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Kawasaki Ninja 650R Thoughts


Well I just got my motorcycle license (after taking the MSF rider class), and am looking at getting my first bike.

I am looking at getting a 2007 Ninja 650R and wondered if anyone had any thoughts/experience with this bike.

It will be used primarily for driving to work (5-10 min non-freeway drive).

I am open to other bike suggestions too. I had also considered the Yamaha R6 and the CBR600, however it seems used R6's and CBR's go for quite a bit more than the Ninja's of similar year/mileage.


The CBR and R6 are more expensive because they're race bikes with turn signals, as is the ZX6R. Even though that's a 650, it's going to be a bit more tame than the others.

I've not looked into the Ninjas much, but I don't think that's a horrible beginner bike. I'd also consider a Bandit 600, FZR600, and maybe even a ninja 500 if you can deal with having an ugly ass bike for a while.

Remember that you WILL lay your bike down eventually, and that you DON'T need a race bike with turn signals for your first bike. Also, all 600's are not created equally.


I recently got a 2008 Kawasaki Versys (KLE650). Put 7,000 miles on it in the last month. The Ninja 650r should be pretty similar.

Light, easy to ride
Comfortable, probably more so than the sportier Ninja. I've done 680 miles in a day of non-interstate riding.
Fast enough, but not sportbike fast; I'm pretty sure I can take any non-supercar up to 80mph+.
Excellent gas mileage: 60mpg@60mph, 45mpg@95mph
Better mid-range torque than sportbikes (trying to keep the RPM's high in traffic gets old fast)
Handlebars are easily interchanged with any motocross or in the case of T-Rex arms, ATV bars.

Too tall for me (5'9", 32" inseam). I've put it down twice now because I can only tip-toe one side at best. At worst, I can't reach the ground.
Sensitive throttle.
Stock seat is uncomfortable (so I hear. Mine came with a Corbin)
Doesn't handle as well as a sportbike (Ninja is probably better)

Other bikes I looked at were: SV650/SV1000, FZ1/FZ6, Wee-Strom, VStrom, Bandit 600/1200/1250. I had a GS500 that was a good starter bike. I've also got a KLX250SF and Vstar 1100 for reference.


Where are you located? I'm in Cali Monterey
Got a 2008


I always go back to the 250. It's 300lbs wet, can turn around in a parking space, lane split like non-other, and it'll do 85mph (In a full tuck with tailwind... realistically 75mph). Single cylinder, spark plug is right there, oil is simplistic to change, carb can be removed in less than an hour. The lack of power also makes it nice in that you don't have to have a death grip on the throttle all the time to ensure a bump in the road won't put you on your ass or in to the car in front of you. The only drawback is the tank is only good for 80 miles before reserve.

Basically, the KLX250SF is fucking awesome.




The Ninja 650R is not in the same class as the R6 or the CBR600. The R6, Gixxer 600 and the CBR 600 are insanely powerful. Yamaha, Suzuki and Honda have been competing with each other for years to make these machines as crazy as possible. The Ninja 650R isn't even close. That's why it's cheaper.

Don't go for an R6 or a CBR600 unless you're kind of...crazy. I ride a Husqvarna TE510/SM510R. It's a thumper(single cylinder) and less the silly stock exhaust and other crap it comes in at 109kg dry with nearly 60hp. I've been riding dirt bikes since I was 10 but the Husky with power chip, air box mod and straight through exhaust is more than powerful enough for me on my most reckless days.


Owned a 650r since 2006. Been riding since 1990.

The 650 has a parallel twin engine. It sounds nice, but will not sound like a cbr or comparable sports bike, even if you mod it. It's considered a sports-tourer. At high rpm's with an airfilter mod it will sound nice though. But you won't hear one of these revving to redline, half a mile away at night.

The rider position is more upright than a true sportsbike, so unless you swap the bars out you won't be lying on the tank when you ride. Much more comfortable if you decide to take a ride more than an hour, but it doesn't look as "cool", especially if you have a passenger on back.

In the twisties, I can keep up with just about any sports bike out there. This bike handles very well and is quite forgiving.

