108 lb female, new rider, trying to choose between a ninja and suzuki!
March 24, 2010 at 7:04 pm #3792lneeyanlParticipant
I am 5’3″ and 108 lb and am trying to choose a bike. I am deciding between the Ninja 2009 500r and the 2009 Suzuki GS500f. I will be living in an urban area and so will be doing a lot of local and highway driving with fairly heavy traffic. I want something that looks good and rides well- I’m not trying to go 200mph but would some speed. Any suggestions???March 24, 2010 at 7:14 pm #25141JackTradeParticipant
They’re basically the same bike, functionally speaking, so it’s mostly about which appeals to you and how it feels when you’re on it. Either is fast enough for any sort of reasonable riding.
Ninja 500: Styling is 1980s vintage, though gauges are sharp-looking. Is thought to be faster than the GS500. Maybe be harder to find, as they’ve stopped making them (if you’re going to buy new, that is).
GS500: More modern styling, though gauges are the old-school dual analog type (yay!). Is thought to brake a hair better than the Ninja.March 24, 2010 at 10:16 pm #25145Gary856Participant
Agree w/ JackT. Everything I’ve read put these two bikes neck-to-neck overall. The instruments on the Ninja 500 does look sharper to me, too. In my case I went for the older, naked GS500, since the right bike w/ the right price came along at the right time. I love the GS, but I think if I had the Ninja I would have been equally happy. I do wish that I could ride a Ninja 500 some day so I would have a first-person comparison between the two.
If I strictly go by the specs, I’d say the Ninja has a slight advantage w/ liquid cooling, longer valve inspection/adjustment internvals, and a little more power (probably only noticeable if you’re racing side by side). But then, all the Ninja 500 I saw on Craigslist seemed to be a few hundred bucks more than a comparable GS500, so that evened things out too.March 24, 2010 at 10:21 pm #25146TrialsRiderParticipant
When choosing between almost identical bikes and assuming you have no predisposition toward a particular brand. I would offer the following tie-breaker criteria; Disk brakes beat Drum brakes, Liquid cooled beats Air cooled, Fuel Injection beats Carburetors, Shaft Drive beats Chains and Rubber Belts. If they still tie, good Dealer Support is very important and if you still can’t decide, buy the Red one …or your favorite color.
At 108 many here are going to urge you to consider the Ninja 250, if you have zero bike experience, myself included.March 24, 2010 at 11:39 pm #25154WeaponZeroParticipant
The Ninja 500R is liquid cooled. The GS500F is air-cooled. Since you plan on spending a lot of time in urban environments, that means a lot of sitting in traffic. Liquid cooling is a must for that.
That being said, I think you’d be much happier on the Ninja 250R than either one. Plus it looks sexier.March 25, 2010 at 1:35 am #25160EddiepowerfmParticipant
I got to test ride the Ninja 250 at a motorcycle show here in Dallas. You do have to shift thru the gears faster but it had no problem getting to highway speeds. It is liquid cooled, better gas savings, looks better than the Ninja 500, and is very light and easier to handle which adds to fun. Oh yes, you should be able to find an affordable one.
Rock on!March 25, 2010 at 2:03 am #25164IBA270Participant
+1…March 25, 2010 at 3:40 am #25165CBBaronParticipant
+1 the Ninja 250. I’m 6’2″ 220# and have no problem at freeway speeds with the bike or out accelerating autos from an intersection. Especially if you are a beginner this is an excellent way to go. Plus the new ones look better than either of the 500s.
As for the 500s the Ninja appears to be more powerful and seems to beat the GS in most old reviews however there is not much difference between the 2 except looks and the air vs water cooling. If you must have one of these get the one that appeals to you most or that you can find the best price on.
CraigMay 6, 2010 at 2:26 am #26217HurricaneParticipant
I have a 2008 ninja 250, I would suggest it, at your experience level and petite size i think it would be good for you. I am happy with mine, the 2008s and new look aton better than the old ones also!!May 7, 2010 at 2:03 am #26240JtownJJAParticipant
I would say go with the GS500F. Of course I’d say that because that is what I have. A Year ago, I was in the same spot you’re in. My top two choices were the Ninja 500 and the GS500F. I eventually decided to go with the Suzuki because I liked the looks of the fairings more. I’ve been very happy with it, and had no problems from the standpoint of being a new rider and going with a 500 instead of a 250.
