Forum Replies Created
Is there a way to “Mark read” an area in the forum? I’d like to be able to open up the Introduce yourself section, and get ride of any any unreads that don’t interest me, without having to open them all. Otherwise it is always telling me I haven’t read something…
In a word: yes.
The shadow 600 won’t over power you, nor is it going to be too heavy a bike for you. The power should be very manageable. A 600cc Cruiser is not like a 600cc sport bike. Since you’ll be going used, keep an eye out for similar sized bikes. The Vulcan 500 and Boulevard / Savage S40 (650cc) are similar sized bikes with similar power. Choosing between them is simply a matter of availability, price, and personal preference.
As for saving money, right now isn’t a bad time to start hunting for a used bike. A lot of people are upgrading for the new season, so old bikes are plentiful. I know a number of my local dealerships are overstocked with trade-ins. Once summer feels like it is here the deals will dry up until fall is in the air.
A note for haggling in the fall: Most people want to sell the bike before it needs to be stored for the winter. Around here winter storage costs $250-$400 for a bike. You can usually use that as leverage to knock a couple hundred dollars off the price of a bike.
I got all my gear at the Good Time Centre. They have the most accessories and clothing in the area. I don’t know about any of the shops outside of the ottawa area though.
For the Gearing Up course (equivilant to the MSF, and actually, what the MSF is based on – bet you never knew the MSF started in Ottawa, Canada, in the 50s!) I rode a 150cc Honda Titan (imported from Brazil specifically for the course). It has a very neutral sitting position, and lets you transition to any other style very easily. They also used (but are fazing out) Blasts and Super Sherpas. There was only one Rebel there, and it was the instructor’s bike.
Given the choice between a 2003 and a 2006, I’d go for which ever has the least klicks and looks to be in the best condition. If the 2003 is roughly $3000, it is only going to really depreciate another $500 in its life – which is good when you resell it. Where the 06 has that much more money to be “lost”. But I’ll happily pay $1000 more for a bike in good nick, that is going to be trouble free for years.
Insurance in Ontario for NEW riders who a) take the course, and b) are over 25 – has to be Rider’s Plus.
They will not insure supersports, or bikes older than 25 years, or anyone under 25. However, if you meet those criteria, then they charge based solely on the cc of the bike. A 250cc bike costs $720 liability if you’ve taken rider’s training. Which was $100 less than the best kingsway would give me. Once I have a few years of riding under my belt, I’ll look into other providers, but for a n00b, they are the cheapest I’ve been able to find.
As for where I learnt about the differences between the ZZR250 and the Ninja 250, http://faq.ninja250.org is a really great site. They deal mostly with the us spec Ninja, but discuss the ZZR every now and then. They have an article specifically talking about the differences between the ZZR and in the Old Ninja – But the author is comparing *his* ninja (which has had several upgrades) to the ZZR. Basically, we get all the upgrades he paid for, as stock.
Hey there, I’m in ontario, and I own a 2003 ZZR-250.
When I started looking into motorcycles last year, I read a line that stuck with me – do your trust your friend with your life? Because by having them teach you how to ride that is exactly what happens. You are trusting them to teach you, and teach you correctly, the base skills you need to live in the event of something unexpected. You will inheret every one of their bad habbits, plus develop those of your own (as everyone inevitably does).
If you do get lessons from her, I’d ride the bike she asks you to. Chances are you are going to drop it, if you drop the Ninja, the side panels alone are a couple of hundred dollars. The cruiser is easier to keep upright, and has less stuff to break if it drops. If you’re trusting her to teach you, trust her to put you on the bike she feels better for you (and for it).
Now then, between the new ninja 250r and the 2003 zzr-250. I know that many places have already sold out their allotment for the year (Ottawa Good Time Centre, the largest eastern Ontario dealership only had three left two weeks ago. One of my friends bought one of those three, and it won’t be delivered to the dealership until end of April).
There is no question that it is an awesome bike.
But the ZZR is a much better bike than the older US spec Ninja 250. The ZZR has better suspension, more powerful engine, and a host of other upgrades (hence why it cost almost as much as a ninja 500). I’ve put 300km on mine in the past week and absolutely love it. It handles rough roads far better than I expected, and the power is more than sufficent. The new 250R might have more mid range, but even keeping the revs low, I have yet to find myself thinking “this is not fast enough”. Usually my brain is saying something with a lot more four letter words (starting with “Holy”). One nice thign about the ZZR over the 250R is that the ZZR has a centre stand. Centre stands make lubing your chain, and doing any work on your bike, much much easier.
