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Thread: Sportsbike Question: Ninja 250R

  1. #1

    Sportsbike Question: Ninja 250R

    So as mentioned in my last thread, I was heavily leaning towards purchasing a cruiser. However, my curiosity got the best of me and I decided to butt test a sportsbike. Well, much to my chagrin the ergos were quite pleasing and the light feel of the bike is easily a selling point for me. With that being said, I have a few things to ask you, my friends and fellow riders.

    Just a small retelling of who I am and what I am looking for. 5'11 or so, 170 lbs, strong and athletic paramedic. Live south of Pittsburgh. Lots of hills and twisties. The fastest highway in my area is 65 mph and is fairly short with minimal traffic. Will do a fair amount of urban with some rural, backroad riding. The steepest incline I will face is three-mile hill which is fairly steep but a car can do 65 up it fairly well plus some extra pull. I will use my bike for commuting anywhere from 0.7 miles to 20 or so. Plus I would like do some weekend riding but probably no farther than 300 miles tops. I am not a speed demon but I figure 65-75 mph is about what I would like to do on the highway to keep up with traffic or enough power to get the hell out of the way.

    I butt tested a Kawasaki 250R (new) and a few 500s. I really liked the 250R for the styling and lightweight. I don't plan on doing much 2-up other than giving rides here or there AFTER I become a better rider. But I also like the GS500 though I prefer the 250R look much better. Based on my needs and wants (playing in the twisties as I get better), would a 250R be enough or more than enough for my needs and wants. I realize that one day I will probably upgrade to maybe a Ninja 650 (amazing looking and feeling bike based on butt test, I couldn't help myself). But right now, the price is right and based on my experience, a 250R seems reasonable.

    So if you fine folks could comment, it would be greatly appreciated.

    All the best,
    DU

  2. #2
    RiderCoach 3000 Posts! Prof._HH's Avatar
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    The 250 is a great bike. It's more than enough to meet your needs. I'm sure he'll chime in with some specifics but Caeman commuted on one for quite a while doing interstate speeds (40 miles each way iirc). I think it's a little cramped to go 2-up for longer (several hour) rides. Just cruising around town or short trips would be fine. The EX500 and GS500 are both great bikes too.

    A couple reasons it felt more comfy than you expected:
    1 - you haven't sat on a sport bike and were basing an opinion on what you've heard about them (guessing on that one). The sports can be comfy for some - there's a guy on here that just put 1000 miles over the weekend on his ZX14. While I think I'd really enjoy that bike around town, it wouldn't be my thing on a long ride like that - he tries to convince me it comfortable though.

    2 - the 250r isn't what I'd call a sport. It has the look down pat - I really like the new fairings they've put on them the last couple years. The 250 is really a standard. The foot pegs are lower and in front of the hip (closer to being below the knee). The hand controls are higher up too - opposed to clips below the upper tripple.

    That rambled a bit. The short answer is, the 250 is a great bike. You can tour with it, you can ride it 2-up, it's a standard seat, it'll have no problem on the interstate (or twisties) & it's a great bike to learn to ride with.
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    Flirting With The Redline 1000 Posts! jay956's Avatar
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    i used to commute all the time on my ninja 250, 37 miles each way, half highway, half city. it did great.
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    Flirting With The Redline 6000 Posts! Afflo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 498 View Post
    So as mentioned in my last thread, I was heavily leaning towards purchasing a cruiser. However, my curiosity got the best of me and I decided to butt test a sportsbike. Well, much to my chagrin the ergos were quite pleasing and the light feel of the bike is easily a selling point for me. With that being said, I have a few things to ask you, my friends and fellow riders.
    Your experience parallels mine almost to a T! Went into the shop looking at cruisers, but they didn't feel quite right. A Ninja 250 felt great... I didn't chose it, it chose me!

