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Old January 3rd, 2011, 09:15 AM   #1
FrugalNinja250
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Pre-2008 key blank information

My interst in learning about keys began when I got a parts bike that the seller wouldn't give me the keys for. He'd forgotten to bring them with the bike, and once I had the title and he had the money his interest in getting the keys to me, or even responding...waned.

I needed the filler cap assembly off the bike to paint for my other bike, so I proceeded to study the lock. After an hour or so I'd figured out how to pick the lock and get the filler off the tank. Once I had the lock cylinder out of the cap and disassembled it was fairly easy to determine how to make a duplicate key. Along the way I figured out many details, including the cut coding scheme which uses only four depths of cut for each wafer position, and that all six positions are used for the seat, helmet, and ignition lock cylinders but only the last five are used for the fuel filler cap.

Here's the thread where I posted detail information on the keys:

http://forums.ninja250.org/viewtopic...ghlight=wafers

This post is about key blanks for the pre-gen bikes. When I cut new keys for the parts bike (by hand with a file, it wasn't hard) the blanks I got from the local locksmith were plain metal, and for the parts bike I was fine with that. However, for my bike I wanted the OEM style with the black plastic-coated head. The local dealer wanted $14 for one blank , quite a bit more than the $2 I spent for the aftermarket blanks I got from the locksmith. I started looking at blanks and ran across a lot of confusion about what aftermarket blanks would work and which wouldn't.

I bought all the blanks I could find that were listed for the Ninja 250 including genuine OEM Kawasaki for comparison. I also bought some other blanks that were mentioned in various threads about the subject on various forums. After I measured and compared the different blanks and their features I arrived at several conclusions, which I'll detail in this article.

The "gold standard" blank is, of course, the OEM Kawasaki, number 27008-1173. Dealers typically ask well over $10 for these. You can find them cheaper at places like Bike Bandit and Ron Ayers, but with minimum shipping charges they're about the same as the dealer, perhaps even a bit more. The OEM key is nickel-plated brass (as are all the other keys mentioned here) with a plastic-coated head.

I found aftermarket blanks in two different brands. Ilco is perhaps the best known in the industry, and the other brand is Silca. In the Ilco line the officially listed blank is the X103, which is also marked as the KA14. One note here: There are two Ilco lines that I've found in locksmith shops, Ilco USA and Ilco Italy (also marked ORION). What makes things really confusing is that the Ilco Italy brand also has a key marked KA14, but that key is not even remotely related to any Ninja 250 Key I've ever seen. I also looked at the Ilco X41 which I'd seen mentioned in a post somewhere, but it's identical to the Ilco Italy KA14



The Silca blank, marked KW12BP, has a black plastic head like the OEM key, but is 3mm longer at the top. Unless you held it against the OEM blank you wouldn't be able to tell the difference. The KW12BP can be cut the same as the Kawasaki blank as for all intents and purposes it's identical. The Silca blank is hard to find; after unsuccessfully calling several locksmiths in the metropolitan Fort Worth/Dallas area I ended up having to order them from an online supply.

The Ilco USA X103/KA14 is slightly shorter overall and is all metal, with a head profile signifantly different in shape than the OEM key. The length reduction is in the head end of the key. The portion of the key shaft that inserts into the lock cylinder measures the same as the OEM blank. Cost on these varies quite a bit depending on how friendly the locksmith is. Online quantity purchase price is typically around a buck or less.

The other Ilco blank that I'd seen mentioned elsewhere is the X266, also marked KA16. This blank is not listed for the Ninja 250 specifically that I can tell. This blank is also all metal, but in profile is identical to the OEM key. The main difference is that there is a small ridge on each edge that prevents the key from being fully inserted into the Ninja 250 lock cylinders. The amount of interference is fairly small, less than a millimeter, but that is enough to cause problems. Without a minor modification to the key a X266/KA16 blank cut to fit the ignition/seat/helmet locks will not work in the fuel filler cap.

