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Hi, I purchased a Ninja 500 a couple weeks ago and my friend who is an experienced rider has been teaching me how to ride (I am signed up to take the MSF course but I can't get in until the end of September due to Covid-19 delays 馃槙) so anyway I've practiced twice now on a quiet cul de sac, I was supposed to go practice there again tomorrow but my friend has to work now so I have no way of getting my bike over there. I am thinking about practicing on my road but here is the problem, my road is a small dirt road (barely ever traffic) and this will only be my 3rd time on the bike. So far I have only been in first gear (I was planning on learning how to shift to second tomorrow but I would just stay with what I already know if I do decide to practice tomorrow). I was super excited to get to practice tomorrow and don't really want to wait until next weekend for my friend to be able to come in order to practice. What do you all think? Should I give it a shot on my dirt road? I was feeling really confident and catching on well during my last practice but I also don't want to ride above my skill level (which is admittedly very low at this point). Thanks in advance for your help!
 

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Definitely! Go for it! Just be careful, especially if there are others around.

Wear whatever you have to protect your skin in case you fall on the dirt, which I guess is better than falling on pavement.
Gloves, long pants, long sleeves, helmet, boots.
 

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I would actually NOT recommend to try riding on your dirt road, counter to Topaz' suggestion.
It may be a bit too different to what you have already experienced on the tar-seal roads when you practiced. A Ninja 300 on a dirt road is definitely doable, but it behaves COMPLETELY different to a solid surface road.

We have a dirt driveway (maybe 500m long), and depending on weather, this can be quite 'tricky' to negotiate.
If it rained recently, there might be some considerable ruts, for instance, which even riding at a low speed can be difficult to maneuver over.
I'd recommend to wait until you completed more practice and possibly finish the MSF course before attempting a dirt road.
 

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I'm gonna say no as well...

Given that you are just learning, and a Ninja 500 (300?) isn't a small bike, it could easy get away from you on the dirt.

Dirt or gravel is tricky and unpredictable on a street bike - especially when you are just starting out.

Beware of feeling confident. I hear that too much from new riders. Confident suggests relaxed and maybe a bit too much of - " I got this...". Know that you need to be on-guard constantly and always super alert. I've been riding on the street for over 40 years, and never let my guard down or feel truly relaxed. Things happen fast, and you need to be able to react fast without thinking.

Do you have a Ninja 300 (newer) or 500 (older)?
 

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Hi, I purchased a Ninja 500 a couple weeks ago...

BTW, not sure if that was a typo, but if you really bought a Ninja 500 and not a Ninja 300, my advice to not ride on a dirt road just intensified!
That's even 'more' bike to first get used to....
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I'm gonna say no as well...

Given that you are just learning, and a Ninja 500 (300?) isn't a small bike, it could easy get away from you on the dirt.

Dirt or gravel is tricky and unpredictable on a street bike - especially when you are just starting out.

Do you have a Ninja 300 (newer) or 500 (older)?
It's a 2008 ninja 500, I joined this forum when I had planned on a 300 but I found this bike for the right price (after looking for well over a month)
 

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It's a 2008 ninja 500, I joined this forum when I had planned on a 300 but I found this bike for the right price (after looking for well over a month)
My youngest son started on a Ninja 500, but he had been riding dirt since he was 5 and is 6'3" 180#.

I like the 500, and it feels lighter than it is, but it's still not small.

My advice is to learn to do all the maintenance. An older cycle needs more attention. Check the tires. If they are over 5 years old they need to be replaced. This is important on a street bike.

The manufacture date is on the sidewall in an oval like "2607". The first 2 digits are the week of the year (26th week), the last are the last digits of the year (2007).

Here is a good video on adjusting your chain, something you need to know how to do. The 500 is nice in that it has a center stand IIRC, which makes the job easier -

 

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From what I can tell by the photo, the tires look original.

If that's the case, change them out asap or sooner. Tires from 2008 are not safe to ride on at this point, not matter how few miles or how much tread they have on them.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I'm gonna say no as well...

Given that you are just learning, and a Ninja 500 (300?) isn't a small bike, it could easy get away from you on the dirt.

Dirt or gravel is tricky and unpredictable on a street bike - especially when you are just starting out.

Beware of feeling confident. I hear that too much from new riders. Confident suggests relaxed and maybe a bit too much of - " I got this...". Know that you need to be on-guard constantly and always super alert. I've been riding on the street for over 40 years, and never let my guard down or feel truly relaxed. Things happen fast, and you need to be able to react fast without thinking.

Do you have a Ninja 300 (newer) or 500 (older)?
Maybe confident wasn't the right word to use there, my first practice I was so nervous in the beginning that I was too tight in the upper body and it was causing problems for me, once I felt better and more like I have the ability to learn how to do this I did better, like a lot better. I know that I don't have the skills to just hop on and crank the throttle but I feel like with lots of practice I can actually be good at this eventually.
 

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We want you to have fun, but it's serious business.

Just know that the tires that are on it aren't good anymore, so don't work them too hard. Check the pressure to make sure it's correct if you plan to do any more practice, but do some research on the best tire options. Replacing with the same exact OEM tire isn't usually the best choice, so look around for better options.

The Ninja 500 forum ( Ex-500.com - The home of the Kawasaki EX500 / Ninja 500R) might have more info. I'm a member there as well, but not that active.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
My youngest son started on a Ninja 500, but he had been riding dirt since he was 5 and is 6'3" 180#.

I like the 500, and it feels lighter than it is, but it's still not small.

