First Bike: Which 250?
January 20, 2009 at 12:27 am #2473
I have read quite a few suggestions on this forum to look at the Kawasaki Ninja 250 as a first bike. It is a nicely designed machine and there are plenty of compliments and reviews of it’s performance, so I am happy to consider it. Does this mean the Honda Rebel 250, the Suzuki GZ250, and the Yamaha V Star 250 are second best for most riders? Obviously, I am going to have to sit on all of them and see how they feel to me–I am sure it will matter of how tall I am and how much I weigh, etc. Does the Ninja handle so much more ably that the new rider would be better off with this model? Thanks.January 20, 2009 at 12:39 am #15820
I had the Rebel 250 as my first bike and loved it. The 250 really taught me how to ride. Its all what your preference is. The sports bike @ 250 will typically have more “getup and go” than the 250 cruisers.
The Ninja 250 has had great rider reviews and is very beginner friendly.
The Rebel, GZ, and Star 250 are all great bikes as well. All three will hit 80MPH which is sufficient for beginners and good enough for the freeway.
I believe the Ninja 250 will hit closer to 90MPH.
All 250s will offer you better manueverability and are more forgiving when making a mistake.
It will be a difficult choice for the first bike, but there are other 250s out there as well.
– Suzuki Boulevard S40
– Buell Blast
finally here is a good review article about 250cc motorcyclesJanuary 20, 2009 at 1:03 am #15821
Thanks for the link, that is a good article, very useful to read. 80 mph is fine for me, as you mentioned, my focus will be on learning. It sounds like there is no particular brand which has a “superior” advantage, that all of them will be fine as long as I feel comfortable on them? This is good to hear. I have to admit, the Ninja reviews are pretty outstanding, so I will have to visit the dealer who has them nearby. But I am happy to read you say that it’s all about my preference. Initially, I have been thinking along the lines of a cruiser type rather than the sport configuration, because I didn’t want to be hunched over as I ride but I have been looking at the videos online and it doesn’t seem that the Ninja forces you lean over as much. People really seem to like it, so I will have to try it out.
I did sit on the Suzuki S40 and although it is easy to sit on it is a 650, which I am thinking will be too powerful for a first bike–but it is very nice. Maybe I am being a wuss about that. If I were experienced I would love a Suzuki Boulevard M50 or the Moto Guzzi Nevada 750. Haven’t looked at the Buell Blast yet in person, I will want to do this it sounds like a very nice bike.
I am still thinking about the Rebel as a first bike for after I get through the course–I like the look of that one (and the Yamaha too). Thanks for your input.January 20, 2009 at 1:11 am #15822
Honda Rebels are difficult to get these days since Honda will not be manufacturing bikes in the US in the near future, and will only import them.
I heard the wait list on the Rebels can be long, so if I were you start calling your dealerships and ask what is in stock, how long wait lists are, and if you can put a deposit on a bike once you complete the MSF.January 20, 2009 at 1:21 am #15825
Wow, I didn’t realize the Honda would be difficult to find–I guess I figured that everyone needs to learn to ride at some point and would choose the lower cc bikes first. Thanks for the heads up.January 20, 2009 at 1:27 am #15826
I had to call 5 honda dealers in Houston to finally find one. As soon as I found one, I put a $200 deposit on the one they didnt have yet but was expecting it in a shipment. Two weeks later I got a call saying it arrived. Went over that saturday and picked her up.
The smaller CC bikes are very popular because they get swiped up by beginners, and they retain their resale value.
Like I said better start calling around your area to see whats in stock and what they expect to get in by the manufacturer.January 20, 2009 at 1:43 am #15829
I have to admit, I am surprised. I would think they would make sure there were enough 250’s out there to meet the demand, but I suppose the economics of the business encourages them to emphasize the bigger bikes, which most people buy eventually anyway. Thanks for telling me this.January 20, 2009 at 2:17 am #15833eonParticipant
There was a significant spike in demand this summer due to the high gas prices. Do you want to predict where gas prices will be this summer and base your factory production run around it? Or how many bikes to order for your dealership? It’s a tough call and I have a feeling we are in the minority here (in this forum). I suspect most potential buyers are looking at the larger bikes without any prodding from the dealer.January 20, 2009 at 2:40 am #15835
I am wondering, should I consider something like a Kawasaki Vulcan 500? Will it be forgiving enough to learn on–although not as good as the 250’s, I will have to be much more careful. Can I learn on a 500? Will this allow me to keep the bike longer before I feel I have outgrown it? Just wondering here. Since I actually am starting with no particular skills at all, I think it will be better for me to stick with the 250. I am guessing a 500cc bike will be too powerful for me at first anyway. But I have read about some who went out and purchased 650’s and are still OK. Sure, the bike was powerful in a scary way until they got used to it and they had to be cautious. Any thoughts?January 20, 2009 at 2:54 am #15836MunchParticipant
First I might want to point out or remind you that 500cc’s cruiser like a Vulcan 500 is very different of a 500cc sport bike. I learned on a Vulcan 500, it is a cruiser and very user friendly. Its all about 400 lbs and well balanced. The short length will allow you plenty of agility to weave and bob with the best of sport bikes and the power of the motor will keep you comfortably in highway speeds without sucking the life out of your MPG. Getting up to that speed is not a break neck pace like you would see from the higher performance bikes which is a plus, but don’t get disillusioned that she’s sluggish and perfectly safe.January 20, 2009 at 3:49 am #15838
So if I understand you correctly, you are saying it will be a lot faster than a 250 but won’t be nearly the blast of speed I would get from a 650 or 750. I will be able to travel at highway speed more comfortably (as far as an engine capacity can be termed comfortable) but it will be much slower to get up to freeway speed than a 650 or 750. At the same time, compared to a 250 it is much more powerful and I will need to give the bike a huge measure of respect, especially when learning. At the same time, it will share some of the positive handling characteristics, which will be helpful for a beginner. Am I understanding you?
