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I'm a deff an advocate of the 500. I never got tired of mine even after 10k miles the first year.

And as far as gear goes. The Joe Rocket Survivor suit is going to be my next purchase. $360 on ebay, alleged 100% water proof. From what info I could gather only a aerostich is a better one piece suit. Potentially you could get fully geared out for the same price of a full leather jacket.

One more thing..... Thank you for being smart and not running into this forum looking for approval to buy a street triple or :gsxr 1000.
 

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Mexican Hard Shell Taco
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I missed the part about only mode of transportation. I had a bike as primary, even in the once a year rain of so cal, and still would take a pickup truck about once every 5-7 days cus yes it does get very old very fast, and not in the car/truck kinda way. Bikes cost more in maintenance mile for mile, and most are not much cheaper on gas than an econobox car.
I hate driving a car in the rain twice as much as I hate driving a car when it is not raining. When it rains it just means you'll be stuck in the cage even longer.

Bikes do not cost more in maintenance mile for mile than a car. A Ninja 250 will basically set you back 335 dollars in chains and tires for... 32K miles (I'm counting two rear tires, one front and a set of chain and sprockets). Add two iridium sparkplugs, which will have to be replaced... Same time as the engine goes, oil changes, brake pads and... That's about it. In between there it will need to have the valves adjusted, which are easily done and there are hundreds of tutorials out there.

By that time the Ninja will have also saved a lot of money in gas and parking.

Add $350 in gear and you're all set.-

It can be done on the cheap, and you can also get those numbers sky high if you think you need an Alpinestars 2 piece kangarro suit for commuting, Gold X-Ring chain, $1000 Arai helmet, etc. It has to do a lot with the perception of bikes in the USA as mere recreational vehicles.
 

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Mexican Hard Shell Taco
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I'm a deff an advocate of the 500. I never got tired of mine even after 10k miles the first year.

And as far as gear goes. The Joe Rocket Survivor suit is going to be my next purchase. $360 on ebay, alleged 100% water proof. From what info I could gather only a aerostich is a better one piece suit. Potentially you could get fully geared out for the same price of a full leather jacket.

One more thing..... Thank you for being smart and not running into this forum looking for approval to buy a street triple or :gsxr 1000.
The beauty of the 500 is that it just uses more fuel than the 250, but everything else costs the same! Tires are about the same, brake pads, chain and sprockets, sparkplugs, etc. On top of that, the 500 is easier to work on than the 250.
 

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Yeah, when I had my 250, it was a whopping $18 a month, with PIP. But I was 37 at the time, not 20.



Yes, the reason that 05 is higher than the 04, is that the 05 is a Ninja 500, not a 250.
The insurance for our Ninja 250 is just under $21/mo, through Geico (same provider as our cars). Pretty excellent.
 

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Discussion Starter #25
Doh! That is a 500 isn't it.... How does the 500 compare to the 250 as far as mpg? Also, as a first bike, would the 500 be okay? It's pretty close to a 600, which apparently is not recommended as a first.

I have a helmet already so that will save me a little bit of money when buying my gear. I also have this weird, sleeveless armored piece. I think it's supposed to go under your riding gear?


Great stuff from all of you. I think I'm leaning towards getting a bike and a beater. Looking at some late 90s Honda Civics. Car when I have to, bike when I don't. Paying insurance on both won't be fun, but even then, it should be lower than what I pay now for the Z.
 

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A guy on a scruffy bike
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Doh! That is a 500 isn't it.... How does the 500 compare to the 250 as far as mpg? Also, as a first bike, would the 500 be okay? It's pretty close to a 600, which apparently is not recommended as a first.

I have a helmet already so that will save me a little bit of money when buying my gear. I also have this weird, sleeveless armored piece. I think it's supposed to go under your riding gear?


Great stuff from all of you. I think I'm leaning towards getting a bike and a beater. Looking at some late 90s Honda Civics. Car when I have to, bike when I don't. Paying insurance on both won't be fun, but even then, it should be lower than what I pay now for the Z.
The 500 is a good choice for a starter bike. It's a parallel twin, not an I-4. The 600 sportbikes make about twice the power of that 500, and are otherwise much more difficult to handle. The 500 is probably a better choice for overall transport, as it will handle highways better than the 250. The 250 is adequate, though.

