Very Confused??? 250R or SV650S, that is the question????
March 23, 2008 at 3:30 pm #1241
Hey guys. I have done so much research on what my 1st bike should be. I’ve always wanted a 600 but heard reviews that opposed to that idea for beginners like myself. So, I narrowed my choices to a Kawi 250R, a 650r and a Zuki SV650S. Yesterday I went to a dealer and sat on each one and I love how the SV feels. I liked the 650R the least and kind of disqualified that off my list. I read a lot of reviews that the SV is considered a beginner bike but dont understand that theory since it has 650cc. I logically understand why a 250R would be considered for beginners. I have about zero riding experience. I’ve only taken lessons to get my license. I much rather the SV but dont want to make an unwise decision. Im kinda in it for the long haul. Can anyone explain the differences between the SV650 and the 250R besides the obvious CC and weight factor. I here the 650 is very forgiving for new riders. Is that true and if so what does that mean? Any help would be very much appreciated. Thanks in advance!!!March 25, 2008 at 2:19 pm #5293
(I’m sorry this turned out to be long winded, and only the first part really answers your question, the rest is early morning ramblings)
The SV650 is considered forgiving because:
1- The engine is very smooth in its power devilery. Down low there is a lot of torque (so you don’t have to shift as much), and as the rpms rise, so does the power. This is different from a “peaky” inline four where there is almost no low down power (requiring a lot of clutch feathering in traffic) and very little power below a certain rpm, however once you pass that rpm the power rises very very quickly. This extra power delivery is an issue because if you hit a bump and your wrist twists you’ll unexpectedly be accelerated forward. Especially if you are cruising right near this transition zone – you could mean to accelerate a little bit and find yourself doing muich more.
2- The bike is responsive, without being twitchy. A supersport does exactly what you tell it. Even if you just hit a bump and that “Telling” was your body recovering from the bump. New riders (just like new drivers) tend to over correct mistakes, which make matters worse. The SV650 is supposed to be pretty good about not reacting as hard to unintended actions. If you press too hard with your hand, it’ll still turn, but it won’t whip around like a supersport might.
3- The ergonimics are comfortable. This is a big one that you don’t hear as often. When you are on an uncomfortable bike, you get tired faster, which leads to mistakes.
In my area the SV650 is a favourite. A lot of the local guys have them. Most who do have been riding bikes for years, yet they recommend them to new riders who for whatever reason will have nothing to do with a 250.
That said, your comment about being in for the long haul might point you towards the 250. If your goal is not not resell your bike, the the 250 may or may not be for you (some people keep theirs for a very long time).
But if your goal is to be in motorcycling for a long time, the 250 is probably the better choice. Why? Because it teaches you things the bigger SV650 won’t (or rather, the SV won’t teach them as quickly). It is even more forgiving in the corners, and you can ride it near its limits in legal settings (after a few years of riding experience). The added skills and confidence of knowing how to ride corners hard will make you a much better rider (as opposed to the “shoot down the straights, slow down for every corner, then accelerate like a mad man again” approach).
Both are excellent bikes, and you’d enjoy both. But, most everywhere else in the world uses a graduated licensing system capping learners on 125cc machines, and sometimes having another cap after that before a full license. In these countries, motorcycles are daily transportation for much larger percent of the population than in North America. There are good reasons for these caps, and many people (notably ex-pat brits around here) feel these systesm did them a world of good.
Look a the reasons you prefer the SV over the 250R. (“I like the look better”, “I like the thought of having more power”, “I think I’ll have more fun on the 650”). Some of these really won’t matter in the long run (the latter two for sure, the former maybe). Others, like (“I find the 250 uncomfortable”) are very valid reason.
When it comes down to it, you are spending a great deal of money on something. I feel you have to really love that something to spend that much money on it. If the 250 just doesn’t invoke any feelings of lust, and it doesn’t put a smile on your face, then you have to look elsewhere. If the 250 does, but the 650 seems like a better deal because it has more power and more growth potention, take another look at the 250, it may be the bike for you for.March 25, 2008 at 5:40 pm #5294
Thanks a lot for the info. Your “early morning ramble” proved to be very useful. I’ve been giving it some thought and Im so much now more so leaning toward the 250R. The 2008 is just plain sexy. Im about 5’11, 165lbs and it feels a bit smaller but I’d rather that than it being to big, especially for my 1st bike. Im not to happy about the buzzy sound and the fact that it will take a lot to start up because I hear its coldblooded rather than fuel injected. I am also unsure in how to break in a new bike. Someone told me that I wouldnt be able to go over 30mph and couldnt rev past 4000rpm. Thats very discouraging for my fun factor if thats true. Still yet, Im thinking it will still prove to be a better investment. Im planning on at least trying it out for a season and if my skill permits me, maybe selling it and upgrading to the SV650. My ultimate goal is to be able to ride at Gixxer 600/750. I love the look of those bikes. Thanks for your response, you probably just saved my life. Now all I have to do is convince my ego and we’re good to go.March 25, 2008 at 6:57 pm #5295
About the cold blooded – yes, you need to let it idle for a few minutes before riding (depending on the weather, that might be 20 seconds, or three minutes). I don’t find this warm up time to be an issue. Makes me get in the right mindset. But that is me, and we’ll see if that is still the case this summer.
