Last Updated on December 27, 2020
When considering starting out on a sport bike, you’ll need to know all of the good beginner sport bikes that exist. A Ninja 250 is a great starting point!
It doesn’t make sense to start on a crazy 1000cc motorcycle when you’re starting out. Nobody should start out on super powerful bikes when they’re new to the world of riding which is why we think a 250cc sport bike like the Ninja 250 is the sweet spot for newcomers.
Why A 250cc Sport Bike?
When most new riders think about starting out on a sport bike the most common intention behind it is to be able to go fast.
To race your friend’s nice car down the highway and smoke em’.
Hate to break it to you but a 250cc motorcycle isn’t meant for racing on the highway and you shouldn’t be wanting to do that in the first place. You should leave racing and going fast for the track.
Some of you are still wanting to do it though but I encourage you to start out on a lower power motorcycle. Fast bikes and racing will have to be saved for another post.
For me, having a 250cc sport bike is more about how it handles and how it looks when I’m out there riding. I don’t care about the speed and how fast I can get going from a stop on a bike like this.
That’s why the Ninja 250 has been and still is a great bike for me. It’s my regular commute bike and I love the style of it.
A 250cc sport bike is a great starting point for beginners that know that they’re going to want to own powerful sport bikes in the future. New riders should fine tune their skills of riding before thinking about getting a powerful sport bike.
That’s where a 250cc sport bike comes in. It’s not super powerful to the point where you aren’t going to be able to control it but it also has the sport bike seating position and feel.
I’ve seen some people start out on 600cc sport bikes and do just fine and that’s great! However, for the most part and especially for those that have absolutely no riding experience at all, a 250cc is the way to go.
Most Ninja 250s will be able to have a top speed of around 95-110mph. That’s plenty fast enough for overall use. Overtaking vehicles on the interstate or highway isn’t difficult with this bike either.
I’ve also ridden on a Kawasaki Z800, a 800cc sport bike that’s also from Kawasaki and I personally feel it to be more fun to go fast on a slow bike than it is to go slow on a fast bike.
By this I mean that with a 250cc bike you’re able to maneuver very easily and it’s very simple to control the throttle of the bike. With more powerful motorcycles, romping on the throttle means that you’re going to go flying if you don’t know how to control it.
That’s why starting out on a 250cc sport bike is perfect for those that one day want to tame the power of a 800 or even a 1000cc sport bike. Although, once you start getting into 1000cc sport bikes then it’s not even worth simply riding around town due to how uncomfortable those bikes are.
All in all, if you’re a complete newbie and sport bikes are your style then a Kawasaki Ninja 250 is a great 250cc sport bike to start out on.
Why The Ninja 250 Is Awesome
So why the Ninja 250 specifically? Why not a Honda CBR 250 or a Yamaha R25?
For the most part I am recommending the Ninja 250 because I own and ride a 2010 Ninja 250 myself as a daily commute bike and it has been a complete blast to have it.
I’m not knocking Honda, Yamaha or any other company that also makes a 250cc sport bike. I’m sure they are all great choices as well. I just never really hear about or see any other 250cc sport bikes other than the Ninja 250.
I get compliments all the time and even with it being a 250cc bike it still keeps up in group rides and on the interstates/highways.
Granted I’m not taking it for extremely long rides all the time but I do plan on going a few hours away from home on it to test out how it is for longer commutes.
I personally don’t think it’d be all that bad, it’s a comfortable ride. Obviously it’s not going to be as comfortable as a cruiser would be but for a sport bike, it’s pretty comfy.
I’ve also got to be real about some of the cons of the bike. When I bought my Ninja 250 is was around a time when the weather was extremely cold and I hauled it a little over a hour from where I lived.
Since the 2010 Ninja 250 is a carbureted bike, starting it in the cold weather was not easy. It actually didn’t start at all during the winter months.
When the good weather started coming back around it still wouldn’t start. Since I kept trying to start it during the cold winter days I had fried the spark plugs.
I can’t lie… Getting the tank off of the bike and reaching in to change the spark plugs was a hassle. Other bikes are easier to do that type of maintenance on for sure.
