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New Ninja looks cool, too!

The new 2008 Ninja 250 looks cool! It is more in line with modern sport bike styling. You can even tour on them if you want.

This year a my brother, his wife and I went on 2,000 mile ride. She rode her Ninja 250 (with saddlebags) and had no trouble keeping up with us. One warning... watch out for passing big rigs on the highways. The wind blast they generate has a tendency to push the little Ninja around a bit more than a bigger bike. Enjoy!
 

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You certainly have a dilemma. To be comfortable, you need to either get your feet out in front (ala chopper style) or back behind you. How are your knees? Most of the smaller bikes that are best to learn on will not fit you. You may want to consider an old dual-sport like the Kawasaki KLR 650 for learning. Perhaps an older Nighthawk (90's vintage), as the seat is a little wider.

I am 6'5" with a 36" inseam. I learned on a 1985 Honda Nighthawk CB700SC. It was a tight fit, but overall a great starter bike for me. I recently upgraded to Buell Ulysses, which fits me perfectly. I can ride all day in complete comfort. I would NOT recommend the Buell as a starter bike, because it has way too much power.
 

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Based on your needs, I would suggest a maxi-scooter (unless you are opposed to them). Look at the Suzuki Bergman, the Honda Silverwing or the new Yamaha T-Max. They all have excellent built-in storage to protect your gear, have plenty of power for the freeway, and will get 60+ mpg.

If you are into bikes, look at a used Honda Nighthawk 750. It has a relatively upright riding position, gets 50+ mpg and has plenty of power to spare.
 

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They are definitely not toys. Check 'em out.
Sachi is wise beyond her years. The are NOT toys. They are practical and respected ways of transport, capable of speed well over 100 mph (which can get your license revoked, leaving you walking, in the wrong speed zone).

The new Yamaha T-Max is supposed to offer the convenience of a scooter with the performance of a sport bike. There is a video on YouTube of a dude rippin' it up on a T-Max on a tight race circuit. Check it out.

Two other bikes to consider:
Aprilia Shiver - 750cc of Italian cool with plenty of guts for highway runs
Suzuki SV650 ABS - safety of ABS with v-twin grunt, the standard for standards
 

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Hello all,
I'm looking to buy a motorcycle for the first time and start riding. I'm looking for a cruiser that will be my daily driver and am hoping for some advice. I'm 6'4" so I don't fit on some of the smaller bikes (I was going to buy a used v-star 650 but it was too small) therefore I'm looking at mid-size to larger cruisers. What would be a good choice for a first time rider between a Yamaha V-star 950, Suzuki Boulevard C50, Kawasaki Vulcan 900, or a Honda Shadow Aero? Thanks in advance for any advice sent my way.
My build is similar to yours (6'5", 195lbs, 36" inseam). None of the standard cruisers fit me comfortably with one or two exceptions. H-D Wide Glide with forward control extensions was great. Also, the Victory line of bikes was pretty good. Problem is, they are both expensive first bikes.

I rode for two years on a 1985 Honda Nightwawk CB700SC. It was a great first bike, plenty of power, low maintenance, and cheap to insure. It wasn't great at long-distance comfort. Any more than 2 hours on the bike and I would need a butt break.

My buddy had a Honda Shadow Aero, but it was way too cramped for me. Try them all out, but at your size, you may want to look at a standard. And a Sachi often points out, just because it feels good in the showroom doesn't mean it will be comfortable out on the road.
 

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What is your inseam and weight?
 

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So if I were to buy a ninja, let's say, what would you pay for a used one? I am in college and so there is NO way I can afford a new one, but I don't want to be ripped off! Also, would you recommend any specific year?
$1500 to $2000 is a good price, depending on condition and mileage. A gal I know got a two year old Ninja 250 with a couple thousand miles on it for $2000. It was nearly new (if a little dusty from being kept in the shed... unridden).
 

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So, I like traditional bikes, not sport bikes (they look fun they're just not my preference), and based on brand recognition, budget, aesthetics and rating I seem to have fallen in love with the 70's era Honda CB350.
Have you seen the Suzuki TU250 yet? It is a new bike (new to the US) and it has fuel injection and modern electronics. But it also has the styling of the older UJMs (universal Japanese motorcycles). Check it out on the Suzuki website. Another similar option is the Nighthawk 250.

If you can find a low mileage older model CB, that would be a decent starter bike. Keep looking. Something will come up.
 

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Well, just look at youtube, and you'll see you're right about the douchebaggery...part of the time. I have no idea of the percentage, but not everyone's like that. Just like not all Harley owners look down on metric bikes and crotch rockets.
So, the next question is: Why does the douchebaggery bother you? If it's that those types of people will challenge you, just ignore them. People are people, and the d-bags simply manifest their nature differently on different motorcycles. The solution's kind of the same: ignorance. Er...you know what I mean.

If it's that people will think you're a d-bag based on appearance, you're limited to either controlling your own self image or picking a different bike with similar characteristics. What I mean is that there aren't any James Bond disguise kits for Ninjas, so people are gonna know what it is. You can:
1. deal with it, telling yourself that you are the exception (and will probably meet a lot of other cool exceptions just like you).
2. get a pre-'08 model which doesn't look as ultrasporty. When I considered this, my only extra consideration was changing the front suspension spring thingy (forget the name). That's kind of the only thing that wasn't "perfect" about those bikes, from what I can tell.
3. find another, but kind of similar bike. I can't help here, because the only other similar bikes I can think of look kind of...you guessed it: similar. Maybe someone else'll chime in.
Excellent advice, Sartorius! Said another way: People will percieve you, Jofaba, for how you ride.
 

