Concours Owners Group (COG) Forum

Motorcycle Talk => Other Motorcycles => Topic started by: Slybones on July 16, 2010, 07:46:00 pm

Title: Ninja 250
Post by: Slybones on July 16, 2010, 07:46:00 pm
I recall years ago on the forum people talking about the Ninja 250 as only a starter bike. A few defended it and saying their wife kept up with the Connie just fine with it. Of course it does not have no where near the acceleration, but it does the speed limit just fine.  -- Anyways I just got back from 780mi on the little Ninja 250 and this is a great little bike. With a 15T counter shaft sprocket ( I don't have one yet, but its on order now ) and some accessories this is a keeper for sure. -- This is a very capable little thing. No its not going to accelerate like the Connie or even some 650cc units out now, but it hauled my fat butt over Chinook Pass, Stevens Pass and many other grades holding 60-65 and give me 60mpg while doing it. 

Day 1:  From Everett I-405 to Renton, 169 to Enumclaw, 410 to Chinook Pass and down to Yakima, 24/240 to Richland, US12 to Walla Walla, US12 & 127 to Lower Deadmans Road, 35mi backroads to Lower Granite Dam, cross Dam and out to Colfax, 195 & 23 to Sprague.     

Day2:  From Sprague, 23 to Harrington, 28 to Wenatchee, US2 to Everett.     

Power:  Decent enough power to haul my fat butt and gear, saddle bags, etc. Over Chinook Pass, Stevens Pass and many others. Only one time did I need to downshift coming over Stevens Pass in a headwind. Otherwise it held 60-65 with no issues over any road I took. It would take a good steep pass to bog this down even with my fat butt and all the extra gear, but I can see it happening. For the one place on Stevens it was nothing a drop to 5th didn't cure. -- Does not accelerate like the Connie or anything like that. Has adequate/normal acceleration at best. But once you get it wound up it will hold speed plenty good.     

Gearing:  76 indicated is 71 actual @ 9000rpm. This seemed a bit much to me. I found that 7000-8000 was a comfortable engine speed. Many times I would try and hold 7500 ( 60 actual, 65 indicated ) and found she would creep back to 8000 ( 63 actual, 68 indicated ). That always seemed to be where it settled in and felt comfortable.    In the Ninja 250 Riders Club, a popular mod is the 15T Counter shaft Sprocket and 90 Series ( versus 80 Series ) profile tires. This gives 70mph actual with 73 indicated @ 8000 rpm. This would be real nice for a trip like this, to hold 65 and 70 at the 8000 rpm sweet spot.  Might need to use 5th a bit more with the taller gearing and 250 engine size, but I just dont see it as a problem. This will be a welcome change.     

Handling:  Even with the stock Dupflop tires, the little Ninja 250 handles real nice. She is a blast in the turns.       

Mileage:  I have not filled up yet, from Leavenworth to Everett. From Everett around to Leavenworth, and including the 23mi on the odo when I started I get 60.1mpg for this trip. Pretty good I suppose for hauling myself, riding gear, saddle bags, tail bag, tank bag, etc over Chinook and other passes at speed, etc. I could see this getting better with the wife on flat terrain with just riding gear, and no saddle bags or anything. Some advertise 70mpg. I think its doable with a 15T sprocket and the right conditions, 100# lighter weight rider, etc.       

Comfort:  Bar - Seat relationship seems fine. Seems like the Connie with the bar risers. Nothing strange to me. No back, elbow or wrist pain or anything.  Seat - Pegs is for shorter people. Really feel it in the knee's. Probably worse than the Connie even stock, much less with knee savers. Its cramped.    Seat.... Well lets just say its not a Rick Mayer Saddle and my butt still hurts. The little Ninja really likes to eat Ibuprofen too. Oh wait, that was me. Never mind.     

