Now, as many of my regular readers will have noted, I’m an odd duck indeed. I love the underdog bikes, and I adore bikes that step outside of their established niche (more on that in a bit).
In this post, I shall shine the light on a bike that has seen more beginner riders through their learning phase than most would realize. the Ninja 250. I speak of the “Third Gen” Ninja specifically because of its nearly twenty years of production, thus its proliferation in the US Market. I may touch on the later generations, however in this post I am laboring towards a point, and as such, they need not detain us at this juncture.
The Specs (via Wikipedia.org) :
|Type||Four-stroke Inline-twin, DOHC, Liquid-cooled, Eight-valve, with counterbalancer|
|Bore and Stroke||62.0 mm × 41.2 mm (2.44 in × 1.62 in)|
|Carburetion||Keihin CVK30 (2), Constant velocity, diaphragm-type.|
|Spark plug||NGK CR8HSA, CR8HIX, CR8HVX
option CR7HSA, CR7HIX
|Fuel type||Min 91 Research / 87 avg. octane unleaded|
|Type||6-speed manual, constant mesh, return shift|
|Clutch||Wet, multi-disc, manual, cable-actuated|
|Frame type||Tubular diamond design|
|Rake/trail||27° / 84 mm (3.3 in)|
|Front suspension||Twin hydraulic telescoping fork|
|Rear suspension||Uni-Trak single-shock|
|Wheel travel, front||140 mm (5.5 in)|
|Wheel travel, rear||130 mm (5.1 in)|
|Tires and brakes|
|Brakes||Single hydraulic disc (260mm front, 230mm rear)|
|Wheelbase||1,400 mm (55.1 in)|
|Overall length||2,030 mm (80.1 in)|
|Overall width||710 mm (28 in)|
|Overall height||1,090 mm (43.1 in)|
|Ground clearance||150 mm (6.1 in)|
|Seat height||740 mm (29.3 in)|
|Weight (dry, wet)||138 kg (304 lb) dry, 355 lb (161 kg) wet
362 lb (164 kg) wet, tested
|Max load||155 kg (341 lb)|
|Oil type/capacity||SE-SG Class SAE 10W40-20W50/1.9 L|
|0–60 mph (0–97 km/h)||5.75 s|
|1/4 mile||14.59 s @ 87.82 mph (141.33 km/h)|
|Maximum power||27.9 kW (37.4 hp)
28.05 bhp (20.92 kW) @ 12500 rpm
|Maximum torque||18 ft·lbf (24 N·m) @ 10,000 rpm
13.15 ft·lb (17.83 N·m) @ 9,000 rpm tested at rear wheel
|Fuel efficiency||48.0 mpg-US (4.90 L/100 km; 57.6 mpg-imp)
55 mpg-US (4.3 L/100 km; 66 mpg-imp)
74.2 mpg-US (3.17 L/100 km; 89.1 mpg-imp)
The Case For The Ninja:
With a massive following, the Ninja has been debated, argued, and mused over exhaustively regarding its many vices and virtues. Beloved by beginner riders, MSF courses, and unassuming long term riders, the Ninja sports an excellent record of reliability and ownership. Since this particular generation was in production for nearly twenty years, nearly every facet of the bike has had time to be fettled, massaged, and tweaked to comparitive perfection. If you want to do anything to the bike, there’s probably a post on a forum somewhere that has been made on the topic where many wrenchers have argued every aspect of the post until a concensus was reached. You want to make it faster? There’s posts for that. Want to make a mini-ADV bike out of it? There’s even a few on that too (more on this later).
Since it was produced so long, the aftermarket for this particular bike can be downright staggering. Nearly anything you might want to do with this bike has aftermarket parts designed to meet your needs. Any significant issues with the bike also have aftermarket parts to rectify them, from preformance to suspension and everything in between.
The performance, weight, and handling of the bike lends itself well to new riders, as it has enogh power to get out of its own way, but not so much that it becomes unmanageable to the nervous novice. It is neither too tall for most riders, nor is it so small that most riders feel cramped, rather, it is a marvelous balance of the two. Seasoned riders love this Ninja for its reliable and predictable performance; most riders will not find themselves riding outside their skill levels on this bike, which is good if you want something to get from A to B with as little drama as possible. It is comfortable in the city and out on the twisty backroads and byways. It is a civilized motorcycle with the ability to turn hooligan in an instant, without endangering your life in the process.
My Kind OF Wierd:
The Ninja Adventure
A small jewel in the ADV rider community, the Ninja makes a surprisingly good mini-ADV bike for beginners and regular riders. While it can’t really handle the hard-core stuff, it can take quite a bit of terrain in its stride if set up correctly.
- Raised/stiffened suspension
- Aftermarket windshield
- Multi-surface tires
- Possible gearing changes
- Brake modifications
- Full pannier and top-case rack mounts
- Aftermarket seat
- Upgrade lighting
Many riders who try this out opt for raised handle-bars as well, though not everyone does this. It may be scoffed at by the more “hardcore” elements of the ADV community, but for the average ADV rider, the idea seems like a fun diversion from the high-CC bike war that normally consumes the ADV rider community.
The Ninja can be anything to anybody. It is a chamelion with the ability to do many things for many people, and for that, I love it.