Photo ou archives : F-M. Dumas
KLE 500 - 1991
Bike of all trades
Trail bikes really took off in the Seventies, but so did the cost of their increasingly expensive styling. Gradually, their designs became more traditional, and costs to the amateur enthusiast went down, which created an opportunity for manufacturers.
Setting New Standards
Faced with rival designs like four-stroke singles, which were agile but incapable of cruising at high speeds, or big twins that could go to the ends of the earth but tended to be overweight, Kawasaki has just set new standards with its KLE model, a light 500cc twin. The nimble KLE has a sensible saddle height and a fairly low center of gravity, which combine to make it easy to handle.
This elegant bike has particularly attractive lines coupled with great versatility. The lively KLE is great on the street as well as in the mud, where its flexibility and acceleration take over. When it comes to road- holding and stability, its highly effective cycle parts, like its duplex cradle frame, are beyond criticism. Well-served by a good suspension and twin disc brakes, it rides responsively on both dirt and asphalt. Its power unit has plenty of personality, performing perfectly under all circumstances.
Engine: 498cc (74x58mm) four-stroke water cooled vertical twin
Power output: 50 hp © 8500 rpm
Valves: twin overhead camshafts, 4 valves per cylinder
Fuel system: carburetor
Transmission: six-speed gearbox, chain final drive
Suspension: (front) telescopic forks; (rear) swinging arm
Brakes: (front) disc; (rear) disc
Wheels: wire; (front) 21 in; (rear) 17 in
Weight: 342 lb (approx)
Maximum speed: 120 mph
A new kind of trail bikeÂ— light, twin-cylinder, and more 'urban in style - the KLE 500 is just as efficient as some celebrated European endurance bikes.Â”