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Wanted to get some opinions from some 650 riders on how the 650 would be as a first bike, reason that it is in this forum instead of newbie corner. I have done a ton of reading on multiple forums about the best starter bike and obviously most say go with the 250r. I like the 250 but my main concern is that about 70% of my driving will be on the highway when I do ride the bike ( after plenty of practice of course). I have already taken the MSF course and felt pretty comfortable during that.

I guess my main question would be is it wise to get a 650r as a first bike, since it does much better on highways then the 250r, as I will be doing plenty of highway riding, not so much twisties ( I live in jersey):mad:

I am not looking to validate my decision to get a bigger bike, but really looking for honest opinions on the 650r as my first bike due to my main use of it being on highways. Thanks in advance for the help, sorry for the long post!
 

· Ninja Bike Forum Mod
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The 250R will still do 100 mph. It's lighter so it is a bit twitchier than the 650R on the freeway. But you're skills and awareness will develop faster on a 250R.
 

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But you're skills and awareness will develop faster on a 250R.
Quoted for Truth!

I've got a 250R and a 650R, my 250 is setup with Pirelli tires, a Stage 3 jet kit, Area P exhaust, Woodcraft clipons and rearsets, upgraded suspension and brakes, etc... basically all the toys...

My 650 feels like a bloated land barge compared to my 250, I've pondered selling my 650, it seems rather pointless when the 250 is so much more fun to blast through the curves.

I know it goes against the grain on this forum where bigger is better, but the 650R is too heavy and ill handling to be considered a beginners bike, the 250 will teach you how to actually be a motorcyclist, the 650 will slow your development...

YMMV...
 

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Started on the 650. At first I was worried, but after reading posts of people who switched from 250 to 650, I'm glad I skipped that part. 650 is a much better bike in every way. You also have to consider that at my age I don't go from 0 to suicide ether.
 

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Started on the 650. At first I was worried, but after reading posts of people who switched from 250 to 650, I'm glad I skipped that part. 650 is a much better bike in every way. You also have to consider that at my age I don't go from 0 to suicide ether.
yet you never had the 250, so how would you know?

the 250 will make you a better rider than the 650 will. if you have no interest in being a good or decent rider, by all means start on the 650. if you care about improving your riding skills get the 250.
 

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In my opinion, it depends on your opinion.

I would make a guess that the majority of riders will get bored with the limited power of a 250, as fun as it may be, over a relatively short span of time. This is particularly true if you are using a bike to commute, on long distance highway riding or two up. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy fun small bikes, but they are what they are - good fun and economical but not hugely practical when it comes to long distance work. Do you really want to be sitting on the red line, tucked in just to do 100mph on the freeway? No, I didn't think so.

I am also not sure what is being measured when people say you will develop quicker on a smaller bike. Presumably they mean rider skill. I believe (road) riding skill is almost directly proportional to time spent riding & advanced rider courses taken. The only thing I would say is that it's safer on a small bike as you will not be travelling as quickly, so obviously you get the time to correct your mistakes that on a larger bike you will not. That said, there are many times where the extra grunt of a larger bike has saved me from an accident. The key is simply to ride inside of your limits. The post that says you will "not be a good rider" if you buy the 650 is in my opinion nonsense and should be discarded accordingly. I came from riding through the restrictive British system, 125cc -> 33 bhp -> unrestricted. Bad habits can be picked up at any stage, at any time. I learnt more about 'riding within the limits' through larger bikes than I ever did through smaller ones.

The Ninja 650 is an excellent beginners bike in my opinion and for the many reasons that have been highlighted many times elsewhere. It is not comparable to stepping onto the latest litre sports bike, which I would agree is suicide for a first time rider - although it has been done!

In my mind it makes no sense to buy the 250 in the likelihood you will want a bigger bike in time, especially if the majority of your riding is freeway. Ultimately, everyone's opinion will vary along with the length of the string.
 

