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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,

After about 15 years of waiting, I am finally on the verge of purchasing/riding my first bike. I've wanted a sport bike since the age of 16. From ages 16-18 my mother was horrified at the thought, and basically forbid me from buying one. From ages 18-30 my then girlfriend-now wife was also horribly against the idea.

Things have changed :)

We are both now comfortable in our careers and being so, have some extra money to do some of the things we couldn't afford before. She has remodeled the bathroom, began a garden, and took up a couple different cooking classes. I kept all my chips in my stack, not wasting them on a new TV, grill, or video games, hoping to cash them all in for a bike. Well...it worked. We are wanting to start a family soon, so my wife finally "gave me permission" (yes, I am whipped) to start shopping for a bike before we started poppin out little ones.

I have enrolled myself in a local community college's motorcycle riding corse that is both written and practice based. Not only would it hopefully give a complete novice the individual attention of learning how to ride, but would bypass the DMVs requirements (or meet them) to gain my license. I don't know if this is overkill, but don't want to just buy something I have no clue with what I'm doing and try to take off. Has anyone here enrolled in any of these types of courses, and did you feel it was worth it?

The class I will take provides the motorcycles, but after speaking with the instructor the bikes provides are cruisers. From me talking to people who own/ride bikes, and doing my research on the internet, cruisers seem to be the easiest type of bike to ride. I in NO WAY want to own one. I've always dreamed of a sportbike, and don't want to have to settle for anything less. Is the transition of learning/riding on a cruiser to going to a sportbike a smooth one? Should I ask to bring my purchased bike into the class and learn on it?

So now we come to the type of bike. After all the research and studying, I feel the Ninja 250R is by far the best choice for me. They seem economically affordable (if something happens and I trash my 1st bike), and I honestly don't want a bike that is more than I can handle. This seems like a great choice, but I don't know about the size of the bike (no one here sells them locally). I'm a rather large fella, 6'5 255lbs. Would a Ninja (or any sportbike for that matter) be too small for me?

If you read my entire block of text...thank you. Sorry to spill it all out, just eager to start to learn and get on the seat. Any comments/suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
Mike
 

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The 250 is a perfect first bike. Ride it for a year or two until you really feel comfortable, then upgrade to something reasonable. Bikes tend to hold value quite well.
 

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Strength and Honor
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Partially agree with snake. The 250s and 500s hold their value well. Frankly I have concerns about the 250 for your size but it does depend on what you're going to use it for. If you're hitting the Interstate often I think you would be better served by a 500 or older 600 (F2, F3). Those are sufficiently tame to be manageable by a new rider. If you're doing mostly town riding then the 250 is excellent for many financial (up-front cost, insurance, fuel) and skill (panic situations, maneuverability, maintenance) reasons.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you both for the advice.

My training class starts next weekend, and I have decided it would be moronic to buy a bike before this. I am going to get comfortable on one before I make my choice on the type brand.

I DO NOT plan on taking the bike on the highway, at least for awhile. It will basically be used to commute to work and some leisure riding on the weekend. I went and sat on a couple at a local dealership (2011 Ninja 500, Yamaha R6, and a GSXR) and neither of them felt too small. Also sat on a couple cruisers and they did feel a bit more comfortable for my size. I guess I'll have a tough decision to make after that.

Wish me luck and thanks for the advice.
 

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Strength and Honor
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A bit more. Most of the long-time posters advise against beginners using race replica bikes. I can already feel snake's eyes rolling from your list. Anyway race replicas include
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R
  • CBR 600RR
  • GSXR 600
  • Yamaha R6
  • Any 1000cc inline 4 bike
  • Some exotics
You are wise to purchase nothing gear-wise either until the class is over. Presuming you're not forced to, but I've never heard of that kind of requirement as helmets are usually provided and other substitutes apply.

If I were you I would buy used and inexpensively. You're correct that the likelihood you're going to drop it accidentally AND crash it are pretty good. You just need to be prepared for those circumstances. If you buy new you'll be very sad when you look to see how much new plastics cost.

Should you follow your plan and do some track days after riding on the street for a season, I think you'll find out what you do and don't like and then will be ready sometime in season two (at the earliest) for an upgrade. You'll not have had any substantial loss of $ either. For those who don't do track days, my view is that its more than 2 season before they're really ready for an upgrade simply because the education is so concentrated in quality track schools.

Enjoy the class. I'm jealous as I'm off the bike for two weeks and ache for it already.
 