However, I can’t argue with the rest of the folks on here that the new Ninja 250 looks fabulous. It all depends on what your needs are, and what your preferences are, not to mention what deals come along when you’re ready to make the financial jump.May 7, 2010 at 7:07 am #26252eternal05Participant
The whole air-cooled thing really kills the GS500 for me. On the other hand, a GS500 is probably about as cheap as a Ninja 250R if you find the right dealer, so…May 7, 2010 at 3:39 pm #26263CBBaronParticipant
I don’t think air-cooled is necessarily a deal killer for urban environment. I putted around on an air cooled ATC back as a teen without any problems. I was usually gong much slower and stopping nearly as often as an urban street bike. Same goes for many dual sports which operate in similar environments including several 650cc bikes.
The GS is an under stressed 500cc so its not likely to have much trouble.
On the other hand I do think that the Ninjas are better bikes in many ways so I would probably shop based on price/value.
CraigJune 12, 2010 at 2:03 am #26994TandersnGS500FParticipant
suzuki gs500f, it was my first bike and has been pretty fun so far. They had a ninja 500r and 250 at the dealership and I thought the GS blew both of them out of the water in terms of styling, It gets a lot of compliments from the women lol, and that’s all that really matters right?…. The 500r looks a little ghetto in my opinion haha.June 12, 2010 at 6:36 pm #26998Jeff in KentuckyParticipant
The Kawasaki is water cooled, which makes it faster and more reliable. The Suzuki has more modern bodywork over a slower, less reliable, harder to start engine. WERA in the northeast US has a racing class for 500cc Kawasaki Ninjas, and everyone replaces the stock suspension and stock intake and exhaust.
Some comments I found about taking a 450cc dirt bike and making it into a roadracer, that Roland Sands was working on, I have not tried the links in it:
A Ninja 500 costs $5000 new or so, and much cheaper used. While it doesn’t have the power of this converted 450cc dirtbike, it’s not too shabby.
Not only does the Ninja 500 have less power, it also weighs a good deal more at 388lb (dry). I don’t care that this single is more potent, I’m more excited that it’s super light at 250lb.
Not only is that thing going to get 80 MPG, but it’s going to be fun as all hell to ride. I need another motorcycle like I need a hole in the head, but now I kinda want to build one of these things myself as a commuter bike. *WAY* cooler than a scooter with just as good fuel economy, and you can keep up with traffic on the highway. (Suzuki used this idea for their 400cc supermoto, but it is a lot slower than a 450cc dirt bike).
Tigcraft in the UK was the first outfit to experiment with these engines in European supermono racing. And this is already years ago. Tigcrafts are smaller ,lighter, probably a lot faster and not to forget they look much better. What ’s the fuss about….
There is simply nothing available in the sub 600cc sport bike market unless you want cheap components and mediocre performance (i.e. Ninja 250 and 500, and Hyosung 250).
Back in 1974 I had a Ducati 450 desmo enduro… bought second hand from a friend….. put street wheels and tires on it and went racing. Aside from the brakes being weak it was highly competitive on club tracks.
In the UK:
Check out the video of a Tigcraft minimono running rings around a supersport 600:
todd 03.02.08 at 12:31 pm
Other than freeways, there aren’t enough places around where I live to get a 100HP plus bike up to speed. The lightweight 450 detuned to approx 40-50HP for durability and a license plate would be so easy to embarass the squids on their big, heavy 600cc plus bikes.
Anyone can build one of these 450cc super singles to fit the rules and go racing relatively cheap with this new class. The rules seem to focus on leveling the playing field, not light weight bikes.
I would like to see 250cc 2-strokes.
I’ve just bought an old 80’s rd frame with title and am putting a newer 450cc yamaha dirt bike engine in it. It solves the problem of getting a title and registration for a dirt bike engine.
I am sorely tempted by the underwhelming Royal Enfield.
This is how I would like to see a Ducati Supermono: http://www.oliepeil.nl/beeld/Duc_Supermono_549R_OP.jpgJune 13, 2010 at 7:41 am #27003madjak30Participant
Any of those bikes will work for you…the real answer is to go and sit on them at the dealer. See which one you feel the most comfortable on and feel the most comfortable with it’s weight. Everyone has mentioned that the Ninja 500R is the prefered bike in reviews…but they are comparing it as an experienced rider…a slight edge in braking, accelleration or top speed really won’t mean much while you are learning. You want something that makes you the least nervous. The 500’s will be heavier and the 250 will have less power and a lower top speed…but you need to sit on one (and I mean for as long of a time as you feel comfortable in the shop), tip it from side to side to feel the weight. The other plused for the 250 are, lower insurance rates and better fuel consumption. Not that the 500’s are bad, 45-50mpg is nothing to sneeze at, but the 250 will be more in line with 75mpg…they are better than a hybrid…
Also, make sure you take a training course…I’m glad I did. I probably would have had trouble passing the road test, and also developed a lot of bad habits that I would just have to break later.
I would go and do the “sit on one” thing before seriously shopping for a bike…be an informed shopper…lol
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