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SeeJoy 09-20-2007 11:14 AM

On The Cheap
I guess I'm your usual new rider. Just got my license last Sunday through the PA MSF course and can't say enough good things about the instructors and how they handled our mixed group of ages and abilities.
Like everyone else I'm looking for my first ride.
I'm female, 51 yr.s old, 5'5" and a bit, and 135 lbs.
I'm also on a shoestring budget.
When I was told I needed to get over the ankle boots to take the MSF course in, I went to the local Thrift Store and found a pair of black mens work boots for $7.- and they work great.
A week later in the same store. I picked up an older style black leather Fieldsheer motorcycle jacket for $64.-. It's a tad long but is in perfect condition. Looked online and they went for $250-$350 new.
Now I'm all for starting on a 250 "something" and I already know I want used. I've been warned that I will drop the bike, at least once if not more.
The Ninja 250 is popular, but I learned on a cruiser and don't know if I'd like to ride a sport.
So far I've sat on a Virago, a Vulcan 500 and just 'cause it was there, a 750 Nighthawk.
The Nighthawk was too heavy.
Looked at a Rebel, it looks tiny.
My girlfriend who rides a big sport bike and says I'll be bored with the 250 in no time at all..
As a single parent with a 17 yr old at home, I'd rather be bored and alive, than thrilled and dead.
There are no plans to ride on the interstate. I just would like to build up confidence in my skills and stick to the back roads of the Lehigh Valley.
My instructor wasn't allowed to advise us, but did say I should be able to get a used beginner bike for around $1000.-1500.
There is a "Ride It Again" consignment shop that sells bikes and equipment, helmets too. What do you think about buying a gently used helmet? Too risky?
Wondering if I should wait till spring to buy but don't
want my brand new skills to start rusting away..
Would appreciate any suggestions.


seruzawa 09-20-2007 11:39 AM

Any helmet that hasn't been through a crash will be just fine.

As far as the 250 Kwacker goes, buy a cheap used one and when you feel you've outgrown it you can sell it for about the same you paid for it. That's a win-win. The bright green one is also a + for visibility.

Start now. You'll be sorry if you don't.

jkloppie 09-20-2007 12:30 PM

You don't know where that lid has been, so if it were me, I wouldn't buy it. You can get a good helmet for under $150 (HJC, Z1R, and others) so why would you take the risk of getting a helmet that might have taken a hit you don't know about? Also, think head lice.

Beyond that, Kawasaki makes a 500cc bike that is pretty good (gs500 if memory serves). The SV650 is a very good bike (I started on one and rode it for 4 years) that is forgiving of mistakes, has multiple upgrade options, can be used for almost anything, and that you probably can't outgrow. One caution on the SV, it is at the high end of what a beginner should have, but with reasonable common sense and caution most people are fine.

Never go cheap on gear,tires, brakes, or maintenance. Good luck.

Kenneth_Moore 09-20-2007 12:33 PM

I suggest you set aside a weekend for looking. Bring up ||| New and Used Motorcycles For Sale - Cycle Trader ||| - and do a search in your nearby area by price range. Weed out the obvious misfits (too big, too small, beaters and wrecks). You should be down to a reasonable number of bikes to look at. Call up the owners and strike out the sold bikes. Make arrangements for see the rest. Then go start visiting them, and the right bike will find you!

longride 09-20-2007 12:57 PM

Check craigslist in your area for bikes. Gear you can get cheap if you shop around. Hang in there and it will all come together for you.

trenttheuncatchable 09-20-2007 04:00 PM

The Kawi Ninja 250 is a standard, not a sport. It's a great bike to learn on, and weighs around 300 lbs. It also gets great gas mileage and will go plenty fast (relatively speaking) if you don't mind twisting the throttle on it. But you should sit on a Ninja 500 as well, and if that size suits you, then that might make you happier in the long run.

The Vulcan 500 uses basically the same engine as the Ninja 500.

If you want a decent inexpensive new helmet, Vega is one brand you should look at.

sachiwilson 09-20-2007 04:55 PM

I know a few women who have the Ninja 250 and are very happy with it. It is a bike that you will not necessarily grow out of, and given its small size and weight it is easy to move around.

You will likely not want to keep any other 250s around for long, on the other hand.

SeeJoy 09-21-2007 07:16 AM

Thanks all!
I appreciate your comments and advice :)
There's a Ninja 250 that I pass on my way home and I think I'll go by tonight and sit on it and get a feel.
They want $1800-, but it was dropped in the truck as they moved it and has a pretty decent sized hole to the plastic.
One fellow I inline speed skate with rides a dual purpose 250 and is very happy with it. Sat on it last night and I had to tip toe but it was light and very basic.
Had a Yamaha mini-enduro when I was sixteen and boy did I ever love that bike.
Perfect for riding the power line trails and back country roads..
Brings a smile to my face just thinking about it! LOL


Kenneth_Moore 09-21-2007 07:26 AM


Originally Posted by SeeJoy (Post 169651)
Thanks all!
I appreciate your comments and advice :)
There's a Ninja 250 that I pass on my way home and I think I'll go by tonight and sit on it and get a feel.
They want $1800-, but it was dropped in the truck as they moved it and has a pretty decent sized hole to the plastic.


If you get a deal on a pre-dinged bike, you won't hate yourself if you scuff it up or drop it during your learning time. A friend loves his Ninja 250, and doesn't really want anything else!

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