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Discussion Starter #1
So I figured I'd do a little write up on my experience with upgrading. I know everyone is different so my experience may not be the same as others but I will share it anyway.

I took the MSF BRC in June. They used Kawasaki Eliminator 125s. I was very intimidated and scared from the beginning. I failed the test because I dropped the bike during the test (got too excited after the figure 8 went perfect and then forgot to put my feet down).

Got my learner's permit and my Ninja 250 at the end of July. My plan was to go back to the BRC but then I found out they had an ERC (Experienced Rider Course), which you do on your own bike, that included a waiver test. Finding this the best option, I took that class. It was GREAT! I had a good time, really enjoyed it and felt I became "one" with my bike. I passed the test with flying colors and got my endorsement.

In the past few months I put about 1000 miles on my 250. I did a lot of silly noob things on it, I locked the rear wheel a few times, got stuck at the light b/c I forgot to downshift, stopped very unsmoothly, made some goofy turns, ran out of gas, made one ridiculous stop that probably made a squealing sound that could be heard for miles and almost ended up in the intersection. The 250 was very kind to me and kept me upright through it all. I thought about getting an '08 250 but I knew I eventually wanted to get a 650.

So I still consider myself a noob but less intimidated than I was at the beginning. The 650 was so darn pretty and hubby was very encouraging so I decided to get it. I was very nervous to ride it, I wasn't 100% flat footed on it (although on some ground I am, it's kinda weird). Anyway, hubby rode it home in the freezing cold and I took one little ride around the cul-de-sac when we got home. It was not scary although I did stall it once. The bike I bought has the Two Brothers exhaust and the PC Commander III. It also has the sub-throttle plates removed which I'm told makes it smoother. So I will have to ride one that is more stock to compare.

Anyway, fast forward to the next day, I was ready to take it out. I rode around the cul-de-sac, shifted up, got to the corner of my street and made a nice stop. Hmmmm, not bad at all. Thought I would have to practice in the neighborhood but I felt fine. The power was not ridiculous and the bike was not jumpy. I said "let's go wherever, I'm ready". We rode around town for about an hour.

The bike is incredibly smooth. The powerband is very even and the bike is incredibly tame. I didn't feel overwhelmed or like I was going to fly off the bike. I found it EASIER to maneuver than the 250, it is very balanced and I think the bigger wheels help the maneuverability. My stops were all incredibly smooth, SMOOTHER than the 250. The bike is very stable and not as affected as much by the wind. I found myself speeding a lot because it is less dramatic when accelerating and I would be doing 60 and think I was going 45 and "oh crap, gotta slow down". Had no problem keeping up with hubby's Aprilia but he would lose me after turns. I'm still a little uneasy in turns but the 650 is EASIER to turn. It is also WAYYYY more comfortable than the 250. The seat supports me way better as does the general seating position of the bike. I always felt like my butt was hanging off the side of the 250. I had no pain in my wrists either which I got after about 15 minutes on the 250. Also, the 650 has a gas indicator and a clock - Woo hoo.

One complaint I have is the bounciness. It is too bouncy because I have the shock set lower so that I can reach the ground better. So we will tighten up the shock this week. I ordered a used seat so I can shave it and get a little closer to the ground, although I almost don't need it.

Speaking from experience, I would say the 650 is a fine starter bike (at least the one I bought, I love it. Don't know if the mods make it smoother and easier to ride). I was a timid noob so for me a 250 was a better start. Anyone who is not nervous at the beginning and is taller than 5'4", will feel comfortable and confident on this bike. Just MHO.
 

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One of my rider coaches had a Ninja650, also blue. He let me sit on it, and my toes barely reached the ground. He had just gotten in from a trip out West and still had trip luggage on it. He said it was very comfortable for long trips. It sounds like a good all-around bike, docile enough for careful beginners, and beefy enough for advanced riders. The need for more is just ego.
 

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RideOrDieWarren
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"Just ego." I have two bikes, see below, and they offer me diverse riding styles and power.

I really enjoy the 250 for commuting to work on. I equally enjoy the KZ with its massive amount of power and the ability to make it as 'custom' as I am making it.

One bike is not enough, two isnt enough. I traded my Jeep for the KZ and really do not see myself owning another car.

It isnt ego, its what people love. I love bikes, especially owning multiples and having the option of what to ride when.


Good for you Wendy. Keep riding, and trying out different bikes.
 

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Nice write up Wendy. It's this type of information that really helps people in making better choices.

Merry Christmas to you and your husband.
 

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Great write up Wendy.

But I wanted to ask, did you ever drop your first bike (ninja 250)?
I really would like the 650 as the first bike, but if I drop it, I would be more upset than dropping a 250.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Great write up Wendy.

But I wanted to ask, did you ever drop your first bike (ninja 250)?
I really would like the 650 as the first bike, but if I drop it, I would be more upset than dropping a 250.
No (knocking on wood - still have to sell it). I did drop the bikes in the MSF course so I guess I got it over with there. Both the 250 and 650 are very well balanced and pretty easy to keep upright. I took the 650 out today and at one of the lights I was lifting up my feet and balancing, just b/c I was bored. It may differ for others but I think the 650 stays upright easier than than the 250. How tall are you?
 

