Having had a 15 year break from biking, I decided to start riding again late last year. It was July, I was on holiday in Zakynthos and I detected a wistful look on my face every time I spotted a biker making his way down the street.
My internal dialogue went something like this.
“Wow, it’d be great to start biking again.”
“Yeah, but you might crash and get a head injury.”
“I’ll be extra careful.”
“Not every accident is your fault.”
“I’ll be extra, super careful and hyper vigilant about other road users.”
“The weather in the UK is notoriously bad, so if you don’t ride in poor weather there’ll only be a few riding days left in the year.”
“What was the point of passing my motorcycle test if I’m not going to make use of the license to ride?”
“Can’t you find some other equally exciting but less dangerous hobby to do?”
With the arguments in my head keeping me in a perpetual state of conflict, I would peruse ebay in the holiday hotel room and get an idea of bikes, sizes and styles that were available and get a rough idea of the price of the bikes I was interested in.
I eventually won the internal debate and when I returned to Blighty I resolved to get a bike! The point that won the argument was basically “I want to”.
Surprisingly, there was no opposition from my partner. It could be that she wants me dead.
There was no messing about. I decided on a small CC bike, found one at a reasonable price and bought it at first viewing. A 2016 Kawasaki Ninja 250 with only 847 miles on the clock. Given that I’d not even sat on a bike for 15 years, my fear levels were quite high. What if I’d forgotten how to do it? Not knowing how to ride the newly purchased machine from the dealer would be… awkward. And maiming myself on the very first ride would be embarrassing to say the least. To prepare myself as much as I could, in my head I would run through the steps involved in setting off on a bike, as that was the closest substitute for physical practice I could get. Turn the engine on (where was the ignition switch these days?), both hands on the bars, right hand holding in the brake, right foot on the back brake, left foot on the floor, left hand pulls the clutch in etc.
The journey home from the dealer was reassuring and easier than I had imagined. My partner kindly drove me up to the dealer, and after giving her instructions to avoid motorways at all costs (the new bike was only a 250, after all), I followed her back home. What a brilliant journey! It all came back. I hadn’t anticipated feeling so confident. The thing I had forgotten, though, was just how much my wrist would ache from all the clutch action. The journey home took a little over an hour and my left wrist was a mess by the end of it.
The Ninja 250 is perfect for a returning biker. It’s fast enough to get me killed if I’m not careful, but the lack of power makes it less likely.
What I Like About My Kawasaki Ninja 250
- It’s fast. Not supersport fast, but it will out accelerate most cars.
- It’s light.
- It’s nimble.
- The price was reasonable – £2,600
- The KRT colour scheme is really nice. This is subjective, of course.
However, the lack of power is starting to niggle. The bike was always going to be a stepping stone to something bigger, and now I want a little bit more. So, I’m looking for a new bike. I don’t want to go down the 600CC supersport route like a lot of people do, though at one point in my life that is definitely what I would have done. Instead, I’m looking at bikes of around 650CC. There are a few on my list:
- Suzuki SV650S
- Kawasaki ER6N
- Yamaha MT07
- Triumph Street Triple
- Kawasaki Z650
There are examples of all of these bikes that are at dealers in my vicinity and within my budget, so these are exciting times! I’ll discuss the merits of each bike in a separate post, as this one is supposed to be about the Ninja 250!