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yet you never had the 250, so how would you know?

the 250 will make you a better rider than the 650 will. if you have no interest in being a good or decent rider, by all means start on the 650. if you care about improving your riding skills get the 250.
What a steaming pile of dog crap that statement is. Like every person who started on a 650 is a crap rider. Honestly, It's not like starting on a 650 will ruin someone for riding forever. Have you ridden a 650? They aren't slow, but they aren't exactly a twitchy supersport, either.


That said, start on a 250. Get a used one, figure to pay about 2500-3000 for it. Ride it for about 6 months before you consider a larger bike.

I did start on a Ninja 250, and rode it for about 2 years, 10,000 miles. Most of that was slogging through stop and go traffic, without much highway. The ER-6N I have now is better in some ways on the highway, although the fairing on the 250 made wind blast easier to deal with. A Ninja 650 offers that so... My 250 was plenty capable on the highway, and had no real issues keeping up with most traffic. It will hold 70-75 MPH no problem, although acceleration at this point is not brisk.

Anyways, I recommend a 250 to start with for a few reasons:
1. Price - buy a used one. They all work the same, and some guy that bought it last year is ready and willing to move on. Help them out. Also, if you drop it, repairs are fairly inexpensive. What's a 650r cost, how about a 250r? How much are brakes and tires for each?

2. Performance - OK, let me explain. If I get on my ER-6N and crack the throttle wide open in first, the front wheel comes up. I don't want it to, so I take it easy in first. On my 250, excess power was not an issue. Not like a 650 will throw you off the back, but it's more likely to get out of your control than a 250 is. The 250 is more forgiving and easy to handle, especially if you aren't experienced with a motorcycle.

3. Handling and weight - The 250 handles great out of the box. I'm sure a 650 isn't too shabby, either. but comparing my 250 with my ER, the 250 was lighter and more easily maneuverable at low speeds. If you pull a stupid and forget to put down a kickstand, it's easier to catch a lower, lighter 250 than a 650. It happens, you can crash at 0 MPH at a gas station. You'll likely only do this once... let it happen on a bike you can catch.

4. It's pretty much free - What? Listen, buy a used one, don't trash it, and sell it for the same price next year if you get a new bike.

5. It encourages good driving skills - Which is what I think that goingtoscotland was trying to say. Thing is, on a faster bike, you can always try to escape a bad situation by twisting the throttle. Thing is, on a 250, that style of riding will get you wadded up a ball on the ground. So, you learn how to avoid these situations by maneuvering, stopping, and most of all paying attention to what's around you. Not being in a crap situation is the best way to get out of one. On a fast(er) bike, it's real easy to take the easy way out and accelerate. However, even if you do get a faster bike in the future, the skills you learn on a 250 are better. if it turns bad and you wreck, would you rather wreck after slowing from 60-40, or after acceleration from 60-80? I'd rather not, but I'd much rather rely on gear at 40 MPH than 80 MPH. No brainer.
 

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You will get a lot of elitist opinions on this, but I rode both when I was learning and much preferred the 650 to the 250. The 250 is so light it and its seating position ssuch that I never felt very stable on it (maybe this is why it makes you a better rider, I can't comment). The 650's weight, low center of gravity, and upright position, from my perspective, inspired a lot more confidence. I bought a 650 first because I wanted a bike that I wouldn't get sick of after a year. 250's hold their value very well, so that's not a worry, but I didn't want to go through all that hassle of selling it and finding a new one in a year. The 650 is fuel injected so it is also easier to maintain if you are not that mechanically inclined (again, maybe messing with carbs isn't that hard, I can't comment). I know plenty of people communte on the highway on the 250 so it is plenty capable in that respect, but it will lack the high-speed passing capability of the 650. And the latest generation 250s still look pretty good IMO.

