Recommend a 250cc or less motorbike

I have a restricted (250cc or less) motorbike license, and I’m looking for a reliable bike which is more in the vein of a sportsbike than a cruiser (ie not a Yamaha Virago) because sitting too upright gives me a sore back.
Also not especially looking for a dirt bike.
The only other relevant thing is that i’m a little short and a tall bike could be an issue.

I quite like the feel of a Kawasaki Zephyr (750cc) and have got along ok on a Yamaha SRX250.

I don’t have a lot of time to test-ride things,
so can anyone recommend bikes they think might be suitable?

I’m probably going to be buying second hand, so brand new models are a little out of my price range.

Unrelatedly, aren’t bikes just great?

Bikes sure are great!

So, you want a racer, and it has to be 250 CC or less. I can only think of one bike that kicks ass in this category: the Aprilia RSV 250. I do believe Spiny Norman used to own one of these, and since you put the word “motorbike” in the title, he’ll be along shortly to tell more about it. :smiley:

Other than the slightly expensive (depending on where you are) and possibly hard to come by Aprilia, maybe a Kawasaki Ninja 250 might be worth checking out.

Shiny side up!

… and I suppose your “reliable” qualifier might actually put the Ninja above the RSV, in terms of desirability.

There’s also the Honda Nighthawk 250, which isn’t exactly a sportbike, more of a standard, but it isn’t a cruiser, either, and it’s not particularly expensive, and it’s got a proven record of reliability. Not too tall, either.

Worth a look, I think.

If you like a top speed of 60mph then go for it. My ex had one of these, and while it was an ok bike it really had no power and did not like going even 60mph. I would go with the Ninja 250, I’ve also ridden one of those, know a few people with them, including one guy who has over 100,000 miles on his, and they are reliable, have good power to them and are easy to work on.

Thanks everyone :wink:
I have seen Kawasaki Ninjas around, but only in 750cc/900cc. I will keep my eyes open, though!

As for a top speed of only 60mph in the Honda Nighthawk, I don’t think i’m actually allowed to go much faster than that on most of the roads 'round here anyway :smiley:

Standard bike as opposed to sportbike- what is the difference? over here (Australia) anything under 750cc seems to be classified as either cruiser, sportsbike or dirt, so the term isn’t familiar to me.

“Standard” here refers to a naked bike, pretty much. No fairing, no windshield, sitting position slightly forward but not as much as on a sports bike. Like the Nighthawk.

Or this CB 500, incidently the bike I got my license on.

Ah, the Belladonna - that was a stormy affair. That little thing is a total, mindblowing blast to ride in the twisties - as long as you’re prepared to ride like a total racer-wannabe wanker. (A sure way of making the rest of the world assume that you’re underendowed and overcompensating, as weel as attracting everyu police officer within a 10-mile radius.) However, if your restricted license is because you’re new to the noble endeavour of motorcycling, it’s not a really good choice. Expensive to ride, probably horrendously expensive to crash, the narrow powerband can make it unforgiving and it only shines when you’re exploring places in the performance envelope where you’d probably rather not go with your first bike. (Yeah, I miss her.)

I’ve never ridden the Ninja 250, but I’ve heard and read really good things about it, so that would probably be my first choice.

Keep us posted - and keep the rubber side down, eh ?

OK, well a standard bike sounds great then (now that I know the term :slight_smile: over here those seem to be called sportbikes, as opposed to ones with full fairing etc which are usually large engined and called supersports.

I’ve had my license less than two weeks, and to get my license I only clocked 12 hours on a bike, so I’m a pretty new rider :eek:

Has anyone heard anything about the Honda CB250? there are a lot advertised for sale second hand here, and i’m yet to see a 250 Ninja.

Shiny side up :wink: i’ll keep that in mind.

Hmmm - actually, I believe that the CB250 is just another name for the Nighthawk.

I’ve never ridden one, but I took my license on its cruiser cousin, the 250 Rebel - same powerplant - and within the limitations imposed by that pretty small engine, it was actually really fun. Certainly perky enough for city riding, nimble and light, very forgiving. Putting a standard chassis around that engine sounds like a good thing. Honda build quality is usually really, really good, but don’t go out and buy a bike that 15 other people have learned the ropes on.

