1985 Kawasaki KX 500

Feb. 01, 2001 By Press Release

Kawasaki threw out the hopeless '83 and '84 KX 500 designs and tried their hand at this 'new? KX 500. The '85 open-class KX was new and bristled with, for this era, "technology" that included a water cooled engine, compression and rebound damping, and adjustable rear Uni-Trak struts! It just didn't get any better than this! Or did it?

Power: Kawasaki didn't completely cure the rattle and ping engine completely in '85. It was much better, but the big KX would still blow itself to smithereens once in a while. This baby was powerful off bottom and it roared into monstrous mid-range power. The high-end RPM?s brought nothing but vibration.

Suspension: The fork performance was okay on this bike. They were still a tad harsh. The rear suspension left lots to be desired. Even with all the spiffy new "technological" gadgetry, no amount of rear shock adjusting would get the rear to work properly.

Handling: Thanks to the totally abominable rear shock that defied adjustment, the handling was confused.

Reliability: Expect average reliability.

Odds & Ends: Place the '85 KX 500 on your "used bikes to avoid" list. Kawasaki had all the right ideas to make their 500 a good open-class bike. It had the 5-speed transmission, water cooling, and lots of rear shock adjustability. Unfortunately, these qualities didn't come together in a fashion that made the bike good.

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