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Partially agree with snake. The 250s and 500s hold their value well. Frankly I have concerns about the 250 for your size but it does depend on what you're going to use it for.
I guess I missed the 6'5, 255 in the OP. So yes, the 250 *may* be a bit on the small side.

I went and sat on a couple at a local dealership (2011 Ninja 500, Yamaha R6, and a GSXR) and neither of them felt too small.
I can already feel snake's eyes rolling from your list.
:laughing: Indeed

I guess I could have added some more bikes to my original list, but I guess when I see someone entertaining the thought of starting small, I get all happy and try to keep them moving in that direction.

OP, the bikes that kan listed would be good as well. Personally, I started on a '92 F2 and I feel like it was an ideal learning bike for me.

Also glad to see you're starting off right with the training. I wish I would have done that, since it could have prevented me from developing bad habits that I am still trying to overcome. Good luck, and stay safe!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks again guys for the responses...

I hope no one got the wrong impression about my post regarding going to the dealership. I DO NOT and WILL NOT get anything over a 500CC bike. When I say I am a complete novice...I mean it. Not only have I never ridden or owned a bike...I've never even SAT on one. I wanted to go and physically sit on a couple to see how it would work with my size. I so desperately want a sport bike, I am just afraid being as large as I am, riding on one would be/feel akward.

The few that I mentioned that I sat on (R6, GSXR, and the Ninja 500...sat on a Busa too) didn't physically feel too small. No one here sells either the Ninja 250R or the Honda CBR250 for me to sit on. I didn't mean they felt right size wise regarding their power/motor, just that they felt physically comfortable to sit on. The actual bike didn't feel too small.

I have no problem whatsoever buying a used bike. The only problem is finding a smaller sportbike here locally is tough. The dealership I went to could order either a Ninja 250, or a Honda CBR250, and they are similar in price to what I've seen for sale used for some older bikes on craigslist and cycle trader. Example...a couple ads on craigslist for an 06 R6 w/ 7000 miles is $3500. Another one is a GSXR 03 w/ about 11000 miles for $3300. The dealer can get me a brand new 2011 Ninja or CBR250 for 3599. Newer and more of a beginner bike, for the same similar price. I also figure the resale would be higher on something newer, if I do end up enjoying it quite a bit and a year or two later am ready to step into something larger.

Is there any other huge mofo's hanging around this site that ride a 250? Again, I don't plan on taking it on the highway (at least for a good while), and don't plan on being an ass with it, but I also don't want to physically oversize the bike. Am I screwed? Going to have to stick w/ a cruiser?

Again, I thank you both for replying to my huge posts. Your input is greatly appreciated.
 

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Strength and Honor
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No, you're not stuck with a cruiser, though that's not a bad way to start at all. Further, I have nothing personally against them, even HDs amazingly. Its the riders that make all the difference.

Anyway, for your size you might find the 250 uncomfortable and think if you have zero chance to sit on a bike model before buying it that you'd be foolish to order it. Basically what will matter for you is comfort, ease of maintenance, costs, and how the power is derived (read: safety for starters). You do NOT want an inline 4 engine, which is what all supersports are excepting the exotics. If you stay away from those and under say... 700cc's you should be fine.

Other possibilities that might be more available include the Suzuki SV650 and Yamaha FZ6R. They make power smoothly and my wife's been learning on the latter for a season now. Both great bikes for the street and the track. In fairness I think the former has a larger aftermarket audience and there are more folks riding them. Might just because of the market release lag.
 

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First, let me congratulate you for being a rare new rider with a brain.

The class you take will likely use the Honda 250 Nighthawk. By riding a small cruiser in the class you will get a feel for how your large frame folds up onto any bike. If you feel comfortable on the Ninja 250 after you find one to sit on then you should go for it. One of our long-time members has ridden 100+mph on a 250 with a passenger, so don't think it's completely lacking power. A Ninja 500 may be the way to go just because it's larger.
 

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I was in the exact same situation as you a few years ago. here's my suggestion:

get an used ninja 250r is a great idea for new rider! but 250 is TOO small for your size. you may want to get a bigger bike just after a few month riding 250.

so find an used ninja 650r or suzuki sv650 or ducati monster 696, all are great bikes for new riders. unlike 250, you can use them for a long time before you want to upgrade to a sportbike. trust me, 650 is not that big for you.

I know some new riders get a 848 evo or r1 as their first bike. they're stupid and crazy, but they still manage to survive. compare to them, 650 is way too conservative.
 
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