130/70x17 tubeless
Front brake / Rear brake Hydraulic disc / Disc
Overall length 82.5 in.
Overall width 27.6 in.
Overall height 45.7 in.
Wheelbase 56.5 in.
Ground clearance 4.7 in.
Seat height 30.5 in.
Curb weight 434.4 lbs.
Fuel capacity 4.8 gal.
Color Metallic Diablo Black, Candy Plasma Blue
MSRP $5,499

Vulcan 500 LTD Specs
Engine Liquid-cooled Four-stroke, DOHC, parallel twin
Displacement 498cc
Bore x stroke 74.0 x 58.0mm
Compression ratio 10.2:1
Carburetion Keihin CVK34 x 2
Ignition Digital TCBI
Transmission Six-speed
Final drive O-Ring Chain
Frame Double-cradle, steel
Rake / trail 33 degrees / 5.9 in.
Front suspension / wheel travel 41mm hydraulic telescopic fork / 5.9 in.
Rear suspension / wheel travel Dual hydraulic shocks with five-way adjustable spring preload / 3.9 in.
Front tire 100/90-19
Rear tire 140/90-15
Front brake / Rear brake Hydraulic disc / Mechanical drum
Overall length 91.3 in.
Overall width 32.7 in.
Overall height 44.3 in.
Wheelbase 62.8 in.
Ground clearance 4.7 in.
Seat height 28.1 in.
Curb weight 471.9 lbs.
Fuel capacity 4.0 gal.
Color Metalic Imperial Red
MSRP $5,499