Ah, good times…

smiles I guess like most other people I will only be riding this bike for a year until I am eligible to take the open license :slight_smile:

I have seen 250 Rebels around, although fewer than CB250s.
Fingers crossed I will test-ride a few this weekend and see how that goes…

Thanks for the advice :wink:

As you may know, Coldfire and I have Yamaha XJ600s. (I don’t know about the licensing down there, but from what you’ve posted I can see that you may not ride a 600cc machine.) The Seca II (or Diversion, as it’s called in Europe) is the perfect bike for L.A. It’s small, which makes it easy to split lanes (which is legal here). It’s fast enough that you don’t feel as if you’re flogging the engine on the freeway. It’s inexpensive to buy (well, it was – they don’t make’em anymore), operate, and insure. It’s a standard-class bike that looks like a CAFE racer. It’s comfortable. Mine has over 72,000 miles on the clock, and it’s been a great ride.

But I outgrew it a long time ago. An R6 would suit me better with its more powerful 600cc engine and its better ability to handle aggressive riding. The XJ600 is still quite viable (as I said, “perfect”) for the kind of riding I do, but I can handle something with a bit more snarl. The point is that you will quickly outgrow a 250cc bike. That’s something to consider. Since you will be replacing it in a year, do you want to buy a new one? Or do you want to get a used one just to learn on?

If I had no bike and was looking at a 250, I’d buy new. Since I have a bike already, I wouldn’t mind having a used one. Small bikes are fun. My dad had a Kawasaki TJ600 JetSki. Everyone else liked to ride his 850 and 1100 JetSkis (as did I), but the little TJ was also fun to tool around on. So when you get a larger bike, you may consider keeping the 250 around. If you have the space (and I don’t), you can’t have too many bikes! :slight_smile:

there are also some automatic motorbikes made in oklahoma by ridley

You could try get a Honda MC23(Jade)

Rev like mad, but very easy to ride, they are a bit like a scaled down version of the CB1 super 4.

http://www.importmc.com.au/bikes/mc23/mc23r1blue.htm

The Honda CBX 250

http://www.motorbikes.be/models.asp?id=1708

It is quite old and you may have trouble finding one, but another revvy little beast 24 bhp is not much, until you put it into a machine weighing less than 120Kilos.

Kawasaki Balius, looks pretty and has a sensible riding position, but make sure you put high quality oil in it as it revs to a silly 15000 rpm!

http://www.importmc.com.au/bikes/zr250a%20balius/baliusyellow.htm

Actually this is a great site for finding any bike sold almost anywhere in the world.

http://www.motorbikes.be/

One I have seen is the Yammy SRX 250 which is quite tough for a 250, generally all 250’s get thrashed so I would not look at one with more than 15k miles on the clock.

Maybe the toughest one out there would be the Yammy SR250 but it is rather boring, or the Suzy TU250 which at least has a slightly interesting retro look about it, and it will last at least 30k miles, although in a wintry climate the finish willl not.

If you want bikes that are a bit of fun then I’d take a look for something like

Yamaha Zeal, looks pretty good and is well on the pace for a 250.

http://www.dropbears.com/m/models/roadtests/zeal250.htm

Honda CB250RR rare and revvy but capable of 120mph, looks like a miniature Fireblade, rather cool, especially if you can stuff it inside its bigger brother on a twisty lane, whcih is very possible due the the light weight.

Suzuki RGV250 2-stroke screamer, needs lots of love and high quality 2s oil, this is the donor engine for the Aprilia RS250, the latter is actually the better machine.

If you want a 125 then perhaps you might take a look at Cagiva Mito which is a miniature Ducati lookalike or perhaps the Cagiva Planet. Both are 2 strokes, surprisingly quick for 125’s but you do need to warm them up properly before every ride or you can risk ‘cold seizure’.

I vagually recall that way back in the 70’s Ducati had a couple of single cylinder things but I would be surprised if you can find one in good order, much more a collector machine nowadays, and of course there are the legendary Yammy aircooled RD 125 and RD 250 or the RD125LC and better yet the RD250LC, hooligan machines that demanded you ride with at least 8000 revs on them at all times…those were the days :slight_smile:

I have a Honda Rebel 250, and I love it, although I’m ready to go on to something bigger now. I just learned to ride last summer. It gets me where I want to go!

