I am not a mechanic or a representative of Kawasaki or anything else official. This page is only my notes on doing this procedure myself. Although I believe what I have documented here is correct, I make no promises and you do this at your own risk.
Several maintenance operations require removing the plastic fairings from the bike, to enable easy access to the engine and related components. Here we will remove the upper and lower side fairings, including all the front cowling. (The work session in these photos was removal of the fairings to enable replacing the coolant with water for a track day.)
Not difficult, but there are a lot of steps and a lot of fasteners to remove. Some of the parts are not easy to see in dark corners. Take your time and keep careful notes. After doing it once, it gets easier on subsequent attempts.
Put the bike on a rear stand to hold it level. This makes all maintenance tasks easier.
You will be removing many small fasteners. I like to keep a small divided parts box nearby, with the compartments numbered with a permanent felt pen. I place all the fasteners for a given step in a single compartment, and I number my steps on a note pad. This way I can easily put things back together when done, and rarely end up with a left-over fastener whose use I can’t remember.
First we remove the “Lower Inner Fairing”. This is the small curved black plastic piece at the lower front of the bike, in front of the exhaust headers.
Remove two “quick rivet” connectors, one on each side of the lower inner fairing
Quick Rivet fasteners require a little instruction. When installed, a fat head sits flush against the bodywork. If you look closely, you see a small “button” circle inside the fat head.Push this button in with a fine tool such as the point of a Phillips screwdriver, or a small slotted screwdriver.
In this overexposed image you can see the central button pushed in.
With the inner button pushed in, the entire rivet can be pulled out of the hole. You may need to get a screwdriver blade under the fat head to get it started.
To re-install a Quick Rivet, you first push the little button from the back so that it sticks out of the fat head. Install the rivet this way (it just slides in), then push the button flush with the fat head.
Next, remove the two silver bolts (one on each side) at the very front of the dark lower side fairings. These have small clear plastic washers under them — be sure to save the washers.
Finally, reach in and tug forward sharply on the top centre of the lower inner fairing. You are pulling a plastic plug out of a rubber grommet, and you will feel it “pop” as it lets go.
Gently bend the fairing sides to free the lower inner fairing,
and work it free of the bike.
Here is the lower inner fairing coming clear. Set it aside.
Now you can see into the front of the body, and you are looking at the exhaust pipe headers.
Next, the dark lower side fairings come off. These separate into two separate pieces, left and right. They are fastened together by a large Quick Rivet at the bottom front, in the exact centre.
This is a larger, heavy-duty Quick Rivet. Instead of pushing a central button in, you pry a central button out a bit with a thin screwdriver, then pull the entire rivet out.
Now remove the remaining 4 silver screws (2 per side) where the lower side fairing covers the upper fairing.
On the left side of the bike, find the remaining fairing screw. It’s a larger silver bolt, just behind the side stand hinge.
Remove this bolt and its washer too.
Now the lower side fairing can be pulled away from the bike. Again, you must pull a plastic lug out of a rubber grommet, so you will feel a little tug.
A couple of plastic tabs pass through the upper fairing, and you will need to lift the lower fairing to get an angle that allows the tabs to separate. Be careful not to snap them off.
Repeat this on the right side of the bike, removing 3 more screws and the lower side fairing.
Next we must remove the “Inner Fairings”. These are two small black fairings that sit on top of the upper fairing and cover the opening into the front compartment.
From each side, remove two Quick Rivets (front and centre) and one silver screw (rear).
Finally, the top windshield mounting screw on each side also holds the Inner Fairings.
Remove the top windshield screws, freeing the Inner Fairings.
All these screws have washers; don’t lose them.
Now the Inner Fairings can be removed and set aside.
On my bike, the left-side Inner Fairing is used to mount some electrical controls, so attached wires prevent me from setting it aside. Instead, I just move it out of the way on top of the handlebars.
Next we remove the remaining 4 windshield screws and their washers.
Lift the windshield out and set it aside. This is a rare chance to clean the inside of it thoroughly.
Now the front of the bike is naked.
Now look into the dark area under the top fairing and behind the front wheel. You’ll want a flashlight or a trouble light.
We must remove 1 quick rivet.
Unfortunately, there are 6 quick rivets in there, but only one is the correct one to remove. (The others hold components of the top fairing together, but it all comes off in one piece so we don’t need to remove those fasteners.)
This highly over-exposed image helps see what to go after. There are 2 pairs of quick rivets on the sides (one pair per side). One such pair is shown in Red here. Leave those in place.
On the ceiling of this compartment are two quick rivets — one close to the front and one close to the rear.
You need to remove only the rearmost of these two quick rivets (it is fastening the ceiling of this compartment to the ram air duct).
Remove one silver screw from each side (circled in magenta here).
On the right side, there is a second screw toward the rear of the bike that looks like it might have to come off (shown circled in red here). It doesn’t — leave it in place.
Next some awkward work. You need to disconnect 8 electrical connectors from the compartment below the speedometer panel. First, two white connectors (one per side) that feed the signal lights.
Next, two black inline connectors, one per side, that feed the running lights.
Then, disconnect the connectors from the back of the main headlights, one per side.
Finally, on the right hand side, remove two large connectors that go to the heat sink mounted inside the right side of the fairing. Note these are colour-coded, for when you need to reconnect them later.
Now remove the mirrors by removing two screws from each.
Finally, 4 large bolts come out. 2 per side, one right under the mirror location, and one slightly lower down and toward the outside.
These 10mm hex-head bolts are easiest to remove with a nut driver.
That’s it. You can pull the sides sideways away from the frame slightly, to pull some plastic stops out of grommets, then the entire fairing assembly slides forward and off the bike. The headlight and other lights come with the fairing, all as one piece.
Set it on a clean piece of cardboard or foam to avoid scratching.