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Discussion Starter #1
Hello, I created this post hoping to see what everyone wished they knew before starting to ride. I am in the process of buying my first bike (Most likely a Ninja 650R but open to suggestions).
A couple things I wish to know

-Maintenance/Reliability, how often is maintenance required? I know there are the basics like changing the oil/filter (If the bike has one), checking the chains and replacing things like the oil in the front forks. Specifically with the 650r I have heard tire wear is a big con, is that true?

-Cost of ownership, per year about how much is the average cost of ownership (Not including insurance cost).

-Recommended first bike, I am 18, I know a lot of people are going to tell me to begin on a 250 or 300cc. But I feel with a 650 its a good in-between for learning, and then not wanting more power.

-Should I take riding classes? In Wisconsin its around $300 to join a class and get familiar with motorcycles, I am used to driving sticks, but am not sure how that would translate with a motorcycle.

Ultimately my goals with the bike is a fun daily.
 

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1. Search the year of your bike and "Ninja 650 user manual" and towards the back you'll find the exact maintenance schedule. Follow it. Of course there is an oil filter that requires changing. The chain will need regular lubing but that's common across all chain-driven bikes and is very easy to do. Tire wear is entirely dependent on how you ride the bike and what tire you buy. I've had to change a tire after 3000 miles and I've had a tire last 8000 miles. As far as reliability goes, there are people putting 50k+ miles on these things without an issue. You can check out the Ninja 650 forum for specific issues.

2. Typical yearly cost is based on how often you ride. Engine oil and filter on my 2015 Ninja 650 should be replaced every 7500 miles or on a yearly basis, whichever comes first. If you ride 15,000 miles per year you'll spend twice as much on oil as you would 7500 miles a year. The bike takes roughly two quarts of oil and it runs for about $12/quart at AutoZone (filter is about $15). It's not a great expense by any means. Obviously the more you ride, the more you'll spend in gas...but the bike gets 50-60 mpgs (or less if you ride it hard). Tires will be your only major yearly expense if you ride a ton. You can easily spend $300 for a nice set of tires and burn through them in 5000 miles.

3. Do not be fooled by thinking the 650 is not an extremely fast motorcycle that you could get into a lot of trouble with. It can accelerate quicker than 98% of the cars you come across on your daily commute. It can approach speeds of 130 mph. I would suggest something smaller to start with, maybe a used Ninja 500 or something. That being said, if you are a reasonable human being who typically makes smart, responsible choices and is not prone to being reckless, you CAN learn on this bike and then wont get bored on it any time soon. You have to make that decision.

4. YES! Take the MSF course. They'll train you on a 250 or smaller (typically) and it's an invaluable experience. Driving a stick translates well to bikes, in my opinion. You already have a basic understanding of a manual transmission. Take the course. That $300 could save your life. Plus, it's an easy way to get your license.

The Ninja 650 has been a great bike to me. I'm on my second one. It's a great daily commuter but you can also outfit it to be a great touring bike. I've regularly put 300-400 miles on it in a day without much of an issue, and I'm a heavy dude.

Looking to buy new or used? What part of the country?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
My budget is right around 5 grand for a bike and about 800 for some riding gear. I am in Milwaukee and so far I've seen some brand new 2017 650s in dealers for around $5400. What would be a good price for a Ninja 650? I was thinking about grabbing the Ninja 300 but around Milwaukee the prices of a 300 is right around 4 grand, which is the reason why I chose the 650 since it was only $1,000 more.

I was looking to get used at first but I have been having trouble finding good prices on a used 650. Some are almost the same price for a brand new one (Saw a 2015 for example with right around 1400 miles go for the same price as a brand new 2017 650).

I have been using CycleTrader but am wondering if theres any other recommended sites to visit for buying motorcycles?
 

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Welcome. Only you know your personality, but if you are already thinking you will crave more power then no matter what bike you start with you will crave more power. Remember that the faster you accelerate the sooner you will be at the scene of your wreck.

A 650cc Ninja is equivalent to a 1600cc cruiser in acceleration and power.

When looking at dealer prices you need to look at the Out the Door price which includes all their profit fees like set up, delivery, documentation fee, etc. If your dealer charges all those fees for a new bike the used bike prices look better.

If I lived in a city like Milwaukee, I would seriously consider a cruiser over a sport bike. You will be bored on a sport bike riding around the city. Now if you are on the edge and plan to ride the country back roads you will enjoy the Ninja more than a cruiser.

The fact that you have $5800 saved up shows you are responsible which is a good trait to have when considering the dangerous sport of riding motorcycles.

Do you have any riding experience? Have you taken the MSF course? Take it before buying a bike. Do you have a lot of bicycling experience? Bicycling directly transfers to controlling a motorcycle. Do you have manual transmission experience?

Unless you are a typical overweight American you will find that the Ninja 300 has plenty of power and can out accelerate most vehicles on the road and is more engaging because you can rev the engine and have more fun at sane speeds.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I double checked the dealer and they di not cover taxes/documentation. So I guess the used one will be my choice.

Im more on the outskirts of Milwaukee, bordering Waukesha, so I have plenty of open roads to explore with the sport bike.

I have some experience riding bicycles, about 2 years of BMX and a year of mountain biking. I daily a manual, I know the basics when it comes to em like rev matching, engine braking, etc. I do plan on taking the MSF course after reading a bit more on it.

Ehh im 5'10" 190 LBS, I think that should be fine for a Ninja 300? I also took into consideration what someone told me, its my first bike not my last. So even if I outgrow the bike I can always just sell and get the next step above.
 
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