I think the only way a ZZR-250 would let you down is if you don’t like the styling. If you like the styling, then the differences between it and the new 250R will be so small you’ll never care about owning the older one over the new one.
Lastly, bike covers are a good thing, if only to keep bird crap off your seat
While the bike shop may sell one for a hundred dollars, Canadian Tire, and Princess Auto stores sell half decent ones for as little as $40. Just try to get one with vents so the cover doesn’t trap moisture (no point letting your new baby rust).
You’re gonna want pants too. If not from a protection point of view, then from the not getting soaked to the bone. It takes very little rain to soak jeans, but a lot of sun to dry them out. And when you are cruising at 40mph, any wetness on you is really bad news.
Now, in my defense, there was no snow on the road, and no snow was accumulating when I rode my bike home. I’m not *that* crazy…
I’ve been told the sportster is a surprisingly good starter bike. The low center of gravity, and generally small size makes it easier to handle than most other mid-sized cruisers.
The big reason no one suggests one is cost. H-Ds aren’t cheap (not just to buy, but repairs if you drop it can be more expensive than some japanese bikes).
The other thing I hear about H-Ds is that the clutch and transmission are heavy adn clunky. To some people, that agricultural feel is part of the experience, to others, it is a big dissapointment (You pay for a lexus, but it drives more like an old F-150).
All that said, I’ve never rideden one myself, and H-D certainly has its own little niche of buyers (now there is an understatement).
When I picked up my bike, I did so in 0 degrees C (30F) with rain and light snow. If you keep your speed down, modern tires are incredible things. Also, speed limits tend to be set for worst case scenarios. So if you ride at the posted limit (or slightly under) and keep watch for posted warning speeds on corners, the bike will be able to handle it.
I’ve driven what I thought were pretty crazy Florida mid-day rains (turns out my “crazy” is your “everyday”). I’m not sure I’d be comfortable on a bike in those… Heck, I wan’t comfortable in my car! I just organized my days to keep me off the road about 11:30am (which was when the rain hit every day for the week I was there).
That said, try not to ride on the road right when the rain starts (They’ll talk about this in the MSF – basically the initial half hour of rain rinses all the oil off the asphalt and can be dangerous in that time).
Also, I highly recommend a set of Fully-rainproof textiles (I wear Joe Rocket Alter-Ego pants).
Physical and Mental preperation makes the difference between totally miserable and enjoyable.
As Kick says, it’ll all come down to personal comfort and preference.
Mode C on the Gixxer still puts out a fair amount of power. Not as twitchy as B or A, since it is meant for riding in the rain.
Going with a Gixxer still has issues other than the raw power though. The brakes and turn in are very fast and not forgiving compared to something a little less track oriented.
I also find it odd that you found the gixxer more comfortable. I’ve sat on a ZZR-600 (Kawasaki’s “sport tourer” based on the older ZX-R 600) and my ZZR-250 (very similar to the Ninja 250R) and the 250 is far more comfortable for me (I’m a mere 6 foot). The ZZR600 has me crunched up, with the long seat on the 250 I can slide my butt back and stretch my legs a bit.
If you think the ninja 250r is comfortable, but you aren’t sure. Sit on it for 250 minutes in the store, seriously. Any good store will understand and happily chat with you over that time.
I also agree with the comment of a dual sport like the DRZ 400 or even one of the 650s. They are very tall bikes. The seat height on a DRZ is at least 4″ higher than on a super sport. The dual sports also handle very well. The only down side is if you don’t like the visual style.
The Versys 650 is also a pretty tall bike if you want the ergos of a dual sport with the look (sort of) of a sport – although they are still very new to the US, so finding a used one might be hard.
It is interesting that you think more cylinders is better. While this is as generic as saying more CC’s is better, I’ve always been of the other opinion.
Yes, a single or twin has a lot more low end torque, so if you twist the throttle hard, you’ll jump more than you would on a four cylinder. But the power is also much more linear. It is much easier to gague what increase in power a turn of the wrist will give you, because no matter where you are in the power band you’ll get a similar result. With an engine tuned for peak horsepower, you get drastically different results based on what rpm the engine is turning.
