T Nation

Ninja 250


I've been reading 'A Twist of the Wrist' and I want a sport bike to practice on. I've got a Yamaha Vstar. I'm thinking of a Ninja 250. Is that too small? Should I get an R6? If I'm practicing on the street, I'm thinking I can't fully utilize an R6 or GSXR, and it would be more fun to max out a 250 than half-ass a 600.

There's a street in particular around here, one way, through a park, very wide, no curbs max speed of maybe 60 mph.

What do you think?


If you're just starting out, don't get a 600cc sportbike. Go with the 250. You'll have plenty of fun on it, and just around town it'll be good for your needs. Once you "outgrow" that, then jump to a 600 if you like. Most importantly, don't go getting a 1000 for your first bike...please.


It's not my first bike. I had a GS500 that I got rid of, and currently have a Vstar 1100. My question is: Is a 600cc too much bike for the street (realistically)? Is a 250 too little for country roads?


my friend had a 125 honda sport bike and rides now a r6. he told me not to start too big (his 600cc machine is throttled), because you tend to underestimate the machine and overestimate yourself. like inkaddict said go with the 250 - it's an awesome machine to ride.


Maybe I'm not making myself clear: is 600cc too much for the street? Do you guys with 600cc+ bikes ever fully utilize them (not in a straight line)?


The ninja 250 is well below the class of your previous GS500. A 600 is not too much bike for the street, nor is a 1000, in the hands of an experienced rider who has put in the time to learn his machine. I'm riding a 750 now (about the same power as an 'R' style 600), and I wish I had more power sometimes. I will own another Triumph Speed Triple. Damn I loved that bike.

It's more fun to ride a slow bike fast than to ride a fast bike slow, but if you get the 250, you'll be bored with it within weeks. Just don't go snatching on the throttle of a 600 without taking the time to get to know it first, especially in the higher RPM's.


Not a crotch rocket, but a cruiser, my VTX 1800, is 3x the size you're talking about. It's plenty. I understand it's not geared the same or in the same category so isn't really a good comparison. That being said, if you already know how to ride, get what you want and don't be a douche with it.


there have been multiple threads about this where bike size has been discussed in depth. I got a 600 as my first bike and its good. Now I wish I had a 1000 but I'm not going to get one cause my bike isnt my primary vehicle... If you already have a bike and ride I say get the 600.


You'll never fully utilize any of them, including the 250, on the street. Too many variables. Think about it: If you low-side at a track, you just slide it out. Low-side it on the street, and you only have 40ft at most before eating curb (or light pole, or car, or tree...). Not to mention, the street isn't swept and clear of debris and fluids at all times.

Pushing it to the edge on the street just isn't worth it. Not saying you shouldn't improve your skills and push your abilities, just that road conditions aren't favorable for pushing the bike to it's limits.


Very well said.

What do you guys recommend for a complete beginner who only owned a scooter before? :slight_smile: I guess 600 if I take the time to learn to ride it properly.


A 600 would do just fine. Keep it in the lower RPM's and gradually work your way up. Even better: take the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's beginner course. They provide the bike (a 125cc dirt bike, I think), and teach you the basics from the ground up. It's usually about $150.


If you want to get everything you can out of a 600, but ride on the street, you're going to want to hit up a trackday. There you'll be able to "race" with all you got, and really put your bike through the ringer without having to worry about cagers/pedestrians/etc.


Good on ya for learning a bit before taking the plunge. Twist of the Wrist is good, but Code's writing style isn't the greatest, in my opinion. THE absolute BEST book for riders of all skill levels is the one by Nick Ienatsch.


Inkaddict is right. You will never, ever, ever get the full performance out of a 600 on the street. It's just not going to happen. Most people can't even fully utilize it on the track, FWIW.

Trackdays are some of the best money you can spend. You've got some decent tracks within a reasonable driving distance. Nelson Ledges, beaverrun, Mid-Ohio... maybe a few others depending on where in PA you are. You will learn more doing a single trackday than you will in an entire season of streetriding. sportbiketracktime.com has an amazing beginner program with a lot of very fast, very competent instructors who will take the time to show you the ropes. And it's included for free with the trackday.

A 250 will be just fine, and there are even a few race classes with WERA specifically for it when you start to thinking you're getting good.

a 250 will also be cheaper to buy, WAY cheaper to insure, and you'll probably be able to sell it for darn near what you bought it for when/if you decide to move on to something else.


The MSF class is a really good one to take before you start and they actually use 250's as well as 125's at least where my dad used to teach it. A 250 is a good bike to practice on as well as having a cheap mode of transportation. That being said if you plan to use your bike a lot I would go with something larger since you are bound to outgrow it fast.


Not being a douche is probably the best advice for about every querry. With that being said, since you already ride a cruiser you will be suprised at the difference in sport riding; regarding the geometry. Technique is will be the same but getting use to the body possition takes a lil' saddle time. Nothing wrong with getting the 250, if you get board you can sell it quickly (compaired to a 600 and higher), there is a good demand for them. When you get your 600 or 750 get a power commander. That will make the bike run a lil smother and you can even tune it to your 'style' once you know what it is.

The street you have to practice on sounds ideal, assuming that there are turns. But, you asked if 600cc is 'to much' for the street. Yes, 60mph is not opening up the bike. Full potential of a 600cc yet being safe is more like 90-110mph. You will still have a lot of fun in canyons and once you take it to the track you will be happy.


I've taken the MSF course. Free in PA. Even though I didn't really learn anything new, it was a great class.


I've got a cruiser too, a vstar 1100. It's a completely different ride than the 500cc-sort-a crotch rocket I learned on.


I was answering Paperman's question, really. Anybody with a decent amount of riding time isn't going to benefit from the course.


No kidding. I can't stand riding a cruiser because I can't use my feet or rotate around the tank. Doesn't feel right to me, like half of my control is gone.

PS: Invest in some tank grips. They feel so much more secure and take half the effort out of hanging on to the tank. I have yet to figure out why manufacturers aren't installing these things from the factory. If I didn't know about them (i.e. beginning rider) and test rode one bike with and one bike without, the choice would be a no-brainer. World of difference.


I've got a friend with the speed triple. He really likes it.

That's why I'm thinking a 250. It's much easier to find places that one can ride a 250.