Kawasaki's early release 2009 models

Kawasaki has released the first 2 bikes of their 2009 streetbike lineup. The unchanged Ninja 500R returns for another year as an excellent entry-level bike, once again servicing the needs of beginners and budget-conscious commuters alike. The second and final bike on the list, though very different, shares the 500R's engine but sticks it in a cruiser chassis. The Vulcan 500 LTD is the result. It also lists no changes from the 08 model.

2009 Ninja 500R
Exciting two-wheel fun, practical two-wheel efficiency

Practicality is the Kawasaki's Ninjaо 500R's biggest asset as it strikes an ideal balance between function, form and budget that's rarely achieved in the sport bike world. A sensible sportbike, the 500R is ready to rip, yet remains friendly enough for beginners to feel confident in its manners.

At the heart of this excellent platform is the Ninja 500R's 498cc liquid-cooled, parallel twin-cylinder four-stroke engine. With dual overhead cams and four valves per cylinder, the robust motor is both beginner-friendly and rousing to expert riders. No slouch, this half-liter engine has enough gusto to let novices expand their skills and keep even the most seasoned riders quite happy exploring the upper end of its rev range.

Letting the high-performance engine live to its full potential is a lightweight and compact design. One of the major selling points for the Ninja 500R is its great-handling enabled by its large-diameter 37mm fork tubes and UNI-TRAK rear suspension system utilizing a progressive linkage similar to the larger-displacement Ninja models. With the motor and chassis combo, the bike begs to be taken out on twisty back roads.

And the Ninja 500R also shares the same sporty styling of its bigger siblings, with an aerodynamic half-fairing that provides wind protection for the rider and is stylishly complemented by a lower fairing.

Authentic Kawasaki Accessories are available through Kawasaki dealers.

Liquid Cooled Twin-cylinder 498cc Engine
- Compact parallel-twin design
- Superior engineering produces sport bike power with broad usable torque
- Good mass centralization for superior handling
- Liquid cooling provides consistent engine temperatures and allows closer engine tolerances for more horsepower and long engine life
- Auxiliary cooling fan maintains optimum temperature for best performance, fuel economy and reliability

Four Valves per Cylinder
- Provides maximum valve area for optimum flow
- Better flow for more power at high rpm and strong low-end torque
- Compact combustion chamber for increased compression ratio without detonation on today’s gasolines

34mm CVK Semi-flat Slide Carburetors
- Precise fuel metering provides uniform power delivery at all engine speeds
- Quick throttle response

Digital Ignition
- Microprocessor-controlled timing never needs adjustment
- Ultra-responsive to engine needs

Six-speed Transmission
- Translates into a gear for all speeds, excellent acceleration and relaxed highway cruising
- Has a Kawasaki exclusive, the Positive Neutral Finder, which means riders can find neutral easily, every time at a stop with just a lift of the shift pedal from first gear

Standard Half Fairing
- Offers rider wind protection for more comfort
- Incorporates large, easy-to-read instruments with two resettable trip meters
- Stylish lower fairing completes the Ninja® image

Double-cradle Steel Box-section Frame
- High-tensile steel perimeter frame
- Lightweight, with superior rigidity for more precise handling and better control

37mm Front Fork
- Large-diameter fork tubes with thin walls for light weight and exceptional rigidity

Bottom-link UNI-TRAK® Rear Suspension
- Progressive rate provides a smoother, more controlled ride
- Lightweight aluminum components provide quick suspension response
- Lower center of gravity for better handling

17-inch Wheels
- Wide, modern 17-inch rims fit low-profile, high-performance tires

Front Disc Brake
- Disc is drilled for better cooling and reduced unsprung weight
- Dual-piston caliper for increased braking effectiveness

Rear Disc Brake
- Powerful and controllable
- Single-piston caliper

Sidestand and Centerstand
- Sidestand permits easy parking, while centerstand makes for easy cleaning or servicing

Budget Friendly
- Affordable suggested retail price

Engine: Four-stroke, DOHC, parallel twin
Displacement: 498cc
Starting: Electric
Bore x stroke: 74.0 x 58.0mm
Compression ratio: 10.8:1
Cooling: Liquid
Carburetion: Keihin CVK34 x 2
Ignition: TCBI with digital advance
Transmission: Six-speed
Final drive: Chain
Frame: High-tensile steel, perimeter design
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: 110/70x17 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.
Ground clearance: 4.7 in.
Seat height: 30.5 in.
Curb weight: 434.4 lbs.
Fuel capacity: 4.8 gal.
Wheelbase: 56.5 in.
Color: Metallic Diablo Black
Candy Plasma Blue
MSRP: $5,499

2009 Vulcan 500 LTD
Affordable cruiser styling, outstanding small displacement efficiency

The ranks of first-time motorcycle buyers are swelling just as fast as the price of gas. The Vulcan® 500 LTD is Kawasaki’s answer to motorcyclists yearning to ride into the cruiser lifestyle. A low seat height, friendly power delivery and affordable purchase price make it an excellent entry level motorcycle and an easy platform on which to develop those all-important riding skills.

