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Discussion Starter #1
I just completed my MSF course two weeks ago and am still awaiting my license endorcement in the mail. In the meantime I've been going around to differant dealerships looking at used (and new) bikes to get going on. Just as an idea I did real well on the MSF, I'm 28 years old, and I'm 6 feet ~205 pounds. Ideally I want something that isn't going to be too small, but also not too much for me to handle .

I've come down to these bikes that I've found at various dealerships in my area.

'06 Ninja 500 - $4000 with ~250 miles clean record
'06 Yamaha FZ6 (600 CC) - $6000 ~500 miles clean record
'07 Ninja 650 - $6300 New

I'm heavily leaning towards the 500, mainly due to the fact that it's slightly lighter than the other two and more economical since I also need to buy a full set of gear...which should run me about $1000 more. I'm certain anything less than a 500CC is too small for me. The bikes we used for the MSF were 250's and they were definitely way too light/small for my height (my knees were up over the tank a little!).

My concerns about the 500 is that it may be a little too small/underpowered a few months down the line. I want to learn on a bike that's proper for my skill level, but also want something that I'm going to be able to keep a year or two and not feel like I made a mistake. I've done alot of research on my own, but I'd like some opinions from people around my size on their experiences with this bike. I asked the salesman at the dealership (and he said it's fine) but you can never be sure if he's just "jerking" me around to make a sale ;D

The purpose of the bike will be some work commute, but mostly just leisure/pleasure...twisties and all that ;)

Any feedback would be good. I'm debating buying this bike now, or saving some more money and buying a larger bike in a month or two such as the Ninja 650R. To be honest the 650R is the bike I've been eyeballing, but I'd be pushing it both economically and it might be too much for my skill level. I sat on both the 500 and the 650, and I have to admit I felt alot more comfortable with the lighter bike from a "sitting on the showroom floor" point of view. I love the look of the 500 as well, and want to start on something that I can grow with, then perhaps in a year or two bump up to the 650 or ZX6R if I'm frisky. Any advice is appriciated, thanks!
 

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if you feel comfortable on it, then yes. remember, the right bike for you is the one YOU feel is most comfortable. its probably been said a million times that the 500 is a great first bike that you can grow with, and if you feel the urge to have more power later on, you can ALWAYS change the gearing a little to achieve that for less than a bigger bike. smart thinking though about getting the gear and the bike at the same time.
 
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i am the same size as you, been riding my 500 for 2 years now, and i still find it entertaining.

the 650r has 20 more HP, 18 more ft/lbs than the 500, and on bikes that is alot!!
 

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I've been riding for over 20 years. Since I got the 500, I've been riding it more than the Concours, which is a bigger, faster bike. The 500 is not a bike you have to outgrow. It's big and powerful enough to do everything you need and very fun to ride.
 

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im just under 6' and 220

i admit, im all the time looking at bigger bikes but i cannot tell you why
i cannot outride my 500 (riding since march) - ive done gearing and airbox mods


honestly, if you think you'll tinker with the bike at all - id recommend the 500
if not, the stock gearing gives you very poor 6th gear highway acceleration (of course you can always shift down)

i think the 650 is a decent bike (never ridden it) but it has a small gas tank and for a little bit more money you can get better bikes

from everything ive read, the fz6 is harder to go fast on in twisties and really has a terrible low end power range
but is supposed to be a pretty comfortable bike

the 500 should net you much better gas mileage also
 

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basically, for the money, a 500 is a super choice. if they sold em with full fairings, they'd sell like beer in texas. like I said earlier, they're a great bike for anyone wanting to ride. I actually bought another one after selling the first because I thought I wanted to "upgrade" heh yeah right. 500 is where I'm staying, just gonna fiddle with gearing a little, keep it cleaned and maintained well, and I'm gonna be on this thing till the wheels fall off. (literally)
 

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i dont get why people say theyll outgrow a bike...here in wisCPAPsin, im checking my speedometer to make sure im within 5 miles of limit and every intersection for cops...cause they will get u...(damn cop every 1/4mile on way to work lol)

where the hell are you people where u can fully utilize a supersports power?!?!?!

ive never come close to maxing out the 500, and unless i jump on the track i never will

i just dont get it
 
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500's also hold their resale rather well, cause they're always being bought. So, keep it in good shape, and you can just resell it in 2 years anyhow.

