Installing an EX500 shock

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One of the best changes you can make to your EX250 is to upgrade the suspension. The front suspension is probably the more important of the two, but both ends should be done. Adding an EX500 shock is a good way to beef up the rear suspension, while leaving some money for valve emulators and springs.

Advantages of the EX500 shock:

  • Easy and inexpensive upgrade. Usually available on eBay
  • Bolt-on installation
  • Makes rear suspension stiffer for better cornering
  • Tendency to bottom out lessened
  • Improves 2-Up riding

Which shock do I want to get?

You're looking for a shock from an EX500D. The "D" series started in 1994. In reality, any EX 500 shock will work, but we will now give you the N250RC shock caveat: Shocks wear out with use. The seals fall apart with time. A 1990 shock with only 3k miles should be in better shape than a 1999 with 35k miles on it, but you never know what that older shock went through. Be cautious, and try to get as much information as you can about a used shock before you buy it.

The part number from EX500 A1 ('87) all the way through EX500 D9F ('09 - end of production) is 45014-1365. This means that they will all fit, but, of course, newer is usually better.

Here's how to put it on your Ninja 250:

The EX500 shock is a 20 minute R&R (Remove & Replace) event. If you still have the centerstand on your bike, great. If not, you will need to find a way to raise the rear tire off the ground and keep it there.

First things first, get the rear tire off the ground, and put something underneath it that will keep it at the same height it currently is off the ground. When you remove the rear shock, if you don't have something holding the tire in place, the tire will fall straight to the ground, causing you all sorts of frustration.

Take off the side panel on the shift lever (left) side of the bike.

Locate the top shock bolt that mounts the shock directly to the frame and loosen, but do not remove, the bolt.

Locate the bottom shock bolt that mounts the shock to the dog-bones. Use a wrench to hold the nut on the brake pedal side still while you use a wrench to loosen the bolt from the shifter side of the bike. Remove nut and bolt from the bottom of the shock.

Remove the bolt from the top of the shock. Shock will now fall freely (for the most part) to the ground. It is highly advised to hold on to it to prevent this.

Installation of the EX500 shock is the reverse of removing the EX250 shock. It will fit in easily and bolt right up.

A testimonial

Experience-based comment from IanJ:

  • I weigh 210 with no gear, and probably 240ish with the bike all loaded up for daily riding. I switched to an EX500 shock with good results -- stronger rear suspension, and an overall improvement compared to the EX250 shock. Dead simple to install. I would find a cheap EX500 shock and give it a try before you give up on the idea. If it sucks, you're out very little money and 20 minutes of install time. Seriously, it's so easy, and made a big difference for me.
I know nothing of any specs or numbers on any of this stuff. This is based purely on my own experience.

An anti-testimonial

Experience-based comment from Jim Race:

  • EX500 shocks *really* aren't the ideal solution to the EX250's shock problems. Despite coming from a bigger bike, the spring is actually softer than the EX250's. The only way to get ideal sag is to crank it down. Then you end up with a shock that feels stiffer, but actually provides less overall support than the stocker.

We of the N250RC FAQ staff can't help you make your decision, except to say that many people have been satisfied with their EX500 shock, and many have liked their ZX600 one.