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Which 250?

Discussion in 'Moto Club' started by Lone Wolff, Oct 2, 2005.

  1. Lone Wolff

    Lone Wolff Tire World...

    Dec 17, 2002
    I'm looking at either a Honda Rebel or Yamaha Virago.

    Both bikes are relatively similar. The Yamaha is a really small V-twin, and the Honda is actually 234cc, but still not much difference on paper. I haven't had a chance to test drive either one of these bikes to get a feel for which I may prefer. Chances are I may be getting a used one via cycle trader, or Ebay, etc, so I may not get a chance to ride both, and just may end up getting whichever one I can get for the best price.

    I ride my mountain bike(bicycle) a lot to work, but it's not always convenient when I have to dress up, or when it gets too hot. (Dripping with sweat doesn't make a real good impression at work.) So I've been looking at getting a small motorcycle to commute and run errands. I wouldn't be riding on any freeways or interstate highways.

    I've never driven anything street legal, just a dirt bike on occasion.

    My dad has owned motorcycles for the past 30 years, and I spent a lot of time riding with him growing up. Based on his wisdom passed down to me, I should ALWAYS respect the power of a bike regardless of how big it is, and ALWAYS watch out for everyone else on the road because there is always at least one person who will not see you.

    Based on this, and my budget, I think the 250's seem like the best fit for me. I can always buy a bigger bike later. (I'll have more experience and more money.) With current gas prices, there will be a market for used 250's for some time I think. They sure as hell are few and far between right now!

    Has anyone here rode both the Rebel & the Virago? Or at least be able to provide some reasons pro or con for either of these bikes?

  2. WERA49


    Jul 26, 2003
    Lone Wolff, you've obviously put a lot of thought into this thread. Consider this; you'll quickly outgrow a 250 and will need another bike in three months. Have you considered a Suzuki SV650? It is a fantastic bike. There are many good deals on the early carbureted models. It, too, is a V-Twin.

    It will be more expensive than the 250's new, but it is five times the bike. Yamaha makes a very cool FZ-6.

    Keep the rubber side down. :)

  3. BrianM_G21


    Aug 18, 2004
    Manchester, GA
    And whatever you do, DO NOT LISTEN TO THE ABOVE ADVICE! Chafes my butt everytime I hear someone who Should have some sense, talk like that. A 250 is FINE and actually quite nice for ALL kinds of street riding. I say this as an EX250 owner, which is the most receint bike purchased in more than a decade of riding (with a stable of bikes that included several VFRs, GSRs, CBRs, a ZRX1100, a couple 400/650 dual purpose bikes, and a handfull of roadrace bikes from when I was racing). They have more than enough get up and go to leave cagers at a stoplight... if you'd be ballsy enough to want to venture into an intersection first. They'll More than do the speed limit, and my 250 is Very capable of "Go directly to jail" speeds. Back when I was still in Georgia, it was More than enough bike to leave the 'Real' squid machines behind when riding the good twisties.

    But that's the EX250 (Kawasaki Ninja), and it Is a bit more potent than the cruisers. And I really think that you should go to every measure possible to test ride the 2 bikes you're looking into to make sure that you will be happy. Because if you're Not happy with it, you'll be looking for something else (the 'outgrow' misnomer). Sounds like you've done your homework on the bikes though, so I really doubt you'll be dissatisfied.

    And since you seem to have a decided preference for cruisers, know that you can look a little bigger (Suzuki Savage comes to mind as a 650 single), probably have a bit more to choose from and it's still very easy to ride. I also always point people to Dual Purpose bikes for the type of riding you said you'd be doing. They're everywhere, nearly indestructable, cheap and get good gas mileage (I had a 250 once I set up for commuting in DC, 75mpg).
  4. WERA49


    Jul 26, 2003
    My advice is valid. A 250 is marginal at best in the city and awful on the highway.

    I have nothing against cruisers. I have five motorcycles and raced for nine years (see avatar). I've taught many people how to ride.

    That's the first time that I've ever seen the word 'potent' and 'EX250' in the same sentence.

    BrianM-G21, check your PM.
  5. NMGlocker

    NMGlocker BOOM headshot

    Jun 29, 2001
    New Mexico
    I really enjoyed my Kawasaki EX250 Ninja back in '89 or so.
    Reliable, got great mileage, comfortable, and would cruise at 75 on the hwy. all day. It was my daily transportation from work to school to home for 2 or 3 years.
    They can be had for under $3000 new.
  6. Lone Wolff

    Lone Wolff Tire World...