    Just a small retelling of who I am and what I am looking for. 5'11 or so, 170 lbs, strong and athletic paramedic. Live south of Pittsburgh. Lots of hills and twisties. The fastest highway in my area is 65 mph and is fairly short with minimal traffic. Will do a fair amount of urban with some rural, backroad riding. The steepest incline I will face is three-mile hill which is fairly steep but a car can do 65 up it fairly well plus some extra pull. I will use my bike for commuting anywhere from 0.7 miles to 20 or so. Plus I would like do some weekend riding but probably no farther than 300 miles tops. I am not a speed demon but I figure 65-75 mph is about what I would like to do on the highway to keep up with traffic or enough power to get the hell out of the way.
    It'll be fine. I frequently rode a hill like that with my 250R.: less than 100 to 500 ft elevation over 2 miles and some change, 65 mph speed limit, traffic running along at 70 I used to have a 4 cylinder Jeep Wrangler that strained to make it. The Ninja 250 took it with ease (usually had to drop it a gear). It does great on the twisties, and the new one, with preload adjustment and stiffer front forks, should handle even better for you. If your legs fit on a new 250R, you're set. (mine don't).

    I butt tested a Kawasaki 250R (new) and a few 500s. I really liked the 250R for the styling and lightweight. I don't plan on doing much 2-up other than giving rides here or there AFTER I become a better rider. But I also like the GS500 though I prefer the 250R look much better. Based on my needs and wants (playing in the twisties as I get better), would a 250R be enough or more than enough for my needs and wants.
    Absolutely. I put 4500 miles on my 250R in similar conditions. it becomes a bit painful after a 5-6 hour day, but otherwise did well enough.

    I realize that one day I will probably upgrade to maybe a Ninja 650 (amazing looking and feeling bike based on butt test, I couldn't help myself). But right now, the price is right and based on my experience, a 250R seems reasonable.
    And I can attest that from a 250R, a 650R is a very natural, very easy transition. After some time on the 250R, you'll likely be thinking "This bike would be perfect if it only had ____." It was something that developed slowly for me. The 650R is what I would've received if I'd sent the 250R off to Kawasaki with a list of things to fix. With the new 250R, you'll likely have fewer complaints, as they DID fix many of the long-time complaints.


    So if you fine folks could comment, it would be greatly appreciated.

    All the best,
    DU
    As I mentioned, I had my 250R for 4500 miles (about 6 months), and traded it for a 650R (3500 miles - 6 more months, bought it in January). The only complaint I've had about the 650R is I wish it had a bit more legroom. But, I've found ways to work around it to make it comfortable for me. A bit more legroom, and I probably would've kept the 250R longer; my the bars hit my knees at full-lock turns, and it was a bit cramped for longer rides. Still, I wouldn't think twice to recommend one as a starter. For someone who wants to play on the twisties, it's perfect.

    We now have another 250R in the garage; my wife just got hers a few weeks ago.

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  5. #5
    Flirting With The Redline 1000 Posts! Tyee's Avatar
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    My first bike was a Ninja 250R. I rode it in town, out of town. It was quite the forgiving bike to start with, especially when learning to start from a stop facing up hill, and realizing the bike was not in any gear, after letting go of the brake and giving it some gas to go forward, and it starts to go "backward" down the hill. I would have dropped a heavier bike and paid a buncha money to fix it. But I was able to stop the drop with the Ninja 250R.

    This is a picture of my 2002 Ninja 250R when I went on a group ride around Crater Lake in Oregon, a year ago.


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  6. #6
    Flirting With The Redline squareman357's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prof._HH View Post
    ...there's a guy on here that just put 1000 miles over the weekend on his ZX14. While I think I'd really enjoy that bike around town, it wouldn't be my thing on a long ride like that - he tries to convince me it comfortable though.
    My ears are burning... and it was 1478 all told for the weekend...

    Now back to your regularly scheduled Ninja 250R conversation...great bike by the way, lightweight, fun to flick around, easy to manage for a newer rider, still fun for a more experienced rider...can't go wrong there.
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  7. #7
    You know, of all the bikes I have carefully and methodically reviewed specifically in the beginner/novice category, this has probably been the bike that has been mentioned above all else as being darn near perfect for someone in my situation. Now, being the consummate researcher (science geek by college training), I am curious on thoughts regarding 500-650 bikes as beginner. Please note that I AM NOT PURCHASING A 650 NOW!!!

