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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My name's Kevin. I'm 21, turning 22 tomorrow, and I've been into bikes for quite some time.
My dad owns the Hawkabusa (go seahawks!), my mom rode around town on her 70's cb100 back in the day, and my grandpa used to race Indians. Bikes have a solid place in my heritage, and it's about time I get back into them.
A few years back, I had an 01 ninja ex250 as a secondary vehicle. Unfortunately I laid her down going about 15-25 through a left turn intersection. She got stuck in gear and started leaking from the crank case. After limping her home, I sold her in the months to follow. Lesson learned: don't lean so hard on slick pavement.
A year or so later, I purchased another ninja as a primary vehicle (totalled my previous primary vehicle. Lesson learned: stop driving like an asshole). It was a $900 craigslist special that was extremely rough around the edges, but hey, at least she runs. Clutch cable snapped on me the next day when I was on the way home after a leisure ride. With no funds to fix it, I let the bike go for $200 less than what I bought it for. Lesson learned: there's nothing frugal about a cheap bike.
Now, I'm a bit more mature and a bit more financially stable and I'm planning to get myself another bike. I haven't done much for myself lately, and as Hunter S. Thompson once said, "anything that gets your blood racing is probably worth doing".
So hello from southern California!
 

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It was a $900 craigslist special that was extremely rough around the edges, but hey, at least she runs. Clutch cable snapped on me the next day when I was on the way home after a leisure ride. With no funds to fix it, I let the bike go for $200 less than what I bought it for. Lesson learned: there's nothing frugal about a cheap bike.
you took a $700 loss on a bike over a $20 clutch cable. Other Lesson learned: learn to do basic maintenance so you don't take a high hard one in the wallet over a $20 part.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
you took a $700 loss on a bike over a $20 clutch cable. Other Lesson learned: learn to do basic maintenance so you don't take a high hard one in the wallet over a $20 part.
I previously noted the bike was in rough shape. I could have dealt with a simple clutch cable fix if that was the only thing I needed to fix. The carbs needed a clean, gas tank was dented and leaking through one of the fairing bolt holes, and the chain needed to be replaced. The cable was the straw that broke the camel's back. There's no need to be smug.
 

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Nobody is being smug. Presumably you are here because at some point you are going to ask about a project bike. Carb cleaning, chain and sprockets, clutch cable, etc... These are all regular service items for old bikes. The leaking tank...not uncommon a thing to need to fix either. If you were balking at it then who is to say you won't balk at it on the next bike?

Also, you are supposed to lose money on bikes, just like every other vehicle. It's the cost of riding. If you came here thinking you can just start flipping bikes yeah...no. It takes a certain set of skills to do that and you don't have them yet. We have all been young and broke at some point and somehow have found the way to keep riding. It's part of the process.

just trying to level set against the most common newbie questions and assumptions.

About how how many miles do you think you have ridden so far? 1000? 3000? If it's anywhere under 10k miles, just get yourself another ex250, a reliable one this time, and start really racking up miles. Riding is a lot like flying, having a license means you have a license to keep learning through expirence. You need some time just racking up miles and getting the good habits to take hold, something that an older bike can be distracting from. Most weekend only riders tend to rack up between 1k-2k miles per year, you need to work at getting as many miles as you can and in the process have expirences like getting caught in the rain, having a close call or two...etc...You said you are stable now and can afford to spend on a bike, how about financing a new triumph bonneville and just learning to ride and maintain it? This way at least you get something that looks old.
 

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My name's Kevin. I'm 21, turning 22 tomorrow, and I've been into bikes for quite some time…
...A year or so later, I purchased another ninja as a primary vehicle...
um, slightly confused about this, you've only been old enough to ride the street for ~5 years and for some of those years you had no motorcycle. Unless you have off-road motorcycle experience you haven't told us about, that makes you an almost virgin rider.

Smug means having or showing an excessive pride in oneself or one's achievements: you should realize that some of use here are 3 times your age and have been doing this riding and fixing thing for 4 decades or more.
;) trust me, you'll know when Getto is trying to be smug, so far he's just showing interest and trying to be supportive, based on his math this morning probably before he's had his morning coffee.


