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Hi All
I am a brand new rider and would like to run a scenario by everyone to get some hopefully good feedback from the experienced guys. I am 50 years old, weigh 220 lbs and stand 5t10". I of course being a new rider have looked at the Ninja 250/300 and Honda CBR250. When I was at the Kawasaki dealer this weekend, he mentioned I should consider the 650r as well. The reason is that I will be using the bike to commute to work and that involves a good stretch of highway speeds at 100kph. The sales person said the 650r would be more stable on the highway and not get blown around like a 250/300 would. Also I want to do weekend over night trips with buddies from work. This would involve all highway speeds with mountain sections of riding. Again I am not sure of how the smaller 250/300 would handle the mountains?

Here is the kicker, I have been reading a lot of the questions on the forums about a great beginner bike. Most riders say to start on the smaller 250/300 and then trade up in a year or so to a bigger bike. For me unfortunately my wife had cancer and due to the disease we found out she will not be able to return to work for a long time if ever. So our financial situation has been changed dramatically. Luckily being a Paramedic I make a decent wage to support us and being the wonderful women she is she is allowing me to purchase my first bike as she knows how much it means to me.. However what ever bike I get will probably have to do me for quite a few years, as I will not have the luxury financially of starting on a small bike and then trading up to something bigger after a year or so. What ever I get will have to last me quite a while and do what I want of the bike which is commuting and sports touring. So thoughts, should I still go the 250/300 route or consider the 650r? Thanks again as usual for your fantastic advice.
 

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Don't be fooled by the 650.. It's nothing like a gixxer or r6. Might as well just get the 300 because its awesome and pretty much couldn't ask for a better beginner bike

Edit: if I recall correctly the 650 top speed is like 130ish (mph) a whopping 20 more than the 300. The 300 can cruise at 80mph without struggle. I don't think you'll need to go much faster than that on your commute.
 

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First off, double thumbs up for the awesome wife! :) Best wishes to her and her recovery/fight (you said "had" so hopefully recovery is more accurate)

Here is my opinion and i emphasize opinion because everyone riding style is different, i would love to take a 650+ for a joyride but i would never own one... i have self control but probably not that much, if i owned it, i would hot dog it all the time. and while i fully trust my abilitys on the road i have little faith in other drivers. The 300 keeps me a little bit safer.

One of the biggest selling points and possibly the biggest downfall of the 300 is as you mentioned it will be less "stable" on the highway, BUT this is why it is so (as they say) "Flickable". its a ton of fun and very easy to ride around town and out on the twistys. I personally like being able to ride a bike to its fullest potential, hammering through all the gears and pushing it to its limits, you wont do that with a bigger bike often, if ever. the 650 only weights about 60lbs pounds more, that might help with slightly better stability but the rider position is a little different, more "supersporty" that might be the major factor which i find very uncomfortable for longer periods of riding. The 300 is the perfect balance of upright but still able to tuck down and in when needed and honestly its not the bad on the highway, just keep on your toes and you'll be fine, try not to ride on incredibly windy days.

On the budget friendly note, 50-60 mpg averages will really add up, i did some math a while ago and figured the bike would pay for itself in 2 years if i used it for the majority of my commute.

I didn't mention the 250 because i see no logical reason why anyone would buy one at this point in time. The fuel injection alone is worth the extra 1k, 30% more power and a laundry list of other upgraded features can be chalked up to a bonus.

I also don't see myself upgrading anytime soon, if ever. Due to financial obligations (i had to push pretty hard just to get my 300 this year) and im TOTALLY ok with it :) hours/days/weeks of research on the bike and it lived up to every expectation and then some.

im also 5'10" about 195lbs, bike fits me great, altho i will be lowering the foot pegs soon, mostly just for the angle on the shifter. My left ankle is still a little stiff from being broken about 10 years ago.

Let us know which way you end up going!
 

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For a new guy, I would say the 300 would do just fine. It's not really weight that determines whether a vehicle will do well on the highway or a crosswind, it's all about side profile. My Camaro gets pushed around from cross winds just as much as my MX-5 used to and there's almost a thousand poinds of difference too. Unfortunately, all the bikes are faired bikes so they have a pretty large side profile. The 650 isn't going to be a huge difference from the 250 and 300. All three bikes should last you for a long time to come. There have been plenty of people to do long range commutes on their 250s in the past. It's not going to be breaking the sound barrier, but it'll get there and can still get you a speeding ticket. I believe the 300 would be a perfect bike for you. I'm the same size as you and it does just fine. Capable of getting to 70mph (112kph) faster than most cars will be able to and the engine is more than enough to cruise and hold that speed. The 250 can easily hit that speed but will generally be at the highest RPM average per speed out of all three. It's designed to be ran on the upper range of the RPM band though so there's no worries there. The 650R Weighs about 80lbs more but has more power as well. Will be able to hold the higher speeds easier with a lower RPM range. It's a slightly larger rider triangle, weight, and wheelbase will make maneuverability a bit harder to do than the 250/300. Especially in low speed. The 300 feels almost effortless in getting a tight handlebar limit turn than my other, larger, bike.

Have a seat on all 3 bikes and see which feels more comfortable for you. If you find you want a 650R or 250R, you can easily find both for a pretty good price on the used market. I am not too sure if you can find a used 300 in your area of Canada.

Good luck on your choice and give us an update when you get further in your journey.
 
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