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Old 09-09-2012, 03:43 PM   #1
Leeward419
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650 Versys vs Ninja 250?

Hello,
Not certain this is in the right forum, but here goes.

How far away from a suitable beginners bike is a Kawasaki Versys 650?
I read the letter post here re starting with a 250, I get that 600 cc sport bikes are NOT for beginners.
I used to ride a lot of dirt a long time ago, looking for a street bike, I have no illusions or pride re this, just dont want to bet a small bike and be selling it 2 years later. whent thru that in skiing, bicycle racing and every other sport I have tried. Again if 250 is the answer so be it. Just looking for some plain honest advice. If its not the versys, than its going to the ninja 250r or honda 250CBR.
Thank You!
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Old 09-09-2012, 04:02 PM   #2
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You might want to also consider the Ninja 650, Yamaha FZ6 or Suzuki SV650. Ninja 650 for example is the same engine as the Versys, just a sportier setup.

I considered the cbr/ninja 250 but wanted something for my taller frame (6'2 195) and something that would not struggle to be competent on the highway. The 250's start to get a little dicey above 75 on the interstate from my experience.

I started on a vstrom 650 a few years back and enjoyed that as well, but like the sportier feel of the ninja650 even though it's obviously far from a super sport bike. Still has good gas mileage and low insurance costs.
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Old 09-09-2012, 04:31 PM   #3
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I'm no expert, but here's what I can tell you from what I do know. My first bike is a Ninja 650r. I've never felt in the least that it is too much bike and as a taller guy, I was really uncomfortable when I sat on the 250. So, I decided to go with the 650r as it has beginner friendly features but is enough of a bike for a bigger guy like me and I won't outgrow it nearly as quickly as I would a 250.

The Versys has the same engine as the 650r. Most wouldn't consider it to be as beginner friendly as the 650r because it's much taller. The 650r has a low seat height and is very narrow making it very easy to put both feet down which generally will make a beginner much more at ease when learning. If you jack something up, there's a good chance you can get feet down and avoid disaster (assuming your learning by doing low speed drills in a parking lot). If you are tall enough to be comfortable on the versys, it should be ok for you from a power standpoint.

Generally, when people say a 600cc sport bike is too much for a beginner, they are talking about the true "sport" bikes that have aggressive riding postures and 600cc i4 engines (Ninja zx6r or Yamaha R6 for example) The engine in the 650r/versys is a 649cc parallel twin. It doesn't have the power of the i4 and has a much more even response throughout it's rev range. The i4 engines respond with much more power in the upper rpm range than they do at the bottom. This means that if a beginner makes a mistake and accidentally revs the engine (say because of hitting a bump or accidentally twisting the throttle while turning or attempting to apply the brake) the bike will respond aggressively and likely throw them off and leave them behind on the pavement. The even response of the parallel twin makes it much more forgiving. This combined with the more upright riding position really classifies the 650r as more of a sport-touring bike rather than a sport bike (makes the insurance significantly more affordable as well).

A lot of the sport bike guys on here bag on the 650r a lot, but I really like mine. It's exactly what I needed it to be in a first bike. Manageable power, not too heavy, but certainly enough bike for highway speeds and I won't be outgrowing it too soon. Now that I'm comfortable, I will probably be looking into finding a slightly taller possibly wider more comfortable seat. If you don't feel like the versys is too tall, I'd give it a shot. If the height is a problem, I'd check out a 650r before stepping all the way back to a 250.
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Old 09-09-2012, 04:38 PM   #4
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Thank You for the information, I was wondering about the engines, and had read some about difference in them, , give me more to think about, and help me make correct decisions. Buying in a few months. I cant tell you how much I appreaciate your reponses given your experiences.
thanks again!
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Old 09-09-2012, 04:42 PM   #5
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PS i hadnt realized the ninja 650 wasnt the I4 engine, just went and looked on the site, big difference, thank you!
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Old 09-09-2012, 04:51 PM   #6
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Old 09-09-2012, 04:52 PM   #7
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Get a used SV650 or Ninja 650. Take the MSF. Keep a level head and ride carefully. You will be just fine. I started out on a ninja 250 but I'm 5ft8 and 140 lbs. So I am little and I still got bored with the 250 after about 3 months. Now I own a gixxer 600 and I'm much happier, but I would never in my life recommend a 600 supersport to a beginner. But the ninja 650 or sv650 should be perfect for you.
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Old 09-09-2012, 04:54 PM   #8
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I have an 08 versys and it is my first bike. I had the same questions that you are asking and am very happy with my decision. The bike is a very satisfying ride. It's quick enough to be enjoyable but it isn't an all out warp drive kind of speed. The way the bikes speed climbs is very easily controlled. It also has enough low end grunt to not be shifting constantly in low speed city driving which really appeals to me on my commute. I do agree with some of the other comments that it is a very tall bike and to be honest it was a little disconcerting to start out. I really had to work on my balance while coming to a stop at a sign, I never fell but there were a few quick feet down moments because of the lack of experience and top heavy-ness. BTW, I'm 5'11" but I wouldn't consider myself long legged. The handling on it is excellent in my opinion and with all the reviews I have read, I don't seem to be the only one that thinks so. Gas mileage is upper 40's to mid 50's. Depending on your attitude while riding it can be an excellent gas saver. I would definitely go sit on one and see how it fits you and make your decision from there. Hope that helps you, and pm me if you have any other questions.
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Old 09-09-2012, 05:25 PM   #9
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I own a 650r as my first bike and after 3+ years of ownership, I still enjoy the out of it for all duties - street, track and commuting The engine output is very linear/progressive (you won't be wheelieing) and the position is very comfortable whether at a trackday or a weekend ride to Austin. Get yourself some sport bars, rearsets and proper tires and it's a good bike. Insurance, fwiw is $150/year or $450/year for liability/comprehensive/theft @ age 35, no tickets. It gets about 50mpg~ on the freeway and is very economical with regards to maintenance. Best of all, it's different.

