Reviews of Ninja 650
June 23, 2008 at 4:02 am #1573
My motorcycle license is so recent that I’m newer than a new rider. I have read and respect the input that I have received in my first post on the introduce yourself forum. Although it probably is not a great idea for a beginner to purchase a NInja 650, I would still like to read a review of that bike by someone on this site, and just how tame or not it would be. Perhaps it is just not possible for me to be comfortable on an upright-ish bike within my zone of competence. But before I compromise, I’d like to see a review.
Does anyone have experience with the ninja 650, especially if they also know the 500?June 23, 2008 at 6:58 am #7669hkdmanParticipant
I currently ride the Kawi 500 EX. Prior to purchasing my bike (only owned it for a couple of months) I did quite a bit of research. I was torn between either getting the 500, the Ninja 650 or possibly an SV 650. In the end, I ended up getting a 2003 EX 500. My reasoning was that I would rather have a smaller bike that I definitely could handle. My plan was to ride the ex 500 for 2-3 months and then upgrade to the 650r. Since I bought a 2003, most of the depreciation has already occurred and I figured I will be able to recoup most of my initial investment. Anyway, I have modified my plans slightly. I think I will be keeping the 500 for at least 1 or 2 years..instead of months. I ride 70 miles a day to and from work. I ride in all kinds of conditions including highway travel. The bike has no problem going highway speeds of 70 – 80 mph (never attempted to go faster than that – but I am sure it would hit 100+) The bike is extremely easy to ride and is very forgiving. My recommendation is to start with the 500 and then upgrade to the 650. My guess is that you will be pleasantly surprised at the amount of power available in the 500. Oh – and DO NOT BELIEVE THE SALES PERSON AT THE DEALERSHIP…they will always try to sell you a bigger bike as the markups are a lot higher….just today, I was in a dealership and acted like I was interested in a new motorcycle….I told him that I was interested in a 650r or SV 650…the guy actually tried to steer me towards a Busa (for those that don’t know…that would be like strapping a car engine on two wheels…the bike tops out at 185!) Anyway, I laughed at the guy and told him that I know my limits and that bike would be too much for me to handle (I even told him that I was a fairly new rider). The guy told me that if “you are going to be a bear…be a grizzly” I replied with “I would rather be an alive teddy bear than a dead grizzly!June 23, 2008 at 7:07 am #7672
I just recently purchased an 08 Ninja 650 as a totally new rider. I’ll be happy to post up just what it’s like as a first time rider using this bike. Will take a few weeks though. At first I was looking at getting the sv650 but two things made me get the Ninja instead. One, all the sv650 (non-sport model) were sold out in my area and two, the Ninja is a pleasure to sit on. Very comfortable.June 23, 2008 at 12:40 pm #7685
I keep hearing that the Ninja 650 was designed to be less aggressive, that it was designed for beginners, that a flick of the wrist will not send you flying. I’d love to believe it. As they say, wishing won’t make it so. But I dislike that my knees come up higher than the indentation on a 2007/8 Ninja 500’s tank. Still, I too would rather be a live Teddy Bear.
I can’t find an older Suzuki 500 (without the plastic) but might be able to find one with the plastic (the sport 500). I saw one a while ago and it seemed very heavy compared to the Kawasaki 500, but then my memory could be way off.
I am 6 feet, 32 inch inseam, 190lbs.
Again, thanks.June 24, 2008 at 3:40 am #7732
I’m 6’0″ and 180lbs with roughly the same inseam. The Ninja 650 (& sv) would fit you like a glove. Both the sv & ninja 650’s are not in-line four bikes, which makes for that non-aggressive/more forgiving riding. Mind you both will still tear up the road if you want them to. I think the Suzuki bikes run heavier than the Kawa’s with the exception of the naked sv which if memory serves is lighter than the Ninja 650. The other Suzuki bikes generally run more weight than their Kawa counterparts, with some (like the gsx650f, older katanas and the gs500f) being noticabley more.June 25, 2008 at 12:32 am #7783
Just as I was pretty much deciding on a ninja 250 vs. 500, and was writing off the 650 as too much too soon. . Which it probably is. I am more comfortable learning slowly.
I would be interested in any more impressions as you have them. Meanwhile, congratulations and enjoy your bike.June 25, 2008 at 12:56 am #7787bam37Participant
yea acidpope that would be a great review if at all possible. Im looking forward to itJuly 1, 2008 at 6:12 am #8129TheAbomb12Participant
I am interested in the review as well…
I’m just about to pull the trigger on a 2006 ninja 650 as my first bikeJuly 1, 2008 at 6:25 am #8146megaspazParticipant
not quite a review from a beginner’s perspective, but might still be useful… Differences between the SV650 and 650R
If there’s anything more important than my ego
around, I want it caught and shot now…July 1, 2008 at 2:48 pm #8154MattParticipant
I haven’t ridden the 650R, but I did a new (800cc) BMW F650GS. It makes about 5 foot pounds more torque. That puts both bikes at just over TRIPLE the torque of the Ninja 250. Let me be clear on this, if I’m heavy on the throttle and quick on the clutch I can get that front wheel light without trying. I’m certain with practice I could wheelie the 250. I’m even more certain that I could wheelie it by mistake if I really buggered things.
