Hey! Looking for advice on a new bike
March 21, 2009 at 6:28 pm #2625
Sooo, I’ve never even been on a bike (and yes i am taking the class next month)… I’ve always wanted a bike and from all the reviews I’ve seen for newbies, I’m thinking about a ninja 250.
Should I really get one used? I hear I’m going to drop it alot lol… i just hate getting something used and not knowing if i am getting ripped off or not…
I’m on the hwy alot, so as soon as I am comfy on the bike I plan to use it on the hwy. Is a 250r enough for that?
I’m female, 5’7″ about 112 lbs.
I really like the idea of a cheaper commute, and having my car last longer so I can drive it into the ground. I used to commute to work everyday on a pedaled bike, and i’ve driven standard since i was little, so i’m hoping adjusting to a motorcycle wont be that bad.
One final issue for me is that I am a vegan for ethical reasons. (I’ve heard all the jokes, please be respectful, I’m not going to tell you what to wear) But, are there really lots of non-leather options out there that protect as well as leather?
Thanks so much!March 21, 2009 at 6:32 pm #17210
if you do drop and scratch up a ninja, is fixing it up THAT expensive?
thats one of the only worries i have about getting a new oneMarch 21, 2009 at 9:15 pm #17212KellisanthParticipant
Hello Joyinc, and welcome!
At present, I cannot think of any non-leather replacement. Textile/mesh is the only other alternative pretty much, besides kevlar/codura(?). And the helmets, most of them have leather straps.
The EX250 is a very nice bike to start with, low seat style and such. So are the Rebels and the Nighthawk as well, for alternative seating height.
The EX250 will do good for highways, although like with some other bikes – you wanna stay away from the trucks/semis as they blow by.
If this is a first bike, getting a used EX250 wouldn’t be a bad idea, to be honest. Lower insurance and costs.
And yeah, you will probably drop it a few times. I know when I went for my training, I dropped 3 times the first day. Didn’t on the second day, but came close – other than stalling a lot (and I still can’t shift well!). So, I expect I will be doing that a few times out on the roads with the EX500 (although I might lose that ‘cos of money situation that is coming up, ouch ~ should have waited and trusted my instincts).
And yes, the fairings of the Ninja will be pretty expensive if you buy the OEM ones. Not sure how much the aftermarkets are, but it’ll get there in prices.
To get some ideas on some pricings, look at like Chapparal or Bike Bandit.March 22, 2009 at 12:06 am #17213SantaCruzRiderParticipant
Yes, fairings are very expensive and surprisingly fragile. If you have a substantial drop with a sport bike, it’s not uncommon for the cost to repair the fairing back to original condition to top the value of the bike. This is what spawned the whole street-fighter/naked bike look — guys who got into “minor” wrecks that essentially totalled their bikes for insurance but still had a bike with a solid frame, engine, etc…
So the upside: Fairings won’t automatically self-destruct if you drop the bike at traffic light. Every drop is different, but often you’ll end up breaking a fairing mount or two or maybe getting a crack. You can fix alot of fairing (including Ninjas) with some ABS cement from the hardware store or melt a few of your kids Legos in acetone and you’re good to go). I’ve also seen fairings pulled back together with plastic ties. The bottomline is that these fixes all sit alot better on a bike you bought used.
As for vegan gear: I personally think that some of the synthetic gear is fantastic (but, I do chose to wear leather for my jacket because my local climate allows).
As Kell says, you’ll have to work a bit harder to ensure your helmet doesn’t have ANY leather. I know that even my cordura overpants have a couple leather patches in high wear areas.
As for buying used: In my limited experience, most bikes built in the last 10 or so years are sold for one of four reasons:
1. Rider dropping it a time or two and realizes this is not the romantic “cool” thing he/she envisioned.
2. The ride is moving on to something bigger or faster or just more appropriate
3. The bike was once loved and ridden, but priorities have change (new baby!) and now it’s sitting unsured
4. Buyer underestimate the cost of ownership (insurance, storage, etc…) and the wife (typically) wants it gone.
I’ve been lucky with used bikes. Recommend you find someone with a little bike knowledge, have them ride it, maybe think about taking to the local dealer for a check. It’s admittedly a risk, but you can save substantial $$.
Best of luck!March 22, 2009 at 8:11 pm #17219PhilUpParticipant
I think the Ninja 250 is a great choice as a starter/learner. The 2008 and 2009 models are updated from previous years. There is a full-length review on these newer models on this site to give you an idea of the changes. The older ones seem to have a more upright riding position for what it is worth. Buying used is a good option in terms of cost, plus you will not mind as much if you end up dropping it. I think santacruz rider’s advice on having someone with you who knows bikes or getting a mechanic/dealer to check it out before purchase is very sound. Plus, if you want to move up or buy a new 250 later, you can sell yours without taking too much of a hit from the depreciation.