PhilB
 
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Discussion Starter #27
I plan to go take a look at at least one of these bikes this weekend. What should I be looking for? When buying used cars, I usually take them to a shop and pay for a mechanic to look it over after inspecting it myself. I get the feeling I can't really do that when shopping for a bike, as motorcycle shops aren't as common.
 

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The other thing if every day riding is your thing is a largish capacity scooter around 150cc plus, lots of storage reasonable weather protection cheap tyres etc.

No one has mentioned it yet but done any training MSF course etc?

What to look out for a bike general wear and tear damaged frames and swingarms as they will next to impossible to sell again. Bikes that have been patched up after a fall most people don't replace bar ends and leavers so they will most likely be rashed up there. Leaks around forks and the like may be a sign of wheelies and general abuse condition of the chain is it at a constant tension as you roll the bike forward if it has tight and loose spots then its shagged and will need replacing. Blowing smoke service history etc.
 

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yes, you definitely have to be dedicated. i got my car in a wreck that put it in the body shop for almost 3 months (March thru end of may) in South Dakota. i rode to work everyday and only needed a ride home after work once cause a snow storm came up. i actually LOVED riding every day. I will admit that i got lucky cause most of the bad weather happened on the weekend. the coldest i rode to work was 20. the worst was sleet, 35 degrees, 40mph winds with gusts up to 60. now THAT was dicey. still made the 15 mile trek without too much trouble.

yep, you gotta really wanna ride to endure riding everyday no matter the weather or situation. some bikes are better for it, others..... not so much. and the gear... better to have it before you need it than after ya need it. BTDT.

i have to admit tho, riding year round definitely made my tires last a lot longer. 13k on Avons on he Busa. WOOT.
 

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I hate driving a car in the rain twice as much as I hate driving a car when it is not raining. When it rains it just means you'll be stuck in the cage even longer.

Bikes do not cost more in maintenance mile for mile than a car. A Ninja 250 will basically set you back 335 dollars in chains and tires for... 32K miles (I'm counting two rear tires, one front and a set of chain and sprockets). Add two iridium sparkplugs, which will have to be replaced... Same time as the engine goes, oil changes, brake pads and... That's about it. In between there it will need to have the valves adjusted, which are easily done and there are hundreds of tutorials out there.

By that time the Ninja will have also saved a lot of money in gas and parking.

Add $350 in gear and you're all set.-

This only applies for the ninja 250 and 500. A regular sportbike is just as expensive to run as most cars. Maybe not a sports car, but a run of the mill sedan? Absolutely.


And of course you hate driving in the rain more than driving when it's not raining. Nobody LIKES driving in the rain. But I'll take driving in rain ANY day over riding in the rain. Unless it's like the middle of summer and raining in the afternoon. But this time of year? yeah, riding in the rain sucks.

But more than that- getting CAUGHT in the rain on your bike when you don't have your rain gear? THAT sucks.

Also- there's no way you can get enough gear to ride in every season for 350 bucks. No flipping way. You be hard-pressed to get a decent helmet (200 bucks) and jacket (150 bucks) at that price. I mean, you CAN find stuff cheaper, but not a whole lot. And not stuff for 4 seasons.
 

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Riding in all types of conditions will make you a better experienced rider. My stryker that I bought in January of this year was my only transportation for just about the majority of the year. It was my first bike too. I did have to borrow a car from time to time but it hardly ever gets too rough here in SoCal. I actually enjoy riding in the rain as long as it's not too crazy. Light rain is much more enjoyable than a super hot summer day. I think 90% of riders out here are terrified of rain, rather, any type of imperfect weather. I like to think that I'm above most 'weekend/perfect weather' riders who have been riding for years compared to my 1 year of riding just about every single day. You learn best with experience afterall.

With that said, always have a back up car and the right gear. It will save you headache.

Look through craigslist for even used gears to save big bucks!
 

