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Kawasaki KLE500

Kawasaki KLE500

4.3 from 12 reviews

Wigan wheelie

Fairly new to motorbiking, previously had a same years Bmw 650GS, the KLE feels miles better and smoother. Bike very balanced, have done light off road and felt sure footed. Very few in the UK, but defo under rated. Not the 'blisteringly' fast, but crank it up and it picks up alright. Nice looking machine for 2007 and at work parked next to the new GS800's doesn't look that dated or inferior and alot less money second hand..

Date PurchasedJun 2016

Good bike for heaps of fun

I bought the the bike when I wanted to explore Sunshine Coast on two wheels. My 2006 model was badly serviced but after a few engine oil changes and new DNA air filter, spark plugs, coolant and a taller screen the bike has grown on me a lot. Easy to ride and I've even done some single trails with it so for me the bike is just perfect for what I want to do. Did put Michelin t63 tires on it and now I'm having even more fun with it. For the price (my was $3000) this bike is well worth the money. I reckon it will even be more popular this year when the smaller adventure bikes seem to be trendy So if you can get your hands on buy it... the engine is bullet proof. My friend just did a 30tkm ride to Asia and Russia with his and had no problems whatsoever. My opinion is that the Kle is better than the klr! Off course it has a few bad things but for the money it's easy to just ignore them.

Date PurchasedMar 2016

Love It!

This bike is ideal for a taller rider, and as I'm 174 cms it took a little getting used to. But once I was comfortable on it I loved it. The 500 twin isn't going to win any races but this isn't what the bike is designed for anyway. I live in Coffs Harbour and 95% of the time my riding conditions are no different than those encountered by any city rider; with fewer traffic lights. I suppose.

On the two times I took this on a dirt road I found it really hard to keep it upright. This is not an all terrain bike although from the look of it that's exactly what it is. The tyres could do with an upgrade if you intend on regularly riding on dirt roads.

After unsuccessfully putting the bike against a fairly good quality unsealed road I would hesitate about taking this bike on a bush ride.

It's tall, it rides like a road bike. When you come to terms with this and quit trying to make it do what It cannot do, this is a very good bike.

I would have liked a bit more grunt. I took it up to 140 kph and I don't think it would have gone much faster. 150 or 160 maybe. It was vibrating a lot at 140.

I had a lot of fun on this bike. It looks great, handles well, and the engine capacity is big enough to handle long rides. It cruises along at highway speeds no worries. It will sit on 120 all day.

Something to beware of: Kawasaki spares tend to be pretty expensive compared with the same parts for other Jap bikes.

Right adventure motorcycle for a 70 old biker

I own a 1997 KLE 500. Love it. I agree with the positives and the few negatives. Seat not comfortable. I shall fit extra pegs towards the front. Fuel consumption great. I regularly average 27/28 k/l . Riding a steady 110k/hr I attained 30,8 k/l two weeks ago. The KLE performs and handles very well on tar as well as on off - road


Kawasaki have been helpful. Canberra Motorcycle Centre were excellent with the only problem we have encountered and they even arranged for Kawasaki to extend the warranty by 6 months. Good dual purpose bike which should do the miles
Comfortable, steady, looks good, proven design. Servicing has been easy and cheap. Always starts well. Staintune silencer has been good. Very steady, consistent power delivery giving reasonable power from 2,000 to 9,000 rpm
Side stand not stable enough. Heavy on tyres. Not great luggage carrying capability. Big depreciation hit because discontinued and unusual categorisation. Difficult to remove panels and other bits for heavy off road use so it will suffer lots of damage when dropped


I have fitted an eagle screen, MPE suspension, raised the front mud gaurd, fitted a centre stand, engine gaurd & lazy front pegs to strech the legs & a stain tune exhaust. This has improved the bike by along shot & i love riding it. Smooth to ride not like the 650 singles. It has proved it's self on both trips as i ride with friends who have DR650 F800 BMW KLR 650 XR650's. It has not let me down and we carry a lot of gear on our bikes. I would go anywhere on it the best thing was it's price. People like the look of it too.
I have been on two tours on my KLE. Cameron Corner 4500 ks, & most recently 3500 ks up around Richmond both trips 80% dirt & rough.
Foot peg postion too far back. soft suspension, only 15 litre tank.

Great value, undervalued with the great public

It was 1999 when I changed my VFR750F for a brand new KLE500.
After one month I regret it so much so I changed it for a new XJ600S
with almost no loss. However...13 years later after driven so many other bikes, my love for Twins came back. Currently I am driving a 1990 Africa Twin but honestly despite the image and great riding it gives me one big headache and that's the weight.

