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Discussion Starter #1
I just got a Ninja 250 and I'm pretty happy with it. I actually like the shape and size of it better than the bigger bikes. The gas tanks on many of the bigger sport bikes seems like a tumor. On the 250 I feel comfortable either sitting straight up or laying on the tank with my helmet right at the windshield.

I do have a problem though. I tried to follow the break in guidelines on the sticker on the tachometer, but I failed. With less than 50 miles on the odometer I've already hit the high 5000s and might have touched 6k.

The problem is that 4000 RPM in sixth gear is just barely 35 mph (assuming the speedometer is accurate.) There aren't many 25-30 mph roads around here. There are some, but I can't get to them without at least brief stretches of 40, 45, and 50 mph roads. There's always some traffic any time except late at night and most people like to go 5-10 over on a lot of roads.

So my question is, how bad is it if push the revs to 5-6k this early? I keep turning onto side streets and I'm going to put most of the first 500 miles on the bike at 30 mph, but I just can't avoid exceeding 4k. The only way I could would be to ride up and down the 1/4 mile stretch in front of my house 2000 times (but I'm sure the neighbors would call the cops to complain long before I finished.)
 

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I don't think its a big deal to go over the recommended break in, you just wanna make sure the engine is warm before you really get on it and don't take the engine up too much. 5-6K shouldn't harmfully effect the motor. Just don't punch it to 14K or anything like that.
 

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Take a breather - Your bike will be fine. The idea of the break in period is to allow the gaskets and moving metal parts to seal up better. The reason there is a 500 mile service is to change the oil due to metal filings in it from the engine breaking in and make sure your bike is going in the right direction vs problems. You do want to slightly go over the revs recommended 1 -2 thousand is ok as you begin to break in your bike and if the bike can see a few inclines even better. As suggested earlier, make sure the bike is warmed up and has had time for the oil to circulate prior to taking off.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
That's good news. Should there be a change in how I ride at 500 miles? The sticker on the tachometer says keep it under 4000 from 0-500 miles and under 6000 from 500-1000 miles.

Should I mostly ride the same way from 0-1000 miles and not worry about the 500 mile mark except changing the oil when I get there?

Even at 6k, I assume the road speed is only going to be about 50-55 mph. Should I avoid interstates until 1000 miles, or is it ok to ride at interstate speeds (probably 8-9k RPM) for short distances while still under 1000 miles?

This is my only complaint about the Ninja 250. I wish 6th gear had a taller ratio. I've broken in cars before by keeping the revs low and patiently waiting before attempting hard accelleration. But I never had to worry about not being able to drive the speed limit. They should have geared it to do 60-65 at 4000 RPM. You could still break it in by shifting early and accellerating slowly.
 

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You're gonna want to change your revs vs being on the highway at a constant 8-9 in revs. Accelerating and decelerating up and down the rev band - 1,2 thousand over is ok, but try to keep the higher revs for later miles to give your engine a chance to get used to running.
 

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paul_ said:
The problem is that 4000 RPM in sixth gear is just barely 35 mph (assuming the speedometer is accurate.)
:shock: Dang! I fell for you man. I thought I was going to go nuts on my new 500. At least 6th gear at 4000 is 53 mph! I mean I was not sure I would make it, but 35 mph! You have my deepest sympathy’s!

Oh yea, at 421 today. If the stupid rain would hold off for a day or two, but it has rained almost everyday for a month! Guess we both have our demons to fight.
 

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Paul, you can change your front sprocket to a 15 tooth (or even larger). That will keep your RPM's lower when cruising, and it will help you go faster during break in.

Lots of people say lots of different things about the proper RPM's for break in. Some people say the best thing to do is ride it like a raped ape. Some people will point out that the same sticker that you see is on EVERY Kawasaki motorcycle. So even though 4,000 RPM's is probably reasonable for a Vulcan 2000, you could probably double that for a Ninja 250. So it's probably just fine to go a little over Kawasaki's recommendation of 4,000 RPM's.

But another way to think about it is this. Who do you want to take advice from -- people who have owned one or two bikes? Or maybe people who have owned ten or so bikes? Or would you rather take your advice from the company that has owned millions of bikes and has very, very thoroughly researched all kinds of aspects of the bikes, including how different RPM's affect break in. I say trust Kawasaki on this one. Your 1,000 miles will be up pretty quick. Mine was.