    But a few people, here and other places on-line have stated they learned on a Ninja 650 with no problems. I suppose that I see how it is possible, but why and do you really need that much get up and go right away. What advantage as a bike does a 650 have over a 250 for my situational riding needs and wants?

    DU

  8. #8
    Flirting With The Redline 6000 Posts! SKnight's Avatar
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    The bigger bikes cruise higher speeds better, usually ride better not because of displacement but because of better suspension, tend to have better brakes.

    Note "Usually" and "tend".

    For your situation there's no real advantage to a 650. I have as much fun riding the 250 in the driveway as the 1300, I have to shift a lot, but I'm far from a lightweight. It'll do 100 easily enough, so I can keep pace with Atlanta traffic.

    And Afflo, look into a set of Buell pegs. They're dropped 1" and can be adapted to most bikes.

    Stay safe, keep the shiny side up and never pass up a chance to go after that horizon.

  9. #9
    Flirting With The Redline We've stopped counting... caeman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prof._HH View Post
    The 250 is a great bike. It's more than enough to meet your needs. I'm sure he'll chime in with some specifics but Caeman commuted on one for quite a while doing interstate speeds (40 miles each way iirc).
    I loved my Ninja 250. I commuted daily, putting on 15,000 miles with much of that 70+MPH. Once you get used to the feel (the buzz) and do things like swap out the main sprocket with a 15t, put on a gel bad seat and gel grips, it was quite comfy doing 1-up.

    68 MPG achieved on a regular basis. 100-mile round trip to and from work.

    I only moved up to the Concours because my wife wanted to ride with me and she swore after a short 150-mile day ride on the back of the Ninja that she would never ride it again. She is SHORT, like 4'11.5" short. Way too cramped even for her as a passenger.

    EDIT: I rode mine nearly 15,000 miles.
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  10. #10
    Flirting With The Redline 6000 Posts! Afflo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orpheus View Post
    The bigger bikes cruise higher speeds better, usually ride better not because of displacement but because of better suspension, tend to have better brakes.

    Note "Usually" and "tend".

    For your situation there's no real advantage to a 650. I have as much fun riding the 250 in the driveway as the 1300, I have to shift a lot, but I'm far from a lightweight. It'll do 100 easily enough, so I can keep pace with Atlanta traffic.

    And Afflo, look into a set of Buell pegs. They're dropped 1" and can be adapted to most bikes.

    I saw that (Gypsyangel posted it), but I have some reservations about doing it. The angle on the brake pedal and the shifter are already on the border of being too high. If I dropped the pegs, I'd have to lower the brake pedal (which, other than being a PITA, would still be pretty functional) and the shift lever (I've tried lowering it just for S's and G's, and because it's got a backward shift lever mounted straight to the transmission, it becomes difficult to actuate when lowered).


    Quote Originally Posted by caeman View Post
    I loved my Ninja 250. I commuted daily, putting on 15,000 miles with much of that 70+MPH. Once you get used to the feel (the buzz) and do things like swap out the main sprocket with a 15t, put on a gel bad seat and gel grips, it was quite comfy doing 1-up.

    68 MPG achieved on a regular basis. 100-mile round trip to and from work.

    I only moved up to the Concours because my wife wanted to ride with me and she swore after a short 150-mile day ride on the back of the Ninja that she would never ride it again. She is SHORT, like 4'11.5" short. Way too cramped even for her as a passenger.

    EDIT: I rode mine nearly 15,000 miles.
    The 250 really runs pretty smooth and vibration free. I can feel a cell phone in my pocket set to vibrate on the 250R. For me, the geometry was simply a little tight for long rides.
    2011 Triumph America, made perfect with another Corbin Seat.
    (sold) '08 Ninja 650R with super-comfy Corbin seat
    (sold) '06 Ninja 250R, possibly best learning-bike ever.

    "For me it is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring."
    - Carl Sagan - "The Demon-Haunted World" - fantastic read!

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