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Old 08-19-2012, 09:41 PM   #1
Baron_Samidi OP
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Question Newbie's New Bike (Nighthawk CB250)- Advice?

Today I have committed to buying a 1996 Nighthawk CB250. Out of all of the 250s I've sat on, it felt the lightest, and it fits me the best. I've read about the good and the bad about this bike, about the lack of power, the drum brakes, and the speed limitations. I figure it will work well for what I want it for, such as learning to ride and commuting in-town. The bike is in good condition, runs, and seems to been maintained well. Only has 6.5k miles.

Now for the questions I have-
First off, I'm planning on snatching this bike up before it gets sold. At $1,500, it is the cheapest quality 250 on the market in the city I live in. I've been searching for a couple months, and this is the best deal I could find. However, this means I can't wait to take an MSF course and have my motorcycle endorsement before buy it.

The man I'm buying it from will ride it to my apartment parking lot, so I won't be riding it around on the streets without an endorsement. However, the steps after this will be less clear. I was wondering if the MSF would allow me to ride my own bike in the basic course. This would allow me to become familiar with my bike faster, which might make me a bit safer on the road. However, this would mean I would want to practice enough to get my endorsement so I could transport my bike to the course. Would it be better to just take the MSF course on a different bike?

Also, would it be a good idea to practice on the bike pre-MSF in my apartment parking lot? (Insured, of course.) My girlfriend used to ride dirt bikes, and I used to ride a 50cc scooter, so I wouldn't be completely inexperienced at riding and unaware about how to ride a motorcycle, just mostly.

Getting back to the actual Road Warrior part of the thread, anything I need to know about maintenance about the bike? I likely won't need to do a carb job, since the guy who I'm buying it from cut off the fuel and ran it dry before storage and put fuel stabilizer in the tank. I seem to hear a lot about frequent oil changes, as it doesn't have a oil filter, instead a mesh screen.

I apologize if the majority of this topic belongs in another thread. If this is inappropriate for the "Road Warrior" section of the thread, please let me know and I will fix it ASAP.
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Old 08-20-2012, 12:34 PM   #2
rotten
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I don't know where you live so I can't comment about taking the MSF first. In CA you can go to the DMV $15 take your permit test (written) and then legally ride on the road (with few restrictions). Typically you don't want to do this unless you have experience or a large empty place to practice without interference, cars, people, trees, etc....

Taking the MSF you are provided bikes very similar as the CB250 so you shouldn't have any problems going from their bike to yours.

With some level of experience I would suggest practicing 1st (depending on local laws). CA you can ride on private property without issue.

Oil changes and bike maintenance will very depending upon manufacture requirements, look them up and follow the schedule.

Good luck enjoy!
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Old 08-20-2012, 12:41 PM   #3
Dranrab Luap
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Great choice of motorcycles for a new rider, and it will hold its value well! This is a great place to post your questions. There are a lot of members with tons of knowledge and experience. Let's talk about step 1. Have you read your state's motorcycle safety and law information? Step 2, have you read a book called Proficient Motorcycling? If you would add your location to your profile, another member of the forum might be in your area and happy to assist you. In my area there is a huge deserted parking lot nearby. I'd be happy to load your bike in the truck and take you there. This is a great family of good people.

Dranrab Luap screwed with this post 08-20-2012 at 12:50 PM
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Old 08-20-2012, 01:39 PM   #4
Baron_Samidi OP
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Thanks for the replies, guys!

I have indeed read and become farmiliar with my state's motorcycle laws. I can go down to the MVD (what this state calls it's DMV) and take a written and skills test to get a permit. Taking the MSF course waves the tests, so it seems like taking the MSF course would be an excellent idea for at least a few reasons. I can't ride on public property without the endorsement, however I can on private. The issue becomes transporting it to private property, so it might just be best to take the MSF course and wait to ride my bike until I have my endorsement.

Oh, and updated my location.
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Old 08-20-2012, 01:50 PM   #5
Dranrab Luap
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baron_Samidi View Post
Thanks for the replies, guys!

I have indeed read and become farmiliar with my state's motorcycle laws. I can go down to the MVD (what this state calls it's DMV) and take a written and skills test to get a permit. Taking the MSF course waves the tests, so it seems like taking the MSF course would be an excellent idea for at least a few reasons. I can't ride on public property without the endorsement, however I can on private. The issue becomes transporting it to private property, so it might just be best to take the MSF course and wait to ride my bike until I have my endorsement.

