Taking good care of a motorcycle is not just a safe and smart thing to do, but many riders also enjoy working on their bikes. One important preventative maintenance task is changing the radiator hoses , since these wear out over time and the failure of a hose can be expensive and dangerous. Kawasaki, like other motorcycle companies, has a recommended replacement schedule for radiator hoses, but some riders choose to ignore the recommendations, especially if they do not know why the recommendations are what they are. Replacement hoses can be either new stock motorcycle hoses, typically rubber hoses, or silicone hoses that other companies make for Kawasaki bikes. Each has advantages and disadvantages, and knowing them can help buyers to make an informed choice.
Buying Kawasaki radiator hoses is simple. Bike owners just need to buy hoses made for the motorcycle in question, either by the Kawasaki company or by another manufacturer. The primary considerations are when to replace the old hoses and whether to go with stock rubber hoses, high-quality rubber hoses, or silicone hoses.
Radiators are how engines cool themselves. Coolant moves from the radiator to the engine where it soaks up the engine's excess heat. Then, the coolant flows back to the radiator carrying the heat away with it. In the radiator, the coolant cools down, dumping its heat into the air so it can return to the engine and start the process over again.
The radiator hoses carry coolant from the radiator to the engine and then back again, so there are two main hoses plus several smaller bypass hoses. Radiator hoses curve to bend around the other engine components that would otherwise be in their way. Because no two vehicle models have exactly the same internal arrangement, no two vehicle models can use exactly the same radiator hoses. A Kawasaki cannot take hoses originally designed for a Yamaha, for example.
Radiator hoses occasionally leak or even break open completely. Without enough coolant, the engine can overheat and fail. The engine temperature indicator does not always show the resultant overheating until it is too late to save the engine. Hence, it is important to replace the hoses periodically, before a problem develops. The hose clamps that attach the hoses to the radiator and engine can also leak or fail and need periodical inspections and replacement.
Replace radiator hoses before they begin to fail, because the consequences of a broken hose could be severe. In addition, it can be difficult to tell when a hose is developing a problem. Sometimes a leak develops slowly and the rider notices a small puddle of coolant on the garage floor or an unexplained drop in coolant levels, but a fast leak could destroy a motor in a couple of minutes. Bulging, cracking, hardening, or a mushy feel are all very bad signs, but hoses often fail from the inside out, showing no symptoms at all until the actual moment of failure. Kawasaki owner's manuals recommend replacing all radiator hoses on a specific schedule, generally every three years, as a preventative measure.
This does not mean that radiator hoses typically fail after only three years. In fact, some people ride their bikes for a decade or more without replacing the hoses on their bikes and never have a problem. But the older a hose is, the more likely it is to fail. A three-year-old hose on a Kawasaki bike has reached the point where the risk is higher than what the Kawasaki company is comfortable with, but individual riders must make their own decisions.
The recommendation to change Kawasaki hoses every three years applies to the rubber stock hoses. A popular alternative is silicone hoses. Because rubber hoses sometimes last much longer than the recommended three years, some riders do not see the value in buying silicone, which does cost a lot more than rubber. But while silicone might not change every rider's experience, a bike with silicone hoses installed is not so dependent on luck.
Silicone does not degrade the way rubber does, so high-quality silicone hoses last a lot longer than rubber hoses. Silicone is softer than rubber and is easier to scratch, but these scratches are usually just superficial. Silicone hoses also do not bond to their attachment points the way rubber hoses do. This is both an advantage and a disadvantage. Silicone hoses are much easier to remove than rubber, which is a modest advantage. At the same time, silicone hoses sometimes leak very small quantities of coolant from their attachment points precisely because they do not bond.
Not all rubber hoses are alike. Very high-quality rubber hoses are also available. These hoses have much longer useful lives than stock hoses, comparable to the durability of silicone. Like silicone, however, high-quality rubber hoses are also much more expensive than stock hoses. Both high-quality rubber and silicone hoses for a Kawasaki can be difficult to find, so some riders choose to stick with stock hoses just for simplicity.
A simple way to find Kawasaki radiator hoses on eBay is to use the Advanced Search feature to look for hoses made for the specific make and model of motorcycle. Another option is to do a basic search with a more general search term, such as Kawasaki radiator hoses, and then browse the listings. Check out eBay Deals for the best prices of the day in any category; a great Kawasaki hose kit might be on the list. Communicating with the seller is important for a good buying experience, and, fortunately, there is a contact link on the seller's profile page. After installing the new hoses on their bikes, Kawasaki owners are ready to hit the road.