Motorcycle Forums banner
1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Motorcycle Consumer News did a comparo of the Ninja 500 and GS500. They overwhelmingly preferred the Ninja over the Suzuki.



The Ninja makes approximately 10 more horsepower. They also liked the handling, suspension and build quality more on the Ninja. The only functional area the Suzuki was rated better than the Ninja was in braking, but the reviewers thought it was because the tires were better on the GS than the Ninja.



McT
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
306 Posts
Honda F's are supposed to be user friendly and kind to newbies, but it may be hard to find one that isn't thrashed. Best get something without an expensive fairing.



I dumped my hawk gt the first month, but the only damage was a dent in the tank, which I pulled out and the shift lever, which I bent back with a vice and a blow torch, so it didn't cost anything to fix and still looks great.



I always look at newer bikes I'd like, but when I go out with my buddies on their more powerful newer flashier bikes, I always humble them by leaving them in the dust. Then I fall in love with this little bike all over again and forget about all those other bikes calling out to me.

Plus, with an older bike, you get to learn how to fix it yourself when things go wrong. There's probably some good forums out there that will have instant responses when you post questions about any problems you may be having with the bike, saving you more dough because you don't have to pay some mechanic your lunch money.



I'd go for the GS, EX500, or look into a hawk gt--it's more fun to ride a slower bike and explore your limits than tiptoe around on some hyperbike.



R
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
3,775 Posts
Stay away from used 600s.. they usually have been thrashed.. Ninja 500Ex and GS are good bikes.. When you can afford a new bike that is the time to go for a 600...i.e. and thrash it yourself :)
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
3,775 Posts
Excellent Post

Good relevant information..
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,331 Posts
I agree with gforces, a bike without a fairing is preferable to a fully-faired first bike. Take a look at the Yamaha Seca, Honda Hawk, Suzuki Bandit 600 (NOT the 1200). If you must get a fully-faired sport bike, my vote would be for the Ninja 500. If you don't know what the mentioned bikes look like, go to www.bikepics.com. Good luck, and keep us posted!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
85 Posts
I am fairly new to motorcycling. I have put 7900 miles on my first bike, a GS500F. I will be happy to tell you its positives and negatives. I suspect that most of my comments would apply to the Ninja too.



To me, the best thing about the GS500F is its powerplant. It definetely has enough power for highway travel, and that is important to me. But it is still very controllable.



With a little 250, the top speed is about 65mph. So to keep up with traffic, you must push the bike to its absolute limit. My bike has a top speed of about 100, so cruising at 70mph is no problem.



Some people start with faster bikes but I do not think that that is wise. When you first start riding, you can barely control the damn thing. It is easy to either stall the bike or accelerate too hard. I did not feel comfortable riding until I had ridden about 2000 miles. But I came through that 2000 miles uninjured, and one reason is that I started on an easy bike to ride.



The GS500F also has several handy features for everyday riding. It has a massive fuel tank...over five galons. Since it gets about 50mpg, you can EASILY go 200 miles between fill-ups. That means more time enjoying the ride, and much less time looking for a gas station. Remember that many bikes only have a range of 120 miles. Also the GS500F has a centerstand. The centerstand is a godsend in many situations. It makes the gas tank easier to fill, and it greatly simplifies chain maintenance. Finally, it is an extremely common bike, which helps with maintenance. If you do your own wrenching, you can find MANY manuals to help. There is also a great website, gstwin.com. If you need a mechanic, you can go to any suzuki dealership. I found an excellent dealership that only charges $110 dollars for each maintenance cycle. On European bikes, it is common to pay $250 on each visit.



I really like the looks of my bike. It looks very fast, with a full fairing and a gixxer-style triangular headlamp. I get alot of compliments on the looks of it.



Unfortunately there are some negatives too.



It is very crudely constructed. You can tell that they used the cheapest materials everywhere. The bolts tend to come loose over time, and I used locktite to stop that. It is not perfectly reliable either. I had one oil leak...the mechanic repaired it, but I was off the road for a few days.



Unlike most motor vehicles, it does not come with a modern, maintenance-free battery. You must add acid and water periodically. I live in the snowbelt, and I must garage the bike in the winter. I use a trickle charger on the battery in winter. I have learned to add water/acid just before I put it on the charger, and just after I take it off of the charger in March.



Like all carburated bikes, it needs a substantial warm-up time in cold weather. I ride in temperatures as low as 35 degrees. Under those conditions, it takes three full three minutes to warmup. On summer days it only takes about one minute to warm up.



Oh, I should also mention the brakes. They are adequate, but not great. I have found that you need to pull firmly on the front brake to stop the bike. So it is not like a gixxer, where (I am told) you stop it with one finger. However, once I started to pull firmly on the front brake, I found some real stopping power.



