Ninja 500R vs 650R?
July 23, 2008 at 9:15 pm #1771
So, I started to look a little more into craigslist and powersportsmotors.com, and I managed to find some pretty good deals on 650Rs! Im actually finding them for the same price, or a little less. I found one near my school for $4,100 with 60 miles on in and scratches…guy had apparently low-sided his bike on the right side, but he says low-speed crash, and I say “I want more pictures!”. Anyways, I know Im probably sounding like a idiot for even thinking of a 650R, but is it going to get me in trouble any faster than if I drove the 500R in anger? I would like to think of myself as being able to handle the power (esp. with my healthy respect of how much damage they can do to you), but if I get in a emergency situation, is the 650 going to bite me in the ass harder than if I was riding a 500? The insurance difference is only 50-70 bucks a year, and its going to be bought with my own personal money.
Also, I know the 650R is a newer design, what with the fuel injection (500R has a carb) and newer styling. How do you guys feel about the fuel-injection-vs-carbs?July 23, 2008 at 10:43 pm #9190
the 650 is actually a good beginning bike… its probably on the same level as the SV650… which is a highly recommended beginner bike (although, like the SV650- it may have to much power for someone not comfortable on two wheels like a bicycle or dirt bike)
the throttle is really smooth and the posture and suspension are really forgiving.
I heard from someone that the 650 has more mid range power than the 500 (which has a little more low end torque) . Although, I don’t know if that is true or not. Both bikes can get you into trouble… but I think the difference in that regard is rather negligible.
With that said… I was way more comfortable sitting on a 650 than a 500- and In the end, that was what made me make up my mind, cause in reality they are very similar beginner bikes (with the exception of cosmetics and a couple of details)
I have the 650 and I think its a rather solid beginner bike– as well as I bike that I can grow into in terms of skill level.July 25, 2008 at 1:53 am #9258
The general consensus seems to be that the 500R is the better path, because it is a smaller bike, according to another forum I am on. One big thing that drives me away from the 500R is it’s styling…
I have read a number of “New Bikers READ THIS” posts, and have read that “if you really care about what your bike looks like, you are riding for the wrong reason” line before. I will admit ignorance to the motorcycle world, but have been a huge car guy (Mustangs esp.) for 7 years, and I know for a fact this is not true there. I know people that choose cars based SOLELY on the way they look, and I would hesitate to call them dumb for doing that. I have friends that drive older Fox bodied Mustangs purely because they like the look of them more than the new bodies. I also know people who broke the bank and bought a Shelby GT-500 because they are so gorgeous in their eyes. I understand that the 650R is more power…but I want it for the styling also. I think the 500Rs are not as attractive (No offense to anyone that owns one, I think they are great from the side, but the square front headlight is not my style), and when I sat on the 650R it FELT so good, and it looked so sexy (granted, it was Red too!), especially sitting next to a 2008 500R.
Anyways, all of this may not matter anymore…my parents, who had originally given me free reign on my choice of bike, dont like the “650” part, and REALLY don’t like the “R”.July 25, 2008 at 2:58 am #9264BuddParticipant
I don’t think looks should be the whole reason, but it plays an important part. You are not going to ride a bike that you think is ugly.
“I am the best I am at what I do, and what I do ain’t nice.”-WolverineJuly 25, 2008 at 2:59 am #9265
I agree. The only wrong reason to pick up a bike is if you want to use it to put other people at risk. Wanting to learn to wheelie isn’t a wrong reason. Wanting to learn to wheelie so you can do one on a public, congested road, would be. Wanting a bike because you may think it looks cool and you think it makes you look cool isn’t a wrong reason either. I only draw the line at fucking up someone else’s day. Personally, I find the “you’re riding for the wrong reason” thing to be complete self-righteous and pompous bs. People like the same things for different reasons. What draws one person to riding, isn’t the thing that drew someone else to ride. Having said this, I do believe that a rider should possess the basic skills to not make someone else’s day a bad one. If you don’t have this, you just shouldn’t be riding in public, although this isn’t to say that your reason for wanting to ride is wrong.
If there’s anything more important than my ego
around, I want it caught and shot now…July 25, 2008 at 11:55 am #9275MattParticipant
Anyways, I know Im probably sounding like a idiot for even thinking of a 650R, but is it going to get me in trouble any faster than if I drove the 500R in anger?
I would like to think of myself as being able to handle the power (esp. with my healthy respect of how much damage they can do to you),
Don’t. Handling the power of a motorcycle is not just a mental thing. It has very little to do with temptation. It is a learned skill. If someone gave you a welding torch and said “Weld me a clean line” it wouldn’t matter how much respect you had for the torch. It wouldn’t matter how slow you took it. Without experience it wouldn’t be smooth and it wouldn’t be clean. Would a more powerful torch that let you weld faster produce any better a weld? Respecting the tool only gets you so far, experience is what counts.
but if I get in a emergency situation, is the 650 going to bite me in the ass harder than if I was riding a 500?
Yes. It brakes harder, turns faster, and will wheelie easier.