The idea that starting on a 650 will be default make you a crappy rider is a blanket generalization which nobody on here can back up objectively (though I'm sure someone will tout how European riders are safer than those in the US and how this proves that point, but I digress). I have no basis to argue that starting on a 250 won't help your skills, and indeed I have every reason to believe that it will help, based on my own experience with the 250. But the 650 is not some superbike with 170hp, steering damper, beefy brakes, and wicked suspension set-up that will all compensate for every mistake you might make. It's a budget bike with decent torque and adequate suspension and braking (barely).

The 250 is a great starter bike for all the reasons people on here have stated. However, as long as you can respect the larger, faster 650, there's no reason why you can't start on it. It's a matter of personal preference.
 

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What a steaming pile of dog crap that statement is. Like every person who started on a 650 is a crap rider. Honestly, It's not like starting on a 650 will ruin someone for riding forever. Have you ridden a 650? They aren't slow, but they aren't exactly a twitchy supersport, either.


That said, start on a 250. Get a used one, figure to pay about 2500-3000 for it. Ride it for about 6 months before you consider a larger bike.

I did start on a Ninja 250, and rode it for about 2 years, 10,000 miles. Most of that was slogging through stop and go traffic, without much highway. The ER-6N I have now is better in some ways on the highway, although the fairing on the 250 made wind blast easier to deal with. A Ninja 650 offers that so... My 250 was plenty capable on the highway, and had no real issues keeping up with most traffic. It will hold 70-75 MPH no problem, although acceleration at this point is not brisk.

Anyways, I recommend a 250 to start with for a few reasons:
1. Price - buy a used one. They all work the same, and some guy that bought it last year is ready and willing to move on. Help them out. Also, if you drop it, repairs are fairly inexpensive. What's a 650r cost, how about a 250r? How much are brakes and tires for each?

2. Performance - OK, let me explain. If I get on my ER-6N and crack the throttle wide open in first, the front wheel comes up. I don't want it to, so I take it easy in first. On my 250, excess power was not an issue. Not like a 650 will throw you off the back, but it's more likely to get out of your control than a 250 is. The 250 is more forgiving and easy to handle, especially if you aren't experienced with a motorcycle.

3. Handling and weight - The 250 handles great out of the box. I'm sure a 650 isn't too shabby, either. but comparing my 250 with my ER, the 250 was lighter and more easily maneuverable at low speeds. If you pull a stupid and forget to put down a kickstand, it's easier to catch a lower, lighter 250 than a 650. It happens, you can crash at 0 MPH at a gas station. You'll likely only do this once... let it happen on a bike you can catch.

4. It's pretty much free - What? Listen, buy a used one, don't trash it, and sell it for the same price next year if you get a new bike.

5. It encourages good driving skills - Which is what I think that goingtoscotland was trying to say. Thing is, on a faster bike, you can always try to escape a bad situation by twisting the throttle. Thing is, on a 250, that style of riding will get you wadded up a ball on the ground. So, you learn how to avoid these situations by maneuvering, stopping, and most of all paying attention to what's around you. Not being in a crap situation is the best way to get out of one. On a fast(er) bike, it's real easy to take the easy way out and accelerate. However, even if you do get a faster bike in the future, the skills you learn on a 250 are better. if it turns bad and you wreck, would you rather wreck after slowing from 60-40, or after acceleration from 60-80? I'd rather not, but I'd much rather rely on gear at 40 MPH than 80 MPH. No brainer.
what an ignorant statement that is.
 

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what an ignorant statement that is.
What an arrogant statement that is.

Nobody wants to hear you preach about how the way you learned was unequivocally the best way and how everyone who did it differently is some pud who doesn't know how to coast down his driveway. Until you can point to some study where riders were put into groups based on what bike they started on (250 vs. other), judged on multiple objective skills tests, and where every single 250 rider outperformed every single "other" rider, you have no business throwing out all-encompassing assertions about how everyone who didn't start on a 250 sucks.

