I have in mind building a sweet corner carver over the winter for next season. Corner to corner speed is not important except for good all-around street power. I am deciding between a 2008-up Ninja 250R or a Suzuki GS500F. Both can be had for under $4K with super low miles. For those experienced with these two models which one will take to doing what I want it to do better?
I have been reading some really good info on the GS500's. Solid, bulletproof engine. Super easy maintenance and easy to work on. The chassis is stout as well. Good rubber is available if you go to a 150/60 in the rear. Add in exhaust/jet kit, Works Performance rear shock and Gold Valve/springs in the fork......that would be a fun bike to toss around.
I've got a 250, and my dad has a GS. Both handle nicely, but I prefer the 250. I've got BT-003s on mine, and it's absolutely ridiculous. The 250 is easy to maintain and work on, and the same type of performance parts are available. They both have about the same top speed with stock gearing, but the 500s added power is definitely noticeable.
I had a 250R for my first bike, it was a good bike overall. However, not to be negative, but here are a few things that bothered be so that you're aware:
-Cheap suspension. Ride a supersport for a while, and you'll realize how truely crappy damper rod forks are. They dive like a submarine when you brake, but shatter your teeth over every bump. I hated mine on rough pavement
-Carburetors. I ****ing hated the lazy throttle response and the stupid choke lever on mine. Its not a big deal if you normally only ride in 50-85F weather, but if you're outside that envelope, prepare for frustration and annoyance. Your mileage will suck too. I could barely get 50 mpg out of my ninja 250R, which is pathetic when I think that my 600 with 3x the HP gets over 40 on a regular basis. And you'll hate those carbs when they go out of adjustment. I sold mine when that happened
-Limited tire selection. Both bikes you cite come with bias ply tires, which suck balls. They ride rough and are heavy. The ninja 250R does not need a 180 tire, but it seems like that's all you can buy in good rubber. I got a 150/60 BT-016 for mine, and it still wasn't perfect. When you put a tire thats too wide on, it pinches it. Riding wise, there's no real disadvantage that I could tell, except that when I got off, I could see about a half inch where I couldn't rub away the chicken strips. Stupid, i know, but it bothered me that it was not optimal.
However, even with those annoyances, I liked the bike alot. It is set up well geometry wise, its lightweight, and has plenty of steering lock so its easy to move around parking lots. Also, at 6'2'', I was just a hair too tall for the bike. Keep that in mind if you're on the tall side.
Have you looked at the CBR 250R also? I like the looks of it, but I haven't ridden one. Its got the same suspension as the Ninja, but with a slightly wider (4") rear wheel and fuel injection.
I think a 250 would be a blast. I was riding this weekend with friends and family and 2 of them have cbr250's with slip-on's. It was fun going through the corners and listening to them getting on it. I wished I was on one too instead of my 600f4. I did have a great time too though, just can't get on it too much.
i my cbr250. i average over 75mpg no matter how hard i ride. best tank was 90mpg! stupid cheap to maintane, fuel injected, sounds like a dirtbike . it does get annoying waiting on my friends to get through a corner on their "faster" bikes though
This thread has actually got me taking a look at the WR250x. Its not made anymore, but it seems like a pretty good combo: 30 hp 250cc single, just under 300 lbs wet weight, fully adjustable forks, and fuel injection. I want one!
I have a Ninja 250r and generally enjoy it for the commuting I do. As mentioned before, the carbs can be annoying. The bike needs to warm up for a good 5 minutes or it will run like ****. Also, I do mostly highway riding and the bike isn't setup well all to cruise those speeds.
Welp, I ended up with a '94 GS500E. $900, less than 4400 miles, forks already done with Sonic springs and oil, carbs re-jetted to rid the bike of the lean emission setting and 800 mile old Michelin tires. I have a 2005 Katana rear shock on the way.