I just posted on another thread about this subject, but there is great joy in buying what you can afford. I was 23 when I paid off my one and only car loan. That was 17 years ago. I'm doing pretty well financially now, and not having loans has been a significant part of that picture. I don't mind getting a loan for real estate or other investments, but I would hate to do it for a car or bike. It's just too much money thrown away. You could put that money to a lot better use, like paying off that car loan! I'll get off that subject now before someone takes offense.dejavu said:. . . only problem is that i will have to take a loan out (another one) as i also have a car and i do not have roughly 3k to spend out of pocket . . .
Anyway, you can probably find lots of older bikes in the $1,000-$2,000 range, and many of them are quite capable machines. If you want a Ninja, but don't want to spend a lot, I highly recommend the 250R. At $2,999 new, they are really cheap used. My 2 year old (now 3) was $2,019.75 and it only had 514 miles on it. I saw older ones for as little as $1,100. Other than color, they look exactly like the new ones. Parts are plentiful, and since the bikes are so cheap, there are plenty of them in the junkyards. Just ask ZX-2R about that. In my opinion, the bike has plenty of power -- way more than I need, and it easily keeps up at highway speed with plenty of power leftover. If I'm doing 70 mph in 6th gear, then I'm at about 8,500 RPM's. That's the low end of the power band for this bike, so there's plenty more that it can give.
The 500R is a great bike as well, and if peer pressure is an issue, then you might want to go for that even if you can't afford it. I don't recommend that, but I'm not you, and you can make your own choices about your own life.