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I got approved for financing! Means I just need to take the MSF course and come up with around $2,300 (includes all taxes, fees, msf course, insurance, etc). Should be in the seat and on the road in the next 6-8 weeks!
Congrats! Love to hear about your experiences as you learn. It's always a fresh reminder to hear from the newbs. Keeps us on our toes!
 

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Q: Does downshifting too early hurt the bike?

4. Coming to a complete start, keeping the engine running, and then taking off again almost seems impossible right now. I know it will come.

I almost dumped it once to my utter astonishment. I stalled coming out of a stop sign practice turning left. I think that I was in a higher gear than I realized, and there was no gunning or luching, but there was enough weight and momentum to make the bike suddenly want to tip left.
Yes, downshifting early can damage a bike. Try not to downshift too early. Let the speed drop by letting off the throttle and using your brakes and then downshift before the bike hits the stall point.

Don't worry about the starting up. It will come. Be gentle with your clutch hand.
 

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As long as I'm using the clutch for my shifting, is there any immediate danger that I pose to my bike while learning through these mishaps? I mean can it take a little abuse during my first few days?

Q: Do you generally find yourself dropping back down into first all all during a ride? What's the highest gear you'd recommend being at a stop light at? I don't mean for quick take offs; I mean what would you downshift to as you approach a stop light?
When you are stopped at a traffic light, your bike should be in first gear. For me, it's a simultaneous process of downshifting while coming to a stop.

As far as bikes go, most can take a little abuse -- some can take a lot. You should be fine. Learn away.
 

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Thanks for your help man! Looks like it's going to be a clear weekend so I know what I'll be doing. I hope I figure out how to come out of a stop without stalling the bike, because that's what's keeping me from even attempting town riding.

Supposed to rain tomorrow but if it hasn't started yet in the morning I'll probably take her for another spin and try your advice on downshifting.
Going to spend most of the night researching gear shifting in general.
Did you bike come with an owner's manual? Most owner's manuals have suggestions for shift points (at what speed to upshift and downshift er gear).
 

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Yeah but it's confusing... (EDIT, no, not the original. I downloaded one in pdf. Thanks for reminding me about it though, going to read the section on shifting again. This down shift point chart makes no sense though)

SHIFT UP POINTS
1ST->2ND: 9.9mi/h
2ND->3RD: 14.9mi/h
3RD->4TH: 19.9mi/h
4TH->5TH: 24.9mi/h

SHIFT DOWN POINTS
5TH->4TH: 12.5mi/h
4TH->3RD: 12.5mi/h
3RD->2ND: 12.5mi/h
2ND-1ST: 12.5mi/h
Yeah. The downshift chart is bogus. One option is to turn the upshift chart on its head (i.e. downshift from 5th to 4th at 24 mph). I don't recommend that.

Usually, you would downshift from a higher gear to a lower gear at a slower speed than you would upshift. For example, if you upshift from 4th to 5th at 25 mph, then you would downshift from 5th to 4th around 18-20mph, 4th to 3rd at around 15-17 mph, etc. However, I'm not sure how this would work for your bike, because your numbers seem messed up.
 

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Today I was switching entirely because I felt I should have been because I was slowing down. But third gear (I think thats where I was) felt and sounded perfectly fine for crawling past a Yield sign. But I felt I was doing it wrong and downshifted into second and that was like suddenly riding through six inches of syrup.
That's the joy of "learning" your bike. You gut told you third gear was wrong. Your gut was right. Stay safe out there!
 

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Question; as you know I'm very nervous about hurting my bike with all this trial and error. What kind of mistakes would cause real issues, and how would I know there was an issue? One thing that concerns me is how the higher gears sound.
What would really hurt your bike is downshifting at too high a speed and having the engine seize up. Again, a good reason to bleed speed with the brakes and with the engine until the just before the bike begins to lug, and then downshift.
 

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I deleted the rest of the post. It's the same rant that I've posted here before. Blah blah blah, gearing is insanely low, blah blah blah, I'm starting to hate the bike. I'll get over it. I just don't see how this gearing makes sense in anyone's eyes.

I mean come on, when the light turns green I have to be in third gear by the time I'm riding under it or I have no power and it sounds like I'm on a race track. It's just starting to feel like one of two things is coming down the road; either I'm going to start despising the bike or I'm going to destroy it. Or both I guess is also an option.
Don't sweat it. There are training suggestions that the MSF offer, but then again, they are only suggestions. If you bike is geared that low, and it were my bike, I would just shift up through gears as appropriate -- even if it means upshifting while accelerating through an intersection.
 

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I just found a website dedicated to this particular model and registered so I can bug the right people. It's selfish of me to continuously rant and dominate the past few pages of this thread, especially since most people here are riding much larger displacement bikes. I'm not going anywhere, I just think it's more appropriate to bug a room full of people riding the same bike.

That said, it looks like a very common upgrade that nearly everyone there has done is to change their gearing ratio to make more sense of the spread, so I guess it's not just me after all =P

Thanks Dr for all your help and I plan to be here quite often once I get my sheet together.
Sure thing! Also, as new problems or questions crop up, feel free to start a new thread in the appropriate forum. Looking forward to more posts!
 

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I am looking at a Kawasaki Vulcan 750(1997) and a hondashadow 750(1998) both bikes are roughly 3,000 to much motor for a beginner? too much $$ for a first bike? I'd love some advice on this if you don't mind.. Thanks, Mark
Mowhawk gnade, I have known several riders to start on the Shadow 750 and do alright. With the proper training and some sensibility, you should do okay. Did you take the MSF novice rider course (or similar) yet?

As far as the difference between the Kawi and the Honda, I cannot offer anything. Perhaps the old salts here can chime in. Moke? Sarnali? Seruzawa?
 
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