    Dec 17, 2002
    I've seen a few SV650's around, and I'd love one, but can't afford one right now. Maybe in a few years, which it why I am considering smaller & cheper models right now. My wife recently graduated law school and is searching for a 'real' job, so after she's had one of those for a few years, we'll have more discretionary income to use towards bigger and better things. With our current financial siution, I can only afford to spend about $2000.

    I won't argue the point that a 650cc bike is going to be a better machine, and the SV probably is "five times the bike", but the only ones available here are brand new. I don't have $6000 to spend on a bike right now.

    I hadn't considered the Ninja 250's. I had always thought they would be uncomfortable to ride especially for a passenger (i.e. the wife), but I probably need to get on one to see for myself.
  7. NMGlocker

    NMGlocker BOOM headshot

    Jun 29, 2001
    New Mexico
    The EX250 Ninja has a very upright riding position.
    The "banana" seat is also pretty cushy for rider and passenger. The wife and I made a few 200 mile day trips on my EX250 with no problems.
    The EX500 is another option, it would be almost as easy to ride, but more user friendly with a passenger.
  8. The 250 is a great little bike no matter how long you have been riding.

    Last year my wife and I went to Australia for 3 Months and we borrowed my Father In Law's 250 to ride around on. It was great! Lightweight little bike that I didn't have to worry about. I was able to handle it better than the Harley I was riding at the time, so I got to improve my riding skills and when I came home to the Harley I was a better rider for having spent the time on the 250.

    Good luck finding a 250 and don't let the naysayers get to you. The 250 is great. To me it's about getting in the wind, I don't care what you ride, just that you ride. Keep the rubber side down and the metal side up.
  9. J.R. Bob Dobbs

    J.R. Bob Dobbs Nerd

    Oct 3, 2000
    McGaheysville, VA
    I paid $1600 for a like-new Rebel 250 this summer. I had never ridden a motorcycle before. Well, I've ridden it almost every day and am having great fun with it.

    It IS among the slowest motorcycles available, yet it can still easily outrun traffic in the first 3-4 gears. There's very little accelerating power left when you're up in 5th. Wide open in 5th it tops out just over 85mph indicated.

    Slow by current motorcycle standards, but it's quick enough get you a speeding ticket on any road. I'd say it's NOT suited for interstate travel, but it feels comfortable up to about 70mph.

    Whatever bike you choose, your choice of buying a good inexpensive used bike is sound. If you destroy it, not as great of a loss. If you don't damage it, you should get all your money back if you sell it.
  10. fnfalman

    fnfalman Chicks Dig It

    Oct 23, 2000
    California & New Mexico, US
    Lone Woff,

    First of all, about not riding on highway and freeway...never say never and all that.:)

    Secondly for a commuter you can't beat a 250-cc something. It's cheap buy and it's cheap to ride. Other than the Honda Rebel and the Virago, check out the Honda Nighthawk and the aforementioned Ninja 250.

    These things aren't powerful but they are zippy enough to get you going. You can expect them to top out probably around 80-90 MPH. Plenty fast for a commuter.

    There's no reason to buy a bigger and more expensive motorcycle if all you want is a runabout. And if you were to want something bigger, you can always trade it in for the bigger one later.

    There's a damn good reason why these 250s are still popular even in this day and age of 178-hp crotch rockets. Just like there's a damn good reason why there are plenty of .22 caliber handguns and rifles in this day and age of magnum this and high capacity rapid fire that.;)
  11. Lone Wolff

    Lone Wolff Tire World...

    Dec 17, 2002
    Thank you all for confirming my logic isn't flawed. I'd really like to be able to find a decent 250, ride it for a few years, then give it to my Dad in about 3-5 years from now. He's in his mid 60's, and has some back problems, and just isn't enjoying his 1983 Suzuki GS850 as much as he used to. It's just too big and heavy for him.

    I'm looking forward to becoming as addicted to riding as I am to reloading. :cool:
  12. Timothy658


    Mar 24, 2003
    Another reloading addict here, who just purchased a 250cc motorcycle. It is a 1975 Honda MT250 Elsinore, which is a dual sport bike. Just looking for something to learn on, and something for getting around town.
  13. RabidDeity

    RabidDeity Frequent lurker

    Jun 5, 2003
    back in the USA
    Another +1 for the 250s. I've got a ZZR250 I'm quite happy with. It's no drag bike, but it will quite happily make 100mph if you tuck in on a straight (although it's quite prone to turbulence at that speed). Quite peppy acceleration up to 60, where it starts to pull a bit more slowly. "Marginal in the city"? Please. ;Q It's still faster than most cages.

    Lots of fun in the twisties. Maneuverable. Tame enough that you won't be pulling any unintentional wheelies, but still fast enough to get you in trouble.