But once I got the spark plugs replaced it started up right away with no problems! It was my fault for trying over and over again to start a carbureted bike during the cold winter days and fowling the spark plugs.
Other than that, I haven’t ran into any other problems with the bike.
My favorite part about the Ninja 250 is how it handles and how easy it is to get around. It’s a fun bike because of it!
Personal Experiences With My 2010 Ninja 250
I plan on using my 2010 Ninja 250 as a main rider for at least another year or so before I dabble into other bikes for a main commute. It’s just too easy to ride around and maneuver to keep away from.
I mainly ride around in the city so I’m constantly needing to adjust to the traffic speeds and I also need to be able to move the bike around in a moment’s notice.
Since a Ninja 250 typically weighs about 370 lbs it’s super easy to move around and if you’re a newer rider and worried about dropping it – it’s actually pretty easy to stop and/or pick back up since it’s a lighter weighted bike.
For retrospect, I’m about 6ft tall and I weigh about 190 lbs. I’m able to flat foot the bike while standing, the height feels just about right for my type of body style.
Getting the side fairings off for whatever reason, such as changing out the spark plugs like I mentioned earlier, is simple. It wasn’t too hard to line everything back up once I was done tinkering around with the inside.
The stock exhaust sounds great but since I snagged a good deal on mine I went ahead and spent an extra ~$500 on an Akrapovič slip-on exhaust.
Putting a slip-on on a Ninja 250 makes it sound a lot deeper. I wanted an exhaust to be louder for the traffic around me and trust me, it got plenty loud when I decided to take the baffle out of the slip-on exhaust.
There are plenty of other cool things you can do to a Ninja 250 but I personally don’t believe you should go all out and customize a Ninja 250 to a full extent.
It’s a great motorcycle and it’s fun to add things to it but if you’re just starting out on a Ninja 250 then I promise you that you’re going to start getting interested in replacing it with a 600cc sport bike or some other kind of motorcycle.
You’ll want to wait until you have your perfect motorcycle to really dive deep into adding accessories and cool stuff to your bike.
Or maybe the Ninja 250 is your perfect bike and if that’s the case then go ahead and add on to it! There are plenty of accessories for it.
Gently, Smoothly, Easily
When I finished the Motorcycle Safety Course in my area I got the words “Gently, smoothly, easily” embedded in my brain when it comes to riding safely. Our instructors preached having a gentle, smooth and easy ride at all times.
If you’re a new rider or if you’re looking for a sport bike that rides smoothly, is easy to be gentle on and is simple to keep at a slow and steady speed then the Ninja 250 is right up your alley.
It’s not a crazy fast bike that’s meant for racing and topping out your speeds.
It’s a sport bike that’s more about the style and the smooth ride that comes with it.
If you have any questions about my Ninja 250 or questions in general as to why I recommend it then go ahead and comment below!
I’ll be happy to answer any and all questions.
What’s up! I’m Colton, the main guy behind Moto Gear Knowledge. Gear has always been my #1 priority when it comes to riding.
I share my experiences regarding gear and anything else moto related with you here. 👍
14 thoughts on “A Kawasaki Ninja 250 Is A Good Beginner Sport Bike”
I know I’m late to the party.But I just got a very clean 2010 Ninja 250r and love it.Im 70 and don’t need the speed,but I love the looks of the Ninja.And very good handling as well.Great artical.Thanks.
Better late than never though, right? Mine is the same year, the same one pictured here. Smooth and gentle handling and same here, it’s capable of overtaking on interstate/highway if needed but there’s no reason I need to be going over 100mph at any time… it’s perfect for around town. I’m looking forward to getting something like an adventure bike at some point but if/when I do I’ll surely miss the Ninja.
Thanks for reaching out!
A great article. I own a Ninja 300 and often read up about the 250 to remind myself that low CC is more fun. I had 2 600s before downgrading. I also had a Ninja 250 SL single cylinder, which didn’t get to the US and didn’t sell well in the UK but that too was also great fun.