Oh, and updated my location.
We have a very strong contingent of forum members in that region. I have ridden over several times through the years to enjoy their company. Get signed up for the MSF course asap. After you get through the course, buy a book called Proficient Motorcycling. It focuses on the mental aspects of riding safely rather than the physical aspect that is emphasized in MSF. I have saved my bacon through mental avoidance (reading traffic and picking up on warning signs) more than I have through physical avoidance (emergency braking, swerving, etc.)

Welcome to the forum!
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Old 08-20-2012, 03:12 PM   #6
Baron_Samidi OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dranrab Luap View Post
We have a very strong contingent of forum members in that region. I have ridden over several times through the years to enjoy their company. Get signed up for the MSF course asap. After you get through the course, buy a book called Proficient Motorcycling. It focuses on the mental aspects of riding safely rather than the physical aspect that is emphasized in MSF. I have saved my bacon through mental avoidance (reading traffic and picking up on warning signs) more than I have through physical avoidance (emergency braking, swerving, etc.)

Welcome to the forum!
Thanks for the advice, and for the welcome!

I forgot that there are a large amount of ADVrider members here in NM, as I am more used to forums where NM members are few and far between. I will most definitely sign up to take the soonest MSF course I can. Also, I have learned some of the basics of reading traffic and anticipating what people are about to do, but I will for sure pick up that book since it never hurts to be even more aware of what other drivers are doing.
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Old 08-20-2012, 04:23 PM   #7
Meter Man
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Maintenance is easy, I do oil changes every 4,000 miles.

Yahoo has a very good and active group for the Nighthawk:

http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/CB250_Nighthawk/
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Old 08-20-2012, 04:32 PM   #8
Patch
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You might get lucky with the bikes in the MSF stable... in my area there's always a few Nighthawks for the course. I took mine on a nighthawk.

If you can find neutral easily on that bike you can manage any gearbox so hopefully your classes have it handy.

My wife couldn't find neutral on one when she took her class and the instructor was getting frustrated with it... he couldn't find it either so they parked it and put her on the Suzuki

Enjoy - have fun!
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Old 08-20-2012, 04:49 PM   #9
Grainbelt
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I too, purchased my first bike before the MSF. I took the written test for my learner's permit, and rode it on the one-way parkways around a nearby lake on sunday mornings for the month or so before the test.

I was very glad to have that familiarity with the clutch, brakes, just general operation of the machine. It made the skills from the class much easier to transfer to the street upon completion. As with most things around here 'YMMV' (your mileage may vary). If you aren't comfortable riding on residential streets, simply wait for the class.

This seems as good a time as any to remind you to start buying some proper motorcycling gear. Ride safely and have fun!
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Old 08-20-2012, 09:23 PM   #10
Baron_Samidi OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patch View Post
You might get lucky with the bikes in the MSF stable... in my area there's always a few Nighthawks for the course. I took mine on a nighthawk.

If you can find neutral easily on that bike you can manage any gearbox so hopefully your classes have it handy.

My wife couldn't find neutral on one when she took her class and the instructor was getting frustrated with it... he couldn't find it either so they parked it and put her on the Suzuki

Enjoy - have fun!
I'm hoping this will be the case. ABQ is rinky-dink enough compared to other cities that it is pretty likely that there will be older nighthawks to ride, as it would be cheaper to maintain them than buy new bikes, and there wouldn't be enough riders to wear them out completely. But knowing my luck, I'll be stuck with brand new V-Star 250s, Ninja 250s, and TU 250s! Eeew! Who would want to ride one of those darned brand new, non scratched up bikes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grainbelt View Post
I too, purchased my first bike before the MSF. I took the written test for my learner's permit, and rode it on the one-way parkways around a nearby lake on sunday mornings for the month or so before the test.

I was very glad to have that familiarity with the clutch, brakes, just general operation of the machine. It made the skills from the class much easier to transfer to the street upon completion. As with most things around here 'YMMV' (your mileage may vary). If you aren't comfortable riding on residential streets, simply wait for the class.

This seems as good a time as any to remind you to start buying some proper motorcycling gear. Ride safely and have fun!
If I can get a learners permit through a written test here, then side streets would be the perfect place to practice for me. After taking it around a parking lot to get farmiliar with it, I could pretty easily get used to riding in the neighborhood around my home. That's how I learned to ride the 50cc scoot I had.

Oh, and don't worry. I'm buying all of the best gear. There's a helmet that has only been in one crash, a nice canvas jacket, and a pair of baseball gloves that I plan on wearing while on the freeway.