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My full year of commuting (did 10k miles) thus far has been

~$666 for gas
$360 for 2 tires, sprockets, and chain.
$98 6 quarts of oil at $12 each + 4x filters at $6.50
$50 for a chain slider (result of my gearing combo making clearance close and chain was rubbing, change gearing when I changed the chain to avoid that, now I anticipate far fewer chain and sprocket changes with the new ratio and no rubbing)
My first valve check is not due for another 16k miles.
$1174 total.


Meanwhile my truck would have used $2000 in gas alone to cover those same miles.

Figure 5 quarts x 4 oil changes for a car and about $5 per filter, so ~$128. So I would need a car that got ~38mpg in the city to match my bike on running costs. Pretty much have to be a hybrid to manage that, which would be rather expensive and cost a lot more on insurance. Perhaps an 80s CRX with a manual driven like a granpa? Maybe an old diesel rabbit? Course those ancient ol things will probably need some constant love to keep em going unless I found one in pristine condition.
 

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Discussion Starter #33 (Edited)
After purchasing a bike, what kind of preventive maintenance should be done? Spark plugs? Oil change?


EDIT: To answer Nero Diablo's question above, no I do not have any kind of formal training.
 

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Hehe yes, I do live in Dallas. The weather isn't THAT bad! It's 61 degrees right now. But yes it can be unpredictable.

I learned to ride on a 250 ninja a friend had. Planned on getting my M endorsement at the time, but other things came up and I didn't get the chance.

I figure insurance would be high. I have 2 at faults and 1 other claim on my record(Parking brake didn't engage all the way. Car rolled into lamp post with cement base. Apparently still counts cause it's collision.) as well as a speeding ticket. Speeding ticket was taken care of by defensive driving course.

I don't act a fool in my Z mainly because I cannot afford to. Gas kills and a a new set of tires would find me asking for change on the street corner.
I live in Dallas and ride year round...barring the occassional ice storm. I have a rain suit and some cold weather gear for those occassions.......both seem rare anymore, unfortunately. It can be done. You will have to be creative when it comes to carrying stuff. Grocery shopping on a bike is a unique experience, the callenge is fun :)
 

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I live in Dallas and ride year round...barring the occassional ice storm. I have a rain suit and some cold weather gear for those occassions.......both seem rare anymore, unfortunately. It can be done. You will have to be creative when it comes to carrying stuff. Grocery shopping on a bike is a unique experience, the callenge is fun :)
Its all fun and games until you buy too much stuff to fit... Been there, done that, rode home with a gallon of milk in a bag hanging from my bars and a frozen pizza inside my jacket.
 

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A guy on a scruffy bike
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This only applies for the ninja 250 and 500. A regular sportbike is just as expensive to run as most cars. Maybe not a sports car, but a run of the mill sedan? Absolutely.
Um, no. It applies to pretty much anything except a full-on sportbike, and even those aren't very expensive to run if you're prudent. If nothing else, the *average* car costs over $30K these days, and will almost immediately depreciate more then the entire value of most bikes. And cars are more expensive to insure.

And of course you hate driving in the rain more than driving when it's not raining. Nobody LIKES driving in the rain. But I'll take driving in rain ANY day over riding in the rain. Unless it's like the middle of summer and raining in the afternoon. But this time of year? yeah, riding in the rain sucks.

But more than that- getting CAUGHT in the rain on your bike when you don't have your rain gear? THAT sucks.

Also- there's no way you can get enough gear to ride in every season for 350 bucks. No flipping way. You be hard-pressed to get a decent helmet (200 bucks) and jacket (150 bucks) at that price. I mean, you CAN find stuff cheaper, but not a whole lot. And not stuff for 4 seasons.
I'd much rather be on a bike than stuck in a car in the rain. At least I can get somewhere, when everyone else is stuck stationary behind the flipped SUV on the highway.

The caught in rain problem? Just carry raingear. A cheap rainsuit, or even just overpants, isn't terribly bulky. During the seasons where rain is an issue, I just put a pair of ski pants in my messenger bag or backpack, and put them on if it rains.

