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2024 Kawasaki Ninja 500 Review: A Sporty Evolution

2024 Kawasaki Ninja 500 Review: A Sporty Evolution

Kawasaki has been manufacturing the Ninja sportbike lineup for over 40 years. The Ninja name is well-known and recognizable, representing sport performance and speed. The new addition to the 2024 line is the Ninja 500, which shares many similarities with the Ninja 400 but features a larger displacement of 451cc. It also boasts updated styling, resembling its racy older siblings, and includes a more advanced LCD display or TFT dash, as well as connectivity to mobile devices through the Rideology app.

To determine if the Ninja 500 can hold its own among its speedier counterparts, Team Green invited us to test it on the challenging roads of Malibu, California. The Ninja 500 showcases aggressive styling, resembling the larger ZX models, with a larger presence and more serious appearance. Despite the new bodywork, the ergonomics and accessibility of the Ninja 500 remain the same as the Ninja 400, which has received high marks for comfort from riders of all sizes.

In terms of performance, the Ninja 500 features a "stroker motor" that increases the displacement to 451cc. While it doesn't feel like a rocket ship, it offers improved response and sharper handling. The power output of the Ninja 500 is only slightly higher than the Ninja 400, but it is a noticeable improvement.

The chassis and handling of the Ninja 500 remain unchanged from the Ninja 400, with a steel trellis frame, front fork, rear shock, and calipers. The addition of a stiffer front suspension enhances stability and predictability, making it ideal for canyon roads. Despite encountering road debris, the Ninja 500 effortlessly maneuvered around obstacles, thanks to its increased power.

Overall, the Ninja 500 is an evolutionary step up from the Ninja 400, offering more power, sportier styling, and upgraded electronics. Kawasaki has successfully catered to the needs of entry-level riders and enthusiasts while meeting the challenge posed by competitors like the Aprilia RS 457. However, the Ninja 500's introduction creates tension within the P-twin Ninja lineup, as it starts to compete closely with the Ninja 650 in terms of performance and value.

For track enthusiasts and club racers, the Ninja 500 provides a simple package that allows for easy tuning and part interchangeability with the Ninja 400. Kawasaki's strategic move with the Ninja 500 ensures its continued dominance in the lightweight sportbike segment. Overall, Kawasaki has produced another impressive Ninja that meets the demands of riders and enthusiasts alike.


Source: Kawasaki

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