IIRC yamaha makes a streetbike that looks exactly like the R6 but it is extremely hard to come by, you may want to try ebay. also upon visiting hawaii in 1998 my father and I ran across these miniature street bikes. i cannot remember the name of these motorcycles but they do race them, so that means that they do pack a punch of power.

p.s. my father owns a suzuki shop but the smallest cc bike that suzuki makes in a sportbike is a GS500.

hope this helps.

let us know what you get

I loved my 250 Ninja absolutely to death. It was my first bike, and I rode it everywhere from 21-26. I have a GSXR-750 now (quite the rocket) and I still miss the mini-Ninja sometimes. Where do I even start to sing the praises of that awesome little Kwak?

It looks sporty, (I love the 80’s sportbike look of it) but it doesn’t have the “torture rack” riding position of most sportbikes. Very upright, good view of the road. Legs relatively straight. Not like “a monkey humping a football” as I’ve heard the usual sportbike riding position described. ;]

The seat isn’t spectacular. The bony plates on the bottom of your ass will press through the foam and start to get uncomfortable after rides of more than three hours. But you probably won’t be riding that far while you’re learning anyway. If you do, Corbin and several other manufacturers make good closed-cell foam seats for it that will be good for much longer rides.

Gas mileage. Even when you ride it hard it gets 50 MPG. Ride real gently and you can get 60 or 70. With its 4.2 gallon tank, you can get like 200-250 miles between fillups if you’re really lucky. I dunno what fuel costs are like down under, but I used to ride for a week and then only spend $4 to fill the take all the way up. Boo-ya! :smiley:

It’s light and agile as hell. Canyon carving is so much fun on the EX-250 it’s unreal. The Gixxer I have now is actually less fun because it takes so little lean to get around turns. The EX-250 makes you feel like a hero when you’re riding in the tight curvy stuff.

It’s reliable. I never did anything to it in the 15k miles I owned it besides oil and filter, and a general tune-up when I first bought it. Get yourself a good one, do the regular maint as scheduled, and watch it live forever.

I don’t care what anyone says, the thing is NOT slow. It does 0-60 in 5.5 seconds. That’s as fast as my 300 HP, twin-turbo Nissan 300ZX! No motorcycle is slow. Don’t believe the hype of the people who buy a liter biek for their first bike. 95% of those people end up in the ER and swear off motorcycles saying, “They’re just too dangerous.” Yeah, and flying planes would be too dangerous if you started by trying to ride a cruise missle, dumbass.

Short rider friendly. The short bike list claims that the EX-250 can be flat-footed by someone 5’2"! I don’t know if I believe that, but it certanly was a featherweight and tiny bike to me at 6’.

In the US, you can usually get a decent used one for $2000. Mine was $2500, but it only has 2000 miles on it. A well cared for one with 10k miles is not a problem at all.

Well, that’s enough mindless boosterism. I loved mine to bloody death, and that’s all I have to say…
-Ben

Really? Interesting, the Divvy 600 (as well as the cardan driven 900) are still available in Europe, entering their 12th production year, with only mild changes throughout the years. It’s still one of the best sellers on the Dutch market.

Coldie: I thought that they discontinued the XJ600 (at least for the U.S. market) in 1998. I just got off the phone with Yamaha, and the nice woman on the phone verified that that was indeed the last year. She didn’t have information on international models.

I told her how much I like the XJ600 and she said she’d make a note of it; so I pretty much re-iterated what I posted here about it being “the perfect bike for L.A. riding”. Interestingly, Yamaha does not make a standard-class bike. They have super-sports, cruisers, off-road, and scooters; but no standards. (My comment about the lack of standard-class bikes is what prompted her comment about taking dowm my comments – which I’ve already commented on. ;p )

J L.A

Here is what we in Yurp can get.

http://uk.yme.com/page.cfm?pageID=72293

In Canada you can get the FZ1, which is called the Fazer1000 over here, true its a lot of power but it is as easy to ride as any ordinary streetbike.