Originally Posted by steveyak
what I dont like about the 250 is the light weight and under power. She took all of about 30 seconds to pick up the xr 100. and was pushing after an hour. she is not a weak girl so she would be able to handle a slightly bigger bike physically, and seat height is not an issue her legs are longer than mine, I'm 5'11". Some of you are saying the 250 actually has some power. this kind of discredited your view for me. the bike makes 22hp the xr 100 make 9hp. my 1990 kx125 makes 39hp I have spent a small amount of time on ninja 250 it is painfully slow. and im a little worried she will develop bad habbits with it. Seeing as you can rev the bike to 10,000rpm and drop the clutch and its fine. So while I dont want her to end up on her back with the bike gone if she drops the clutch I also dont want to get used to thinking its ok.
So to have the opinion that the 250 is the right bike is great, but to say it has any power is just plain ridiculous.
to everyone else I really appreciate the advice and I'm leaning way toward the ex500 or gs500 good smooth power enough to need to respect it but not enough to scare her.
With your girlfriend's experience in other things I don't think she would have much of an issue on a 650cc bike. I taught my wife (also 5'8") how to ride for 4 months. She learned on a motocross prepped CR250R two-stroke with a violent power band so it was a bit intimidating for her. She got all of the basics down pretty solid in 3 days. From that point on it was refining proper technique, and then moving to emergency maneuvers. Emergency maneuvers didn't only include hard braking and managing a front wheel lock up but also dealing with sudden patches of gravel dealing with other road hazards. At the end of her 3rd month I taught her log crossings on the dirtbike. After that she got her license through taking the MSF course. Once she got her license I put her straight on my 110hp 08' GSX-R 600 while I followed her on a KLR. She rode flawlessly even after hitting a patch of gravel on her first ride. She tensed up a little for that part but kept a cool head and rolled on the throttle just a little, let the tires slide evenly and she rode through it with no problem. I definitely put her through a fast and rigorous course for 4 months but it payed off in the very first ride and has ever since.
An SV650 is an excellent bike that she would probably like. The 01' that I rode had very smooth throttle response and was never surprising or sudden at any point in the rev range. It never felt weak but it wasn't violent either like my gsx-r is above 10k RPM. The steering can be pretty aggressive since it does have the same frame and geometry of the gsx-r 600 but it feels stable and pretty neutral through corners. With modern sportbike tires I can't imagine an SV "overpowering" a tire and causing a wreck unless conditions are pretty bad. Bottom line is training though. If she gets good training and understanding of how to ride a motorcycle correctly than she could ride anything. Seat time (lots of it) while pushing the bikes and riders limits is pretty vital in my opinion. Its the only way to really learn how to deal with a motorcycle in less than ideal conditions and proper throttle control which is best learned off-road. And yes, you can teach/learn those things on an XR100.
I did have quite a few long talks with my wife about the dangers of riding though. She already knew them but I wanted to make it clear that motorcycles can kill you. They could kill her, me, or anyone else the very next time we ride. The biggest deciding factor however is rider skill. Prepare yourself for the worst of situations, not the bare minimum before you actually ride on public roads with traffic and dumbass cagers. The next conversation was riding gear.....
As far as which bike she wants to get. See if you can get her on a few test rides of some sort. My wife didn't know what she wanted when the only thing was my dirtbike and had no idea what to expect from other motorcycles. She LOVED the sportbike when she rode it and thought that's what she wanted.... until she rode my friends KLR. The sportbike has a very tight, refined, and confident feel that's like nothing else but its only good on street, and the seating position isn't the most comfortable. She rode the KLR and even though it doesn't have that nice refined feel she enjoyed how lazy it was but still pretty decent through corners and handling lean angle. Having the off-road capability and a very comfy seating position put a dual sport over the top so she's been drooling over the DR650 ever since.