So considering everything, I have no regrets. This bike has been a great introduction to motorcycling. But I do plan to upgrade someday...maybe in another year. Frankly I am looking at a Honda 599 for my second bike. It has more power than I could handle now, but in a few thousand miles I will be up to that level. And the 599 looks like it has better quality than my bike.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
164 Posts
My ears perked when you mentioned your Honda Hawk. I've never seen one so I googled it after reading your post.

Saw some pics from 1988 Honda brochures. 650GT pics.

Nice bike! I must get one myself!







 

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
I haven't ridden either of the bikes you're talking about, but I started off on an SV650, bought used and rode it around for two years with only one accident, which happened after I had been riding a year. It was my fault for trying to execute a stoppie, which is excusable in my book because that is one of the perks of motorcycling. I bet you can find some around town for relatively cheap. Just to add some confusion by throwing in another bike model....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
47 Posts
Sorry but my Ninja 250 cruises way alot faster than 65mph like one of the above posters said. A Ninja 250 or 500 would be a great choice. My Ninja 250 tops at 100mph real speed not indicated. It cruises all day long on the highway. You will find that many people like the 250 more than the 500 becuase the power to price ratio that the 500 offers. The 500 is a bit more costly for not a ton more power. You can get a really nice Ninja 250 for $2500. The great thing about the 250 is the insurance is affordable. www.ninja250.net is a good resource.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
3,775 Posts
Excellent Post umarth

Yep I agree if you can find a used SV that would be my pick.. Twins have the great low end torque.. I saw one today at a bike shop it had been wrecked cause it had a copper fairing and a blue tank... But folks were looking at it.. Lots of upgrade after market stuff for the SV including lower fairings, shocks, forks, etc.. good point umarth
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,415 Posts
Good review, I like the GS500's myself though I'm partial to Suzuki anyway. I also think the 599 Honda is a very tough bike to beat and it and the 919 are the only Honda's I'd own anymore. It sounds like you're making some smart choices and should do well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
47 Posts
My brother and I currently have a 250 Ninja and 500 Ninja respectively. We have owned many bikes: 73 xl 250, 82 Yamaha 550 Vision, 83 Vision, 86 250 ninja, 93 Yamah Seca II, 98 VFR 800, 98 Ninja ZX-6E, VTR 1000 Superhawk, 2000 Ninja ZX 6R, 2001 Yamaha FZ1.



My favorite bikes among the bunch are the 250s, 500 Ninja, ZX6E, ZX6R and VFR. That leaves the 250s and 500 as the best beginner bike. The seca was fun but was hard to turn in because of the 4 cylinder engine.



The 500 does give you quite a bit more power and more character. The 250s are extremely smooth and high tech feeling. The 500 is built pretty cheaply and doesn't have the same high quality feel as the other ninjas, but it is a whole lot of fun. The engine has a lot of character and torque, with a nice hit above 5500 rpm. It is always smooth and will never numb your hands. The best part for a beginner is that it practically drops into the corners. It is super light handling. It turns into the corners easier than the 250. It tops out at 125, the seat is comfortable enough for a couple of hours. A centerstand is standard. It has a 4.8 gal fuel tank and gets 45 mpg in the city. You can get pretty close to 200 miles on the highway before reserve.



Negatives:

The mirrors aren't wide enough apart to provide a good view and the helmet holder requires an extender to be useful.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
49 Posts
A first gen SV650 should be around $3500 (1999 - 2001) and in your dollare range. Much more bike than an EX or GS for similiar dollars. It should be plenty friendly for a first bike as long as you know how to operate the controls etc already. The SV650 isn't a learner bike but it is a first bike!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
164 Posts
You make a great point here. I see a 600 every now and again getting the snot wrung out of it. But if, say, a first time used bike buyer finds one he can't pass up, what are the tell-tale signs of mechanical abuse/thrashed, providing everything by eye looks good.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,188 Posts
Yeah, that sounded a little peculiar to me too. My first bike was a bit smaller than that, in the late sixties to boot, and had no trouble running at 75 or so on the freeway. It's just that it didn't have the punch to reach that slot in the freeway that might be the safest place to be, if somone in a cage was eying the same spot. Motorcycles are very vulnerable, so having the ability to jump into a gap in traffic is valuable. That's why I think 500's or 650's are the way to go. If it was me, it would be the SV 650, like I think I already said in another post.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
If I may point out, the 250 can go much faster than 65mph. I rode my wife's for a couple of months while I was between bikes, and took it up to 80 or 90mph. Granted, the engine is working pretty hard at that speed, but the bike is definitely capable of doing it. I think there was even a guy that finished an Iron Butt Rally on one a couple of years ago. I've gotta imagine he was going faster than 65 through the day.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
you forgot the best part of a Ninja 500. If you don't buy new, you can usually sell them a year later for exactly what you paid for it.



My Ninja 500 was dropped once while I owned it (not by me) in a low speed parking lot tip over. Total cost to fix it was $6 for a new clutch lever. The fact that they tend to already look a bit beat up menas you are not going to worry about a few scratches (they make you look hard core anyway).
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top