It’s articles like yours that make me keep the 300 and not be persuaded again to go to 600
Right on, Ewan. I agree – it’s more fun to go fast on a slow bike than it is to go slow on a super fast bike! 👍
They’re extremely fun to ride, very forgiving, easy to maintain, highly affordable and look awesome. Glad that you appreciated the article man.
Great article. I bought a 2005 Ninja 250 for my son to learn on. As you mentioned in your article he cannot jump on the throttle. Your article confirms my choice on his starter bike. Thank you
Right on man! For real, it’s a very forgiving motorcycle but it’s still a super fun bike and it really has been great as a learner, starter bike. It also gets a lot of comments from folks, they have looked pretty slick for a long time now. Thanks for sharing! 👍
I have a 2005 kawasaki ninja 250r and I love it. I’m 6’5 215lbs and had not ridden a bike since the 80`s. I got a really great deal on it with only 3000 miles on it. I wanted something that looked fast (it’s fast enough for me) but not too fast to get stupid on like a 750. I often get asked if it’s a 750 because the body style is so similar to the 2005 kawasaki ninja 750. Great article.
Actually same here, Steve. People ask me all the time if mine is a 650 or a 750 but lo and behold – it’s a smooth, simple 250 and that’s the way I like it. I also snagged up a great deal on mine as well, it’s a no brainer motorcycle when it comes to having a practical bike. Lots of folks that rode years ago are also picking up a 250 like you are because it’s simply a great bike that is very forgiving but still extremely fun to ride.
I’m glad you like this post, ride on 🤝
Great article! After a 30 year gap from biking I have started riding a Ninja 250 2009 UK though fuel injected in the UK. After 9 months I have resisted the temptation to go to a bigger bike, and for good reasons. I haven’t mastered riding the Ninja yet. More important to me I can’t see me outgrowing the bike, it’s forgiving and has power I have yet to fully use. A lot of my journeys are on motorway. I have no problem keeping up with traffic – the rev counter sits around the 8k to 9k mark at 70mph. The bigger bike question is something I work through and on reassessing my Ninja I would miss the fun and manoeuverability of this very good bike.
I’m glad you enjoyed this post! It’s an extremely fun bike and you’re right – it’s very forgiving. It’s perfect for learning or relearning the overall process of riding. It still has enough power to overtake vehicles if needed and it’s able to keep up with itself.
I ask myself that same thing… I sort of want to get on something bigger (more-so because I feel like I’m most likely more of a cruiser kind of rider myself) but I know for a fact that I would miss riding it. It’s too much fun for everyday commutes and what not.
Thanks for your comments! I love hearing other rider’s experiences with the 250 👍
What a great article. I read it with mixed feelings. I love to ride, but can’t anymore due to serious back troubles (and age) but it was great to read your advice and outlook on the 250CC. Many, many years ago I started on a Yamaha 250. You are absolutely right. It was fast enough for fun and light enough to control well. Plus, not too many guys had bikes back then so I was pretty popular. I eventually bought a Gold Wing 1000 and later, wanting something a bit bigger and more fun, I started riding a Suzuki Intruder 1500. I miss it. It all started with that 250 which was perfect for a beginner. Easy to handle, quick, fun and cheap to run. Great advice!!
Exactly, 250CC bikes are extremely forgiving yet still fast enough to do daily commutes and overtake vehicles when needed. They’re cost friendly as well when it comes to an entry way to riding in general.
Glad that you enjoyed the post and shared your comments, take care! 🙂
I really love the look of the Kawasaki Ninja 250. It is really cool and I wouldn’t mind trying one out. Even though I have never driven a sport motor cycle before, I would be sorely tempted if I got offered one of these for a test ride to start out on.
I used to love riding on the back of my Dad’s motorbike, but have never tried actually driving one. How long do you think it would take a beginner like me to master riding one of these?
Yeah, the ninjas always look awesome. Sleek, fun to ride and inexpensive to start out on!
To master riding a 250CC sport bike like the Ninja I’d say to definitely start out taking a MSF riding course to get all of the basics and essential safety knowledge before starting out. Then simply ride for quite a while… although I will say “mastering” a motorcycle probably takes several years but to be able to ride comfortably and 100% safely, I’d say after a year or two of consistent riding then you’d get a good handle on things!