Since you started on a Vulcan 500, do you still have it? I imagine since it is more powerful you still have it and haven’t “grown out” of it yet? Does this mean this should be considered because it might be more economical, as long as I go into this with “eyes open” and healthy measures of respect? By the way, I realize this is difficult becuase I am asking for verbal discriptions instead of actually trying it out myself. At the same time, I am thinking just moving to a little “higher” powered bike might save me money becuase I won’t outgrow it so fast. Lots of people seem to want a bigger bike at 6 months or so. Me? Maybe I will and maybe I won’t, but I am guessing I will too. This could mean that if I go a step up and focus on respect and learning what I am dealing with, that the 500 might fit me for a much longer time, say 2-3 years or longer? I appreciate your previous response. Thanks. Oh, I should mention that other than the Ninja 250, I am not considering other sport bikes and certainly not bigger sport bikes, just the cruiser class like the Vulcan 500. Since other brands only have sport 500’s, I am not going to consider them, especially for a first bike. I don’t want to go with a 650 or 750 because I am positive those are going to be too overwhelmingly powerful for me to learn with, even if I am careful–despite what the salespeople say! But maybe, just maybe, in addition to the 250’s, I will add the Vulcan 500 to my list for consideration. Since you learned on this bike and it’s very user friendly, maybe I should consider it and see what I think, as well as read reactions from others and talk to others here locally? Sorry, just trying to understand this when I have no experience. Thank you.January 20, 2009 at 6:12 am #15843MunchParticipant
Easiest question first…do I still have it… no. Mostly due to the fact that I have 2 kids that want to ride with me and the V500 is capable however suffers a lil with added weight. I have since graduated to a 900 that will be well more than enough for me for a long while.
To better explain the V500… it has the same engine as the Ninja 500. However the compression is set different and the gearing in the transmission is also different. The engine focuses more on low end torque rather then top end speed. It will get up and go but with a forgiving amount of throttle input from you. Meaning if you sneeze your not gonna end up standing in a horse riding stance whilst the bike is headed for the trees after dumping you. It gives you the low end torque for passing slower traffic with ease. Its top speed on the speedo if I remember is 110….though after about 95 mph it will take a decent stretch of flat top to get you maxed.
It is tame enough to give you a good learning curve yet has enough to keep you on it for a while, especially single seat without necessarily needing to get bigger.
I am 175 lbs and 5’10” have a 31-ish inseam…though thats hard to judge since I always wear boots and get longer legged pants. Don’t make enough to get the custom stuff done or really do anything fancy enough to justify trying. Anyway, I nearly layed it down my first week coming to a very slow stop. My driveway is a 5 foot climb in the space of about 3 feet. In addition to a 6 inch lift onto the blacktop off my gravel driveway. I have to stop to check traffic and do it on a incline, first weeks there was much to learn to do this… I made the mistake of too much front brake and fron wheel turned…. bike started to go over… now… I must say I am a mechanic so I am decently strong in my upper body… mid fall I caught and man handled her back upright. The pegs never even hit the ground.
So I guess that will also illustrate if your unfortunate and end up laying it down for one reason or another you will likely be capable of righting her if your by yourself. I got around 48-51 mpg. Scootworks.com is the only reasonably priced place to find accessories for it though for your first bike you would be more wanting to learn and get skilled rather then personalizing too much.
With your understandable caution I would definitely feel comfortable recommending it as a good and lasting first for you.January 20, 2009 at 6:30 am #15845
Thank you, Munch. I am going to consider it and I greatly appreciate your advice. The idea of keeping the bike for 5 years (or perhaps longer) appeals to me. It’s just the beginning that could be rough. If I focus on developing skill first, just get used to the bike in the beginning, it might be OK, I’m not particularly a “speed demon” anyway. I am not going to take it on the freeway my first week or even the 2nd week–maybe 2-3 months down the line I might, I will have to see when I will be ready. But 500 would be the largest as I want to save on gas too, even after I develop experience. The 500 will allow me to ride the freeways and everything, so maybe this is the way to go. I just have to be cautious at first. From the way you have described how this bike is geared, it could be ideal for this purpose. Or, maybe I will just stick with the 250. Thank you for responding. I will have to keep thinking about this.January 20, 2009 at 2:32 pm #15849Clay DowlingParticipant
On a whim I sat on one the last time I was at the dealership. It sits almost exactly like my Magna, which was surprising. The position is closest to a standard, with your feet just slightly ahead of your rear. It’s roughly how you sit in an office chair. Sadly, the seat felt even less comfortable than a Magna’s seat, and that’s saying something. Wouldn’t want to take a stock seat on a long trip.January 20, 2009 at 3:03 pm #15851
Ya the Rebel seat is a little on the “hard” side at first, but it breaks in pretty nicely. I was commuting with mine 70miles round trip and it wasnt too bad.
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