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Didn’t someone say on one of the other posts that Kawasaki is sold out until the 09s? So basically you need to find a dealer that has stock left, or start looking at the used bikes.
I know my local dealer sold out his annual alotment three weeks ago…
You don’t need to go all the way down to reserve to know how far you can get before needing reserve.
Next time you fill up, reset your trip odometer (I do this everytime, my trip odo is my fuel gauge).
Go for a good long ride (or several rides) in typical conditions for you (if you’re normally heavy on the gas, stay heavy on the gas, if you normally visit route with lots of hills, go on a route with lots of hills).
Once you’ve got a good amount of miles on your odometere (you want to use in the realm of half your tank).
Then, when you’ve fill up, check how many gallons it took. If it used 2 gallons for 100 miles, then A) you can brag about your 50mpg motorcycle and you know with a 4.2 gallon tank you can easily cruise for 150 miles before worrying about looking for a gas station (that leaves you roughly a 1/4 tank left).
Me, I find I’m getting about 60mpg on my 250. I usually fill up at 200km because it is convinent (I’m still at half a tank at that point).
Awesome to hear about the mountain ride with the streams. I went for a ride in the local hills last evening. Bright sunny, long sweeping turns, and some specatcular views. Such a treat.
Lessons I’ve learned so far this spring (some the hard way, others less hard):
-Never ride covering your levers, you only need your grip on the bars once it is too late to get it back…
-Long underwear isn’t just for winter anymore
-If you think think you are looking far enough through your corners, turn your head 15 more degrees
-Focusing on the yellow line in a bend means you’re gonna cross it
-Check your tire pressure
-If you can hear the stereo in the car behind you, get out of his way
-The best road in the world is the one you are on; especailly when you have no idea what its name is, where it is going, or how on earth you got there
I was speaking with my instructors about this issuse… Basically, the extra weight of the bikes is usually offset by the extra physical size of the bike. In their opinion, all bikes are sails, don’t buy a larger bike in hopes of having it handle the wind better.
The GXR 750 will do 168mph, and is one of the fastest bikes in production. Really think you need faster than that?
For the feelign of fast, you don’t need big power, just more torque than your 500 gives you.
Look into bikes with twin engines to give you more of that feeling of speed at less insane speeds. (One issue with litre bikes is that they need to be going very fast before they feel alive. Almost all will do 80mph in first gear! To have the engine in the power band, and be in third gear requires insta-license-removal speeds).
Some popular mid cc bikes: Honda VFR 800, Ducati Monster and Multistrada, Suzuki SV650, Kawasaki ZZR 600, Kawasaki Z750.
An excellent article on the whole “upgrading bikes = more happiness” can be found here on OneWheelDrive.Net Readsome of their reviews of mid sized bikes like the ducatis. When the review is having less fun on the 1000cc hypersport than the 650cc machine they are using as a camera mule, it says something.
Remember, bigger is not always more fun.
This is probably the most common question asked on this forum – am I too tall or too heavy for a 250cc bike.
If it is comfortable to sit on for 20 minutes in the dealership, then it isn’t too small for you. As a general rule, 250s fit a much larger body range than people expect.
And to address your specific question, are you too heavy?
Are you too heavy for really fast pull aways in traffic? Are you too heavy for instant passing on the highway?
On a 250, neither of those are really part of the equation anyways.
Strictly speaking, you are not too heavy for any bike until you are above it’s load capacity. I can’t speak for the cruisers, but the load capacity on a Ninja 250 is 330 pounds (almost the same weight as the bike itself).
Okay, so now I’m gonna go on a bit of a ramble (and play with numbers – feel free to ignore this next bit, it’ll make physics majors squirm)… how slow is a slow motorcycle?