I'm not offended by you because I started on a 650, I'm shocked and appalled by your self-serving pseudo-logic: "I started on a 250 and I'm awesome, so the only way to be awesome like me is to start on a 250." The OP wanted honest advice about which bike to choose, not some diatribe from forum trolls trying to impress strangers on the internet with their supposed skill sets.
 
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What an arrogant statement that is.

Nobody wants to hear you preach about how the way you learned was unequivocally the best way and how everyone who did it differently is some pud who doesn't know how to coast down his driveway. Until you can point to some study where riders were put into groups based on what bike they started on (250 vs. other), judged on multiple objective skills tests, and where every single 250 rider outperformed every single "other" rider, you have no business throwing out all-encompassing assertions about how everyone who didn't start on a 250 sucks.

I'm not offended by you because I started on a 650, I'm shocked and appalled by your self-serving pseudo-logic: "I started on a 250 and I'm awesome, so the only way to be awesome like me is to start on a 250." The OP wanted honest advice about which bike to choose, not some diatribe from forum trolls trying to impress strangers on the internet with their supposed skill sets.
you're assuming i started on a 250.

i didn't

would you like to make any more assumptions?

fact is the 250 will make you a better rider than the 650 will. i didn't start on a 250. i wish i had. it took me a lot longer to get to where i am now than if i had been smart about it.
 

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That is not a fact! It is an opinion! That is the whole point of this discussion! And if you didn't start on a 250 then you have even less basis to be arguing about this in the first place since you have no personal experience with it
 

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i have plenty of experience with 250s. where did i say that i had no experience on 250s? i said i didn't start on a 250.

you're really not good at this making assumptions thing.

it's okay that you don't have as much experience with motorcycles as others here that are providing better advice than you may have. no need to get all pissy when you're wrong.
 

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That is not a fact! It is an opinion! That is the whole point of this discussion! And if you didn't start on a 250 then you have even less basis to be arguing about this in the first place since you have no personal experience with it
Read more carefully hotshot. Dude, I have no problem with people saying it's better to learn on the 250. Where did I say otherwise? My ONLY issue is your repeated use of the word "FACT" to describe concepts that can only be opinions. Unless you can point to something like "riders who started on a 250 can complete the summit point circuit in 5 fewer seconds on average than those who started on a larger bike," or some other OBJECTIVE measure than can be backed up with something beyond insults and anecdotes, it will not be anywhere close to a fact. Since you haven't come up with anything else yet, I'll make another assumption: that you don't have any evidence. Period.
 

· Strat - the Asian edition
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Start on a 250, plain and simple.

You can always upgrade after you've got the hang of things. If you buy used, you might even be able to sell the 250 for what you paid for it.

Buy gear and wear it all the time; gear doesn't help keep you safe if it's hanging in your closet
 

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continuing ignoring the fact that a 250 will make you a better rider. it's cool that you're in denial, i guess.
Your ignorance truly knows no bounds. If you still think I'm arguing about whether the 250 or 650 is a better beginners bike then you clearly haven't read anything I said, since that was never my point all along.
 

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My biggest problem with this thread is that the OP came here looking for opinions after having gone to other forums looking for opinions. It seems like either of the following happened.

A) The OP didn't get the opinion he wanted (Start on a 250)

or

B) This exact same thing happened on the other forums and the OP wasn't able to get clear, non-argumentative advice.


The only fact here is that the OP is going to do what they want. Whatever works for you OP. Bottom line here is, can you afford to fuck up on a bigger bike?
 

· Strat - the Asian edition
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My biggest problem with this thread is that the OP came here looking for opinions after having gone to other forums looking for opinions. It seems like either of the following happened.

A) The OP didn't get the opinion he wanted (Start on a 250)

or

B) This exact same thing happened on the other forums and the OP wasn't able to get clear, non-argumentative advice.


The only fact here is that the OP is going to do what they want. Whatever works for you OP. Bottom line here is, can you afford to fuck up on a bigger bike?
^well said
 
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