:) Hello from the great white north
 

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All the advise you've been given is good stuff, if I might add get yourself something in good running order and don't fiddle with it just drive the damn thing. After all. that is supposed to be the goal. Once you have that covered if you still have the urge to build something up you can take your time looking, get advise on the "right" bike for you and not be in a hurry since you have your daily ridder. Eyeball ever bike you see and find what floats your boat. Then make a plan and go for it. Just another way of looking at it.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The next bike I'm looking into will definitely be another 250. I'm leaning more towards the ninja, but it's a difficult choice as Honda's cbr250r is a solid candidate too, not to mention the new entry-level bikes yamaha and Suzuki came out with in recent years. In any case, I apologize go my previous comment.

The goal wouldnt be to flip any bike. The short term goal for now is getting back in the saddle and back into the swing of things and start developing some good rider habits. The long term goal my friends and I are kickin around, is a cross-country tour on some 70s cb-series, but we'll cross that bridge when we get to it!
 

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Don't rule out some larger bikes that are still learner friendly like the SV650. There's lots of them out for for pretty cheap and they are heaps more fun than a Ninja.
 

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CBR250R is a super fun bike, simple to service and should be available at very impressive prices considering how deep Honda discounts their previous year model inventory. My son-in law had one as his first ride and I really enjoyed borrowing it. People commented on how nice it was almost every time I rode it. Ninja 250&300's are near equally nice but with 2 cylinders and early models having carburetors, the service requirements will be very slightly elevated along with their very slight performance advantage over the CBR. Personally I would not buy a ninja with CV carburetors, but I would not hesitate to recommend the CBR250R which has been equipped with PGM-FI since their introduction or a Ninja with FI. For used market bikes you might be hard pressed to find a clean Ninja that hasn't been modified or ridden hard and put away wet, lightly used CBR's should be fairly commonplace by comparison ymmv.

Rearsets would be a nice touch on the CBR, I found myself trying to use the passenger pegs to get a little more wind slippery at sustained highway speeds. Highly recommend you just remove the passenger pegs on either bike when you get it, particularly until you become a proficient rider you don't want to be hauling passengers, if there are no pegs on there you won't be tempted to take on passengers and that will also reduce any desire to go for a larger bike.

Both bikes like revs, don't be afraid to let them spool up.

How heavy a rider are you?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I'm 5'9, 160lbs. I've only ridden the ex250, by I've sat on the cbr250r. Both are nice and low, but MAN the cbr feels thin. It almost felt like i was on a bicycle hahaha.

I'm not averse to trying out the sv650 as it's only about 30ish horses more powerful than the ninja and would probably be a lot more comfortable at highway speeds. I'll have to test it out!

Funny thing is, right now I daily a 1995 Mazda miata. It's pretty good on gas, but it's absolutely killing me that I've paid more in insurance costs than I actually paid for the miata. I've had the car for around 2 years at about $110/month. I bought the car for $2600. What's your opinion on "freeing yourself from the cage"?
 

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Ontario Canada has some of the most outrageous insurance premiums in the world. :/ don't talk to me about insurance rates, I'll get all depressed.

You're close to my height and only ~20 pounds heavier, I don't think you would have a lot of problem with the CBR250R performance for solo riding, I rode the son-in-laws bike home from the bike shop when it was brand new and without exceeding the break-in recommendations I was passing transport trucks. Transport trucks are governed to ~113kph up here which is 13 k above the posted speed limit, a faster bike might further stress your driving record and insurance rates. Investigate your insurance cost on all of the aforementioned motorcycles before proceeding with any purchase.

The CBR is thin, that's what makes it so easy to ride and pitch around corners. Give me one of those and you would not be able to keep up on a SV650 (437 pounds) when riding around the city. CBR250R gets really good fuel milage too. All of them are fat pigs compared to a Trials bike (160 pounds) that's what makes Trials bikes perfect for riding Over cars, CBR250R's @ (355 pounds) great for commuter bikes, and SV650's with double the horsepower and 82 additional pounds better suited to crossing the continent. It's all relative to what you intend to use them for.

Of all these bikes the single cylinder CBR250R is still by far the easiest and cheapest one to service. :rolleyes: other then my Trials bike, that's even easier to service but more expensive for parts.
 
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