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I ride a Honda Shadow and a Honda Shadow Phantom. I have fallen in love with the Ninja 300. A sportbike I can actually touch the ground while sitting. I'm 5'2. However my dealer won't let me test drive it and I am VERY concerned that as much as I like the looks I may not like the handling , shifting etc... Any thoughts on the transition from cruiser to sportbike ? I'd like to do Back of The Dragon this summer and would like to do it on this bike. Any advise would be appreciated.
 

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a gear box on the bike no matter what it is they all pretty much feel the same, except ones with dry clutch

there is lowering kits available for the 300, fireup google and search on

ninja 300 lowering kit
 

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Its a long shot but see if someone else in FL near you will let you "test ride" their bike so as long as maybe you can put cash in their hand just in case anything happens "you break it you buy it".
 
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Do you have another dealer relatively close to you that you could go to? The mob you're dealing with clearly don't want your business and, more to the point, don't deserve it.

As far as handling is concerned, if I find it easy to ride as a newbie I'd think you'd have no problem.
 

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Height doesn't really matter -- what matters is your inseam length. As long as you can have one foot on the peg and the other foot's ball on the ground then you'll do fine. With hard riding boots you only need your toes touching the ground.

As for the 300, it handles like a road bicycle and the shifting is butter smooth.
 

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I went from sportbikes to a HD Vrod and back to a sportbike now (GSXR-600) and the difference is huge. But my son has a 300 (which I have ridden lots) and for making the transition there is no better bike to do it on!! And as said in an earlier post, shifting is shifting no matter which bike you are on, all the same concept. I say buy the bike, you wont be disappointed.
 

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Height doesn't really matter -- what matters is your inseam length. As long as you can have one foot on the peg and the other foot's ball on the ground then you'll do fine. With hard riding boots you only need your toes touching the ground.

As for the 300, it handles like a road bicycle and the shifting is butter smooth.
Personally, I don't think I could get a "street" bike that I just "toed". If I were stopped at a red light and there was gravel, I'd want to be flat footed....although, I've never had the problem of just toes on the ground since I'm all legs...I think it would be more of a personal preference of comfort. If you're uncomfortable, you're not going to ride to your full potential.

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I will find another dealer. The dealer in this town doesn't take women riders seriously.
Very few if them do. I had a similar issue. The shop that gets my business is the only one that took me seriously.

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Over 2 Thousand members on this forum who ride 300's its going to be a little one sided.

I bought mine without riding it because after reading reviews I had already signed off on one. As its already been said you couldn't find an easier bike to ride on.
 

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The ninja has a shorter wheelbase than the shadow as well as a smaller rake and trail. It's going to be a lot more responsive to input to turning and capable of tighter lines when you get better at riding than the shadow is capable of. But the shadow will be much easier to do low speed maneuvering than the ninja will be. Also because it's a lot lighter than the shadow, it's power to weight ratio is much better and it's smaller lighter pistons and tuning allow a much greater RPM than the shadow so it'll work higher relative speeds than the shadow for the lower relative power.

My first bike I still own which is a V-Star 1100 cruiser. I love that bike but the Ninja is much better for me in a lot of parameters(especially gas mileage,) than the V-star. The 300 is an awesome first step into the sport bike world.
 

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The bike handles really well. It's pretty lightweight, and shifting feels okay, minus the tiny friction zone.
 

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I used to own a honda 1300R, a tad bigger than the 1100 but same frame and steering, the ninja sits a bit taller at 30" inseam and by comparitive riding i'd say you would not have a problem with riding it after about the first five or so minutes. It sit totally different than a cruiser, your feet are not "out in front" of you but more "under your buttocks" (<notice the "nice" word), you will lean farther forward in more of a "racer" style position. Your balance point changes slightly forward to back, but actually is better on side to side (In My Opinion). You will shift faster and run out of gears quickly, the ninja is very low geared compaired to a cruiser, were as on the ninja you will have shifted to third gear before 25mph and the shadow you will still be in first ( that is to get to speed quicker). You will shift at a higher "rev" position, sport bikes shift in the 5-7k range, and cruisers usually shift in the 2-4k range.
Wish I was closer, I have my ninja 300 lowered so the wife can ride it (she is 5'1"), she can almost flat foot it and rode it twice already and says she thinks with a few more times she would be really comfortable riding it (she rides cruiser types at the moment, 250 rebel, 650 savage).
 
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