For comparison, I’m going to list some 0-60 times for well known cars (these are all from memory, with some help from wikipedia, so they could be wrong):
1965 Inline 6 Mustang – 13 seconds
2004 V6 Hyundai Tiburon (180hp, 3000 lbs) – 7.5 seconds
2004 V6 Mazda 6 (210hp, 3400 lbs) – 7.1 seconds
2005 I4 Imprezza WRX (227hp, 3085 lbs) – 5.2 seconds
2000 V8 Firebird (305hp, 3440 lbs) – 5.0 seconds
2008 V8 Mustang (300hp, 3500 lbs) – 5.0 seconds
2000 I2 Ninja 250 (35hp, 350lbs (with fluids) + 150lbs rider) – 5.7 seconds
2000 I2 Ninja 500 (52hp, 410lbs + 150lbs rider) – 3.7 seconds
So the Tib gets 16.6 lbs/hp
the 6 gets 16.1 lbs/hp
the wrx gets 13.6 lbs/hp
the bird gets 11.3 lbs/hp
the stang gets 11.6 lbs/hp
the ninjette gets 14.2 lbs/hp
and the mild ninja gets 10.8 lbs/hp
(Most family cars have a time somewhere between 8 and 13 seconds these days, all of the above cars are more than fast enough to get you into a lot of trouble with the law)
Now, this is all very rough, because really, Torque is what accelerates you, and tires dictate how much of that power can actually be used. (Hence why the new Stang is as fast the older lighter firebird) But, these numbers are easy to get ahold of, and provide a good generic comparison. And it is part of how my local Auto X organization figures out classes for cars, so if it is good enough for them…
Having roughly 16-17 lbs/hp for a car gets you in the low 7 to low 8 0-60 times. This holds true if you look back to older cars like the 85 RX-7 and the 85 Prosche 944 (non turbo versions) which each had weights and times in this area.
Having in the 10-11 lbs/hp range gets you up close and personal with the 5 second range. The WRX which can do a really hard launch thanks to its all wheel drive, also gets close to that magic 5 second number, but in rolling starts, behaves more like you’d expect, with acceleration somwhere between the big V8s and the more mundane cars.
Now, with bikes, we see that for a similar lbs/hp range, we get better acceleration than for cars. We also see that even the lowly ninja 250 is in fact pretty quick by street standards. And the ninja 500 is downright fast (for reference, a 500hp Dodge Viper has a 0-60 time of 3.9 seconds).
Now we check to see if the math is somewhat consistent:
Using the Tib as a base (16.6 lbs/hp – 0-60 time of 7.5), we expect that the firebird will get 5.1 seconds and the Stang will get 5.2 (pretty darned close on both counts).
And for bikes, using the ninja 250 as a base, we expect a time of 4.3 seconds from the ninja 500 (no doubt, the wider tires and broader torque curve help it more than the math suggests).
So, now lets make stupid guesses at how fast other bikes are.
A ninja 250 with a 300 pounds rider would have 18.6 lbs/hp giving us a guessed 0-60 time in the mid 7 seconds. Still fast enough to keep up with rice rockets and family sedans putting the pedal to the floor.
A rebel 250 (17hp, 330 pounds with fluids+ 150lbs rider) returns 28.2 lbs/hp, giving us a 0-60 time of 11 seconds. So now we are hanging out with civic and cobalts.
This is however, where a hole in our math shines through: The Rebel makes less than half the power of the ninja, but makes almost as much torque (Ninja 250 makes 16 lb-ft, the Rebel makes 14 lb-ft). So, the Rebel should get better than 11 second 0-60 times. And as my mother owns one, using the good old butt-dynometer I’m pretty sure it does. My butt-guess puts it in the 9-10 second range… Heck, my mother wheelied her rebel just last week!
Putting a big boy (300 pounds) on a rebel 250 gives us 37.0 lbs/hp or, again very roughly, just shy of 14 seconds to freeway speeds. While I know it’ll be faster than that – that is defintely into the “I’m not entirely comfortable with how fast she pulls” range for me.
Putting the same big boy on a Vulcan 500 (it has the same engine as the ninja, but weighs 440lbs) gives us 14.8 lbs/hp – the same range as the ninjette with a skinny guy on it. Plenty fast.
If you were skipping my mangled math, you can starts reading again
So, if I was over 250 pounds, and wanted a cruiser, I’d stay away from the 250s and move up to a 500. More than 10 seconds to reach freeway speeds is just longer than I’m comfortable with (but then, I’ve owned both the Tib and the Mazda 6 above, so I’m used to getting on my freeways pretty fast). Of course, if you never plan on taking the bike on the freeway, that changes things.
Anything more than 50hp though (the 750cc+ cruisers) really is way more power than you need, no matter how much you weigh.
If I was over 250 pounds, looking for a sport bike, I think the Ninja 250 would still be fast enough for my wants. Moving up to a Ninja 500 would certainly get me going faster, though the bigger bike is more work to learn on.
