ok so this is my FJ1200...humble yet heroic





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Published on Apr 26, 2013

so, why do I rag on the idea of spending $5k for a brand-new Ninja 300?

this is partly why

I would not recommend to anyone that they buy a new bike, new bikes are always overpriced for what you get. Especially not as your first bike. I especially would not recommend buying a Ninja 300 new if only for that reason. At least buy a used one.

Beyond that, if you've got some experience buying and riding bikes, that's one thing. But if you've never bought a bike before, never had your own bike...if you're a new rider...the odds are that whatever you buy, you will not make the best decision and will have some "buyers' remorse". Whether you're honest about it, or not.

My suggestion for you is to rent a bike, borrow a bike, do anything other than actually *buy* a bike until you are experienced enough on different bikes to know fairly-well what will make you happy in owning it for a while.

Do not buy a bike "to learn on". Take a class that will give you a bike to learn on. If you don't even have a license, especially if you've never ridden or even aren't comfortable on a bike yet, this is the way to go. Then, rent a bike (more on this later) or borrow a bike from one of your so-called "friends". Have them teach you as best they can. Take them out to dinner. Convince them to let you borrow it for a few days. Take a good long ride, maybe 200 miles round-trip. Go for another one the next day, so you ca see how your body likes it. Then go to a bike demo, where you can ride different bikes for free. Go to a NESBA/Yamaha trackday, try riding a Yamaha on the track, for free [you won't go fast]. Then rent a bike. There's a refundable deposit of ~$2k for the bike + the rental-fee & gas, usually ~ $100/day for 200 miles/day or so. Or go to a racing-school.

The longer you put off actually buying a bike, the more experience & money you will have & the better the choice you will make. Both in buying a bike in the first place & in buying your own bike. It sounds like a great idea but like most things in reality it's not quite as great as it seems. Try to get a good grip on the reality of it first before you plunk your hard-earned money (or credit) down on a two-wheeled vehicle.

As you can see that I still have mine it obviously has some real appeal, but I only bought this bike because I wanted a cheap option to get to work while my car was "OoC" other than riding the Metro (which I hate) or getting a 2nd car. Before that I hadn't ridden a bike for 20 years. I used to love riding my old GPz550 but let's just say the thrill wore off after a while. Right about the 3rd winter that I had it & my first real job after college. As soon as I possibly could I got my car running again & that was postponed by this bike.

But did I love riding it?
I sure did.
As long as it wasn't raining too much, or too cold, hot or windy.
And the traffic wasn't bad.
Or the ride wasn't too long.

I still love to ride if the conditions are good & the trip is short, my bike gets better mpg than my car. But it can't carry much & I've already lost 8 lives riding in bad weather. My car is not slow & it gets 30mpg. I would not want to get rid of my bike, but I would never sell my car for a bike.

To me, the idea of a $5k bike with 35hp @ 65mpg is just not worth the time, expense & risk to ride not to mention to buy.
I've ridden the Ninja 300 at a Kawi demo.
That bike is just too damm slow to be worth the trouble.
Even for the gas-mileage.
Especially for $5k, which will get you a decent used car,
certainly a good used bike that is much faster, easier to ride & more realistic.

No it will not get 65mpg & it will weigh more.
But the extra weight is not that big a deal & neither is the mpg. You will learn to pick up your bike by the handlebar not by the tank...& you'll ride yourself broke anyway.

If you get a vehicle with half the mpg & ride half as far you will still spend the same money. The question really is do you *need* to go in the first place, or are you going "just for fun" & wasting gas & maintenance cost? My bike will take me almost 185 miles on $15 worth of high-test gas. So that's exactly what I do with it, just because I want to get out & ride. I won't ride it if might get too cold or wet. At that point I either don't go at all or I take my car.

I would always take my car, if my bike wasn't so much faster.

To me there is no point at all in riding a slow bike. I'd rather drive my "slow" car. Which is both much more comfortable than a bike unless the weather is nearly perfect & I can carry a lot of crap with me. It is way safer and weather-impervious. Even if I knew it would not rain it still is more comfortable. So to me the Ninja 300 is a beach-bike at the most. Easy to park, will get you back & forth fast enough for a short trip, sure, it's fine for that. If you're insistent & want to ride it 500 miles to save gas, be my guest. Pack a tent, save even more money.


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