I still never get this "outgrowing" it thing. I think people just say that as an excuse to upgrade to a bike they like the look of better, or just want more acceleration. After 2 years/30,000kms, I've yet to grind my pegs on a road. I think you'll have more fun on the 500 than you expect!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks a lot for the replies!

My thoughts were that perhaps the 500 would have problems accelerating past 18 wheelers (and some suv's ::)) on the highway at or around 60-65 MPH. Apparently that isn't much of a problem.

Anyway Kevin I'm not so much concerned about going 120 MPH with the bike pointed in the air going down the highway so much as it's ability to accelerate at or around highway speeds. I want to make sure I have the power to avoid possible problems on the highway, not just at city/back road speeds.

The 650R really isn't a SS at all from what I've read and heard, it seems kawa put it out there since there really wasn't much between a 500 and a Zixxer. The handlebars have the same upright position that the 500 has, although it's seating is a little more aggressive. Problem is the bike is RARE right now, took 5 different kawa dealerships before I could even find one to sit on! Impossible to find the 650R used right now since it's only been out two years...so if I were to go that route it would have to be new. I kind of want to avoid buying new on my first bike, especially since I really don't know what to look for in a bike yet.

Anyway, I think the 500 is the direction I'm headed, it's the kawa lime green model so it's definitely faster than red/black/blue/silver anyway! ;D
 
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HailstormX said:
My thoughts were that perhaps the 500 would have problems accelerating past 18 wheelers (and some suv's ::)) on the highway at or around 60-65 MPH. Apparently that isn't much of a problem.
Nopers! The 500 has more acceleration than about 95 per cent of cars on the road. If you wouldn't have any doubt that, say, a Mustang could pass on the highway, then worry not, cause the 500 will be passing any vehicle like it's standing still :)
 

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The EX definitely has plenty of power for the street, and I won't ever _need_ anything more. It's faster at acceleration than the majority of the cars out there, and as long as you don't try to accelerate up in the wrong gear (50mph in 6th...) you'll do fine.

Still, I love acceleration (in any direction), which is partly why I went for a bike. Just because you can get up to the speed limit really %@## quickly doesn't mean you have to be speeding. I'll probably upgrade more because my bike is an old bike (purchased primarily to learn on) than because I "need" a bigger bike.

Even after I upgrade, the EX will probably stick around in case I start commuting in city traffic again. It's tiny and gets awesome gas mileage while still being a lot of fun.

As far as handling, I've read time and time again that the EX does quite well. Anyway, if it's your first bike I doubt you're going to be outriding the bike in the corners due to skill until you have a lot of miles under your belt.

Go for the EX. :)
 

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Royson said:
Nopers! The 500 has more acceleration than about 95 per cent of cars on the road. If you wouldn't have any doubt that, say, a Mustang could pass on the highway, then worry not, cause the 500 will be passing any vehicle like it's standing still :)
Indeed. A pass starting at 6.5-7k RPM (my bike's hot spot) still surprises me even with a few thousand miles under my belt. It's all about being in the right gear, though.
 

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This is a no-brainer if you ask me. I started on a used '03 Ninja 500 and it was the best decision I've made in a while. First, it had been dropped at low speed so the nervousness of messing up a brand new bike - whatever the cc's, was a non-factor. Second, it moves! Passing anyone on the road was no problem and it responded real well from 1st gear on. A buddy of mine bought an R6 as his first bike and, well if you ask me it was foolish. He is competent, but the poster-child for squids and it will be years before he can take the thing anywhere near its limit. Not to mention that when he rode my 500 he was real impressed with how it moved when he asked it to and how it didn't try to kill him when he twisted the throttle. Lastly, the price was right and when I ended up "upgrading" I got pretty much everything back that I had spent on it, despite it having some cosmetic damage from the previous owners. I say that I upgraded because I recently sold the 500 to another friend of mine who is just starting so I figured it was as good a time as any to move up to a 600 - but I got a CBR600F4i rather than a supersport. I certainly did not outgrow the Ninja. I still get a kick out of going riding with a group of guys on their R1's and Gixxers who end up stalling the things 12 times during the course of a ride, and seeing their brake lights flash on as they go through turns with hardly any lean at all.
 

