publié le 21/6/2003
à jour le 22/9/10
Here are some of the ideas and things I happen to care about. For each of those, I try'n find informations, links, pictures...
You are at : Main page->Motorcycling->The Kawasaki 500 KLE
The 500 KLE as an Adventure bike
When you see so numerous accessories for such expensive and fully equiped bikes as the KTM 990 Adventure S or BM R1200 GS"A" & HP2, you can think an Adventure bike is just a lot of accessories around a frame and a motor.
From this start, I've started to play a very funny game : finding as many accessories as possible for the KLE to achieve its transformation into an Adventure bike (I can't think of a better word for it). We sometimes come across the words "Enduro Touring", but I don't think this expression gets closer to the concept.
Of course, the Net is the perfect tool for my game, among other sources such as bike or accessories dealers, or other bikers.
If you want to hear the sweet 500 KLE noise, clic on this icon:
I'm not really trying to find evidences of the KLE skills for adventure : many a biker has done great things with it, for instance Walter Surini.
He runned Paris-Dakar race with a duely modified KLE. Follow this link http://www.motowinners.it/spazio%20interviste/Surini%20Dakar%201992.htm
This is a new link : the old one didn't work anymore.
Yet another Italian adventurer : Giovanni Poli : you can visit his website with a clic on the photo underneath.
Notice the big tank (where do they get those ?). I like the project : Milan-Akashi (Kawasaki home town).
Click on the image to visit Giovanni's website
Another interesting experiment : building a new bike, starting from a Kawasaki 500 twin : http://www.rallytwin.com/
Here it is : Notice the exhaust pipe above the motor case. Nothing stock on this bike : it's a prototype. Bags are from Jesse-Luggage (see luggage page).
A picture of the frame and its "exoskeleton" : (clic to enlarge this image or the previous one)
Other people have been around the world with bikes I wouldn't have thought of for the job, for instance a Yamaha R1 : http://www.sjaaklucassen.nl/
Let's see now what can be done to improve the KLE:
* All-Terrain skills : things easy to be changed :
* Improving crash resistance :
- handlebar : standard handlebar clamps are 45° backwards, so you can't put risers on without getting too far back. So maybe a better way to have a higher handlebar is to change for a higher one, for instance a quad model :
Anyway, we intended to change for a tougher one. Talking about risers, you can also find adaptors to switch to those new, modern, fierce 28,5mm handlebars :
That was my opinion until 2007/07/04. But I just changed my mind : look :
- engine/fairing protection : you'll find some at Hepco & Becker 's :
or SW-MoTech's : (clic to enlarge)
This one doesn't have any bar in front of the radiator, so you can crash without to make a damage that would stop the tour.
- hand/levers protects : we need something tough : or (clic to see bigger pictures)
Another solution, with the "NonShock" bar : :
(GPS support available, too ...)
One last remark regarding hand protectors : a guy I once met had old 1100 GS handguards on his KLE, and they fit quite well. They are a good solution : hard enough, and rather light, with no metallic part.
* Protecting/replacing breakable parts :
- sump guard : the standard one is quite light, but nobody seems to sell a tougher one. I'd like to find one on a wrecked bike and try to use it to double mine. Maybe that could work.
- rims : specialists seem to be in Japan : D.I.D. , Takasago (EXCEL rims)... One could change for better spokes, hubs or bearings, but it might be expensive.
* Comfort :
- saddle : I could find nothing ready made for KLE, but our local upholstery shop can do wonders (thanks Hervé for your test and advice) :
Here's a more professional example, with a nice flat part to sit on :
-> : http://www.bikefarmmv.de/FR/hoeherlegung/zeige_artikel.php?fid=200207.
* All-terrain ride
- rallye footpegs : my solution : Touratech-for-BMW ones fit perfectly. You'll just have to add some springs (see your KTM dealer, for instance...)
(clic to see the big picture)
But if you sometimes ride with light shoes, here's a good solution : removable pads on dented pegs, at SW-Motech's :
KLE part # : FRS.01.011.10100/S
- position (higher handlebar, as seen before)
- higher saddle for a quicker and easier posture change, but we already changed it for comfort purpose
* Brakes, I must admit this KLE's weakness :
Of course there are steel braided brake lines, but also :
"Wave" front disk : and that : (from "Braking")
Both of these are KLE specific parts.
* Tough bags : I've put it on a new page : this one was growing too much, and I've found new products to add to the topic.
The standard luggage rack is rather weak, and doesn't fit all top case adapters. Happy customers will find this device at SW-MoTech's :
Metal plate to replace the standard one :
to which you'll just have to bolt the right adapter for your favourite top case brand :
Notice the 3 adapter fixing holes, same on the plate and on the left photo above.
I also found some tank sidebags :
Happy Trail resells Wolfman's :
who does some nice tankbags too : but I don't know if it's worth shipping. Maybe if you bought the panniers, you'd ask them to put the bags in.
* Big gas tanks, water transportation
- Canisters, supplementary tanks : here are some items :
- At Touratech's : for gas (2 litres) , + ,
- special tanks. Unfortunately, you have to choose between special creations, home made stuff or adapting other bikes accessories :
Well, it's not a KLE, but I needed a picture to imagine a special tank set.
And now a handmade modified tank on a KLE (20 litres instead of 15) :
(First found on http://www.kawasakikle500.it/node/462, where there's a link to our hero (the one and only KLE tank modifier) site : http://web.vip.hr/nikola.mrakovcic.vip/index.htm)
If you've not enough, here are some other ideas for your next father's day or other gift occasions :
And at last, performance improvement : key items :
- air filter :
- exhaust system :
(clic on images above to visit Laser or Arrow's websites)
Another nice product : the australian Staintune's. I like the way they keep using the stock heat guard.
They claim more than 4 kg lost, and 2 more HP, unfortunately without to say whith or without the "db killer", Good job for a slip-on.
And if you change your mind, they supply the needed part to put the old muffler back on.
The price is a little high in Australia, and much worse in UK, sole european country where I could find it.
- camshafts (notice the KLE is among the very few bikes on which you can change camshafts for performance ones easily. You just have to find a GPZ engine at a low price, or buy the GPZ shafts at your dealer's).
Some clever German people have published on KLE performance improvement : (http://www.dernacken.de/kle-tuning2.html). Other people translated it in Italian(http://www.kawasakikle500.it/node/398).
I translated it in french ... I dared to add some comments. Hope they'll forgive me. And I even tried to translate it in English.
Sorry, I won't try Japanese !
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