Best 250-500 cc street bike available?

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by dlmarquez, Dec 3, 2018.

  1. dlmarquez

    dlmarquez dlm

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    I am looking for suggestions as to the finest 250cc to 500cc streetbike available. Not dual purpose or supermoto or adventure, or supesport bikes. Looking for all around excellent general purpose small motorcycle.
    A couple quick examples: Honda CB300R and the KTM 390 Duke
    #1
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  2. AwDang

    AwDang Been here awhile

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    for daily commuting?
    new or used?
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  3. TonyKZ1

    TonyKZ1 Long timer

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    Looks like you've already named two of them. I'm sure these smaller (beginner?) bikes are reviewed all over the web and motorcycle magazines. Add the Honda CB500x,r,f series of bikes, along with Suzuki's line of 250s, Kawaski's Ninja 250 (used), 300 (used), 400, and 500 (used).
    #3
  4. Dave.0

    Dave.0 Long timer

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    The ninja 400 gets pretty good reviews.
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  5. dlmarquez

    dlmarquez dlm

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    I love the way any motorcycle under about 1000cc’s is considered a “beginners” bike!

    For my moneys worth the small bikes are where the fun is!
    #5
  6. TonyKZ1

    TonyKZ1 Long timer

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    Yeah, that is kinda funny isn't it? I've had a Ninja 250 (1989 classic model), rode it for many years. It wasn't my first bike, and it had enough power for interstate travel, got awesome mpg, along with a big fuel tank, and was comfortable to ride too.
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  7. Matt-J2

    Matt-J2 Been here awhile

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    It actually makes it hard(ish) to read/watch reviews sometimes. I think it's getting better, but I see more handwaving away of faults since they're "just beginner bikes", rather than being evaluated on being a nice, small capacity machine on it's own merits. Sometimes it pays to seek out reviews from other countries or find a reviewer who is passionate about small bore bikes.
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  8. LuciferMutt

    LuciferMutt Rides slow bike slow

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    Plus eleventy. Most reviews are total fucking garbage now. They ride the bike 50 miles and say everything is perfect. Except the suspension. And the throttle is too twitchy. And the mirrors suck. And the seat is horrible. And it runs out of breath before the redline. And the shifter is notchy and has false neutrals everywhere. But hey, that's not what this bike is for and you are looking for a fun beginner bike you'll love it! :baldy

    Every bike that is approachable and ISN'T 150hp is now a "beginner bike." BS.
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  9. redneckK20

    redneckK20 Been here awhile

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    I second the 500 series of Hondas. Tons of cross-over for parts availability, proven engines, and a well balanced bike. We just got a candy blue CB500F in at my shop and I dig it.

    Attached Files:

    #9
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  10. sharps5090

    sharps5090 Adventurer

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    I like the Honda 500 group of bikes.
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  11. Gustavo

    Gustavo Motociclista Errante

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    The CB300 and Duke390 are nice, but as I suspect you want a bike that you would enjoy traveling a bike on too, I'd go with a twin. Makes longer distance travel a lot more enjoyable. Yamaha has the R3, which is a really nice little bike (if you are outside the US/CA, an MT-03 would be even better, IMHO). Ninja/Z-400 or CB500F/R would be at the top of my list. I am a bit partial to the Ninja/Z because they combine really good weight/power ratio with a small size. But, you may find the CB series more comfortable and thus prefer that.

    Gustavo
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  12. c_m_shooter

    c_m_shooter Ninja Warrior

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    Ninja 400
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  13. shoeb

    shoeb Long timer

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    I share your frustrations as a lover of middleweight bikes! The sweet spot is good performance but the ability to get the most out of a package. For me that usually means 500-650cc bikes. Just got a Ninja 650r, perfect.

    As to sub 500, I'd go for ninja 3/400 for revvy fun, or CB500F for all-round workhorse.

    Whichever you go for, enjoy! Middleweights rock!
    #13
  14. Ginger Beard

    Ginger Beard Instagram @oneworldcycles

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    Part of the reason they get labeled as such is tgat they tend to be very low spec. Budget suspension, tuned for reliability rather than performance,etc. It's a shame really as high spec lightweight bikes are an absolute riot!
    #14
  15. maxpower220

    maxpower220 Adventurer

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    Having owned a DRZ400SM and a CBR500X, as well as testing the 390/R3/Ninja400, 500cc is the smallest I would consider for an all around bike for city AND hwy. If you just need a city bike then any of the newer bikes will do. If you want to ride on the interstate (in the U.S.) 500cc twins are the minimum for me (160#).
    #15
  16. Bama67

    Bama67 Cooler in real life

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    Aren't the Ninja 400s faster than the Honda 500 series bikes?
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  17. GodWhomIsMike

    GodWhomIsMike The Neon Rider Rocking The 250

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    OP - Are you tall, average, or short? I love the suggestions above, but my stubby legs (28” inseam) eliminates most of the choices above.
    #17
  18. greer

    greer Long timer Supporter

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  19. AwDang

    AwDang Been here awhile

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    They are, but the bikes were designed for different purposes. The N400 is an ultralight supersport, the CBR 500r is a tarted up commuter.
    #19
  20. dlmarquez

    dlmarquez dlm

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    FWIW, I am 68 yo, 6’1”, with size 13 shoes and a 34.5” inseam. I weigh about 180 lbs. On the road, my SRX 6-was the most comfortable bike I have spent time on. However in town it really sucked, especially on hot days in heavy traffic.
    However being retired I am learning to opt for the road less traveled every time.
    I may just end up giving the Husky 690 Vitpilen a serious look, since its been reviewed as “ the best street single ever” and although its a bit more than I really want in displacement, it ticks almost all the other boxes, and the brakes and suspension are excellent.
    I really do believe there is a niche market for high quality small displacement motorcycles. Riders who will pay more for a smaller displacement bike with top drawer suspension, brakes, tires, etc.
    I know that is what I am looking for. At the moment, in the under 500cc range the Ducati 62 is about the top of the heap according to my priority list
    I absolutely love the Moto Guzzi V7, but its bigger and heavier than I want. I kind of have 400 lbs. all up wet weight and 500cc’s as my limits. And my tastes do run towards thumpers.
    #20