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Topic: First Bike: Ninja 500r vs. 250r  (Read 50275 times)

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« Reply #40 on: September 29, 2009, 12:33:49 PM »


More food for thought!  I'd never heard of the Suzuki GS500f-- there are so many bikes out there, we newbs can miss some good ones.  Big hp isn't crucial for me-- esp. to start with.

The KLR is a possibility.  It is relatively inexpensive, tough enough to go anywhere, has a good cachet in terms of the feel (utility-cool factor).  I can definitely see why so many riders have more than one bike:  the tractor-like off-road specialist makes you feel unstoppable (overused, I know) and the impossibly cool spaceship sport bike incinerates the miles.

Was checking out the Varadero on the Honda.ca site yesterday.  From what I understand it is highly capable offroad, though much heavier than the KLR.  I get the sense it is a V-Strom/Versys competitor, and probably better in dirt.

On the bright side, am job hunting, so since I can't afford a bike at the moment I have plenty of time to savour considering the options.  (This is transparently me talking myself through resisting temptation to buy before it is prudent!)

The klr is a great choice. Though it is tall, so beware of that. And also it is single cylinder, so it will be buzzy, will vibrate a lot, and will be loud. I don't know too much about the varadero as they don't have them here in the US. I'm assuming you're talking about teh 125cc version, which to me seems way underpowered.
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« Reply #41 on: September 29, 2009, 12:43:20 PM »

The predecessor to the Suzuki GS500f was the GS500:

http://i20.photobucket.com/albums/b226/vivid_one/misc%20blog%20pics/21708_Evolution_GS500.jpg

Same basic bike, just without the plastic cladding (and cheaper 'cause it's older).  The bike above is VIVID1's (another member here on ST.N).  Here is a thread about the Suzuki GS500f/GS500:

http://www.sport-touring.net/forums/index.php?topic=34215.0%3Ball

We never got the Varadero, but the pictures sure do remind me of the BMW GS650 Funduro (another good choice):



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« Reply #42 on: October 23, 2009, 05:06:25 PM »

Thanks for the wishes re:  job search.  Have been about 3 weeks now at a new job selling high end used trucks and SUVs-- enjoying it so far.

Found an ad for a 1985 kawasaki ninja zx900 - $1000(Canadian).  Looked up this bike online, might be a bit big for a beginner.  Any thoughts?  It looks to be in nice shape from the pictures, but does need a new left hand muffler stay (stay,muffler,LH) which the seller says is 266.00cad.

(The guy in the picture is the current owner.)

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« Reply #43 on: October 23, 2009, 05:39:29 PM »


Thanks for the wishes re:  job search.  Have been about 3 weeks now at a new job selling high end used trucks and SUVs-- enjoying it so far.

Found an ad for a 1985 kawasaki ninja zx900 - $1000(Canadian).  Looked up this bike online, might be a bit big for a beginner.  Any thoughts?  It looks to be in nice shape from the pictures, but does need a new left hand muffler stay (stay,muffler,LH) which the seller says is 266.00cad.


A couple of thoughts, but bear in mind that I'm a newbie myself:
(1) That's going to have crazy fast acceleration in first gear.  Not warp speed like a modern 1000cc super-sport, but probably pretty darn close to a modern 600cc s-s.
(2) It has 115 bhp!  I have 61 hp (probably only 52 at the rear wheel) and even that is more than plenty for a newbie.  You get lazy and drop the clutch, just once, on this ZX900 in first and there will be problems! Ponder this: the ZX900 has more than twice the hp of the Ninja 500r and just 2hp shy of three times the hp of the Ninja 250.
(2) It's 25 years old.  Rubber bits are going to be dry and/or worn out.  Parts may be a challenge.
(3) Since it's a 900cc bike, it might be a little heavy for a learner bike, especially at parking lot speeds.
(4) The angle on that muffler's mount is going to limit you to just a soft tailbag (no saddlebags). 
(5) I don't know if you could find a mount for a topcase, you would have to rig something up.
(6) Canadian m/c insurance is a bit different from American m/c insurance, but you should definitely get a quote first, might be in for quite a shock.
(7) You mentioned that gas mileage was important in your opening post -- smaller bikes are going to be more frugal in that regard.