Protection:  This was more noticeable that I expected. The Connie of course has great protection and the Ninja 250 as that little bubble. Mine has an aftermarket shield from gti20vturbo ( any of you remember him? ). Its much better than the stock bubble but no where near the Connie. I started with the mesh jacket and the liner under it. Than as I headed over 410 I stopped and added the sweater, then later stopped and added the Frogg Togg outer shell to help stop the wind on the outside and not the inside the jacket. By the time I reached Chinook Pass I was feeling the cold. In comparison I use these 4 layers on the Connie in Montana over the Continental Divide in May with it 42, raining with no visibility and thought it worked great. On the Ninja 250 I wore those same 4 layers in much nicer weather and really could tell.     
Title: Ninja 250
Post by: Gerry B on July 16, 2010, 08:03:00 pm
Hey Sly, in addition to my 2003 Conc, I have one of those too. A nice 2004 yella fella! I'm a "security squad" sized rider too and she does quite well for herself. My son loves riding it all over hells 1/2 acre with me and has no problem tooling right along. I did the front sprocket change and it makes it a significantly nicer ride RPM wise. Glad to hear you had a great time.       Aging is scary when you start making the same noises as your coffee maker!
Title: Ninja 250
Post by: 2linby on July 17, 2010, 01:23:00 am
Yup!  Get the 15T countershaft sprocket and the world becomes a better place.    Nice write up.  But just like most I do wish it had just a bit mo power too.......  HA!  AKA "2linby" That's 2-lin-by folks!  Northwest Area Director  COG #5539  AMA #927779  IBA #15034  TEAM OREGON MC Instructor  137,000 miles and counting!    http://community.webshots.com/user/2linby  http://tinyurl.com/njas8 (IBA BunBurner Gold Trip)  http://tinyurl.com/lwelx (Alaska trip)
Title: Ninja 250
Post by: oldsawfiler on July 17, 2010, 01:42:00 am
Good report Sly.  Where did you order the 15 tooth sprocket?   Might get one for youngster's 250.    It is a way "cool" little bike in more ways than one.  "If it hasn't killed me yet, it's runnin out of time"  (http://thumb1.webshots.net/t/74/174/4/61/38/2828461380102410461FFUbXC_th.jpg) (http://good-times.webshots.com/photo/2828461380102410461FFUbXC)  COG # 8062  AMA # 1084053  ROMA or Scarlet harlot acording to my wife
Title: Re: Ninja 250
Post by: Funky6 on November 12, 2010, 05:07:12 pm
Wait... I want the 13 tooth for mine lol... I managed to score a fat performange award at the last "Bun Cooler" on my ninja 250 and it was only in 5th gear so I'll stand by it as a little more than a beginner machine but you have to flaug it to make it perform.
Title: Re: Ninja 250
Post by: oldsawfiler on November 12, 2010, 05:16:17 pm
By the way, I'm his dad and his Ninja is "FOR SALE" ;D
Title: Re: Ninja 250
Post by: smithr1 on November 12, 2010, 05:40:50 pm
Sending him out of the riding buz or getting a bigger one easier to flog?
Title: Re: Ninja 250
Post by: oldsawfiler on November 12, 2010, 07:31:37 pm
He bought a new R6 and has almost 3,000 trouble free (no citations yet) miles on it now.
Title: Re: Ninja 250
Post by: Slybones on November 12, 2010, 07:49:31 pm
Well I am happy to report this summer made some great progress in the wifes riding skills, etc.

She started off in 2007 taking the MSF basic class and getting her license. She was so afraid that she felt sick the first time she had to swing a leg over it and start it. But by the end of the class was going fine and she passed. -- At this time I shopped for a little Ninja 250 but soon realized she would only take it because I wanted her to, not because she wanted to. So I passed. I did not force her to ride.

Forward to 2010 and I wanted her to take the class again. She had not touched a bike in this time ( as a rider ) and I wanted to refresh her skills. This is when she mentioned something about getting a bike. Woo Hoo. Less than a month later I was the proud owner of the above mentioned 2006 Ninja 250.

Given that we have some COG members who are MSF instructors I was able to get hold of assistance on how to setup the course scenarios. I used some tennis balls cut in half and over the course of 3 weekends in a row, I put her through the class lessons again. -- This went amazingly well. Took everything in stride.  The "husband teaching the wife to drive" scenario went amazingly well. -- She rides the little Ninja 250 out on the public roads for the first time. First time ever.

Over the summer she progressed from riding only right around the house on local roads, to getting out on the freeway, and eventually some two lane highway, and a 2 hour ride. She only has about 200-300 miles under her belt, but I could not be more proud. We have gone from being scared to death to the biggest s*** eat'n grin you have ever seen.
Title: Re: Ninja 250
Post by: Slybones on November 12, 2010, 07:52:47 pm
(http://home.comcast.net/~slybones/Ninja/images/IMGP4052.JPG)

(http://home.comcast.net/~slybones/Ninja/images/IMGP4054.JPG)

(http://home.comcast.net/~slybones/Ninja/images/IMGP4051.JPG)

(http://home.comcast.net/~slybones/Ninja/images/IMGP4059.JPG)
Title: Re: Ninja 250
Post by: 2linby on November 12, 2010, 09:46:55 pm
We have gone from being scared to death to the biggest crap eat'n grin you have ever seen.

