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Get the small bike, ride a year or two on the road, and then upgrade.



I mostly ride old bikes (Brit bikes) with about 40 hp, and yet I find that on curvy roads I'm up there with the squids most of the time. Comes from learning good (smooth) technique. You'll be a better rider for starting small and learning to use what you have.
 

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The 250 is a fine selection, especially if purchased used. Plenty of people buy them new, ride a few miles, and then move up, putting their 250 up for sale at a bargain price. A year would be the minimum I would spend riding the quarter liter Ninja. The anticipation of moving up to a larger bike is always greater, in my opinion, than the actual move. Enjoy that anticipation for a year while you hone your skills on something a lot less likely to get you in trouble. Ignore all those who tell you that you can kill yourself just as fast on a 250 as on a 600. Oh yea, if you decide to go with a new purchase, ignore those who tell you to break it in like the way you are going to ride it. I suggest something off the wall like following the break in instructions in the owners manual.
 

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Buy the 600, just use some self control with the noise-maker until you are thoroughly comfortable with it.



A huge part of being a successful motorcyclist is exercising self restraint, if you can't ride a 600 like a 250 then walk away.
 

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I'm new to the sport as well and bought a used Suzuki GS500. Its a lot nicer than the 250's I rode during the MSF course and has alot to offer the new rider. I've been very pleased with my purchase and am likely to get most of my money back when I upgrade next year. I priced out the Ninja 250 in the used market when I bought my GS500 and didn't see much of a difference in price.
 

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I've read in more than one place that its more fun to ride a slow bike fast than a fast bike slow....



I'm riding an old Kaw 750 twin, and am considering upgrading to a 250 Ninja next year for the light weight, more nimble chassis, 13,500 rpm redline, and low price.
 

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I've read in more than one place that its more fun to ride a slow bike fast than a fast bike slow....

So true...the great thing about the ninja is it's one of the few (only?) 250s that will do freeway speed (in the northeast anyway) all day long no problem, and STILL have a little room for more just in case.

If you've got the cash the 500 would be a great choice too, if only because the suspension is WAY better than the 250 (however you can always slap some 500 shocks on a 250 for like $50 if you do it yourself).

Like someone else already said...it's all about self control. I've ridden a Suzuki Intruder 800 since I got my license and have not had any problems whatsoever. IMO a hooligan will be a hooligan whether on a 250 or a 1000.

For a first bike I don't think displacement is important at all (barring insurance). What you should be considering is will the bike be a good bike for LEARNING to ride on, ie. is it going to let you develop as a rider? Is the torque curve basically flat or is it the bike going to lumber up through glitchy caburetion to 7k rpm, and then suddenly you'll be gripping the bars for dear life? How's the clutch? Does it engage nice smoothly with a big friction zone, or is it practically an on/off deal...and do you think that a sensitive clutch is going to make it a pain to ride or help you to learn better clutch control? Lots of other things to consider (brakes, riding position, drivetrain, vibrations, etc. etc.) but don't want to make this TOO long.

Unfortunately most of this stuff can only be figured out by riding the bike, which most dealers won't let you do, and the MSF only gives you a couple choices and they usually won't let you change bikes during the course. What I'd recommend is that you ask yourself what you want your bike to do (twisties, boulevard cruising, cross-country road trips, all of the above), then shop around, read reviews, find a friend or a friend of a friend or anyone that has a bike you're interested in and see if they'll let you try it out. Rather than just asking "hey guys what's a good beginner bike?" try "what would you guys recommend for a beginner looking for ."

Once you're fairly sure what you want your bike to do, it'll be easier for everyone else to help you out.

Ride safe!
 

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I've read in more than one place that its more fun to ride a slow bike fast than a fast bike slow....

So true...the great thing about the ninja is it's one of the few (only?) 250s that will do freeway speed (in the northeast anyway) all day long no problem, and STILL have a little room for more just in case.

If you've got the cash the 500 would be a great choice too, if only because the suspension is WAY better than the 250 (however you can always slap some 500 shocks on a 250 for like $50 if you do it yourself).

Like someone else already said...it's all about self control. I've ridden a Suzuki Intruder 800 since I got my license and have not had any problems whatsoever. IMO a hooligan will be a hooligan whether on a 250 or a 1000.