I also recall from your opening post in this thread that you aren't all that handy.  A 25 year old super-sport is bound to need some attention on an ongoing basis.

http://s23.photobucket.com/albums/b399/Marcster2005/Smileypad/Sorry%20Help/sorry1.gif I hope I don't sound like a downer, but this bike would probably make a better track day bike for an experienced rider.  

Just my thought, but this bike is the opposite of what you have said that you want in a bike.
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« Reply #44 on: October 23, 2009, 05:53:17 PM »

The GPz900 Ninja is a great bike but hard on the wrists due to the riding position.  Must get used to keeping the arms bent at the elbow and all the Master Yoda stuff.  I had a 1986 too and sold it after a few months for the Nighthawk.  It was like night and day.

I would go with the Ninja 500.  My daughter is 17 and she wants one too.  She rides my 1986 Nighthawk very well but it's a little on the heavy side for her.  

Another bike is the Honda NT650 Hawk.

Check C-list and you will find lots of sweet deals.
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« Reply #45 on: October 23, 2009, 09:32:11 PM »

Not an good beginner bike.

Too much power,  frame not stiff enough to handle engine,  at 25 yrs old, it will need some maintenance.

Spending a few bucks more, and getting a smaller bike will get you a better bike.


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« Reply #46 on: October 26, 2009, 09:06:21 PM »

Wise points-- I confess the tricolor dazzled me and reason only now is reasserting.  Thanks for the prudent input!
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« Reply #47 on: October 26, 2009, 09:34:17 PM »


Wise points-- I confess the tricolor dazzled me and reason only now is reasserting.  Thanks for the prudent input!


That's what we're all here for...

Just to reiterate, there are two classes of bikes that have a low purchase cost/high rate of return when resold:

(1) Entry level bikes
(2) Dual-sport bikes

If you have any interest at all, dual-sports have a very low cost of ownership and because they are single cylinder bikes they also are going to have the lowest maintenance costs (and be easiest to learn to wrench on if you would like to learn).  They also (at least in the US) tend to have the lowest insurance cost.

A dual-sport can eat any fire trail or dirt road for breakfast (you meantioned the Wee-strom and the Versys in your opening post).

birdrunner suggested a Kawasaki KLR, but there is also the Suzuki DR650 and DR-Z400s (or an old Suzuki DR350).  

Honda has the XR650L, but it is definitely geared towards more dirt riding than the Kawasaki or Suzuki offerings.  

The KLR is going to be the most roadworthy from the get-go, is the most popular, and has the most aftermarket goodies, but it's certainly not anything you couldn't do with a Honda or Suzuki.

The DR650 and the DR350 are both air cooled, so there is one less thing that could go wrong (and no coolant to change).

All of the Big Four also make a dual sport in the 250cc range too...  Smaller and more dual sports bikes are easier to control offroad.
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« Reply #48 on: October 26, 2009, 09:35:51 PM »

Dual sports also have CHEAAAAP insurance compared to something like a Sv650.
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« Reply #49 on: October 26, 2009, 09:39:36 PM »


Dual sports also have CHEAAAAP insurance compared to something like a Sv650.


I am *SERIOUSLY* considering a DR650 as my next bike.  For many reasons, but insurance would be slightly less than half my Diversion.

It also pays to shop around for insurance -- for some reason, Progressive wants $50/year more than I am spending if I replaced the Diversion with a KLR.

In terms of raw horsepower, the stock KLR has fewer ponies than the DR650. Weird...
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« Reply #50 on: October 27, 2009, 08:28:21 AM »


I am *SERIOUSLY* considering a DR650 as my next bike....