Here is a good site for 250 info:
There are a quite a few textile/non-leather options.March 23, 2009 at 3:29 am #17239
thank you all so much for all of your replies! I’m thinking that if i want the 250 by this summer I’m gonna have to go used anyhow. It looks like they have crazy wait lists for new ones! It seems like the smart thing to do anyhow until riding becomes second nature for me.
I definitely a newbie though, so I have to ask, what does OEM mean?March 23, 2009 at 3:36 am #17240megaspazParticipant
OEM = Original Equipment ManufacturerMarch 23, 2009 at 12:53 pm #17245DKParticipant
The real advantage of leather is unbeatable abrasion resistance. In all other criteria it could be argued that textile is equal or better. Everything I have heard is that textile will survive up to a 30-35 mph slide.March 23, 2009 at 6:37 pm #17287Clay DowlingParticipant
I don’t have any moral opposition to leather (or eating animals), but my gear is pretty much all non-leather. The only exceptions:
Boots: I had these boots already, so I’m keeping them. And non-leather boots might be a challenge to find.
Gloves: my summer gloves are currently a pair of heavy leather work gloves, although I intend to replace them with something better by summer.
There isn’t any leather on my helmet. The chin strap on an HJC helmet is vinyl or some other synthetic material.
My pants and jacket are likewise textile. I’m wearing Joe Rocket’s Alter Ego, but I think most of Joe Rocket’s textile gear is sans-leather.
If you want to go completely over the top, Aerostich gear is rated very well, and comes in a variety of high-visibility colors. If I get to the point where I can afford to tour, I’ll be getting one of these. They aren’t as crash-resistant as leather, but according to the manufacturer they’re equivalent protection at normal speeds: http://www.aerostich.com/catalog/US/Roadcrafter-Darien-FAQs-sp-18.html#crashMarch 24, 2009 at 6:33 pm #17310majorhavocParticipant
I’m going to be the devil’s advocate here and suggest that the Ninja 250 might not be the best bike for you. You said you’re planning on being “on the hwy alot”. While the Ninja 250 is capable of highways speeds, that’s a little outside it’s ideal operating environment (twisty secondary roads). On the highway, the little Ninja is really going to be thrashing at high rpms. Everything I’ve heard about that bike indicates that while it can do it, it’ll be buzzy and reving really hard. That can get tiring for the rider, especially if you’re on the highway for any length of time.
Something like a Suzuki GS500 or even an older Ninja 500 would be a lot more relaxed on the highway. Neither is what I’d call a powerful bike, which is a good thing for a newbie. Of the two, the Ninja 500 is probably a little more capable as you gain riding skills, and retains the styling that maybe attracted you to the smaller Ninja in the first place.
The Suzuki GS500 is an upright sport standard with excellent ergonimics and a reputation for bulletproof reliability. Depending on the model year (pre 2004, I think), it can also be had as a naked bke. That is definitely an advantage to the beginner, because you will be occasionally dropping your mount as a new rider.
The Ninjas and a faired GS500 are going to show the results of those mishaps more than a naked bike will.
I totally respect your desire as a vegan to avoid leather. As others have said, synthentic textile alternatives do exist. But I think the conventional wisdom is that pound for pound, dollar for dollar, there still isn’t anything that beats leather’s superior abrasion resistance in saving your own hide in a crash.
If ever there was a purpose-specific justification for respectfully using an animal product, motorcycle safety apparel would be it.
Otherwise, buy a good quality textile product, wear it every time, and ride safe.March 24, 2009 at 7:29 pm #17311MattParticipant
“‘m going to be the devil’s advocate here and suggest that the Ninja 250 might not be the best bike for you. You said you’re planning on being “on the hwy alot”. While the Ninja 250 is capable of highways speeds, that’s a little outside it’s ideal operating environment (twisty secondary roads). On the highway, the little Ninja is really going to be thrashing at high rpms. Everything I’ve heard about that bike indicates that while it can do it, it’ll be buzzy and reving really hard. That can get tiring for the rider, especially if you’re on the highway for any length of time.”
Have you ridden one on the highway?
I have, plenty.
Trust me, the Ninja 250 is not “thrashy” on the highway. It spins high, but it isn’t work hard. I’ll happily argue that a Ninja 250 is happier and easier going at 80mph than a Rebel at 65mph, despite the 11000rpm it’ll be spinning.
Vibration, yes. A high frequency vibration that is only really intrusive when you are hanging on tight. I find an hour at speeds above 65mph to be my comfort zone where I get off, stretch for a few minutes, then continue my ride. I doublt many new riders will be putting in longer stretchs than that safely on any bike.
Textile is not, pound for pound, as safe as a good leather. But it is significantly more versatile. I wear a quality textile suit for commuting and feel it is adequate for my level of risk aversion. A track day would require leather; but as a commuter and all-weather-rider the lower protection is offset by practicality and a conservative riding style.
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