If I was under 250 lbs (which I am) I’d feel pretty comfortable with the power from any 250cc engine (which I do).
Sorry for the rambling.
I find it really interesting that your choices are between a cruiser and a sport bike.
The Shadow 600 really isn’t that much more powerful than the Vulcan 500. It may be a bit bigger and harder to wield though, I’ve never sat on either. But it and the S40 (a 650 single cylinder cruiser) are all fine beginer bikes too.
I recently saw an experienced rider on an SV650 in a controlled environment, and to be honest, I think I’d much rather learn on something lighter. The guys on lighter bikes, with far less experience, were having an easier time with bike handling. If you want ot learn how to ride a sport bike really well, start with something light that you can really toss around. It’ll make you a much better rider in the end. And going by the smiles on people’s faces, it wasn’t any less fun.
A dual sport will let you do both. There are plenty of 250cc dualsports that are light enough to teach you proper off road technique, and still have enough power to get up to freeway speeds.
The 650s are very heavy by off roading standards, and probably not an ideal machine to lean dirt riding on.
Dual sports also have many of the characteristics that make sport bikes so much fun on the street. In fact, in tight twisty situations where high end horsepower isn’t usable, dual sports with good riders have been known to out-pace super-sports… Just more proof that it is all about the rider and not the ride. As an aside, look at the rise in popularity of Motards…
Riding off road teaches you a lot of things you can’t safely learn on the road (like how to slide your front wheel). Everyone I speak to says the best way to learn is on dirt. And, having done my ERC, I think off roading would be a helluvalot of fun.
I (having started on the street) have no issues with people starting on the street instead of dirt. But I think if you have the facilities near by, and the riding buddies to go with (and to show you the ropes) getting a bike capable of dirt riding will be well worth your effort. You won’t regret it. And as I said, a dirt capable machine is still capable of plenty of fun on the street.
The Seca2 is a standard, not a sport bike.
It actually have very similar performance to a ninja 500 (roughly 50hp and sub 40 foot pounds of torque). Seating is very upright, with wide bars. It was the evolution of an 80s UJM, it just looked like a sport bike. Really the biggest difference between a Seca2 and a Ninja 500 is the 20-30 pounds of weight and the fact the seca’s aircooled (It’ll cook your legs to a golden brown in stop-and-go traffic).
And to Ben: Hey! I liked that half fairing. I think a stock Seca2 in dark green is a sexy beast
The Seca 2 (Also called Diversion in other markets) is not a terribly light bike. It lost out in several big comparisons to the Suzuki Bandit because the seca was heavier to turn, slower, and overall simply not as “playful” as the Bandit. Not exactly bad points if your goal is an easy to learn on bike.
Speed wise I’m sure it’ll still be faster than the ninja, but it’ll be harder to ride in slow speed situations. That said, 400ish pounds isn’t _that_ hard to manhandle for someone 6 foot. But I do prefer moving around the lighter bike.
I don’t think you’ll find the seating position on it that different from the 250R, both are pretty upright bikes with a slight lean forward. Both have comfy seats.
One big Con for the Seca is getting parts when something breaks or wears out. Also, newer shop mechanics won’t be familiar with the bike, and they may make some stupid mistakes with it (Stupid shop mistakes basically turned my 84 VF500F into a paper weight). If you get the Seca, your best bet is to find a small garage the specializes in older bikes. Or get a clymer manual and do a lot of the work yourself (Between the lack of fairing, and the air cooled engine, it is about as easy as 600s get to work on).
Sounds like I’m steering you away from the Seca, but I’m not. I happen to really like the bikes, I almost bought one as my first bike – it got sold out from under me
But owning an older bike takes some considerations that newer ones don’t, maintenance and parts in particular. If you think you’re up to it, and have a motorcycle salvage yard in your area, it’s a pretty awesome ride.
I wear a Joe Rocket M1 Tech jacket with Alter Ego pants, Icon gloves, and work boots.
I have very wide feet, and so no sport-bike type boot will fit my feet. The only motorcycle specific boots I’ve tried that fit were big ugly Harley Davidson branded boots that looked like the rubber boots of my toddler years (Motorcycle clothing should make you look young, but not THAT young!).