My advice is to learn to do all the maintenance. An older cycle needs more attention. Check the tires. If they are over 5 years old they need to be replaced. This is important on a street bike.

The manufacture date is on the sidewall in an oval like "2607". The first 2 digits are the week of the year (26th week), the last are the last digits of the year (2007).

Here is a good video on adjusting your chain, something you need to know how to do. The 500 is nice in that it has a center stand IIRC, which makes the job easier -

P my tires are good, new last year, my friend who is teaching me also came with to look at the bike, he said the chain looks pretty good but he will show me how to clean it when he does his (since his needs done soon) I admittedly know nothing about motorcycle maintenance yet but I bought it knowing I have someone to help teach me. I like that there is also a forum here with people that have experience that I can talk to whenever my friend is busy (he works a lot)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
We want to to have fun, but it's serious business.

Just know that the tires that are on it aren't good anymore, so don't work them too hard. Check the pressure to make sure it's correct if you plan to do any more practice, but do some research on the best tire options. Replacing with the same exact OEM tire isn't usually the best choice, so look around for better options.

The Ninja 500 forum ( Ex-500.com - The home of the Kawasaki EX500 / Ninja 500R) might have more info. I'm a member there as well, but not that active.
Wait what? Tires aren't good? Dude said he replaced them last year 馃う馃徎鈥嶁檧锔 ugh Def should have had Allan look at the tires better I guess 馃槵
From what I can tell by the photo, the tires look original.

If that's the case, change them out asap or sooner. Tires from 2008 are not safe to ride on at this point, not matter how few miles or how much tread they have on them.
Okay I'll have Allan check them out to be sure, and buy new ones if need be, it will give me more experience on maintenance which isn't necessarily a bad thing.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
So I guess the consensus is no riding on dirt yet 馃槙 I'm def bummed because I want to practice as often as possible but I asked on here because I wanted the advice and I got it (even though I don't like the answer lol) I want to listen to experienced riders and learn from them as much as possible. So I won't be practicing today unless I can get someone else to move my bike to the cul de sac I mentioned earlier.
 

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Bike looks SWEET! Thanks for posting the pic.
Maybe needs a clean though. Do that instead of riding today! 馃 馃 馃槣 :p
 

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Pic of bike looks SWEET! Thanks for posting.
Maybe needs a clean though. Do that instead of riding today! 馃 馃 馃槣 :p
I live on a dirt road lol so unfortunately she will never look pretty while I'm at home (maybe after I leave and then clean her, but she will be dirty again as soon as I get back home)
 

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Discussion Starter #18
We want to to have fun, but it's serious business.

Just know that the tires that are on it aren't good anymore, so don't work them too hard. Check the pressure to make sure it's correct if you plan to do any more practice, but do some research on the best tire options. Replacing with the same exact OEM tire isn't usually the best choice, so look around for better options.

The Ninja 500 forum ( Ex-500.com - The home of the Kawasaki EX500 / Ninja 500R) might have more info. I'm a member there as well, but not that active.
Okay I found the stamp you are talking about, they aren't original tires but they are a lot older than dude said 馃槙 the stamp says 3813, so 7 years old.
 

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Okay I found the stamp you are talking about, they aren't original tires but they are a lot older than dude said 馃槙 the stamp says 3813, so 7 years old.
That's pushing it IMO.

He bought OEM replacement tires from the looks of it - which is a fail. There are much better choices available. Most OEM tires are not that great even when new.

My daily-rider 2006 SV650 came new with Dunlop 220s. I had never ridden a SV before making the purchase, and on my first few rides was surprised at the odd handling - something I didn't expect from a new cycle with a reputation for decent handling. I had owned dozens of cycles, and raced for numerous years (on a EX500), so I was expecting something better. After a couple hundred miles I decided it was the tires. Sure enough, after swapping the tires to a quality set the handling issue immediately disappeared. I later upgraded suspension as well, and handling became excellent - better than what I expected. I never regretted getting rid of the stock tires with under 500 mi on them.

Anyway, just to let you know how I feel about tires. You need good quality tires for safe cornering and braking. It's a significant expense, but one that is well worth it IMO.
 

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Hi, I purchased a Ninja 500 a couple weeks ago and my friend who is an experienced rider has been teaching me how to ride (I am signed up to take the MSF course but I can't get in until the end of September due to Covid-19 delays 馃槙) so anyway I've practiced twice now on a quiet cul de sac, I was supposed to go practice there again tomorrow but my friend has to work now so I have no way of getting my bike over there. I am thinking about practicing on my road but here is the problem, my road is a small dirt road (barely ever traffic) and this will only be my 3rd time on the bike. So far I have only been in first gear (I was planning on learning how to shift to second tomorrow but I would just stay with what I already know if I do decide to practice tomorrow). I was super excited to get to practice tomorrow and don't really want to wait until next weekend for my friend to be able to come in order to practice. What do you all think? Should I give it a shot on my dirt road? I was feeling really confident and catching on well during my last practice but I also don't want to ride above my skill level (which is admittedly very low at this point). Thanks in advance for your help!
The bike is fine as is the idea of a dirt road. Just don't mix the 2 topics. If you are a new rider, go find a small cheap dirt bike and ride the dirt for at least a few months. Get used to the way it handles. Learn to correct slides. Learn to brake hard but controlled. Etc, etc. Then go to the ninja and practice on the asphalt. This is a standard progression of learning for everyone who is just starting out. If you ride that ninja on dirt, I can almost guarantee you'll throw it on the ground the first time out. Good luck.
 
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