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Iron Butt 2003: On an EX250?

9741 Views 22 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  mconlon
Congrats to Leon!
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Pretty incredible, considering the reliability problems these things have, I am in the process of re-building one for a costumer who uses it for track days and transportation, so far we have done the head twice (valves, rockers) one holed piston, and now the crank.

My hat off to Mr. Begeman :)
EX250? Unreliable?

I don't believe that's an accurate comment.

Indeed, the EX250 is bought by a lot of first time riders who ride them iinto the ground, before ever having the chance to discover what a capable little bike it *can* be. Sure, you're not going to win any speed records on one, but an experienced rider can certainly hold their own in twisty sections against just about any bike, except for pesky RS125's and their ilk.

New riders that ignore some simple break-in procedures (NOT those specified by Kawi) can indeed significantly shorten an EX250's potential lifespan. But well maintained ones commonly reach well over 50k and more on the clock.

As the bike has essentially changed little for almost 15 years now, parts are plentiful. And while the aftermarket has mostly ignored the bike in favor of higher margin stuporbikes a devoted core has figured out the most effective upgrades.

Sure, you'll never get past the outdated frame and even a "simple" wheel upgrade to get some decent choices of rubber is expensive. And true, you can only squeeze so much blood from a stone. 37bhp is about the max, from a stock 27 or so. BUT, it certainly *is* a fine bike to learn how to go quicker than snot on.

And they DO make one hell of a trackbike. :)


AFM #250 (was #610)
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Bad Ass.

If you read this Leon, full on congrats.

Now I really need to get my ass in gear and do the Iron Butt.

You should have said Iron Ass. Leon's accomplisment certainly meets the definition of that appellation. VWW
Great job Leon! (if you're listening)

My question though is how did rider #18 get by on 6961 miles when most everyone else had about 9000 or more miles?
More and more, real riders try the IBR on a less than ideal bike. In 2001, Paul Meredith finished on a 125 (and only had to rebuild the engine once!), while leaving his full-dress touring bike at home. Just goes to show, a real rider doesn't need dem stinken ergo's.
Cuz: While you do have certain 'mandatory' check-points to hit during the ride, the extra mileage comes from riders going after bonus points that are given for going to special places (or doing something special). Every rider can choose their own route based on how many bonus points they want.
LONG version of the article

As I've been following this for awhile, I have a longer version of Leons IBR - EX250 article, if you're curious about grisly details...


Bite him back, Jimmy!!

A pack of snarling terriers, those 250 jockeys!



(aka TwoFitty)
And what a tedious break in it is. My neighbor just bought one - at the recommended rev limit for the first 600 miles you're making 40 MPH in top gear. Lets see - that works out to more than 15 hours at less than 40 MPH. God bless her, she's a new rider and doing it by the book. But it's my guess that no other sport-bike- minded biker is gonna' put up with that crap. I expect the odds of finding a properly broken-in EX250 are about a zillion to one.
Re: EX250? Unreliable?

I speak from experience, and I have friends who work at Kawasaki dealers who will tell you the same thing, break in period or not, they had the same problems 15 years ago, ocassionaly you get a good one, but that is the exception to the rule, of course if that is what you like to ride, less power to you!

Leon ROCKS!!!

As a newbie, and very proud owner of a second hand Ninja 250 (from eBay no less), I cannot be happier about Leon's accomplishment.

For all Newbies, and not so Newbies, the Ninja 250 is a damn fantastic bike. Sure it has it's share of woes from time to time, and is not the most techy or sexy bike out there, and yes I get smirked at from time to time, but I cannot think of a friendlier, learning tool.

I make some major mistakes riding my Ninja, especially when it comes to the entire "smoothness" thing. If I were on any other bike (say the CBR 600 I so wanted), I'd probably find myself in a heap of hurt. But the brave, little Ninja is a forgiving dance partner, and allows you to make and correct your mistakes. Not to mention the 14000 RPM redline, and the bike's absolute willingness to have the ***** revved out of it.

I wholly recommend the bike to anyone looking to get into sportbiking, or anyone looking to re-enter biking. Sheeeyit, I recommend it to even the crustiest, hard charging, Gixxer fanatic as well. Sure you have power to run away and hide from anyone on a little old 250, but I bet they can't have as much fun tipping in from side to side.

Seriously, I'm 5'10" and 230 lbs, and my little Ninja is basically stock except for some aesthetic details the previous owner made, but maaaan my little betty of a bike puts the biggest smile on my face, and if you give it a chance, it will put one your mugs as well.
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Good for you. Smart starting with something small, you'll be a better rider in the end. I have never rode the Ninja 250 but have have heard many say it is probably the most capable 250 machine out there. The main thing is you are having fun. I remember riding the 250's in MSF course and I had a blast especially come test time and I had gotten used to the bike.

My wife is learning to ride with a dirt bike this summer and I'm looking for a 250 Ninja for her to start riding on the street. It's one of a very few sportbikes that a shorter person can put their feet flat on the ground. It would be nice if Kawasaki would update it a bit, but probably won't since a lot of people like it just the way it is.

Hmmm, makes me think the IBR on my 500R is not such a far fetched idea....
Dude, it's FJ1200 that's venerable.

The FJR1300 is only 3 years old.


Obviously it can be done, but is it worth it?

Do a Saddle Sore 1000 (SS1000) first to get the feel for the documentation required by the IBA then go for a Bun Burner Gold 1500 (BBG1500) or a 50CC (coast to coast in under 50 hours) to build up endurance.

Once you can knock those down, shoot for any one of the endurance rallies around the country: Waltz Across Texas, Utah 1088, etc. These will get you familiar with planning routes during a timed rally to gain points as well as serve to introduce you to the Endurance riding family.

If your 500R is the bike for you it will be obvious during the SS1000 believe me. Endurance riding can be done on just about anything that is true however it takes a special kind of person to do it on an EX250 or a 500R for than matter.

Good luck and stop for a rest when you start hallucinating! :)
Paul Taylor (winner '03 IBR) or Peter Hoogeveen not "real" riders because they rode a BMW1150GS (for the win) and a FJR1300 (fifth) this year? I don't think so.

During the 2001 IBR Hoogeveen rode his CBR1100XX 400 miles on dirt roads in Alaska to get the 500,000 bonus point for Prudoe Bay. That's about 300 miles north of the Arctic circle on the Arctic Ocean. The first bike to make it to the bonus location was an ST1100 ridden by Alan Barbic.

Alan finished 7th overall in the 2001 IBR and Hoogeveen finished 3rd.

Yes it is always impressive to see the hopeless class riders finish (2001 had Leonard Aron complete the Rally on a 1938 Indian Chief!) and it's even more impressive to have one finish near the top ten. But don't take anything
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Re: Iron Butt 2003: On an EX250? continued

... away from the other men and women who comete in this most incredible Rally event.
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