Also, I know the 650R is a newer design, what with the fuel injection (500R has a carb) and newer styling. How do you guys feel about the fuel-injection-vs-carbs?
Good carbs are better than poor fuel injection. The fuel injection on the 650R (and pretty much any bike post 2005) is pretty much spot on. The carbs on any bike that still has them are pretty much spot on. Technically speaking FI gives better fuel economy and lower emmisions than carbs. I say technically, because fuel economy and emmissions are influenced more by other factors (such as size, weight, aerodynamics, riding style).
From a rider’s perspective, the onyl difference is that Carb’d bikes need a minute or two to warm up that FI bikes don’t. Is this a hassel to the rider? No, you just started the bike and then put on the last of your gear. By the time you’re geared up, the bike is ready to go.
The problem with the internet: Everyone gets the same font size.July 26, 2008 at 5:12 am #9309
So, the 500R is my bike, pretty much no matter what huh? I admit, I have fallen in love with the 650R (with a face like that, who couldn’t?!) and the idea of not having to ‘trade up”, but I also don’t wanna be one of those “dumb kids” that “should have listened’ when everyone comes to my funeral!
In terms of the 500R, when was its last update? To be honest, I am having a hard time seeing the changes from 1995 till now! The headlight that Im 😐 about looks the same in the pictures that I have found so far…anyone into 500s that could help me choose the right model year for my bike?July 26, 2008 at 6:06 am #9310
if you have taken the MSF safety course, then there is nothing wrong at all with the 650… remember its a p-twin engine not an inline. Many of the folks here would recommend an SV650 to a beginner (albiet a beginner who is comfortable on two wheels)… and in my opinion– the ninja 650 is more noob friendly than even that bike (because of a smoother throttle and less HP).
Both the Ninja 650 and SV650 CAN overwhelm a completely new rider… but again, if you really like the 650 over the 500- its really not that big of a jump.
Some people on here are making the ninja 650 sound like its a Hayabusa… However, I haven’t spent anytime on a ninja 500…so I am in no way shape or form an expert. I’m curious to those who have rode both the 500 and 650… how much performance does the 650 REALLY have over the 500.
All I know is that the 650 feels more comfortable to me, the throttle is very smooth, and the suspension is very forgiving. I have never felt like my 650 could ever wheelie on me… (that isn’t to say that it can’t be done… I guess I just don’t have the skill); and its my belief that unless you drive like a moron (or are just jumping on a motorcycle literally for the first time) the 650 isn’t likely to get you into trouble.
with that said…. if you are driving in anger (like a moron)… I’m pretty sure you have a strong chance of having a bad day. But its not the same as a green rider jumping on a CBR1000– where even if they are level headed, they have no skill set to control the bike; that is vastly opposed to the 650 which is a very controllable bike (IMO).
if you want to constantly rev your bike at 11k RPM and showboat around… Forget even the 500 and get a 250; cause even that 500 will get you in trouble.July 26, 2008 at 11:38 pm #9324
Im going to take the course on Tues/Wed/Thursday of this next week, so I guess we will see how I feel after that. I have always felt that I am an “above-average” driver, much more aware of what is going on around me, but I have heard that none of that is really applicable because of the numerous differences between bikes and cars. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see how the class goes, and see if I can get an instructor out there to endorse me getting a 650! Im hoping if I show enough proficiency, and I tell him/her what I intend to use the bike for, they might be willing to tell my parents the 650 is the way to go.
Abomb-thanks for your words of encouragement.
And Matt-I appreciate you tryin to keep me safeJuly 27, 2008 at 1:23 am #9331
We should get something straight here. Just because you pass the MSF course, doesn’t make you an above average rider or even an average or capable, street safe rider. The MSF just gives you a feel for the basics in a controlled environment. Riding on the street is nothing like riding in an empty parking lot. The parking lots are good for practicing technique and nothing more. Technique is only part of the battle. The rest is mental… and you hone that with experience from saddle time. Nothing about passing the MSF guarantees that you can handle a bigger bike as your first bike, especially with only the MSF as your only source of any recent significant saddle time. Passing the MSF doesn’t even guarantee that you can put to use the street survival techniques and theories out on the real world slab.
Me personally, I think you’re a bit to dreamy eyed. But I was the same way and picked up the sv650s after being talked out of a yami yzf-r1 for a first bike. It can be done, but you really have to work at it. You’re gonna do what you’re gonna do, but IMO, you should probably think about doing a ninja 250 for a season before going up to a ninja 650r or sv650 or even a 500cc bike (based off my assessment of you being a bit dreamy eyed). If I had to do it all over, that’s what I would’ve done. I, myself, could not in good conscience, tell your parents that you’d be ready to take on a 650r or sv650.
If there’s anything more important than my ego
around, I want it caught and shot now…July 27, 2008 at 2:08 am #9337
yeah… now that I think about it… you’re right megaspaz… When I took the MSF class, there was a guy who just could barely control his bike. He was the slowest rider the entire day– for every exercise. He even flew over his handlebars after braking in a turn! And he was on a 125cc Kawi Eliminator. Yet, he was able to squeak by and pass the field test. The worst part was, he wanted to get a gsx600…
for me though, the 650 wasn’t too bad a step, because after I took the course- I rode on my dad’s 1100cc Honda Shadow (my dad rode with me… no way I would take a 1100cc bike by myself) over the course of about 2 weeks for a total of about 500 miles.
