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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello there, I'm looking to get a motorcycle for my commuting. The last few months I've had my eye on the Ninja 250R, plenty of power for my needs, looks good, and more importantly, the price looks even better. The issue is my commute is approximately sixty miles round trip.

My question is, with this kind of use, what kind of longevity could be expected? I've read posts on here that lead me to believe the 250R can handle a good 25,000 to 30,000 miles before wearing out. But even at that, it would only last me about two to three years. Buying a new motorcycle ever couple of years wouldn't be the end of the world or anything, but if that's really the case it seems perhaps to be more economical to buy a used car that would last longer?

So what is your advice? How long does the 250R really last and are there any similarly priced bikes that will last even longer?
 

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Obfuscation Engineer
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Just opinion here . Not having actually seen a 250 engine go 40 or 50k but having seen the 500 engine go well over 100 more than once . Stepping up not only gives you a slightly larger platform but access to gently used trade ins from those that have stepped up . You also get slightly "longer" legs and are a bit more visible although I occasionally wonder if day glo yellow and aircraft strobes are insufficient . Resale value of the 500 also seems to be a bit better than the 250 . So ideally find a lightly used 500 , let someone else pay the initial depreciation , service and maintain regularly and still have something to sell when all is said and done .

Then again I've been riding the same KZ1000 Police for the last 20 years . what the he!! do I know :D

~kop
 

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BACK ON TWO WHEELS
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Proper maintenace will allow the bike to last forever if you do it and do it right
 

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No knowledge of the 250 but I would think that any water cooled engine would last longer than that? I have put 13k miles on my 500 since 9/08 and it is "like new". Not used a drop of oil. Very glad to hear that I can hope to keep "my friend" for well over a 100k :)

But even at 58 mpg, I am not sure that the 500 saves me much $ overall. I commute 55 miles per day on the thing. But between insurence, the higher cost of oil (synthetic I change every 3000) and the cost of tires, chain oils, etc with all the time I put into maintence (adjusting the valves NEEDS to happen this week). It needs chain check/lube every 400 miles of rain, whichever comes first, etc etc etc :)

So, if you love to ride, ride. If you are thinking that it will save you a bunch of $, I am not so sure about that.

Brian
 

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If you're changing your oil every 3k miles, you could easily stick with a standard conventional oil. I'm switching to synthetic, but will also be going to a 5k oil change interval. As to chain lubricant, stop by Lowes and check out the Dupont Teflon Multi-Use Lubricant. Makes a fantastic O-ring chain lube that doesn't cause any mess, is available at virtually every Lowes, and is only $5 a can.

Once you've gotten through the first few valve adjustments, you'll probably find they aren't necessary as often. The initial 10 or 20k miles is the worst, after that you can usually settle to just checking them every 10k or so. Tires and chain replacement are the biggest cost factor on motorcycles. Insurance can be an issue on newer bikes, but on my '99 Vulcan 500 is barely $14 a month for full coverage.
 

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In terms of tires, there are some harder compound tires out there, too. And you can almost always find an amazing deal on the internet if you look long enough. Just be sure to check the air pressure on a weekly basis.

As for the chain/sprockets. If you keep it lubed and adjusted (something you can easily do yourself), you can get a lot of miles out of them before they need to be replaced.

I also agree that a 500 (or a 650R) would be a better way to go.

Oil... Just put the normal stuff in it and change it as often as Kawasaki recommends (not any more or less).
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hey guys, appreciate the replies!
If you are thinking that it will save you a bunch of $, I am not so sure about that.
Hey Brian, I see your points, and you are correct, cost is an issue for me. I definitely get the impression that motorcycles require more maintenance than cars. However consider that right now my car gets about 12mpg and requires premium gas. Also consider that I would not have to pay for motorcycle insurance. Also I could potently save some time since I would be allowed to use the HOV lane and HOV-only exits on the highway, that would be great as well. I forget what my other point was, but even with just the gas different I would save about $90 a week, and with the insurance I would be saving hundreds a month. So even though some of the savings would be offset with more maintenance I think I easily would be coming out ahead.

I also agree that a 500 (or a 650R) would be a better way to go.
Thanks messer, I will check it out. The price is definitely more, although still affordable for me I think. The longevity difference could definitely make up the difference. I'll research it, thanks for the tip.
 

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If you're looking at motorcycling to save money, certainly don't spend the cash on a brand new bike (edit - especially for your first bike). With a little patience, there are plenty of excellent value used bikes out there. Too many people buy great motorcycles and then only ride them on extremely rare occasions. For an example of that, just look at my signature. $800 for a Vulcan 500 with less than 16k miles, and I've put over 2200 on it since then with nothing other than maintenance and some minor initial fixes (I was in for less than $100 to get it running well).
 

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Propensity for velocity
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If you are going to just ride the 250 on the street and do the regular recommended maintenance the engine should last for ever. seriously. You are not even close to straining it. You'll go through fifty sets of tires before it even looks at you cross eyed.

If you are going to subject it (or any bike) to heavy abuse (ie 3+ trackdays a month) then you should budget for a rebuild every 18 months. Real racing by a fast rider: 2 times a year potentially.
 