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I'm not saying ego is bad. I'm a pilot. I'm all about ego. I want faster too. That's why I drive a Corvette. I'm at peace with wanting more. I just recognize the only reason I sometimes want to straddle our GL1000 rather than my Vulcan500 is my ego at work. Ok, it's not faster, just huge. It's a big honkin' bike and it feels **** good that I can ride it.
 

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I'm not saying ego is bad. I'm a pilot. I'm all about ego. I want faster too. That's why I drive a Corvette. I'm at peace with wanting more. I just recognize the only reason I sometimes want to straddle our GL1000 rather than my Vulcan500 is my ego at work. Ok, it's not faster, just huge. It's a big honkin' bike and it feels **** good that I can ride it.
you want a little more oomph try a 600 class bike. you don't have to go to a liter bike for it. ;)
 

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No (knocking on wood - still have to sell it). I did drop the bikes in the MSF course so I guess I got it over with there. Both the 250 and 650 are very well balanced and pretty easy to keep upright. I took the 650 out today and at one of the lights I was lifting up my feet and balancing, just b/c I was bored. It may differ for others but I think the 650 stays upright easier than than the 250. How tall are you?
I'm 5'10'' I'm not worried about dropping it from a stop, just when I'm on the road.
 

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Darrell, the temptation is there, but let me get what I have paid for first, then let me see about taking an earlier suggestion of yours to put ex500 parts in mine to liven it up, then we'll see how I feel. I keep losing my focus on putting airplane parts together. Gotta keep rivetting. It's just so hard when there are machines ready to throw a leg over and go.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I'm 5'10'' I'm not worried about dropping it from a stop, just when I'm on the road.
Everyone I know who has dropped their bike, dropped it while parking it or doing slow maneuvers or pulling in somewhere where there was some gravel that they didn't see until the last minute. All things that would get you no matter what bike you have.

Problem that I had on my 250 was I locked up the rear wheel once when I put it in 1st before a turn (should've been in 2nd). Then one time I was using too much back break and not enough front break in a really hard stop and came squealing to a very dramatic halt. I was able to keep it upright though.

I was really worried that going from the 250 to the 650 would be REALLY dramatic. But **for me** it wasn't. I don't know if it is the particular bike or my skills or what. Some people have said it was dramatic for them. I find the 650 to be pretty tame but I have no other frame of reference. If I was a little taller, I'd try out my hubby's Aprilia and then I'd have something to compare.
 

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Darrell, the temptation is there, but let me get what I have paid for first, then let me see about taking an earlier suggestion of yours to put ex500 parts in mine to liven it up, then we'll see how I feel. I keep losing my focus on putting airplane parts together. Gotta keep rivetting. It's just so hard when there are machines ready to throw a leg over and go.
I went from a 93 EX500 to a 93 FZR600. you wouldn't believe the difference that extra 100cc makes. :biggrin: then to the 93 ZX11. the power comes on a little slower on the 11 but there is lots more there. :biggrin:

one thing at a time. I understand.
 

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I was really worried that going from the 250 to the 650 would be REALLY dramatic. But **for me** it wasn't. I don't know if it is the particular bike or my skills or what. Some people have said it was dramatic for them. I find the 650 to be pretty tame but I have no other frame of reference. If I was a little taller, I'd try out my hubby's Aprilia and then I'd have something to compare.
how you ride is why it hasn't been so dramatic for you. seriously, I feel if you ride like you have an ounce of common sense in your head instead of just using it as a hat rack you can get on any bike out there. I know that at the shops I have worked at they never asked me what bikes I have ridden, just if I have "M" endorsement on my license.
 

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RideOrDieWarren
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how you ride is why it hasn't been so dramatic for you. seriously, I feel if you ride like you have an ounce of common sense in your head instead of just using it as a hat rack you can get on any bike out there. I know that at the shops I have worked at they never asked me what bikes I have ridden, just if I have "M" endorsement on my license.
Throttle control is key. With that, you can ride any bike.
 

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how you ride is why it hasn't been so dramatic for you. seriously, I feel if you ride like you have an ounce of common sense in your head instead of just using it as a hat rack you can get on any bike out there. I know that at the shops I have worked at they never asked me what bikes I have ridden, just if I have "M" endorsement on my license.
Its really funny because i keep seeing all of you guys saying stuff about the "M" on your lisence, but i have a car and motorcycle lisence and at the bottom of my lisence, it says Motorcycle Also, instead of an M, is it like that for anyone else here?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Its really funny because i keep seeing all of you guys saying stuff about the "M" on your lisence, but i have a car and motorcycle lisence and at the bottom of my lisence, it says Motorcycle Also, instead of an M, is it like that for anyone else here?
It's an M here in NC and then when you flip it to the back where the endorsements are it says M - Motorcycle. You just have one license and it has endorsements (Moto, truck, etc).
 
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