Doc Sarah's Motorcycle Pages
Kawasaki GPZ500s (EX500)
My first ever brand-new bike, this was going to be my concession to practicality. I'd read lots about this bike being suitable for people who had just passed their test, and I could certainly get a toe down on it, so with my growing confidence, this was a sufficiently low bike for my needs. I needed a bike for commuting, because the VFR400 gets rather warm in traffic. The GPZ seemed like a good buy.
However, I wasn't prepared for the great all-round capabilities of this bike. It may be an old design, and looked on as a beginner's bike. But it has many other virtues. A super-revvy twin engine with a good top end as well. Super-light steering and very well-mannered handling. And a comfortable riding position and seat making it much more practical for long journeys with luggage. I took this bike on a track day and it wasn't out-performed by other larger bikes. It is good for cruising all day at 85-90mph, and had noticeably more mid-range than the VFR400. There are some down-sides, and it is a bit top-heavy. The suspension is a bit soft and there are problems with corrosion on the discs and exhausts. It certainly does lack ground clearance, and you have to learn to blip the throttle on downshifts. You also learn to "back it in" to bends.