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itching to ride
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Count me as another one for a larger bike. That 250 engine will be busy at highway speeds which will accelerate engine wear. A 500 or 650 would probably last at least twice as long if you plan on keeping it for years. Plus that 250 will quickly be outgrown by you to where you will want something larger. For quick jaunts around town it would be fine but for commuting to and from work daily you really need something bigger.

just my $.02
 

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Navy Vet Search & Rescue
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Judging by the "HOV" statement I'd assume you will be on the highway during the commute. The 250 being a lighter bike, will get pushed around a bit by the winds generated when passing large vehicles like semi trucks. It can be a bit unnerving, but not something that can't be overcome. The smaller engine size would also require higher rpm's to sustain highway speeds. Higher rpm's will increase engine wear. For those reasons, I would look at a 500 or larger bike.
 

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I was pleasantly surprised at how little I was blown around by trucks. I had expected more.

Brian
 

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I was pleasantly surprised at how little I was blown around by trucks. I had expected more.

Brian
Same. I've spent a decent amount of highway time on three bikes - a Rebel 250, Vulcan 500, and a GS750E. Didn't notice the Rebel being significantly (or any) worse than the others when it came to wind. From my experience, that's far more a funtion of the bodywork, windshield, and other farkles attached to the bike than its mass.
 

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I own a 2008 250 and have been using it mostly to commute to work(10 minutes on the freeway), run errands or to go to places where parking stinks (like concerts).
The question I need to know is: What speeds will you be going? Commuting to work at noon, I have an open freeway, so will be doing about 70+ in the carpool lane. That means my little engine is at about 9500 rpm. That's a lot of buzzing. That translates into a lot of maintenance as the bike gets older. Is than something you enjoy?

On a long trip, like over 30 miles, my hands start to get numb. I replaced the stock windscreen with a touring one that seems to help with the wind, but the big weakness is with the 250's weak suspension. It doesn't absorb all the bumps in the road, with its small tires and the bike does get blow around by wind gusts.
I also had to replace the stock seat before even attempting a longer ride. The bike can handle long trips, with some patience. I took it up to Santa Barbara and it kept up with the flow of traffic just fine.
But I got mine because I wanted the cheapest, lightest, good looking bike I could own. I wasn't sure if I could even manage to keep it for longer than the few months I used to own motorcycles for 20 years ago. Most were lost to theft or blown engines.

So, assuming you could pick a used one up for around $3,000 you might only save a little over a 500 that is about 5+ years old. For a little more you could get a used Ninja 650.
If I were wanting a bike just for commuting I wouldn't choose any 250, but for fun it really can't be beat.
 

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Serial Sport Rider
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A properly maintained engine can last a really long time. There's a guy who was written up earlier this year with 100K on his 250. The engine can handle high RPMs fne, that's what it's made for. You don't see a lot of high mileage 250s because they usually get wrecked early in their lives (mine did at 8.5k miles) or they get passed form person to person to person, eventually neglected, and then sold for parts. As I've said many many times, there is no reason why a 250 can't handle highway speeds, unless you want to commuite doing mach 10 with your hair on fire. Go to the ninja250.com board and read the FAQ section. Everything you ever wanted to know about what the bike can and cannot do is there.
 

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Older than Dirt
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The questions you have asked is like stepping through a minefield. No bike can last more than 10,000 miles with my 1 grandson, but with my other one it will probably last from 100,000 to 200,000.

There is a Ninja 250 around here that has more than 105,000 miles on it and he is about to take it on a 1700 mile round-trip. It has had 2 or 3 clutches and a few sprockets and chain's (also tires) -- oh yes -- -- fork seal's. In other words, just normal maintenance. There are several around here with 50 to 60,000 miles and are running perfect. I forgot about the batteries and the plug wires, but that is normal. I know some that didn't even last 10,000 miles, but they lasted longer than I thought they would with those clowns.

If you take care of it, it will take care of you. Unless you are one of those that require your eyeballs to be peeled off the back of your head every time you touch the throttle, this bike will last you for years and years. The key is good maintenance and for you to use your brain. It is also one of the cheapest bikes to maintain and own -- also the cheapest to insure.

It only takes once of getting hemmed in and have to walk your bike out, to appreciate how light and nimble it is. That's when you appreciate the fact that is not any larger or heavier. Then get to be around 75 and have rheumatoid arthritis -- then you will really appreciate it.
 

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satyride
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How long is LONG

I have a friend from Canada with 412,000+ on a Gold Wing, never pulled the engine , yes some parts were rebuilt but basically a decent M/C should last forever if not crashed and normal ,proper maintainance is done. I have a 37 Indian with 162,000.I usually figure 100,000 before its a possible rebuild,if not ..just keep going. I am not hard on bikes,what's the rush anyway?
 

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Custom '07 1500 Classic
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We recently had a Kawasaki 250 Eliminator in our shop with over 90k miles on it. It was here for tires only, bike ran great and when I talked to the owner he said other than normal maintenance he's not had any problems with the bike.
 
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