I'm planning to buy my first bike later this summer. After reading the advice about starting small, I'm looking at the Ninja 250, Ninja 500 and the Buell Blast. Does anyone have any recommendations between those three? Or even any other bikes for a n00b?
I've met a few people that said the 250 didn't have enough power for them. My best guess is that you want something for a few riding seasons, get the 500s. If you wanted something for a few months / half a season, grab the 250. If you never been on two wheels the 250 might be your best bet. Usually pretty cheap in private sales.
you might also look at a gs500, and I would suggest getting a used bike since it will be your first. You can't go wrong starting out on the 250 though and it should hold it's value till you are ready to move up to another bike.
I would say any one of those bikes would be good. From what I understand the Buell Blast is a pretty simple machine and has some features that make it easier to use - like an automatic choke. That said, I don't know if I would recommend it as a "good starter bike." If you are going to go on and ride b***** bikes, you might as well go on and get a bike with a regular choke etc. If you are just going to dabble in motorcycling with no intention on moving up or if this thing is going to be a toy then the Blast would be decent too.
I think the 250 is a good starter and so is the 500. Both these bikes will be what you make of them. The 250 might be down on power, but it makes up for that in lack of weight and all around riding fun. I say buy whichever you get the best deal on.
Also, since you don't seem wholly set on a sport bike, you might also look around at older used bikes like the old Suzuki GS450L that would be a good little bike as a beginner. Look at the Nickle want ads etc and find something you might like.
If you are going to do highway riding stay away from the 250. I would go with a 500. The ninja 500 is a better bike than the gs500 all around so unless you are going for the fully faired "cool" look of the "new" gs500f, go with the ninja.
Why is the ninja better? Better tires, better brakes, better handling, liquid cooled (gs is air cooled), less frequent valve adjustments (not 100% on this), more power. The 04' and beyond gs looks cool though, but for a starter bike I wouldn't go over $2K.