Going from the Shadow to a ninja 650 was really a piece of cake– the ninja being lighter, nimbler, and much easier to ride…
I guess though, I wouldn’t know what its like to go from the MSF course straight to a ninja 650. Go ahead and ask as many instructors their opinions on what a good first bike would be…Keep in mind there are different schools of thought as too what really is a good beginner bike– some instructors will tell you not to get under 500cc others will say start at 250.
Also… never ask a dealership salesman their opinion– cause what ever you till them you want, they’ll show you the next class in engine power and tell you that you can handle it.July 27, 2008 at 2:55 am #9343
I did not mean to say that the MSF course would make me a above average rider…I said I consider myself a above average DRIVER, ie-cars. I don’t think the MSF course will do anything other than give me a good introduction on how to be safe and smart on the road, and give me a great starting point. I guess Im not really good at conveying just how much damage I know bikes can do…I had a brother run into the back of a car getting on a on-ramp here in Hawaii, and he got thrown all the way over the car onto its hood.
On being dreamy-eyed…call it what you will, I realize I am a new rider. I know I don’t really know anything about riding. Thats why Im here, to try and learn as much as I can before I get myself in trouble. I am a 20 year old kid, and I realize that few people would call that a “mature” age, but…nothing I can do about that. Anyways, Im just trying to absorb as much as I can. If that mean I should just keep my mouth shut and listen, just go ahead and say that, and I’ll do so. Clearly I don’t have anything to base my choices on other than person preference, styling, and a few friends thoughts.July 27, 2008 at 3:20 am #9345
Whoa there tiger. You should ask away. You should get all the information you can. But you need to think about everything that everyone you ask is going to tell you. There’s been quite a few things in a few posts that show a level of immaturity. Not trying to be harsh, but in your intro, why is a mustang the only good car for you? In this post above, the hoping that someone will endorse your choice on getting a bigger bike, the hoping to show enough proficiency, the hoping that your intended use somehow makes your choice in a bigger bike a better choice. Those are all signs that you’re not quite thinking this through and just hoping for validation on what you want. Age pretty much has nothing to do with it in my book and while it’s good you’re getting all the info you can and willing to listen, it’s more of the processing of the information that worries me. I’m not out to nazi you and tell you not to go for a 650r, but I don’t recommend it for you based on a variety of reasons.
The first part of my post above wasn’t really geared toward you either. It was geared towards the if you’ve taken the msf, then there’s nothing wrong with the 650 that someone else posted. I should’ve been clearer about to which points I was addressing to whom. There’s lots of things that are harder to do on a bigger, more powerful bike like manuevering at really slow speeds. Hell, it’s hard to keep a bike going straight at 3 or less mph, much less turning/uturning a bike at that speed. In heavy traffic, you really might be going that fast, erm… slow! My riding consists of a lot of different scenarios. From negotiating parking lots full of shoppers/cars, to open freeways, stop and go freeway traffic, city streets (like san fran), backroads which may or may not be inhabited by animals, pedestrians, bikers, other motorist and which may be moving at a decent speed or stop and go, construction, weather, etc. You will be doing your fair share of slow speed manuevers which are harder to master on bigger bikes compared to smaller bikes. The techniques are the same, but oh boy are they different feels. I’m not trying to make you feel bad or make you feel stupid, I’m just trying to stack the odds in your favor.
/me gets off soapbox now
If there’s anything more important than my ego
around, I want it caught and shot now…July 27, 2008 at 4:26 am #9348
It was geared towards the if you’ve taken the msf, then there’s nothing wrong with the 650 that someone else posted.
Yeah… I think that was a bit of a stretch on my part…though I think it is *possible* for a new rider from the MSF course to ride the 650– its probably only a reasonable risk if that person is much more familiar with two wheeled vehicles. Much in the same manner as a SV650 being a good first bike— provided you are comfortable riding on two wheels.July 27, 2008 at 4:39 am #9350BuddParticipant
Looking at the original question, the whole riding in anger is not what is going to get you. It is when you unintentionally blip the throttle, drop the clutch, or grab a hand full of brake that you are going to find the differences. I was going a little faster than I thought the other day and had to stop suddenly and grabbed a little too hard. Thankfully I was on a little 250 ninja that I can pretty much hold up regardless of how far it goes over or at leas slow it down to where I can get out from under it and keep it from hitting too hard. I have been riding that bike for over a month with no situations like that, but when it happened, I was glad I was only trying to hold up 300lbs.
I would suggest the Ninja 250, or even the hyosung 250. Aprilla is importing their 125 and I don’t think that would be a bad option either. A small and light bike, although they may seem like they will cramp you up, are going to give you the confidence and experience that you need to become a successful rider.
“I am the best I am at what I do, and what I do ain’t nice.”-Wolverine
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