You can’t wear steel-toed boots to ride a bike (in a crash the steel toe cap will amputate your toes, not to mention the inability to feel your shift lever and foot brake). But other high backed leather work boots are essentially the same as motorcycle specific boots (the only real difference is motorcycle boots usually have additional leather in wear areas on the inside ankle and top toe where your shift lever hits). If you start to wear through those areas you can always go to an old-school shoe repairman and he can put additional leather in those areas.
There you go, custom motorcycle boots for the hard-to-fit foot, for less than the cost of a brand name motorcycle boot
Another option to armored jeans is armor you wear under your street jeans. Several companies make this stuff (I think icon does). I’ve never spoken with anyone who wears the stuff, but if it anything like my downhill mountainbike armour, it won’t be comfortable for long distances (it slowly slips down the knee as you move, unless you buy a full body suit, at which point, why not just buy a couple of set of the jeans?).
One last piece of gear that isn’t mentioned very often around here: Earplugs. The cheap disposable (33 db) ones last me about a week of daily use. The first few rides they take a bit of getting used to, but I no longer notice them at all. You can still hear everything around you, but it cuts down a lot of the wind noise and some of the high pitched sounds.
Wind noise, even in a good helmet, is loud enough to do hearing damage after about an hour on the bike. Se wearing earplugs helps save your hearing for later. But I wear them for the more immediate relief they bring. Noise tires you out mentally. I feel better after a long ride with earplugs than I do without. Simple as that.
Just buy a couple of single packs from a hardware store to find hte brand that you find most comfortable, then buy those in bulk (100 pairs for like $25-$40 from a big hardware store or online).
All The Gear All The Time
What is the price difference between the FZ6 and the Ninja 250R? How much of that is commission for the salesman…
The FZ6 is a fine 600cc standard. It uses the same engine as the current R6. It is targetted at experienced riders who want a fun fast street ride, but don’t do many track days and don’t want to deal with the discomfort of a full blown supersport.
It is only newb friendly in comparision to a supersport. It still has 90% of the issues concerning riding a 600cc supersport as your first bike – awesome brakes, powerful engine, responsive chassis, more weight to handle in slow speed maneuvers. Not saying it can’t be done, just saying it isn’t as friendly a bike to learn on as a 250.
Worst case scenario: You’re an awesome rider who loves eye-popping acceleration. You get bored with the Ninja 250 in two months, and sell it off as fast as you can, loosing some money in the process. You now know enough about bikes to make a decision on which bike you REALLY want for your next bike. And you know enough people / forums / local clubs to get a much better deal when buying a used bike.
Don’t commit to buying anything until after you’ve taken the MSF course. For one thing, it’ll mean you can ride your new baby home when you buy it, but for the other, you’ll have an idea of how fast a “slow” motorcycle accelerates. I have no worries about my ZZR-250 not being fast enough to keep me entertained.
If you check youtube you’ll see that there are people out there who have pulled off these things on the last generation ninja.
I’ve seen several ninja-250 / zzr-250 burn-out videos.
I’ve been told that the engine has the power to pull a wheelie, but it takes dropping the clutch at 11 000rpm.
Which takes a) guts, b) stupidity, c) lack of interest in the lift of your engine and clutch d) all of the above.
I must say, as much as I love seeing people pull stunts on mountain bikes and BMXs, I have *zero* respect for anyone who does likewise on a motorcycle on public roads. As they say, Take it to the Track (or empty parking lot in the case of stunting).
There are lowering seats for the DRZ that will chop an inch or to off. As well, dealerships are, I believe, able to lower the suspension an inch or two (this is done by using a shorter stiffer shock, so it won’t be as plush a ride). I’d call a local suzuki dealership to find out what options they have.
If you need more speed than a 250 you might want to look at the Versys. It has a fairly long travel suspension, with a seat that is only slightly higher than sport bike. The tires are primarily road, but handle gravel and access roads.
Similarly the BMW F650 is short by offroading standards, but will handle light offorad duties.
Neither of these options are terribly cheap, as the Versys is new, and the BMW is,well,a BMW.
I’m not sure just how “off road” you are, but if a car can get down the road without special considerations, most bikes should be able to as well. Although, I wouldn’t recommend medium or higher speeds on such roads. I’ve ridden an old UJM down pitted gravel roads and it wasn’t fazed one bit at 35mph (I however was scared out of my skull).
Do you accept COD?
How much to ship it to Canada? Do the leathers come with it? or are they extra?
I think I really need a full set of leathers if I’m going to ride that beast…