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Ive just finished putting 15,000 miles on my EX, and I can say without a doubt, I love it! In fact I purchased a EX500 race bike which I hope to be putting many many miles on (soon after my wedding) this fall and winter. The EX really is the perfect bike for a lot of riders old and new alike.

It has a wonderful smooth powerband picking up power right around the 7K mark but doing so in a maner that won't catch a new rider off guard. The handling is quick, I have heard many people who are used to liter bikes complain that it is too quick. To that I say they are riding a tub of lard (at least in the steering department) and need to get used to a bike that can handle.

The great gas milage makes it both cheap to ride, and ideal commuter. With it's narrow profile lane splitting is a breeze, and the seat position makes long rides comfortable at any speed from a heavy traffic crawl to a open highway cruz at tripple digits.

The biggest weakness of the 500 is not hp related but suspension related. While it does a great job at sucking up bumps on your average ride and not rattling your teeth out, it could be a little more firmely sprung if you are going to be throwing it through your local twisty road. By the end of my first year riding my EX I had dragged the lower fairring, twice. Simply put under hard acceleration leaned all the way over the suspension compressed enough to drag a nice 6 inch gouge in my lowers.

I purchased a R6 the next year, and don't get me wrong, I do love the R6, but the steering feels sluggish and I really have to work the get the bike to lean. The seating is not comfrotable for anything but twisty roads (where you won't be sitting), and it is no where near as easy to lane split on. Right now the R6 sits in the shead while the 500 takes me to work and back every day, and when i arrive I always have a giant smile plaster from ear to ear.

I will never sell my EX, it will remain to be my commute vehicle when it is dry out and in more ways then not it is a lot of fun even for an experienced rider.
 

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Like others have said the 500 accelerates plenty fast. You can improve it's acceleration with sprocket changes which will inturn reduce your top speed but you shouldn't care about that on the street. Maybe only for economical reasons. You should manage 50-60mpg every tank. I know i've seen it. 52ish when ridden hard and around 58 or so cruising with the occational fun moment. Buy what you feel comfortable on. Personally I think the 650 is ugly as sin. I'd get an SVS over it any day. More reasons than just that but that's my opinion. I'd say go with the 500. Use the extra money for good gear. Use what's left for more miles of riding(filling your tank). Have a blast and become like the rest of us who will never rid themselves of this bike. Ok I may in the future but only when it finally craps out or I destroy it...haha.
 

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If you are worried about your skill level outgrowing the bike, then don't if you can use the bike to it's limits on the street then you should go shopping for a casket at the same time you buy a bike. It will keep up with any other bike in the turns, and except for slower acceleration compared to the repliracers you'll be fine. i rid ewith a bunch of track junkies and except for in the straights I have no problem keeping up with them. In the straight line they pull away from me easily, but unless they start shooting away at over 100 (which is illegal anywhere else, you'll catch back up in under a minute without any problems.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Great, thanks everyone for the quick replies...definitely made up my mind! Deposit is already down for the bike before someone else rides off with it (only good used 500 I could find!)

I'll post a pic of my flashy stock 500R when I get home next weekend! :p

I'm already mulling over what the first mod should be, ha!
 

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I love this bike so much that I'm now on my 2nd kawi 500 (1st was 1997, now owning 1990 EX500)

I handles real good, a couple of us went to the racetrack this past weekend and we followed 600, 675 and 750cc bikes.

If beating a Corvette at a red light for many thousands $ less doesn't makes you grin, I don't know what you need ;)

Handling, commuting confort, gas usage, bang for the buck, reliability, easy to wrench on, toughness (crashed mine pretty badly and got it back on the streets ;)), the fact that it's pr oven technology (hasn't changed much in 20 years) Parts availability (see prev note ;)) are all criterias that keep me coming back to this ride :)

Oh don't forget that there are no boards half as good as this one ;)
 
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