A decent helmet will probably be $200. But you can get a used jacket, and serviceable boots, for a couple hundred if that's all you've got to spend. Decent gloves are surprisingly expensive, but they are important. A simple rainsuit is about $100. So I'd say minimal is $600 to be properly covered.

PhilB
 

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A guy on a scruffy bike
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After purchasing a bike, what kind of preventive maintenance should be done? Spark plugs? Oil change?

EDIT: To answer Nero Diablo's question above, no I do not have any kind of formal training.
There's some very good info on buying used bikes on this site; do a little searching and you can get all your questions covered.

I'd change all the fluids on it (oil, coolant if any, brake fluid, fork oil, etc.) unless the previous owner has done it recently. Check the condition of the chain and sprockets, how new the tires are (not just tread, but also age and cracks in the sidewalls and so on).

And get training. That matters a lot.

PhilB
 

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A guy on a scruffy bike
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Its all fun and games until you buy too much stuff to fit... Been there, done that, rode home with a gallon of milk in a bag hanging from my bars and a frozen pizza inside my jacket.
:eek:nfloor I count that as "fitting". I can get an amazing amount of groceries on a bike. With a cargo net and a backpack for all the heavier stuff, then I can hang a couple bags of the lighter goods from my wrists, and carry quite a lot of stuff. I'd definitely suggest some practice before loading up like that, though.

PhilB
 

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:eek:nfloor I count that as "fitting". I can get an amazing amount of groceries on a bike. With a cargo net and a backpack for all the heavier stuff, then I can hang a couple bags of the lighter goods from my wrists, and carry quite a lot of stuff. I'd definitely suggest some practice before loading up like that, though.

PhilB
Every time someone points out the saddle bags on my VTX I say "I friggen HATE them, ugly as sin... but they are just too damn useful to remove". Yes, between backpack and bags I can carry quite a bit after a parking lost game of tetris. :D There are those few pesky impossible items though. Like the fragile 24"x24" air filter for my AC unit, and the 40lb bags of feed for my critters :(
 

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Mexican Hard Shell Taco
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This only applies for the ninja 250 and 500. A regular sportbike is just as expensive to run as most cars. Maybe not a sports car, but a run of the mill sedan? Absolutely.


And of course you hate driving in the rain more than driving when it's not raining. Nobody LIKES driving in the rain. But I'll take driving in rain ANY day over riding in the rain. Unless it's like the middle of summer and raining in the afternoon. But this time of year? yeah, riding in the rain sucks.

But more than that- getting CAUGHT in the rain on your bike when you don't have your rain gear? THAT sucks.

Also- there's no way you can get enough gear to ride in every season for 350 bucks. No flipping way. You be hard-pressed to get a decent helmet (200 bucks) and jacket (150 bucks) at that price. I mean, you CAN find stuff cheaper, but not a whole lot. And not stuff for 4 seasons.
I said I hate driving in the rain more than I hate riding in the rain, that means, I rather ride in the rain than drive.

Helmet, $130
Scorpion EXO-700 Helmet - Solids :: MotorcycleGear.com
Gloves, $60
Fieldsheer Apex 2.0 Gloves :: MotorcycleGear.com
Jacket, $100
Fieldsheer Infinity Jacket :: MotorcycleGear.com

That's the gear I commute in, helmet, jacket and gloves. Don't usually ride to work with riding pants and boots.

Boots $100
FirstGear Mesh Hi Boots - 2013 :: MotorcycleGear.com
Pants $80
Fieldsheer Slip On Pants :: MotorcycleGear.com

FULL gear for $480.

As I said, you can go and blow $827 on an Arai helmet
Arai Corsair V Nicky-3 Stars Helmet :: MotorcycleGear.com

But full gear for commuting can be had on the cheap.


I remember when I first came to this site, everybody said it was impossible to be bike only. I first did it, almost five years ago, had to sell my car but kept my bikes, 6 months later I had another car, which to me was just a hassle. Year and a half later that car was totalled when I was hit by a drunk driver, a blessing in disguise, decided not to buy another car and got my CBR. As of now I've been "bike only" for 3 years and save for some times I wish I had a truck to take the bike to the track, I don't see myself getting another car.
 
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