If you’re just beginning motorcycling or are looking for a good everyday commuter, stop looking, the 250 Ninja is the bike to get. Although, it doesn’t have much competition, the 250 Ninja blows them all away. The 250’s main competitors are the Honda Nighthawk, a standard motorcycle and the Suzuki GZ250, a cruiser bike.
If you want the specs for the Kawasaki Ninja 250, read them on the website at www.kawasaki.com. Or if you don’t want to read it from there, I can tell you that it has enough power to allow you to pass cars on the freeway comfortably but not so much power that you feel like you can fly off. It is small and light enough to handle with ease but big enough to ride on for hours on.
I want to talk about my first 2 weeks on this bike, including how I bought it. So, I have been looking for a Ninja 250 for about a year now but haven’t really got the money to buy one.This summer, I was determined to finally get it. I would look everyday on
sandiego.craigslist.com and losangeles.craigslist.com in hopes of finding a good deal for a motorcycle. Finally, one day I found a 2003 Kawasaki Ninja 250 for sale with an asking price of $1,500. It did have a salvaged title it said, but only because the front fairing plastics were cracked. I didn’t have a problem with that as I was expecting to have a few falls myself and would not want to do that on a perfectly new bike. I would recommend sacrificing a brand new bike for a worn in bike if you are just learning.
Anyways, so I went to go check it out, had it turned on and asked the seller to ride it around for me as I didn’t have a helmet and I didn’t want to risk crashing a bike I didn’t buy yet. So, I heard how it sounded when it started and shifting through all the gears. I didn’t get to feel the biking running myself but it sounded good enough. I tested the brakes and the lights. I made sure the front fork seals were still good. The suspension was good. The mileage was very low at only 9,100. It was dealer maintained for much of its early life. So I decided to buy it with an offering of $1,200. I ended up paying $1,400. This is a pretty good price for the 250 even though it was salvaged.
I had the owner ride it to my place as I didn’t have the confidence to ride it over the freeway yet. Very nice sellers would do this.I had a very nice seller. After getting my helmet and a good jacket, I was ready to bring the bike around the neighborhood. Please note that I had already taken the MSF Rider Course and have an M1 Class License. Please take that class before you start riding. My first ride was in a very quiet neighborhood with relatively little traffic. This is probably a good place to gain confidence as its probably not a good idea to start riding right away in the freeway.
After a few hours of good clean fun, I took the bike back and tried to let it all sink in. I became more confident on the bike. The Kawasaki Ninja 250 is a very good confidence builder as its not too fast in the lower gears but the power will come when you are ready for it at the higher gears. I haven’t experienced a 600cc bike yet but I hear that the slightest twist of the throttle and you can fly off your seat. The Ninja is very forgiving and would tolerate minor miscalculations by the rider.Although you must remember, it is a motorcycle and you must respect the power of it.
Riding in suburban streets was fun and easy enough. But now I was ready for something faster. The next day, I went to the bigger streets. I still stayed to the light traffic areas. I went onto the University Ave in City Heights and then moved onto 54th Street. These aren’t usually low traffic areas but they are good enough during certain times of the day. I rode to the Wal-Mart, where there is a long road where you can ride 50-60mph and not be on the freeway yet. On this road, I got to experience the speed of the freeway without having to share the road with other large hunks of metal moving at fast speeds.
I finally went on the freeway on a day when my dad had to take his car to the shop and so he borrowed mine. I didn’t have a ride to go to my summer class at Mesa College. So I took this as a sign to finally take the bike on the freeway. The first time that I went 65, it was slightly scary as the wind really picks up on the freeway. I just remembered advice to let your arms relax and tuck your knees into the gas tank. This provides more stability and control. Just a few feet further, I would get comfortable in the high speeds. I stayed in the slow lane the entire trip. I only ventured out to the second lane on the way home from school. Luckily, I didn’t have any morons cutting lanes all around me in this first trip.But I was on the look out for them and was ready to avoid them. Defensive driving with the mindset that they are all after you, is the best way to ride as you avoid dangerous situations. Needless to say, motorcycling is still dangerous. Just take your practice trips slow and I highly recommend starting to ride on a Ninja 250 with the proper helmet and gear.
The Ninja 250 is the beginner rider’s best friend. The next few times on the freeway, I did feel a slight regret that I didn’t get a bigger bike. However, the Ninja does have enough power and speed to keep up or in front of traffic.You may outgrow it quickly, but the time that you are on it, you know that you are learning correct motorcycling.It is probably the smartest motorcycling investment you can make on top of awesome gear and exotic performance upgrades. Another great thing about the Ninja 250, is how well it retains its value. Most 250’s can sell for $2,000 even if they are 10-15 years old. As long as they are properly maintained and run well, you will find a beginner rider that can use such a great and affordable bike to learn on.