Yeah Baby!  :)
Title: Re: Ninja 250
Post by: Funky6 on November 13, 2010, 12:20:14 am
I loved learning on my 250 but it didn't even last me one summer... I put about 3000 miles on it myself before I got the R6, my dad mentioned, in July. I got my first riding experience and my endorsement though North Sound Saftey in April of this year  :) and in my first year on a motorcycle I racked up over 6000 miles of riding myself. I'm shure I am absolutly in love with the sport and I plan to be a life long rider.
Title: Re: Ninja 250
Post by: Cap'n Bob on November 13, 2010, 08:29:00 am
I loved learning on my 250 but it didn't even last me one summer... I put about 3000 miles on it myself before I got the R6, my dad mentioned, in July. I got my first riding experience and my endorsement though North Sound Saftey in April of this year  :) and in my first year on a motorcycle I racked up over 6000 miles of riding myself. I'm shure I am absolutly in love with the sport and I plan to be a life long rider.

It sounds like your off to a good start. Just try to ride with your head and not your heart. Making smart decisions when riding can make the difference that could lead to enjoying a life of motorcycling without incidents. Riding with your heart instead of your head could get you into bad situations that may have a different out come. And we would rather keep you and your dad safe!
 Congrats on a great first year!
Title: Re: Ninja 250
Post by: Colin on November 13, 2010, 01:20:38 pm
Hey Slybones


Once we are back in Seattle, lets pick a sunny day  for the 4 of us to ride.
It would be good to get the CFO out in the winter on a bright sunny say for a short trip, heck good for me too for that matter LoL
Title: Re: Ninja 250
Post by: Slybones on November 14, 2010, 01:20:46 am
Sure, sounds ok to me. Just make sure the temp is somewhat warm or it will just be 3 of us. Cant push too far too fast. I got her one on, want to keep it that way....
Title: Re: Ninja 250
Post by: Paulie on November 17, 2010, 09:12:02 pm
No doubt it's a fine starter skooter. But on a demo ride I found it odd to haveta rev it to 10k+ jest to git movin. My prob, obviously.  :-[
Title: Re: Ninja 250
Post by: 2linby on November 18, 2010, 06:18:22 pm
No doubt it's a fine starter skooter. But on a demo ride I found it odd to haveta rev it to 10k+ jest to git movin. My prob, obviously.  :-[

It takes a bit of RPMS to get moving, but once it does it is a fine scoot and I have found nothing as compliant in the corners as the little Ninja. That is when I can wrestle it away form my Grandson!  ;)
Title: Re: Ninja 250
Post by: Gypsy JR on January 01, 2011, 10:47:18 pm
That would be a perfect bike for my friend who will be getting her license in the spring. Too bad its all the way on the other coast. Can't find nice ones out here very often, unless they want too much for them. Its her money, but I'm trying to make sure she gets a good starter.

And yes, having ridden Kawasaki supersport bikes for a long time, I have great admiration for the little Ninja. It goes around the road race course quite nicely.
Title: Re: Ninja 250
Post by: Slybones on January 02, 2011, 03:36:45 am
Nice seeing this one pop back to the top. I started off the new year the right way, out in the garage with the dremel and modifying the motorcycles. Today the little Ninja 250 gets a 12 Accessory Socket installed. And I also have one of them 5 function digital voltmeters, like I have on the Connie. Have not got around to a bracket for it yet. But that's in the near future.

As for the accessory socket I found a nice black molded plastic one with a flat plastic mounting base with some tabs with screw holes. The plastic base was about 1 inch stand-off from the unit. I liked the black look and the rubber cap. And the flat base for mounting. If only it was a little more low profile.

So I got out the dremel and cut the mounting base off and trimmed off all the plastic stand-off part. The glued the flat base back on, only pretty flush with the unit. Then I trimmed off the plastic tabs where the screw holes were and tossed on a piece of 3M body molding tape. Here are results.

For mounting the dash of the Ninja 250 has a nice flat spot over the top of the indicator lights. This is a perfect spot for my trimmed down base. This mounts the socket with plenty of room around it for plugging in accessories, and it tucks up nicely under the fairing so that its out of the weather as best it can be. I can just run the wires down the side and they are out of the way. And I don't have to remove it to remove the fairing. This is also out of the way. It does not interfere with the operation of any the controls or the turning of the handlebars.

