This is an old thread but I thought I'd add my two cents. I've been riding for 25 years on various bikes. Never really been into the cruiser or race-bike style. Anyway, my 1978 BMW R80/7 gets pretty lousy gas mileage no matter how cool the horizontal opposed twin looks. So I decided to add a scooter or small motorcycle to my stable. I tried out some scooters first -- I wanted to be able to go 55-60 mph sometimes but the price for a Kymco People 200 was the same as for a brand new Ninja 250 or Honda Nighthawk 250. I'm not seeing many used scooters yet in my area and I couldn't really justify the cost of the larger scooter (approaching $4000) even with gas at $4.50/gal for reg in my area.
Anyway, long story short, I found a Ninja locally ($2200, 2005, 4810 miles), test rode it, and bought it. I'm really happy with the purchase -- I love this bike for all my near distance commuting. It purs at 60, and does 70-80 without a hiccup. I had worries at first -- when I was in highschool, I had a 70s Yamaha 360 that vibrated like a jackhammer at any speed in excess of 50 mph -- the Ninja is smooth as glass.
Of course, it won't be the fastest bike in the world, but it is a kick to ride it -- probably way more fun to run the speed limit on it, than on a Ducati.
I wouldn't exactly suggest the Ninja 250 to be one's ONLY bike, but it sure makes a great local commuter.
Anyway, on my first fillup -- after a week of seeing how fast I could accelerate and how fast it would go, mixed with some sedate city driving, I averaged 69.5 mpg. ;-)
My Sportster (a 1200) will rip a Ninja 250 a new one, and I mean pass it like it's not even moving. That (relatively) huge engine still easily gives me 50+mpg on the freeway, but, as you can see from my gas log, most of my riding isn't on the freeway. I'm sure my mileage has a lot to do with the fact that I don't need to rev my bike past 2500 rpm to merge onto the freeway. Don't ya just love low-end torque!
I'm sure if I pulled off the Thunderheader, the high-flow air cleaner, and the rich jetting I could get much better mileage, but I think I'm doing just fine!
Yes but some of us like engines designed after the 1950's and don't shake like a wet dog at a stoplight.
Ignorance is lack of knowing; stupidity is false logic
Hey long time lurker here to provide readers with my personal experience.
In 2005 bought a used 2003 250 ninja with only 22 miles (owner dropped it and was afraid to ride) for $2,000. I rode it pretty agressively and got 55 as my lowest mpg, and i think 80ish was one off my better tanks (average driving no hypermiling). I rode it until I upgraded to a 600 (but kept the 250 around). The 250 performs awesome around town, and on the highway I'd cruise at 75 mph just fine (It can break 100 mph but I obviously would not suggest you do such a thing). My friends with bigger bikes loved it, and the only people who break my stones are Harley guys (figures eh). Long story short, sold the 600 for school $$, and now the 250 is back on the road. Considering scooters are selling locally for $750-$1500 (50-150 cc), the 250 is an excellent value.
And for those wondering, yes girls still ask for rides (my female friends do not have the concept of cc's).
I can't believe my first post here is in the motorcycle section...I found gassavers.org while looking for HHO information. LOL
The Ninja 250 is a great bike for commuters...IF they aren't too tall. I can just barely ride one comfortably. I'm 5'11" and long in the leg. If you are comfortable on it, it's a great commuter bike. Great gas mileage and if you really want to play, take it on a super twisty road and you can outrun the bigger sportbikes. The bigger bikes have to slow down more to go around the curves.
The Sportsters are also pretty good on mileage if you want to be part of the HD crowd. hybriDatsun350, keep the Thunderheader and get the bike jetted correctly. You'll find that your mileage goes up and your power goes up. The Thunderheader is probably the ONLY HD aftermarket exhaust that does more than convert gas to noise without the annoying by-product of power. The 2-1 design helps a LOT with torque production.
As for my commuter bike, I'm using a KE100. It gets 65-70 MPG and it's not as embarrassing as a scooter. It's not a regular road bike, though. It has a top comfortable speed of 50 MPH which is perfect for my commute.
For my road bike, you guys (other than SD26) will probably hate me. I ride 2 strokes exclusively, and my main bike is a 1972 H2. With expansion chambers. Gas mileage sucks at less than 20 MPG, so it's been parked most of the summer and I've been riding either my stock 1973 GT550 or my 1973 RD350 which get 35 and 45 MPG respectively (if I behave myself)
As for me getting a Ninja 250, I have one. I bought a 2004 wrecked for $275.00. Crankshaft was broken in the wreck. It's getting a 2 stroke motor grafted in.
For me, bikes are for pleasure, not for work. Not to say that I don't use my bikes for transportation, but other than my KE100, I'd just as soon take my truck to work. When I commute on a bike (other than the KE), my ride home typically takes a heck of a lot more than the 10 miles it actually is, so it usually COSTS me money to ride the bike to work.
Why mess with a design that works! A big plus for any HD, the Ninja 250 or 500, or a bike like the Concours is the availability of parts. I am putting my FXR back together right now and even though the bike is 20 years old being able to buy parts offline or from a catalog is very important.
I know this is a 250 thread but what kind of mileage have 500 riders been getting? I have been pretty curious about these bikes and the mileage they get.
My '07 Ninja250 is getting over 72mpg on average in urban commuting, heavy traffic. I swapped out the original gears for a set of 15/41 JT sprockets. I don't get as hot on the throttle as most riders, but I could probably squeeze out 80mpg. I hit 80 once, but it took some effort.
2007 Kawasaki EX250 Ninja | ZG250 Quarter-Concours
15/41 gears, rack and top case, saddlebags, tank bag, tall windscreen, etc... zg250.blogspot.com