This bike does well on straight-aways but after a certain speed, other bikes will overtake you easily. I will say that the torque curve on the bike is nice. Also, I don't even need to leave 1st gear (if I don't want to) unless I hop on a highway. Other bikes have to toss a shift or 3 in there.

All this being said, it's generally considered a decent beginner bike. I've had faster and slower bikes. But I'm not getting any younger nor can I afford any more tickets... so I'm holding onto it.


Thanks everyone for your input.

I agree about waiting to get a supersport, which is why I changed my opinion from R6 or nothing to looking at the 650R.

My girlfriends brother who has been riding 15+ years said the same thing - until you know what you really like doing on the bike it's probably best to get something that is decent at everything but doesn't really excel at any one thing.


I learned on a R6, just don't ride it like a 600. I will say this, especially about the R6, as I have owned two of them. They can be frustrating to ride through town or in slower traffic, just based on the gearing and seating position. It is a true track ready bike, so it is great to ride on the back roads/twisties, which is all I do, but if you are going to use it to commute there are much better choices out there.

I would like to add a Ducati Monster to my garage :slight_smile: Anybody have/ridden one of these?


Just had to chime in on this one. Gripping the throttle tighter makes you far more likely to make incorrect throttle inputs. The lighter you grip the better off you are, to the point that experienced riders and racers don't actually even wrap their fingers around it. You'll see racers on the track all the time with their fingers dangling rather than wrapped.

You should have as light a grip as possible on the controls to ensure maximum control.



They're also on a smooth race track, not getting sucked in to man-sized NYC potholes. Maybe I'm doing it wrong, but when I hit bumpy patches in the road, my grip will instinctively tighten.


It does, but I'll put Edmonton pot holes up against your NYC ones any day and trust me the more relaxed your grip the better.

I actually teach motorcycling as well as ride so I do have some knowledge in this.

Dirtbiking is a whole different kettle of fish.


Then you're lucky you survived fella. Every get out of first gear?


lol! I know plenty of people whom have learned on a 600 super sport. It is simply a matter of paying attention to what you are doing and taking the time to learn the fundamentals. The only thing that is different in a larger bike is throttle control, not terribly difficult to overcome for a beginner.


I know people who learned on supersports too. My point is, a 600 supersport can reach over 70 mph in first gear before hitting the red line so anyone who thinks they need a 600 supersport for riding on public roads is either going to be in first gear all the time or riding at lunatic speeds.


the 2008 and up 250s have a 3.5 gallon tank and i typically got 200-250 miles of racing of every stop in the city with mine.....

The 250 was a great first bike, i bought mine used in 2009 for 3200 rode for a year, put over 10k miles on it, and sold it for 3150..... not bad, and after a year you will know if you like sport bikes more or decide to go the cruiser route so your back doesnt hurt as much on really long rides.... the 250 is very underpowered above 70 mph with a 200 pound rider on it and no one will be able to ride with you.

That said, when gas goes up I miss mine, but i dont miss the insurance, it was 2x what my car is... granted my car is a 1999 camaro....


Couple of points.

First, I would hardly call a 600 "insanely powerful". I'm not sure if you've ridden an S1000RR or a new ZX-10 but those are most certainly getting into the "insanely powerful"

Second, it doesn't work like you described above. It's not like you stay in first gear from 0 -70, then shift into second for 71 - 90, then third for 90 +. So you can be in legal speeds and not necessarily still be in first gear.

Third, throttle control is all about your right hand. You can get into just as much trouble on that little 650 Ninja as you can on a CBR or ZX-6 if you let the bike get the better of you.

OP, that's a great little bike and I see a lot of them out here. It makes a lot of sense as you've only got a 5 - 10 mile commute. I might have missed it but do you have any desire to ride simply for pleasure or is this meant solely for commuting? If it is just for commuting then perhaps a scooter is a good option.



Insurance was high on the 250? Mine's $60/year.

I'm surprised so many people here recommend a 600cc sport bike as a first bike. It's not that you can't get yourself in trouble on a 250, it's just you'll get their much faster on a 600.

Do you remember the first time you had to turn right at a stop sign? Oops, went a little too slow, time to give it some gas. Oh shit...


Harley Davidson.