And by the way, 4,000 RPM's really is about 35 mph in 6th gear.
Curt
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I don't mind the 35 mph limit much. I'm having fun exploring all the little side roads that I never drive on. But I'm glad to read the responses that it's okay to exceed 4k by a bit. I need 5000-5500 for a minute or two at a time to safely cover the stretches of 40-50 mph road in between all the side streets.

I've covered 75 miles in three days including a fair amount of MSF style slow turns, panic stops, and figure eights. I figure a couple of weeks of evening rides after rush hour clears and I'll be well over 500 miles. Maybe at 750 miles I'll start pushing it to 8-9k.

On the topic of break in, how much skill is needed for the 500 mile service? I'd like to service the bike myself as much as possible. I'm moderately mechanically inclined, but I mostly don't service my car myself because it's a hassle without a hydralic lift. It seems like with a bike I should be able to do any service unless it requires thousands of dollars worth of tools.

Does anybody know where to find a shop service manual for a 2004 Ninja 250R?
 

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paul_ said:
how much skill is needed for the 500 mile service?
The valve adjustment takes some patience and skill, but you can do it if you're fairly mechanically inclined and you have the manual. Everything is pretty easy for the 500 mile service.
paul_ said:
Does anybody know where to find a shop service manual for a 2004 Ninja 250R?
Haynes and Clymer don't make them. The only manual I know of is the official Kawasaki service manual. You can get it from our sponsor at http://www.beartoothkawasaki.com or from http://www.buykawasaki.com or from your local dealer. You'll need the service manual and the supplement. You probably have the owner's manual, but if you don't, that's a good one to order at the same time. All together it's about $65 or so if I remember correctly. If you want to do the valve adjustment yourself, you should also order the special service tool from Kawasaki. It's about $28 to $35 depending on where you get it. The adjustment is really a pain unless you have that tool. And you'll need a set of feeler gauges. Those cost less than $10 for generic ones. Kawasaki makes feeler gauges specific for the bike, but I think generic ones are better and they are cheaper. Try Craftsman or Lisle or something like that.

Everything else in the 500 mile service is pretty simple, and only requires basic tools. Get good quality tools. The best ones are made in the USA. They will last you for the rest of your life, and they do the job better than cheap Chinese-made tools.

So the comparison is about $300 or so for the service at the dealer, or $110 for the tools and manuals to do it yourself. I say do it yourself unless you can't read, but then you wouldn't be reading this. So I say do it yourself.

Oh, and you're going to love what your bike does once you cross 1,000 miles. I was making a left turn yesterday when a car across from me jumped forward. I gunned it to clear the intersection, and the bike about ripped out from under me. Now, who was it that said a 250 doesn't have power?
Curt
 

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For warranty purposes make sure you document the date you did service and also keep the receipt for the oil and parts changed. That will keep you covered if done correctly.

Good 4 you - get the service manual and a few tools and have at it.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for the info. I'm going to call Beartooth Kawasaki to order the service manual. Are there any other tools or supplies I should order from them? I'd like to just order everything at once if possible. Looking at the 500 mile service entry in the owners manual there are some things that look like they might need a tool or gauge. My problem is that since I don't have the service manual yet I don't know for certain.

Carburetor synchronization- some sort of gauge or meter?
Valve clearance - is that the feeler gauge Curt mentioned?
Evap emissions control system - a gauge of some kind?
Oil change - obviously need a filter and oil, any other parts?

I think Curt mentioned a vacuum gauge. Do I need one? What maintenance is that for?
 

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I think the most important tool to order with your manual is the Kawasaki service tool for the valve adjustment (Kawasaki part 57001-1220). You don't have to have it to do the valve adjustment, but it makes it a lot easier. It's basically a hollow 9mm socket with a screwdriver that runs through the hollow part. That way you can turn either one without turning the other. The job is a real pain without the special tool.

You'll also need feeler gauges. Kawasaki sells them, but you can buy other brands anywhere for a fraction of the price, and they're better than the Kawasaki gauges.

You could also get a carb sync tool. I don't know if Kawasaki makes one, but lots of other companies do. I've heard of people making their own for a couple of bucks.
Curt
 

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hmmm?

Why not just take the bike to a shop that has a dyno and let it run at 4k tell it hits 500 thats what i plan to do when i hopefully get mine soon
 

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I don't know if that is a great idea.... Did you read motoman's break in procedure? You need to put stress on the engine in order to get a good seal and avoid glazing. Putting it on a dyno might not provide enough wind and weight resistance not to mention the variation in throttle control. The whole part of owning a motorcycle is to ride it and missing out on the break in is like missing your child's first steps IMHO. You learn a lot in the first 500 miles.
 
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