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I sat on a 500r. I thought that was going to be the bike I would buy first. It felt too light. I am 6 foot and 175lbs. 40 years old. Physically in good shape with good energy and awareness. Driven manual cars for 24 years. Scooter experience, no motorcycle experience. I was also told carbs suck and fuel injection is the way to go. I have also read I will see my grandkids if I get abs and I will die if I do not.

I want to use the bike for weekend touring. Visiting state parks within 2-6 hours of where I live. I also want to take the bike cross country more than a few times. I am even considering flying out of state to buy my first bike just so I can get the best deal and enjoy learning to ride by touring it back home. learn to swim by jumping in kind of deal.

So I have landed on the ninja 650. I would love to only spend 3000 on a bike, but that means I am limited to non abs heavier (pre 2017) versions of the bike. I am willing to spend 2000 more for a 2017 model with abs but I dont know if thats actually really worth it. 2000 seems like enough to buy another bike just for those two features of abs and 60lbs less weight. Would love some advice. I am thinking because I am a newer rider that the lighter weight would be nice, but the 500r felt a little too light, but I sat on a 2014 and it felt just a touch too heavy.

I take my MSF course next week. I am excited to buy a bike real soon.
 

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There are older bikes with ABS but you have to look for them. I ride an ‘07 and love it. They’ve done some minor tweaks to the engine over the years but nothing major. Slipper clutch is newer but not mandatory. Really, you need to decide which generation you think looks the best. The first gen (06-08) is a bit rougher as far as vibration goes. Later modes got rubber on the foot pegs and I think engine mounts (someone can correct me if I’m wrong).
 

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I think the biggest difference is the weight making the bike more nimble in later years?
2017 model dry weight 419lbs. 2007 dry weight 393lbs. Do you really think you will notice the 26 lbs difference? I'm betting - NO.

Paying 2 grand more for a newer bike with ABS won't make you a better rider. I have been riding 48 years and only bought an ABS equiped bike 2 years ago - not because I wanted it, but because the bike I bought was rare and the only one available had ABS.

People rely too much on ABS, Traction Control, Slipper Clutches and a whole host of other accessories, but it doesn't make you a better rider, just a lazy rider dependent upon modern technology.

Google some of the past great riders, they did amazing things on relatively primitive bikes - you don't learn if you are spoon fed.

And 'later years' - if you really are into motorbikes, the Ninja 650 is not a bike you will keep for 'later years' - you are 40...pppfffttt! There are many different bikes you can try as the years roll by.
 

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I have a 2012 and really want the 2017. I'll list the reasons:
Slipper clutch
ABS
Lighter (42 pounds from previous gen, which I'd say makes a difference)
Ergonomics changed to be a little sportier
Design changes to help funnel engine heat away from the rider (a common complaint with 2012-2016 gen)
Gear indicator
Lower seat height
Engine improvement for better reliability and performance at lower rpms

Overall I'd just say the 2017 is more beginner friendly and will hold its value for longer.
 

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I bought an ex a 2009 ern6 but I probably rode it more than she did. It was so easy to ride, efficient, and just fun. I could ride it hard without worrying it would throw me off. My other bikes had 3x the torque.
I'm 6'2" and 170. The 650 always felt a little small but compared to my 500 lb Buell it was just so easy to ride. I didn't care much for interstate travel. Being so light you get blown around more, sometimes a lot.
I've never had abs although I do believe it adds some safety. Gear and skills are definitely more important. I have an old helmet with cracked chin bar for proof.
I doubt you stick with the 650 long-term so keep that in mind. Some bikes have good resell and others do not.
Example of bad resell....2018 I bought a 2012 ninja 1000 ( not zx10) with 9k miles for $4000 from a dealer ($5000 out the door). It's 500 lbs but it's also a dream on the highway/interstate. It was a little cramped so I dropped the pegs a little. It is power limited in 1st and 2nd gear but no liter bike is slow...lol.
FYI rarely are the OEM seats comfortable. Everyone has an opinion on seats and windshields.
Good luck and safe riding!
 

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I have a 2007 Kawasaki 650R Ninja and really like it. My bike only has 4,170 miles. I positioned a piece of rubber in between the left inner cowling and left center cowling, and now the bike is quiet with no fairing buzz. I also tighten the allan key bolts of the fairing every second ride or so to keep the fairing quiet. Other than fairing buzz, there has been no problems with my bike.
 

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2017 model dry weight 419lbs. 2007 dry weight 393lbs. Do you really think you will notice the 26 lbs difference? I'm betting - NO.

Paying 2 grand more for a newer bike with ABS won't make you a better rider. I have been riding 48 years and only bought an ABS equiped bike 2 years ago - not because I wanted it, but because the bike I bought was rare and the only one available had ABS.

People rely too much on ABS, Traction Control, Slipper Clutches and a whole host of other accessories, but it doesn't make you a better rider, just a lazy rider dependent upon modern technology.

Google some of the past great riders, they did amazing things on relatively primitive bikes - you don't learn if you are spoon fed.

And 'later years' - if you really are into motorbikes, the Ninja 650 is not a bike you will keep for 'later years' - you are 40...pppfffttt! There are many different bikes you can try as the years roll by.
What would be a good bike to ride instead of my 2007 Kawasaki 650R? I thought maybe a Kawasaki RS900 Cafe?
 
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