Thanks for the continued advice, everyone!
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Old 08-21-2012, 07:05 AM   #11
Nytelyte
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I can't comment much on the laws in your state, but the WeeHawk is a fine ride.
If the tires are original you should replace them, even if the tread looks ok those things are gassed-out hard and are ready for the bin. The tires on this aren't that hard to replace on your own.
Keep the oil changed, & on long highway (or generally high speed) treks it will likely burn a bit, keep an eye on the level if you are doing multiple hour higher speed trips. I'm using shell rotella, which also seemed to smooth out the transmission. The tranny does get more clunky and the neutral 'issue' more intrusive as the oil ages.
Mine gets me motivated over 74ish mph without fuss, I'm 5'8" / 165lbs.

You made a good choice, its a good, reliable, efficient and inexpensive ride that will take you anywhere you want to go. Good Luck!
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Old 08-21-2012, 07:23 AM   #12
mrbreeze
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I would take the msf on their bike. There's a good chance you will drop it, so save your bike and your wallet from the damage.

also I hope you are kidding about the gear. Get a new helmet that has not been in a crash. The impact absorbtion of the lining is significantly reduced after one severe blow. I had a crash last year. The helmet probably saved my life - but I threw it away and got another one.

and don't be discouraged if you have a mishap or two. It happens. Get back on that horse and ride.
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Old 08-21-2012, 08:55 AM   #13
Meter Man
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I will be hitting 40,000 miles on mine this year.

I can't seem to remember if it had 1,500 or 3,500 miles when I purchased it in 2003 (it is a 1993 model).

They are stone simple. Don't be afraid to rev it. Check the oil often, mine sometimes consumes a bit, mostly it does not.

Find a Givi or Rentec tail rack and get a hardcase.

Tour with it, you'll have fun!
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Old 08-21-2012, 07:07 PM   #14
Baron_Samidi OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrbreeze View Post
I would take the msf on their bike. There's a good chance you will drop it, so save your bike and your wallet from the damage.

also I hope you are kidding about the gear. Get a new helmet that has not been in a crash. The impact absorbtion of the lining is significantly reduced after one severe blow. I had a crash last year. The helmet probably saved my life - but I threw it away and got another one.
I didn't think about that when it came to the MSF course. I'll definitely take the course on their bike now.
Oh, and I was very much joking about the gear. I'm planning on picking up a helmet, street gloves, and a riding jacket from one of the local dealerships tomorrow or sometime within the week.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Meter Man View Post
I will be hitting 40,000 miles on mine this year.

I can't seem to remember if it had 1,500 or 3,500 miles when I purchased it in 2003 (it is a 1993 model).

They are stone simple. Don't be afraid to rev it. Check the oil often, mine sometimes consumes a bit, mostly it does not.

Find a Givi or Rentec tail rack and get a hardcase.

Tour with it, you'll have fun!
I'm afraid of this! If I like it too much, I won't have an excuse to buy more bikes!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nytelyte View Post
I can't comment much on the laws in your state, but the WeeHawk is a fine ride.
If the tires are original you should replace them, even if the tread looks ok those things are gassed-out hard and are ready for the bin. The tires on this aren't that hard to replace on your own.
Keep the oil changed, & on long highway (or generally high speed) treks it will likely burn a bit, keep an eye on the level if you are doing multiple hour higher speed trips. I'm using shell rotella, which also seemed to smooth out the transmission. The tranny does get more clunky and the neutral 'issue' more intrusive as the oil ages.
Mine gets me motivated over 74ish mph without fuss, I'm 5'8" / 165lbs.

You made a good choice, its a good, reliable, efficient and inexpensive ride that will take you anywhere you want to go. Good Luck!
The front tire has been replaced recently, but the rear needs to be replaced soon. Any recommended brands?
Thanks for the tip about oil. That's exactly the kind of thing that I might have found out about over time, but would likely not have.
And I should have no issues with speed if you can get it to go that fast, as I'm about 5'6" and 100lbs soaking wet.
Thanks for reassuring me about my choice of bike. I've looked at a few other 250's in the area, and have been hoping that I haven't made the wrong choice. I'm confident now that I haven't.

Thank you again to everyone who has contributed so far!
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Old 08-22-2012, 10:19 AM   #15
ivantheterrible
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I really like my nighthawk 250. It's the perfect ride for me at this time. Easily does everything I need it to. Great gas mileage, and the drum brakes are a non issue as far as I'm concerned.

i really didn't (don't) care for the looks of it (sorry, just an opinion) but it's a really good platform for making it into something else. In my case, a pretty neat scrambler, without very much invested.
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