Buzzy sound – Given the popularity of the new ninja, I expect “slip on” exhausts will be out for it very soon if they aren’t already. (A slip on exhaust is a muffler that replaces the original one without needing any other changes to the bike. Sometimes with “re-jetting” the carbs you’ll get marginally more power). i’m not sure on the cost, but aftermarket exhausts are a very popular way of makign a bike “yours”.
The Ninja250.org FAQ has a description of the break in process. I’ll admit I’m not familiar with it.
EnjoyMarch 25, 2008 at 8:12 pm #5296BenParticipant
I’ve heard lots of different theories on breaking in a bike. Some people say follow the manufacturers instructions to a T and that means keeping it below a certain RPM gauge. I’ve read other who swear by riding it super hard when you first get it, that way the valves (or something) will expand and form a better seal than if you follow what kawasaki says to do.
I think either way it doesn’t matter a whole lot unless you plan on keeping the bike for 5-10k miles. But if you plan on selling before then (which most people do) then I guess its someone elses problems. Of course that would suck for the person who buys your bike… It’s your call though, but I would probably follow the manufacturers advice, but its not going to hurt the bike if you rev it up a few times.
Also about the cold blooded – my bike is not fuel injected either and its really not that bad. Normally I have my boots/jacket/pants on and then I start the bike and finish by putting in my earplugs/gloves/helmet on. By the time I do this the bike is usually pretty warmed up.
I would really suggest starting on the 250 because if you are in it for the long haul, the 250 will give you an idea of what you want for your next bike. I’ve been through 4 or 5 bikes myself in the past couple years, so your first bike definitely won’t be your last. Plus the 250 has a great resale value.
~Best Beginner Motorcycles AdminMarch 26, 2008 at 5:38 pm #5325
Wow!!! Thank you so much guys for your responses. This site is great……..Is there anything I can add to the bike to keep it from stalling or delaying in igniting. If I dont break it in properly, does that make it stall more? Is there any slip on thats more reliable than another? I would love it to have that “Skuureeooooo” sound rather than it just rumbling/gargling like a cruiser. Any ideas? This is exciting! Now I guess I just have to pick a color and then get some gear. I was thinking about going green because that seems to be exclusive to ninja’s only but I really like the red, although blue is my favorite color. Decisions..decisions??? As for gear…; do any of you guys know which brand of helmet seems to be the most reputable/durable. I hear Shoei and Arai are the best but I’ve read that Scorpion and HJC are just as good if not better, with a smaller price tag. I really dont wanna spend 3, 4, 5 hundred dollars if I dont have to. What do you guys recommend? Also what about jackets? Any brands to stick with any to avoid?
I know its a lot of questions….SORRY…..I greatly appreciate you guys time. Thanks again.March 26, 2008 at 7:21 pm #5327BenParticipant
Well if you go kawasaki, you HAVE to go with kawasaki green haha, at least my bike is. Although I really like the blue color of the ninja250. I guess it will depend on what the dealer has in their inventory. The only thing I would avoid is a black bike, they make it harder for cars to see you.
Its funny that you want the ‘skuureeeoooooooo” sound more than the rumble of a cruiser! One of the reason I like v-twin sportbikes so much like the sv650 or the Honda Superhawk is because they have that rumble but also still look like a sportbike. To each their own I guess. You may have to wait a few months for some of the aftermarket manufacturers to make some slipons for the 08 ninja, but i’m sure they will make some soon and then you will be able to get the sound you want.
I personally have a Shoei helmet, but before them I tried on a scorpion helmet which rocked. Unfortunately I have a ‘shoei shaped head’ so after about 30 minutes the scorpion left some read marks on my forhead that were pretty painful. The size up was too big, so I just had to switch to a shoei. I haven’t tried an HJC but I hear they are pretty good. The main thing is you should wear the helmet in the store for 10-15 minutes and see if you get any red marks or if it hurts your head at all. You want it to be snug, but you don’t want to squish your skull. Plus the padding should conform to your face after a couple rides. Make sure you buy it from a store with a good return policy, because if you don’t like the helmet after a couple rides you are going to want to return it.