However, the Vulcan 500 LTD isn’t just limited to beginners. More experienced riders will appreciate its ample power and comfortable accommodations, while the Vulcan 500 LTD’s practicality, efficiency and reliability as a transportation source are sure to be appealing to riders of all calibers.

A healthy dose of sportbike genes in the Ninja® 500R-based parallel twin-cylinder engine gives the Vulcan 500 LTD serious cruiser muscle to outperform its rivals. The powerplant provides a smooth, predictable torque delivery that’s ideal for boulevard cruising, yet it still has plenty of gusto for strong acceleration at highway speeds.

However, there’s more to the 500 LTD than its excellent engine. An equally user-friendly chassis with a long and low, matte black steel frame really puts it into the great category. A stepped seat, bobbed rear fender, tank-mounted speedometer and chrome-plated wire-spoke wheels give it the classic cruiser looks sure to please the custom style crowd. The rider calming low, 28-inch seat height rounds out the Vulcan 500 LTD’s rider friendly chassis.

Admire it as is, or select additional enhancements to add your own touch from any of Kawasaki’s accessory line — available through Kawasaki dealers.

Twin-cylinder 498cc Engine
- Compact parallel-twin design based on the NINJA® 500R sportbike engine
- Special cam profiles and ample flywheel weight boost low-end torque

- Keeps operating temperatures consistent, resulting in longer engine life
- Allows tighter engine clearances for quieter running and more power
- Radiator hides between the frame downtubes

Four Valves per Cylinder
- Better flow for more power at high rpm
- Compact combustion chamber for less detonation with today’s gasoline
- Augments low-end torque

Automatic Cam Chain Tensioner
- Maintains precise timing without maintenance
- Cam chain runs quietly, reliably

Gear-Driven Balancer
- Reduces engine vibration for a super-smooth ride

Six-Speed Transmission
- Allows engine’s full potential to be utilized

Positive Neutral Finder
- When stopped, just lift the shift pedal from first gear to easily find neutral

32mm CVK Semi-Flat Slide Carburetors
- Quick throttle response
- Precise fuel metering provides uniform power delivery at all engine speeds

Straight-Flow Exhaust
- Designed to boost low and mid-range power
- Tuned pipes enhance low-speed pulling power

Single Disc Front Brake
- Single piston pin-slide caliper produces quick, sure stops

Tank-Mounted Speedometer with Turn Signal Indicators and Caution Lamps
- Gives needed information at a glance
- Compact design complements the bike’s clean look

Stepped Seating
- Laid-back riding comfort for two

Chrome-Plated Wire Spoke Wheels
- Narrow 100/90-19 front tire and beefy 140/90-15 rear tire fits the LTD’s traditional cruiser styling

Engine: Four-stroke, DOHC, eight-valve parallel twin
Displacement: 498cc
Starting: Electric
Bore x stroke: 74.0 x 58.0mm
Compression ratio: 10.2:1
Cooling: Liquid
Carburetion: Keihin CVK32 x 2
Ignition: Digital TCBI
Transmission: Six-speed
Final drive: O-Ring chain
Frame: Double-cradle, steel
Rake / trail: 33 degrees / 5.9 in.
Suspension, front / wheel travel: 41mm hydraulic fork / 5.9 in.
Suspension, rear / wheel travel: Dual hydraulic shocks with five-way adjustable spring preload / 3.9 in.
Front tire: 100/90x19
Rear tire: 140/90x15
Brakes, front: Hydraulic disc
Brakes, rear: Mechanical drum
Overall length: 91.3 in.
Overall width: 32.7 in.
Overall height: 44.3 in
Ground clearance: 4.7 in.
Seat height: 28.1 in.
Curb weight: 471.9 lbs.
Fuel capacity: 4.0 gal.
Wheelbase: 62.8 in.
Color: Metallic Imperial Red
MSRP: $5,499
Warranty: 12 Months

Source: Bikeland.org & Kawasaki

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