As for wiring it up, I tied it to the existing Ninja 250 accessory wires. these are powered all the time, which is how I want it. I like being able to charge the cell phone while at camp for example, and not have to have the bike on. Like on the Connie, the Ninja 250 may get a aux fuse panel at some point. Most of the wired in accessories will be wired in with the aux panel and tied to ignition so they cannot be left on. The Accessory Socket will be the only part left powered all the time.

http://home.comcast.net/~slybones/Ninja/images/IMGP6153.JPG
http://home.comcast.net/~slybones/Ninja/images/IMGP6156.JPG
http://home.comcast.net/~slybones/Ninja/images/IMGP6162.JPG

In the pics the unit is already modified. I forgot to take one prior to getting out the dremel. Doesn't look too bad up on the dash. Maybe a little out of place. I think it will look better when the 5 function voltmeter and grip heater switches are mounted. Then it will be lost in the clutter.
Title: Re: Ninja 250
Post by: Necron99 on January 02, 2011, 01:12:51 pm
Great review, thanks!  Those are such great little bikes.
Title: Re: Ninja 250
Post by: Slybones on January 02, 2011, 05:54:24 pm
No doubt it's a fine starter skooter. But on a demo ride I found it odd to haveta rev it to 10k+ jest to git movin. My prob, obviously.  :-[

It definitely needs more RPM to run this little gal. It has a 13,000 RPM redline, the fun part after the midrange flat spot is at 9,000 rpm. Does not have crap for power below 5,000 rpm. No point in that. I generally downshift below 4000-4500.

Where 4K on the Connie seems to be about the ideal RPM. To me I get the best mileage right there. 8K on the Ninja 250 for freeway cruising seems to be this ones happy spot. I can run 6K around town if you don't need any crisp acceleration.

For a normal start I start between 4K-5K with a gentle release of the clutch and the RPM's pretty much instantly coming over that 5K level. For a more performance oriented start 7K range with more clutch works ok.

With the 15T front sprocket, a 4K start with 8-9K shift points will move me along at better than normal traffic speeds. And this will keep up with the Connie at normal and little over normal traffic acceleration.  Of course it wont keep up with the Connie at brisk acceleration.
 
Title: Re: Ninja 250
Post by: Froggz on January 02, 2011, 06:07:03 pm
In the pics the unit is already modified. I forgot to take one prior to getting out the dremel. Doesn't look too bad up on the dash. Maybe a little out of place. I think it will look better when the 5 function voltmeter and grip heater switches are mounted. Then it will be lost in the clutter.

You did a great job on that Sly! BTW, how did your wife enjoy her riding season and will she keep riding?
Title: Re: Ninja 250
Post by: Slybones on January 02, 2011, 06:59:02 pm
Yes she will be riding and looking forward to the 2011 season. Last year she got off the porch. Probably didn't go more that 200-300 miles total. It was really a skill building year and a year of getting over the fear. I wouldn't say she is completely comfortable but definitely over the fear, and always has a big a** smile on her face when we get home.

She progressed from taking the course again, self taught by me with much help from 2Linby, to riding around the local side streets just to practice, to about 45mi of freeway to parents and back. And a 1.5hr local back roads loop which included some Hwy 2 and Hwy 9 sections.

At this point she should be done learning and practicing so to speak. Of course we never get done practicing, but its time for her to get out and ride. My goal for this year is for her to make some real rides. 1000mi would be great with 3000mi being outstanding season for her.

At that point my plan will be for us to do the ERC together. And get her into my practice sessions at the PNR doing tight turns, emergency braking, etc.

From there who knows. There are several other local riding courses that look nice. There is one called Advanced Street Skills. These guys are trying to make a set of courses that goes beyond BRC/ERC but is street oriented and not going to Super Bike School to learn to race around the track.  You do it at the track so you remove the traffic and all that from the equation, but its street speeds and street cornering techniques.

http://www.advancedstreetskills.com/

There is also a place in Renton that teaches the Motor Officer training course, less the high speed pursuit part. Its 40+ hours over 4 days and you get to ride their bike so you dont have to bust up your own plastic when you bump it. $1300 is some what spendy but for 40 hours and bike rental that you dont have to replace the parts you break its a deal. -- that is as long as you dont total it. If you do the classic mirrors, bars, grips, levers sorta thing its all included in the bike rental, which is included in the price.