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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey guys,

Nice forum !! Happy to be a member and learn from all of you.

I am 35 years old from San Diego CA, a complete noob, have only ridden bikes a couple of times in my life and always wanted one.
I do a lot of HPDE / track days in my 95 M3 but I don't think that will help me much when it comes to learning to ride properly and safely.
I will be taking the MSF course next month before pulling the trigger on the bike purchase.

I need help choosing the right bike for me, something that can be easy to learn on, forgiving and not try to kill me everytime I make a mistake
I also would like to stay below or close to $5K, cheap insurance, good commuter and preferably sports bike looks

Here are my choices so far sorted by price:
1) Honda CBR250R
2) Kawasaki Ninja 300 (my preference)
3) Honda CB500F

I think the Ninja is the perfect compromise in every aspect. My only gripe is that I hate the Lime Green color and I want ABS.

Please help me choose the right bike, and tell me as a complete noob, whether ABS will add real safety or whether it's a gimmick
I do not intend to ride in the rain if I can help it.
Also, what are the differences between the SE and the base 300 other than the color and ABS? Do you get the slipper clutch on the base bike? Are the brakes the same?
I have read conflicting answers to these questions.

Thank you all, and again happy to be a member and hopefully proud Ninja owner soon :D
 

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You could always have it painted....or paint it yourself like I did....
 

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First of all. Welcome to the forums. Second of all, the green really grows on ya :D.

Good on ya for taking this conservatively though. Many new riders jump onto too much bike right out of the gate, have a bad experience and are killed, maimed, or just have the crap scared out of them and quit riding.

ABS is really worth the investment. While I've never engaged mine yet, If you ever panic at a decent bit of speed and get on the brakes a bit harder than you should, the ABS will kick in and save what could potentially be a really bad day. If ABS kicks in for you at least once while owning the bike, it's paid for itself many times over. As a new rider, you are still learning the bike's braking threshold and performance characteristics. For you, it'll be much easier to accidentally go beyond your available traction until you get your bike's traction threshold down to almost second nature. The hard part though is that it's something that regularly changes so constant practice is necessary.

As with anything, practice makes perfect. The different between someone who can't do something well and a genius, is usually time committed to practice.

Good luck with your MSF course.
 

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Hey, welcome!

Good to hear that you're taking the MSF course! It's definitely a great route into bikes. I'm not sure if the high performance driving will help that much on the bike, besides maybe being able to trust the bike mechanically more and knowing how to take a good line around a corner (although I wouldn't really recommend hitting the apex when you're making a right turn around a city block, since a lot of road debris builds up there).

Of course, you're asking a Ninja 300 forum which bike to get ;) but I did ride a Honda CBR250R right after my course. Ended up getting a 300, obviously. The riding position is little bit sportier on the Ninja 300, but not by much. The extra bit of 'oomph' that the additional 49cc provides is definitely a nice thing to have on the freeway. I haven't ridden Honda's new 500. I think some others on this forum have test ridden it in it's various guises? I'll let someone else chime in on that. My buddy just upgraded from riding around on his girlfriend's CBR250R to his own CBR500R, but I haven't heard the verdict from him yet, as it's finals season for those college kids.

I'm fairly certain that neither the Ninja 300 nor the Honda 500 can be had for under $5k, due to pretty high demand, especially the ABS versions.

I originally wanted the white 300, but I was able to find a slightly used (900 miles, all commuting, stock except a Leo Vince slip on that was put on by the dealer) non-ABS SE being sold for about $1000 less than what dealers in my area were asking. The green has really grown on me in the time that I've had the bike, and honestly, the bike itself looks so good that even though I'd prefer to have been able to get the white one, I still turn around and look at the bike every time I walk away from it.

As for ABS, it's definitely not a gimmick. The Honda ABS system is a little more refined than the Kawi system, in that its engagement is a little smoother. There have definitely been a couple moments where I've locked one of my wheels up under hard braking by grabbing a little too much brake too hard, and ABS probably would have prevented that from happening. But having been a cyclist and driving a Miata, I was already pretty accustomed to drivers not noticing me or making the worst possible decision for any given situation. The argument 'against' the need for ABS is that riders have been okay for years without ABS, and it forces you to learn threshold braking, so it's up to you. The initial bite of the stock brake pads is soft enough that you'll probably generally be okay without ABS, but you can definitely still lock up.

Riding in the rain isn't really that bad. Just be gentle and smooth with the controls, and gear up, since a comfortable, undistracted rider is a safe rider.

I hope that helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
You could always have it painted....or paint it yourself like I did....
Not sure I want to do that to a brand new bike. If I choose the Ninja 300 and decide that ABS is a must have, then I will just have to live with the Green.
Maybe it will grow on me.
 

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Hey, saw your updates to your original post. The base model has the slipper clutch as well. I'm not sure about the brake pads, but I think the ABS model comes with sintered pads.
 
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Hi Ramos,
I have a very similar story as you. I'm 36, and have been thinking of getting a bike for years so I finally decided to just do it. I took the MSF course about a month ago, and picked up my Ninja 300 this week. So far I am loving it! The Ninja is really easy to drive, and I would say is an excellent bike to learn on and I can see myself being happy with this bike for quite a while.

As for the color... when I bought my bike I originally wanted red and I absolutely wanted ABS. (In Canada you can only get ABS in black or the Moondust Grey SE.) The dealer actually offered to sell me a black ABS and for $200 (cost of labor) would switch the fairings and tank from a red model so that I would end up with red ABS bike. I ended up just going with the black ABS, but this is something you could ask your dealer if you really want another color with ABS. I doubt that all dealers would offer this, but worth a shot.
 
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