Here's a closeup of the ridge in question:



And a lock cylinder (seat lock in this case). See the small ramped area at the top right of the slot? (Also at the bottom left, hidden from this angle):



You can see where the ridge interferes with the tip of the ramp, preventing full insertion:



The modification of the blank is to use a file or other tool to remove most of the ridge on each side:



In conclusion, I found that the critical dimensions of all the aftermarket blanks were virtually identical to the OEM Kawasaki blank, with the exception of the ridges on the X266/KA16. Aside from the thickness and width dimensions of the portion of the shaft that inserts into the lock cylinder, the length from the tip of the key to the shoulder step, 20mm, is most important. The reason for this is that the ignition, helmet, and seat lock cylinders rely on the shoulder stop to determine insertion depth, whereas the gas cap has an internal stop such that only the end five of the six tumbler positions are used. If that 20mm length were to change then a key cut for the other three lock cylinders would not work for the gas cap, and vice versa.

Hopefully this information is helpful to those looking for other options in getting keys cut for their pre-gen Ninja 250.

Last futzed with by FrugalNinja250; January 17th, 2011 at 08:43 AM. Reason: Updated info on the X266 modification
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Old January 3rd, 2011, 09:53 AM   #2
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Great info, Frugal!
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Old January 12th, 2011, 06:50 AM   #3
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Great write-up!

After articles I've read online about the benefits of going to a locksmith over a hardware store for keys, I hit my local locksmith to duplicate my Ninja keys. The locksmith's wife was working in the shop and went on and on about all the research she's done to find the right blanks, and that's service I could never get in a hardware store because of the matching guides she'd compiled and the whole wall full of blanks they had in stock. She said she could do the Ninja key for $9. If it didn't work and needed any filing/tweaking, etc., the licensed locksmith would have to do that at a minimum charge of $20. Even if it didn't work I'd still have to pay for cutting the key, since once cut it was non-returnable. I had a fiver in my wallet, so I figured I'd come back.

On the way home I stopped at my local Ace hardware. They compared blanks to what they had on their little display rack - the X266/KA1 was their closest match, and they ground off the extra ridges so it matched the original. They charged $2, guaranteed (i.e. if they couldn't make a working key, I would pay nothing). I walked out of the Ace with a pair of new working keys, and less time spent in their store than at the locksmith's.
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Old January 12th, 2011, 09:19 AM   #4
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There are good locksmiths and bad ones...

A good locksmith wouldn't charge you for a bad cut, nor extra for retries to get the key working properly in all locks. Find a different locksmith.

Just curious, did you do the X266 based on this writeup?
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Old January 19th, 2011, 11:23 AM   #5
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The 4 digit key code for these bikes is stamped on behind the helmet lock. You have to unscrew the lock and look at the back and you'll see it. My Kawasacki dealers were absolutely no help in getting the key code from the VIN, but my local locksmith was easily able to look up the code in his computer database and cut me a few new keys at a very reasonable cost. And they had the proper blanks.
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Old January 23rd, 2011, 09:31 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrugalNinja250 View Post
A good locksmith wouldn't charge you for a bad cut, nor extra for retries to get the key working properly in all locks. Find a different locksmith.
Agreed. Moreover what I learned from the experience is that the advice of you're going to get better service/value at a locksmith is not always true. Keymaking in itself is a craft, and there are good keymakers and bad keymakers. Although one would hope that a locksmith, having been trained and certified will be better, that's not always the case. I definitely wouldn't expect all hardware store staff to be as thorough as the guy at my local Ace. In my case, he's better in both service and value at keymaking than my local locksmith. I won't be calling him if I need the lock on a safe re-worked though :-)

Quote:
Just curious, did you do the X266 based on this writeup?
No, I had these cut last summer. The X266 selection was made by the hardware store employee.
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Old November 4th, 2017, 08:45 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrlmd View Post
The 4 digit key code for these bikes is stamped on behind the helmet lock. You have to unscrew the lock and look at the back and you'll see it. My Kawasacki dealers were absolutely no help in getting the key code from the VIN, but my local locksmith was easily able to look up the code in his computer database and cut me a few new keys at a very reasonable cost. And they had the proper blanks.
soooo...the locksmith was able to make a key from the vin?
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Old November 4th, 2017, 11:23 PM   #8
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Not VIN, but key-code on back of helmet lock. Starts with Zxxxx followed by numbers.