As for jackets I really like Shift Racing jackets. They are super comfortable right away, and they have good armor and good leather. Icon is a good brand too, they have really thick leather, but their prices are a bit high. Alpinestars is good, and Joe rocket can be good, but generally they are a little lower quality than other companies. A good thing to do is to try a jacket on in the store, to see what fits (you want it snug as well that way it doesn’t slide around when you are sliding on the pavement) and then try and find last years model on ebay. Thats how I got my shift jacket brand new for 140 dollars. If I were to get it in the store it would have been around 250-300.
Also make sure you get gloves and pants. A lot of people forget about riding pants, but I find that when you crash a motorycle you are going to be sliding on your ass/knees as much if not more so than your cool leather jacket. In fact when I crashed one of my motorcycles the only damange I had was ripped leather gloves (but my hands were fine!) and torn riding pants in the knee. My jacket was 100% fine because it never even touched the ground. Thankfully my firstgear riding pants absorbed all of the impact of the pavement and the only thing that ripped was the waterproof outer coating, not the abrasion resistance inner coating. It was pretty cool.
Anyway, I’m rambling a bit. Let us know what you decide!
~Best Beginner Motorcycles AdminMarch 26, 2008 at 7:41 pm #5328
Any full faced Helmet that passes DOT certification will be “safe enough”. Snell certified helmets are stronger (they must withstand higher impacts than just DOT have to) – but stronger is not always safer (less likely to have something penetrate your head, more likely to break your neck). There are very big discussions going on between people who know far more than I do regarding what is really the safest helmet. Thankfully, what all the geniouses agree on is that a DOT certified FULL FACED helmet is going to be a safe helmet.
There are some excellent reviews on helmets at webbikeworld.com
The gmax (a pretty cheap helmet) got their helmet of the year award this past year:
Don’t look for “durable” in helmets. Helmets are like air-bags. One use. Once you crash, you replace your helmet. They save your head by breaking apart inside. Even if they look fine after a crash, the foam in them might be filled with micro fractures. Much like a tiny crack in a window, you may never see it, but with only a little bit of force the whole thing could split.
Because of this, never buy a used helmet. You are trusting your life to the person that claims it has “never been dropped”. It would really suck if they lied to you.
The big thing with helmets is comfort. Go to a good shop, try on a bunch. Wear each one for at least 5 minutes. When you have a few you really ike, wear them on for longer (as much as 20 minutes). If there are any pressure points, you want to know about them before you buy the helmet (what might be comfortable for 5 minutes can turn into torture after 20).
My local shop suggests: come when the store is quiet so you can get a salesperson all to yourself, and plan on spending over an hour looking at helmets. Thankfully my salesgirl was plenty of fun while I felt like an idiot wearing dozens of helmets. It also gave me a chance to sit on a bunch of bikes I’ll never be able to afford
Finding a good bike shop, and having a good relationship with them is truely priceless.
So, get a helmet that is comfortable, meets DOT (and Snell if you want that extra bit of assurance), has a face shield (so if you go down on your face, you keep your pretty nose attached), and costs what you feel is fair.
I personally bought a Snell approved Arai. It cost me more than $500. If my head fit into a scorpion I’d have gotten one of those. My head is definitely worth $500 to me, but if I could be just as safe and comfortable in a $300 helmet, I’d rather spend the $300.
Also a small side story about helmets:
I ride mountain bikes, usually down mountains. This past summer I took a trip to whistler and vancouver BC. While in vancouver I crashed hard. I fell 5 feet on the to top of my head. I destroyed a $120 fibre-glass full faced mountain bike helmet. Every inch of my body hurt (I had a pretty severe concussion). But I tell ya, when I wiggled my toes it was the greatest feeling in my life. I spent the whole day in the ER. All the nurses kept saying it was such a shame that I’d destroyed such a nice (and expensive) helmet. I just kept telling them it did exactly what I bought it for, and it was worth every penny. That helmet now hangs behind me in my cubicle.
Looking at the damage to the fibreglass, I have no doubt that without a helmet I’d be dead right now.
I used to tease a climbing buddy of mine because he always told his rope “I love you” when he put it away. He explained that no matter how much you love your wife, and no matter how much she says she loves you, when you fall, she won’t save you. But yor rope will always save you. The rope loves you more than anyone in the world.
I love my helmet, and it loves me.
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