2024 Kawasaki Ninja 500 and Z500 – First Look

Dennis Chung
by Dennis Chung
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Eliminator’s larger engine makes its way to the entry-level Z and Ninja

2024 kawasaki ninja 500 and z500 first look

From the moment we learned the Eliminator would be equipped with a 451cc Twin, we started anticipating when Kawasaki would put the engine on its entry-level Ninja and Z models. To no surprise, the answer is “right away,” with the announcement of the new 2024 Ninja 500 and Z500.

The larger engine was derived from the existing 399cc engine, so it didn’t take much effort to fit it into the Ninja and Z chassis. The extra 52cc increases the power and torque output across the rev range, but to keep it within the A2 licensing realm, European models claim a peak output of 44.7 hp at 9,000 rpm, with torque reaching a claimed 31.4 lb-ft. at 6,000 rpm. Kawasaki hasn’t confirmed either 500 model for the U.S yet, and without a tiered licensing system, the performance figures may differ here.

Along with the displacement bump comes a few smaller updates, including styling tweaks for both models. The seat height remains the same 30.9 inches as the 400 models, but the Ninja and Z500’s seat has a new, flatter shape. Beyond that, the 500 models are fairly similar mechanically to their 400 predecessors.

2024 Kawasaki Ninja 500

2024 kawasaki ninja 500 and z500 first look

The Ninja 500 receives a new compact headlight with LED low beams and reflector-type high beams and position lights. The bodywork is new, with larger openings on the side for better heat dissipation.

For Europe, Kawasaki will offer two versions. The regular Ninja 500 comes in Metallic Spark Black/Metallic Flat Raw Graystone, while the Ninja 500 SE comes in either Lime Green/Ebony or Metallic Matte Dark Gray/Metallic Flat Spark Black/Metallic Moondust Gray. The SE Model adds a TFT display, a USB-C outlet and a keyless ignition system.

2024 Kawasaki Z500

2024 kawasaki ninja 500 and z500 first look

The Z500 gets a new LED headlight that it shares with the Z 7 Hybrid. The unit puts the two low beam lights on top with the single high beam positioned underneath. Kawasaki says this design helps keeps the focus on the low beams.

The bodywork on the Z500 is sharper than on the Z400, and the front fender is a new, shorter design, though oddly, Kawasaki opted to keep the old fender on the Ninja 500.

Like the Ninja 500, the Z500 will be offered in regular or SE variants. The Z500 SE comes in either Candy Persimmon Red/Metallic Flat Spark Black/Metallic Matte Graphenesteel Gray or Candy Lime Green/Metallic Spark Black/Metallic Matte Graphenesteel Gray, and adds a TFT display, and a USB-C charging port, plus a two-piece lower fairing. The regular Z500 will only come in Metallic Spark Black/Metallic Matte Graphenesteel Gray.

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Dennis Chung
Dennis Chung

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4 of 16 comments
  • High_Side High_Side on Nov 11, 2023

    I'm going to guess that they sell 3 times the volume of the smaller model and then use that engine across more platforms than the ZX10. Anyway, find a Ninja 400 with a blown motor kids as well as a wrecked EX500 and go to town. 😄

    • Patrick Patrick on Nov 11, 2023

      The volumes are much higher, because the price is much lower. If they spent the extra money for the development you're asking for, the price would go up and the sales would plummet, see the ZX4R. The EX500 was $2899 in 1987, equivalent to $8300 today, same price as the Ninja 650, 12% cheaper than a ZX4R, 56% more expensive than a Ninja 400.

  • L.W. L.W. on Nov 11, 2023

    I don't understand this. No difference than the 400? Why even retool for that? I may be missing that obvious, but right now I can't understand retooling to make a new model that the same as the old.

    I had a 400 for a very short time, it did everything well enough. I just don't understand why this is.

    • David K David K on Nov 12, 2023

      Likely because there are several other motorcycles in this segment of similar 450cc displacement, and Kawasaki wants to get some of those buyers.