I suppose with computers and databases, you can store with every VIN, the key-codes that goes with each bike. From what I can gather that's not done. What dealers have is database of key-coded and corresponding cuts to make key. Apparently being independent dealers, some of them don't even save that info for older bikes.

Locksmiths may save that info, since they probably pick up quite a lot of business like this that dealers don't want to bother with.

Last futzed with by DannoXYZ; November 5th, 2017 at 01:46 PM.
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Old November 5th, 2017, 11:15 AM   #9
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Thanx Jacryann, I dont mean to be so redundant here but I was able to find a number stamped on the underside of the helmet lock, very hard to see but looks like ends with a "-?R85" ..might this be the # I need or is that just a part # ?..... and I still need to remove the helmet lock to see the backside ? Thanx for all your help man !!
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Old November 5th, 2017, 01:44 PM   #10
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Sorry, I regurgitated info found in other threads without verifying. You have to remove helmet lock and look behind the back to see the key-code#, not underneath. Here's what I found behind mine. Going to take whole thing to my locksmith friend and see if he can make key. Heck, I think the can make key without code, just disassemble cylinder and look at wafers.

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Old November 5th, 2017, 06:03 PM   #11
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I think the only way to get mine off is to cut the pin to get to the phillips screw ? is it possible then to get another helmet lock and put my lock mechanism in it so all my locks work with one key, or maybe I should just take the whole bike to the locksmith ?
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Old November 5th, 2017, 09:11 PM   #12
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There are ways to open helmet-lock without keys...

Yes, you can re-key another helmet-lock if you sacrifice yours by cutting it out.
Then have locksmith make key from code.
Then re-configure another helmet-lock to use same key.
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Old November 9th, 2017, 06:13 PM   #13
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There are ways to open helmet-lock without keys...
I am all ears....
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Old November 9th, 2017, 07:33 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by babyninja1968 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by JacRyann View Post
There are ways to open helmet-lock without keys...
I am all ears....
I'm not going to post info on how to do this...
If you don't know how to do it, this is not a good time to learn as it will take a while.
I went to junior-high in San Jose with kids that broke into cars to steal alarm system...
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Old November 10th, 2017, 05:33 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by JacRyann View Post
I'm not going to post info on how to do this...
If you don't know how to do it, this is not a good time to learn as it will take a while.
I went to junior-high in San Jose with kids that broke into cars to steal alarm system...
I bet I went to the same school ha
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Old February 18th, 2021, 09:00 AM   #16
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Ilco KW16CP key blank

I know that this is an old thread, but recently a local locksmith made new keys for me, from the Z code. The key blank used was Ilco KW16CP ( with the molded plastic head ), It works great in later 2000's pre-gens!
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Old February 18th, 2021, 10:32 AM   #17
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Yeah, originally my 2002 didn't come with keys. I got key cut from Z code by locksmith in Oakland. A year later, I bought blank from Ali in longer new-gen style. It was slightly longer from shoulder to tip, so made sure locksmith cut from shoulder to tip to cut off excess.

BTW - DO NOT go to Nob Hill Hardware!!! They don't know how to cut keys and ruined one of my blanks. It only partially worked. Went back to complain and they wouldn't even refund for bad job. Went to shop in Chinatown and they made perfect copy for $1 (below).


Last futzed with by DannoXYZ; February 21st, 2021 at 12:23 PM.
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Old February 21st, 2021, 08:43 AM   #18
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I'm a Locksmith, and cut keys by the key code, most of the time.
Kawasaki's are no problem usually, but other brands like Ducati etc I don't get into much.

Rob

PS: I'd recommend getting spare keys made before you loose your only key.
Much easier than the hassle when you have no key left.
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Old February 21st, 2021, 08:53 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DannoXYZ View Post
A year later, I bought blank from Ali in bigger new-gen style. It was slightly longer, so made sure locksmith cut from shoulder to tip to cut off excess.
You have to watch how short a key you get though. One blank I got worked the ignition switch OK but wouldn't allow me to depress the steering lock mechanism until I trimmed the handle of the key back.
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