Twins are almost always described as forgiving engines. Whether it is V, L or parrallel, they are consistently called “friendly”.
As for singles, these are an even safer bet. Yes they have the most torque per cc, but they also have the lowest revs, and frankly, the lowest power. A 40hp single is not going to be throwing the front end of a cruiser in the air. On a dual sport that is pretty easy to do because the bike is so light and designed to do that.
So this shows what I see as a hole in your logic. You say the idea of a single doesn’t sit well because it’ll have more torque per cc, and thus be more jerky on the throttle. But, while the inlines and V-twins have less torque per cc, they also have more CCs (unless you are talking about another 500-650). So the net power is in fact greater – often even at the same rpm.
If you want to learn more about the various engine layouts, and what characteristics they have, these links here are pretty good (the entire beginner section at total motorcycle is pretty good imo):
And lastly, Kari has some REALLY good points about weight. I’m 6 foot, 180 pounds, and I am fairly fit. I find handling even a 450 pound bike to be real intimidating. I don’t think I’d be comfortable moving a 600 pound cruiser around on uneven or sloped surfaces. And not all parking spots are flat!
One last tip – always back into parking spots… no reverse gear = hell to push a bike up out of an inclined parking spot
Powerwise, it can absolutely handle you (capacity is 300pounds). Comfort wise, you’d need to sit on one and judge for yourself. I fit on my ZZR250 just fine and I’m 6 foot 180 pounds.
If you are taller in the inseam, but wanting to stay with 250cc look at a dualsport (like the KLX250). The Ninja 500 and Suzuki GS500 will also handle your dimensions just fine.
ABS is usually a very integrated thing. It requires sensors, actuators, and a control computer… I have never heard of an aftermarket ABS system for either bike or car.
On a 250 cruiser, I wouldn’t worry about need ABS.
If you take the MSF course they teach you how to threshold brake. If you plan to use the bike every day, rain or shine, then ABS has merrits (though how much merrit on a 250 is up for debate). If you only ride in good weather, or on roads an hour after the rain starts (to wash away the layer of oil on the rod surface) you should never be in a position where ABS would even be an issue. If you ride in the rain a lot, then you need to give yourself more time to stop…
I guess I’m saying, take the money you would have spent improving your bike, and use it to improve the most important part of the bike (you). Then ride carefully (lots of braking distance) in situations where you are afraid your wheels might lock.
just my opinion
I just want to add one thing to Kick’s excellent story – if you are helping someone who has crashed, and they want to lay down, do not make them get up and walk around. In fact, help them stay down and to move as little as possible. When I had my mountainbike crash, getting up and walking was the best thing I did for the pain in my head. However, as I found out later, it held great chance of being my last step.
Vertabrae can break without affecting the spinal column. But when you start to move, the broken vertabrae can move and cut the spinal column. This is why EMTs are so seriousy about spin boards and neck braces. Similarily, you should not be the one to take off a helmet. As Kick says, let them if they must (I know when I crashed I paniced and absolutely had ot get out of my helmet as fast as possible), but don’t you do it. The EMTs might, or hey might not (the local EMTs are now being told by ER surgeons to leave helmets on unless they absolutely have to remove the helmet – It is best to let the doctor remove it).
Thanks for sharing Kick.
Nice bike. A little too much contrast (imho) though, you hide some of the details of the bike in the black shadows. I wanna see the shine on those engine cooling fins, and the gold trim in the wheels would look awesome if it showed up in your first photo. Ditto for making the red in the suzuki logo stronger. It looks faded in top photo.
Man, show off the fins, the gold trim, and make that logo look new, and I’d hang it in my cubicle.March 27, 2008 at 3:23 pm in reply to: I am now, officially, as my MSF instructor said, biker TRASH!!! :) #5338
Title says it all. That bike is gorgeous. Glad to hear it rides well too.
I wish it was riding season around here… still got several feet of snow on the ground
A ninja 250 has a maximum rider weight of over 300 pounds.
It can do 100mph.
If a kid on a big wheel passes you, get his name and pass it to the olympic cycling team, they’re gonna want to meet him