I started to remember the qualities from the KLE500 and will get one soon again. The bike is super reliable, maneuverable and even capable of going off road. On the long distance my Africa Twin will do better but the KLE overall impression is good. Can't beat the price/quality.
Cheap, economic, reliable.
Vibrates at higher RPM. Comfort could be better.

1 comment
"I exchanged my VFR750F for a KLE500... then regretted it... so went back to the VFR750F....now I remmeber the qualities of the KLE ? Make up ya bloody mind!


This replaced my Honda NX650 Dominator and while being slighter lighter and smaller in cc's, riding the KLE 500 compared to the Dominator is like the difference between a park-bench and a lounge-recliner!
Love this bike. Great economy, easy to ride, plenty of power, highly capable on and off-road. Probably the best of the 'adventurers' especially in terms of value for $bucks.
Great to ride. Easily maneuverable and the smooth parallel twin gives it plenty of power. Great price and nice paint-work.
'Soft brakes' - especially the front brake. Could of had a larger fuel tank adn center stand fitted as standard.


After riding for almost 30 years on numerous bikes this is one of the best for me. For 8 grand value for money is unbeatable. This bike is well underestimated in many repects, its capable for a lot more. I did 1400 ks in three days in South Western Australia, and wondered myself why I haven't bought this one before. Yes it is build to a certain budget, but those are others as well. I am sure it will do 100.000 ks or 20 years, but do alter the seat. This is the major draw back for me.
Almost perfect commuter bike. Fuel on average 4.2ltr/100ks, handling and stability very good, looks, long distance travelling possible, easily outqualifies an XR400 on gravel roads, as you can enjoy life, puts a smile on your face
Long brake in for smooth gear changes and for brakes to develop some stopping power, Front of the bike can appear sloppy when pushed hard into corners, where road surface isn't perfect. Michelin Sirac are almost perfect match and help minimise this attitude. Seat itself as seating position isn't satisfactory for me, being 190cm tall.



exellent bike comfitable enough to ride for eight hours tavells well on dirt roads is robust enough to carry plenty of camping gear
light enough to pick up if you drop it in the sand, plenty of grunt
not great fuel economy, the dip in the seat is a pain in the a*** literaly, seat needs to be flatter


I have just put 24,000 kms on mine from new, I get it serviced regualary and it is running as good as new. For a Daily work bike I could not find anything better for the price and running costs. I adjusted the rear shock setting from 1 up to 3 and get a better nicer ride.
Good Riding position, I get 200-220km per tank before I hit res, seat is nice for about 2 hours, Two up is ok for weekends, I do 500 kms a week to work and back and she has never missed a beat. Good overall visability in traffic, very easy to ride, LAMs friendly. Top Box fits on easy
Buy good tyres, if u stick with the Trailmax u will go through them way to quick, Metzeler are good. Breaks are somewhat soft, you need a new front screen to cut the wind drag down @ 100km+ (I put a Eagle Wide Touring screen on. You can get some foot drag on a tighter corner and learn to left your boot toe quick.


Excellent bike. The KLE500 was designed to handle gravel roads and it preforms this function well. Corrugated roads are its speciality. The front end is soft and divey under brakes, but then this is forgivable as the ride is so smooth on the rough roads. I ride the bike to work almost every day. It it is excellent in traffic and on the highway too. Sits on 110kph in 6th gear no problems. I have also recived compliments, people comment that it is a good looking bike. I agree. I especially like the metalic dark blue paint and the gold frame. All in all I would not hesitate to recomend the bike.
Goes well, looks good, ideal commuter, excellent on gravel, dirt or corrugated roads. Well priced. Economical using high octane fuel.
Fuel economy could be a little better but then it is a heavy bike. Fuel tank could be a little larger. Soft front end, dives under brakes.

Questions & Answers

Finger error previous question. The KLE 500 sports a 21 inch front wheel and handle well in the dirt. The 650 comes with a 17 inch front wheel. Does it compare well with the KLE?
1 answer
I found the KLE500 was much easier to ride in the sand and dirt, not only due to the 21 inch front wheel, but it being a much lighter and more manoeuvrable bike than the Dominator 650. I'm sure the 650 is probably stronger for long-term, hard dirt riding (as the KLE500 is a more general adventure bike), but for a bit of weekend fun 'off-road', the KLE was surprisingly capable.


Release dateMar 2007
Replaced byKawasaki Versys 650

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