You may also want to consider the ER6N, which is done right looks better imo. It's the naked version of the 650r...

26126d1252687508 custom er6n inside kawasaki er6 rr h 460x0w

Unlike most here, I would recommend buying new or near-new with the intention of keeping it for a long time. You can always go out and buy other sportier bikes or trackbikes but the 650r/ER6N is a great all-around bike that does everything well. Most people that sell there first bikes sell them cheap and usually regret it later on...don't be that guy.
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Old 09-09-2012, 05:34 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevintx88 View Post
Get a used SV650 or Ninja 650. Take the MSF. Keep a level head and ride carefully. You will be just fine. I started out on a ninja 250 but I'm 5ft8 and 140 lbs. So I am little and I still got bored with the 250 after about 3 months. Now I own a gixxer 600 and I'm much happier, but I would never in my life recommend a 600 supersport to a beginner. But the ninja 650 or sv650 should be perfect for you.
I have signed up for the MSF couse, from what I hear, Fantastic advice!
PS nice looking bike
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Old 09-09-2012, 07:28 PM   #11
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Leeward,

Good luck on your quest. After the MSF you will be keen to get that bike! The twin Kawas are great bikes. You will find few, if any dealers willing to let you test ride since you are just getting experience. Sit on the bikes, talk to people, then use your intuition and pull the trigger. Remember it is just a first bike. I can probably predict that in two years, yes, you will want something different, so my advice is don't buy a new bike, find a well maintained used one, and then have a dealer or good mechanic check it out thoroughly.

Above all, have fun!
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Old 09-09-2012, 07:31 PM   #12
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IMHO... the 650 would leave you some room because of the extra power compared to the 250.
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Old 09-09-2012, 07:51 PM   #13
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oh btw, my bike has sport bars, woodcraft rearsets, arrow slip-on exhaust, integrated turn signals, fender elim., frame sliders, and stainless front brake lines.
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Old 09-10-2012, 01:45 PM   #14
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Get a versys. Its more versatile and can do longer trips than a 250. Versys all the way.
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Old 09-10-2012, 02:25 PM   #15
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Versys is quite a bit taller... so it'll depend on how you feel sitting on it.

It's also very upright seating position. The 250 is pretty sporty and leaned forward. The 650r while upright from the factory can be anywhere you want with the cheap/easy mod of either LSL bars or sport bars.

Also, versys parts are pretty rare... so a slight drop may cost you quite a bit (doesn't matter if insurance is paying). Where as a 650r is EASY to find parts all over ebay, forums, and parts houses.
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Old 09-10-2012, 02:29 PM   #16
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Old 09-10-2012, 03:01 PM   #17
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Oh yeah, for another $2k they have fully automatic 6 speed dual clutch transmissions (auto and manual mode) and linked ABS as a combined package. SUpposedly, the Honda DCT's are smoother and faster at shifting than humans
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Old 09-10-2012, 04:02 PM   #18
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If I were a beginner rider looking at buying my first bike and something I won't outgrow easily, I'd be all over the NC700. Although Honda can't claim the packaging concept as original (Aprilia's Manna 850 gets that honor), Big Red does what it does best, which is refining the concept to the nth degree.

More than power or sportiness, I think "versatility" is the key to a bike's ability to stay in the beginner rider's garage. The NC700 has it in spades.

Last edited by Volfy; 09-10-2012 at 04:05 PM.
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Old 09-10-2012, 04:46 PM   #19
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One thing I totally forgot to mention: EFI. Not included on a Ninja 250. So lack of use of the Ninjette likely means a repair bill for a carb rebuild. Not on an NX700. Or on a CBR250.

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I think "versatility" is the key to a bike's ability to stay in the beginner rider's garage. The NC700 has it in spades.
Agreed. You nailed it. While a Versys or V-strom also have the versatility, stupid things like undertank helmet / beer / PC / sandals & shorts storage go a long long way to making a bike liveable as a car alternative. And 65- 70 real world MPG make it as good or better than a 250. DCT and ABS make it an ideal new rider choice, but pricey.

In the not too distant future I will have one in my garage. Only problem is that I have to sell bikes to make room. The good news is 2 - 3 of the activity specific bikes I currently own will be replaced in one fell swoop with almost no cash out the door.
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Old 09-10-2012, 04:49 PM   #20
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3129+ comments about the NC700X from guys who really really know how to use up bikes:

http://advrider.com/forums/showthrea...ghlight=nc700x
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