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I rode dirtbikes non-competitively between 14-16 years old (not that I think that qualifies me for anything regarding the road). But I'm now in the market for my first streetbike. I'm 18 now working and putting myself through college (both as full time as can be). I'm comfortable enough with my finances that I'd like to get a bike. I'm commuting 50-100 miles per day and right now 20mpg isn't working for me.

First thing is affordability, I'm expecting my car to die soon and it's not worth fixing. Cheap insurance is great too. Second is mileage, I'd love to get 70mpg. Third, it makes parking a lot easier at school (I commute to college). Fourth and not as important is of course the fun factor, I've always loved two wheels (I race road bikes (bicycles)).

As I've read up, the ninja 250 seems like the perfect bike for me. I've seen several with <10 years on it for <$1500. I'm allocating another $500 or so for gear. I live in the suburbs of Atlanta, and the ninja seems great for local riding. The only problem I can see is my commute. Much of it is stop and go traffic in rush hour, but I do experience 70-80mph traffic frequently enough for it to be a concern. Can the ninjette handle itself in this traffic? I know it can reach those speeds, but will I be struggling for power/acceleration?

Any other input for my situation? For my price range I've also seen 500-600cc bikes from the mid '90s. Would I be better off with a bigger, but older bike?
 

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My hat is made of tinfoil
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I would buy a larger cc bike for that long of a commute.

A 250 can do it fine, but a larger bike will be more comfy is all.
 

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I'm your Huckleberry
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I would buy a larger cc bike for that long of a commute.

A 250 can do it fine, but a larger bike will be more comfy is all.
I agree. I was doing 200 miles/day for about a year and a half on a Vulcan 900 with about 70 of those miles being on the interstate (speed limit 70...traffic going faster). I have no doubt the 250 would do it, but you'll get tired of the buzzing (any minor annoyance compounds when you do that many miles day-in, day-out). Not sure how much better a 500 would be...someone else can chime in on that, but its been said to be a great starter bike...and you should be able to find one fairly cheap. One thing you should not overlook when figuring your finances are the extra expenses related to maintenance and wear items (tires, chains, etc).

Course, you could get a 250, ride it for awhile, see for yourself whether or not it'll work long term, and if it doesn't, sell it for what you paid and buy something a bit bigger.

Any way you go, I think you'll enjoy your commute more on a bike than in a cage...I certainly did.
 

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I get 53 to 58 mpg with my 500 on my 55 mile/day commute, some stop and go/some highway. Does great on the road, does not get blown as much as I would have thought. For me, it is the perfect bike.

Might wanna visit some dealers and test fit some. Watch the riding position. Some put you in uncomfortable positions for long rides.

Insurance prices vary highly by region/company/driving record. Most have sites where you can run up different bikes and compare. Geico wanted an arm and a leg from me even though I've insured the cars cheaply with them for YEARS. Progressive was 1/2 the cost. So shop around!

Have you taken an MSF class? If not, run - do not walk, to go take one! It is the only way to learn. My sone and I went together. He to get his license, me to evaluate him to see if he would survive on two wheels. The thing he learned was he HATED motorcycles. MSF fee was a very cheap way to learn that. And I learned I LOVED them :) So I got my little bike, and he got a little car. We are both happy.

Brian
 
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