 Lol NOW you are one of us!  You've had your bike 3 months and you're already planning on the next one! Lol

Peronally, I'd go w/ the KLR650.  It's just cooler.  I'm not basing that on any technical data, I just like the fact that it's green and that its model designation says KILLER. Smile  It looks much more "post-apocalyptic" than the DR.
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« Reply #51 on: October 27, 2009, 09:22:38 AM »


 Lol NOW you are one of us!  You've had your bike 3 months and you're already planning on the next one! Lol

Peronally, I'd go w/ the KLR650.  It's just cooler.  I'm not basing that on any technical data, I just like the fact that it's green and that its model designation says KILLER. Smile  It looks much more "post-apocalyptic" than the DR.


LOL...  I'd *REALLY* like an old BMW Funduro, but owners seem to think theirs are worth more than I think is appropriate.  As to whether I would get a KLR or a DR650 (or a DR-Z400s) would probably come down to what is the best deal at the time.
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« Reply #52 on: October 27, 2009, 02:57:39 PM »


Dual sports also have CHEAAAAP insurance compared to something like a Sv650, which is already pretty cheap.


completed your thought...
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« Reply #53 on: October 28, 2009, 07:13:39 AM »

I started on an SV650S. As for a beginning bike, it's sort of a zen thing. If you think you need that much (or more) power, then it's too much for you. But if you are leaning away from it because of its excess power, then it may be a good choice for you. It's in a nice sweet spot there.

The only problem is, where do you go from there? I stepped down to a CB-1 (400 cc) when the (now-ex)gf was learning to ride and while it was "fine", it wasn't as much fun as the SV (though it was a better learning bike, just as I'm sure a Ninja 250 would be).

So are you looking to have a bike? Or are you looking to progress to a fire breather? If you are looking to progress, starting with the 250 is fine. But if you just want to ride any damn thing you can and not stop or fuss, then look at the 650.
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« Reply #54 on: October 28, 2009, 08:59:39 AM »


completed your thought...


Seriously.  Insurance is a MINOR cost compared to everything else.  All three of my bikes cost me like $297/year, and that's with collision & comprehensive coverage on the V-Strom.    It's like $8 per month per bike.
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« Reply #55 on: November 04, 2009, 05:07:52 PM »




Seriously.  Insurance is a MINOR cost compared to everything else.  All three of my bikes cost me like $297/year, and that's with collision & comprehensive coverage on the V-Strom.    It's like $8 per month per bike.


Poustman is in BC Canada which has required govt basic insurance for years. Motorcycle insurance is ridiculously expensive. The insurance company does not care if the bike is supersport or dualsport it all comes down to the size of the motor. The breakdown is (approx) 100cc to 400cc, then 401cc to 750cc, then 750cc to1000cc etc. The rate jumps about 50% per rate class. I currently have my W650 insured. It costs almost $550C for basic, no collision or comp and I have 30 years of experience with no accidents ever and my last ticket was 20 years ago. I qualify for the higest rate reduction of 45%.If not for the discount I would be paying $980C. For a 50 hp bike! My VFR 800 costs $780 with my discount as it is in the next higher rate group. It would be $1400 with no discount.
My point is the 250cc would cost about $300 if he qualifies for the discount versus $550 if chooses to go with a 500cc(or up to 750cc) bike.
Having said all that I would , however, recommend a Ninja 500. In Vancouver you find that the Ninja 500 is usually not much higher priced than a similar year Ninja 250. The 650 Ninja is a good alternative as well, but it is taller than either the 250 or 500 and more money. Someone mentioned the Bandit 600, that would be a good choice if he can find one.
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« Reply #56 on: November 04, 2009, 05:25:16 PM »