For a first bike I don't think displacement is important at all (barring insurance). What you should be considering is will the bike be a good bike for LEARNING to ride on, ie. is it going to let you develop as a rider? Is the torque curve basically flat or is it the bike going to lumber up through glitchy caburetion to 7k rpm, and then suddenly you'll be gripping the bars for dear life? How's the clutch? Does it engage nice smoothly with a big friction zone, or is it practically an on/off deal...and do you think that a sensitive clutch is going to make it a pain to ride or help you to learn better clutch control? Lots of other things to consider (brakes, riding position, drivetrain, vibrations, etc. etc.) but don't want to make this TOO long.

Unfortunately most of this stuff can only be figured out by riding the bike, which most dealers won't let you do, and the MSF only gives you a couple choices and they usually won't let you change bikes during the course. What I'd recommend is that you ask yourself what you want your bike to do (twisties, boulevard cruising, cross-country road trips, all of the above), then shop around, read reviews, find a friend or a friend of a friend or anyone that has a bike you're interested in and see if they'll let you try it out. Rather than just asking "hey guys what's a good beginner bike?" try "what would you guys recommend for a beginner looking for ."

Once you're fairly sure what you want your bike to do, it'll be easier for everyone else to help you out.

Ride safe!
 

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Based on what exactly would you suggest to follow the manufacturer's break-in instructions more than any other? There is some well documented data out there showing that this is not necessarily better for an engine (often quite the contrary, in fact).
 

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The Ninja 250 might be OK, depending on your size, but if you are a very big guy, it will seem very cramped. They are small.



Have you considered a v-strom 650? It is physically a very big bike, but the power is much more linear than a 600cc sport bike, and if you are used to riding dirt bikes, you would feel right at home (similar riding position). It is a bike that will keep up with anything in the twisties, but has very smooth managable power. I have a friend that like you had never owned a streetbike, but had ridden dirt bikes a fair bit as a kid. He bought a v-strom 650 and made the transition easily. It would be a bike you could grow with for a few years and then move on to a full-on sportbike.
 

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A friend of mine just took the MSF course and bought a GS500F and she just loves it. She says she doesn't believe that m/cing was that much and is sorry she didn't start years ago.



Since you have dirt experience you also might consider a Suzuki DRZ400. It's similarly priced and you can have fun in the dirt while building street skills.



Or even a 600 Katana might work for you since you already have basic skills. It has a more friendly powerband than the gixxers.
 

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Forget engine size... think about seating position.



My stance is that a new rider will have a much easier time on a more upright bike. Besides, any bike that has been labelled as a good "beginner bike" will have excellent resale value. In most cases you will be able to sell it for what you paid for it.



Think:

EX250

EX500

GS500

ZR7



 

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I was in just your psition a few months ago. couldn't decide if the 250 would be annoyingly small/slow. Well, I ended up buying a 2005 ninja 250, and i'm completely happy that I did. Of course, it's my first bike, so I don't have a huge frame of reference, but it does everything I've asked it to do, and done it well. The small size is convenient for fitting into a one car garage at the same time as my car. I'm 6'1", 195 lbs, and I don't feel cramped on it at all. The only thing that I have to be aware of is that my weight can bottom out the fork under heavy breaking. it's light, so you can pick it up really easily if you tip it over. Great gas mileage- I've been getting around 60 mpg. Fun to ride, too- I live in the Bay area, so i've been checking out grizzly peak rd in berkeley, and going on 121 and 128 over to Sacramento. You'll be slower than virtually any other MC, but you're still faster than any cage other than a crazy sports car. I'll probably move up to something bigger in a year or so, but i'm in no hurry at all- the ninja's fun!
 

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Frankly,



of all the people I know who bought a 600 as a first bike, I know only 1 who is a) still alive and not badly hurt b) still rides bikes.



And, yeah, all of them thought "I am responsible, I can handle this."



Ninja 500R, Suzuki GS500, SV650 are perfect and most importantly more enjoyable for a beginner. DO NOT BUY A BRAND NEW BIKE. Go for used. You will drop it. Yes you will.

 

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Good idea! I would suggest you buy that new Yamaha 600 supersport & then sell it to me at a huge loss after you've scared the ****e outa yerself and it's sat untouched in your garage for 6 months!



Even better idea, buy a good inexpensive used 250/500 and ride it for a year to build your skills because the first time you tip that eight thousand dollar supersport it'll cost you another couple thousand in repairs.

 
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