Wheelieing a bike is not smooth and elegant like they make it look on TV. Unless you have good balance and the bike goes up perfectly stright, it is going to come down on its side, or turned enough that when it hits down it’ll steer violently to one side. And unless you expecting it, it can be a pretty scary thing even when everything goes right. Youtube is full of the failures. I recommend you watch them.
Now, again, I can’t speak to the 650R or other riders. But if I made the same mistakes on the F6560GS that I’ve made a dozen times on my 250, well, I probably wouldn’t still be in this sport.July 1, 2008 at 7:44 pm #8165MattMParticipant
I just got a 650R this past weekend and have been having a blast on her. I wouldn’t consider myself a completely new rider as I rode bikes as a teenager. The MSF course was absolutely fantastic for refreshing me and restoring confidence in my riding ability.
I still consider myself a “new” rider though as the bike I rode as a kid was a 125cc – very different than a 500 or 650. I’m definitely taking it easy and gradually getting to know the bike, her abilities and more importantly my own!
I think the 650R is a great bike – very easy to balance, super responsive without feeling “overpowered”. I hit 4K rpm (max rpm during break-in period) pretty quickly when shifting and haven’t felt once like she was getting away from me.
Good luck in choosing your bike, but I definitely think the 650R is a great bike.July 3, 2008 at 11:35 pm #8302
I’d just like the second the easy to balance comment for the 650. I can keep my feet up on mine at an almost standstill when I slow her down. We’re talking old person with a walker slow.July 4, 2008 at 3:49 pm #8330
Matt, I noticed a comment of yours on another thread, and asked there too. If I understand you, event hough the 650R is a bit more upright than the 500R [?], and not that much heavier, would you say that the 500R is a much better beginner bike than the 650R for a 54 year old beginner, fresh out of the MSF course?
By the way, after reading “Precision Motorcycling”, I am beginning to wonder if all MSF courses are equal. Mine, in MA, was held in a very small parking lot. It was not possible to exceed 20mph for more than a second or so. I wonder if I even got a chance to get the hang of counter-steering in any turn given the physical constraints of the space. I am determined to practice in a larger controlled area. Are most MSF courses held in larger areas, where there is more opportunity to practice?July 4, 2008 at 5:19 pm #8339MattParticipant
Honestly, I’m not the best person to say which is better. I’ve ridden neither. Everything I’ve read, and my experiences with other bikes tells me the 500R will be a friendlier bike.
As for the MSF, no the courses are not the same. The lot you practice in makes a big difference, but the individual instructors make the biggest difference. No matter how uniform the ciriculum, the difference between a good instructor and a great one changes everything.
When I took my courses we did it in a pretty big lot. We were able to get up to 40km/h and turn at about 30km/h (roughly 20mph).
When you do get your bike, I highly recommend some time in a large parking lot. If you have a stadium near by, they tend to have great parking lots for it.July 4, 2008 at 6:03 pm #8341
You are probably right. It was more a question of uprightness, and technology, than anything else. The 650R is fuel injected, recently redesigned, has larger, wider wheels (which I figured would help stability). A dealer “had a problem” after taking a deposit on a 250R (smaller than 500)that would be picked up within a week out of state (I should have smelled trouble when He wouldn’t give me a VIN). But I can afford to learn correctly, and wait. And for the record, I can’t see why people think the 500R is better or worse looking than any other bike.
I hope it isn’t that I don’t “get it”, but am looking for comfort and safety. I don’t really care about “cool”. My ego is not vehicle dependent. In fact, I’ll take a lot of gratuitous abuse from acquaintances, simply for being on two wheels. If I liked having my feet in front of me, I’d go cruiser. If I thought it would be an OK first bike, and if I could find a dealer, my taste runs toward the Truimph Bonneville. Sitting still, the 650R seemed more comfortable.
The dealer who has yet to refund my deposit (will check Monday or just tell AmEx to charge it back), says he can find a naked Suzuki 650 with ABS-but I do have a trust issue there for some reason (dealer, not bike). I’m ready to get something before the summer is over.
So, I guess, officially, as of now, I’m leaning to the 500R. Thanks.
I have a 500R question, but I’ll post it under the review.
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