Poustman is in BC Canada which has required govt basic insurance for years. Motorcycle insurance is ridiculously expensive. The insurance company does not care if the bike is supersport or dualsport it all comes down to the size of the motor. The breakdown is (approx) 100cc to 400cc, then 401cc to 750cc, then 750cc to1000cc etc. The rate jumps about 50% per rate class. I currently have my W650 insured. It costs almost $550C for basic, no collision or comp and I have 30 years of experience with no accidents ever and my last ticket was 20 years ago. I qualify for the higest rate reduction of 45%.If not for the discount I would be paying $980C. For a 50 hp bike! My VFR 800 costs $780 with my discount as it is in the next higher rate group. It would be $1400 with no discount.
My point is the 250cc would cost about $300 if he qualifies for the discount versus $550 if chooses to go with a 500cc(or up to 750cc) bike.
Having said all that I would , however, recommend a Ninja 500. In Vancouver you find that the Ninja 500 is usually not much higher priced than a similar year Ninja 250. The 650 Ninja is a good alternative as well, but it is taller than either the 250 or 500 and more money. Someone mentioned the Bandit 600, that would be a good choice if he can find one.


Did Canada get the Suzuki Bandit 400?  Based on your approximate insurance classes, that might give the OP the largest engine size for the smallest insurance cost.

The Bandit 400 does have a very low seat height at 30.3", I'm sure our 5'11" 180 lb. OP could flat-foot it easily, but if it was too low would be up to him.  The seat on my Diversion is low so I added 1/2" by adding the beaded seat cover.



Review: http://downwardspiral.net/motorcycle/re_bandit.php
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« Reply #57 on: November 04, 2009, 07:43:07 PM »




Did Canada get the Suzuki Bandit 400?  Based on your approximate insurance classes, that might give the OP the largest engine size for the smallest insurance cost.

The Bandit 400 does have a very low seat height at 30.3", I'm sure our 5'11" 180 lb. OP could flat-foot it easily, but if it was too low would be up to him.  The seat on my Diversion is low so I added 1/2" by adding the beaded seat cover.


Review: http://downwardspiral.net/motorcycle/re_bandit.php

Yep, but only for a couple years. We also got the CB-1 in 89-90, and the FZR400(I bought one new) for a few years in the late 80's. Because of the limited supply of these bikes prices are high. Like close to $3000 for a decent one. There is also a local shop that specializes in bringing in 400cc or smaller bikes but their prices are stupid expensive and I have heard mixed reviews on the shop itself.
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« Reply #58 on: November 05, 2009, 01:36:57 PM »

Ninja 250s are fantastic, fun bikes, but you've got to be a breed apart if you're gonna do much touring on them. Not saying it can't be done, but most of us simply wouldn't enjoy it very much.

Good noob-friendly bikes that can be toured on more comfortably:

Kawasaki Versys
Ducati Monster 600/695/696
Suz SV650
BMW F650GS
Kawasaki Er-6n (fairly new model, though)
Suz Bandit 400/600

Personally I like the BMW because it's so tour-friendly. Most come with factory luggage.
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« Reply #59 on: November 05, 2009, 02:16:55 PM »


Ninja 250s are fantastic, fun bikes, but you've got to be a breed apart if you're gonna do much touring on them. Not saying it can't be done, but most of us simply wouldn't enjoy it very much.

Good noob-friendly bikes that can be toured on more comfortably:

Kawasaki Versys
Ducati Monster 600/695/696
Suz SV650
BMW F650GS
Kawasaki Er-6n (fairly new model, though)
Suz Bandit 400/600


Just to add to your "Good noob-friendly bikes that can be toured on more comfortably" list:

Yamaha Seca II/Diversion (my bike!)
Ninja 500
Suzuki GS500 and GS500f (I posted a pic of one all decked out for touring on the last page)
Kawasaki KLR650 (though you may want to upgrade the seat)

But in all honesty, any bike can be toured on:

Yamaha C3, a 50cc scooter -- how about 2-up 4500km (3000 mile) tour across Canada:
http://scootercanada.weebly.com/index.html
(let's not even get into the fact that the C3 is a one-person machine)

1moreroad just toured on a WR250X: http://www.sport-touring.net/forums/index.php/topic,45819.0.html

And CultureSlayer goes everywhere on her Ninja 250.

It all depends on your needs/expectations/requirements.
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