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I'm struggling with this same decision right now. I need to ride both, but I'm not even sure I can find a CBR500R with ABS in my state right now (Oregon). There are several Ninja 650's with ABS to choose from, and I estimate the difference to be closer to $700 out the door. Only about 10% more for the Ninja.
 

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Discussion Starter #23
I asked 4 people who don't know much about bikes to compare just the looks of 650 (black ABS) and 500R (red ABS)

I show them side views, front views, and angled front views. 4 out of 4 chose Ninja 650 as the winner .. lol ..

Reasons: it looks more high-tech, more sleek, more sporty and tough bad-ass! I think the sleek black and the aggressive styling of the Ninja impressed them.

SO .. I told them that I am leaning more toward the 500R coz.... it's cheaper, better build quality, better handling and higher mpg .. Then they switch the choice to 500R .. :)
 

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p.s: I see hp mentioned, please look at torque instead!

Actually the value of the "TQ" is relatively unimportant. It is HP which moves/accelerates the bike, not TQ.

HP = TQ x RPM

You can get the same high HP with massive TQ/low RPM or very low TQ/massively high RPM. Picture a 120HP cruiser versus a 120 HP Super Sports: same HP, very different TQ curves and so the cruiser does it at a fraction of the 5 digit rpm of the SS. They both have the same power to move the bike (it's aerodynamics which cause the Curiser to be slower in the 1/4 that's all).

What IS important is the SHAPE of the TQ curve. That determines the power delivery characteristics.

The CBR250R had a dead flat TQ curve until 5000rpm then it spiked until 8000rpm before dropping again...that gives you a real "powerband" where rpm is building and TQ is also increasing = large change in HP with rpm between 5000-9000rpm...anyone who has ridden a 250R will recall with "fond" memories "wait for it, wait for it...here it comes..."

The 500's have a relatively flatly domed TQ curve, and thus very linear power delivery, with very little drop off at the top end. TQ doesnt change much with rpm, so HP changes almost linearly with rpm. This gives a pretty broad "power band" that really isnt one haha: nice consistent pull across the rev range, with a bit of a "power band" kick at 5-7000rpm or so where the TQ "dome" is. Nice and predictable power delivery right up to redline where the HP stays dead flat for the last 500rpm allowing for redline gear changes that dont result in much "HP loss" with the rpm drop.

The N650 has a very wobbly TQ curve which bounces all over the place and dives big time at the top end...to the point that the HP drops significantly. Unless you were in a big sweeper and not wanting to change up a cog (in order to get more HP) while leand over...and had the gear wrong before you entered the corner, youu'd be nuts to rev a N650 above 10k rpm...you're bleeding HP above 10k rpm.

Curves.jpg

Dave
 

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I asked 4 people who don't know much about bikes to compare just the looks of 650 (black ABS) and 500R (red ABS)

I show them side views, front views, and angled front views. 4 out of 4 chose Ninja 650 as the winner .. lol ..

Reasons: it looks more high-tech, more sleek, more sporty and tough bad-ass! I think the sleek black and the aggressive styling of the Ninja impressed them.

SO .. I told them that I am leaning more toward the 500R coz.... it's cheaper, better build quality, better handling and higher mpg .. Then they switch the choice to 500R .. :)
Did you sit on it and let them see you sitting bolt upright on that "sleek" N650 lol, with your knees all bent up to boot haha ;). The 500R has a much better ergo's and consistent seating position (a bit of forward lean, with knees not too bent), compared to the N650 (biot upright and knees bent too much) IMHO
 
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well for me. I looked at both. (also considered other bikes. Any bike with out abs was out) Final decision was i went with the Ninja. The 500 was too close to the cbr250 i had. Many of the parts are the same. (tail section, gas cap) Big deciding factor was insurance. Here it goes by rate class tier. So any bike in the 401cc to 750cc is same money. (the 250 was in the 101cc to 400cc tier) If i was going to pay more money anyway may as well get more bike.

That said. I am happy with the Ninja. The upright sitting (for me) was a plus. (cervical disc issues) I agree the knee bend thing seems out of place with the upright posture.
And if the Versys was available with ABS i would have got that instead. I find the ninja much more comfortable on long rides tho compared to the 250. When i first decided on the Ninja for sure it was the green one. But i saw the all black in person and it looked much better. so that is what i got. Loved the styling on the Ninja from the tubular frame to the under body muffler.

The gas mileage is not that bad at all. i am averaging 4.5L/100km (which works out to about 52mpg) The difference in weight is small (the Ninja is 28.8lb more)

According to the manual i do not see where the Ninja needs to be serviced 2x more than the Honda. In fact Honda says valve clearance check at 1000km. Kawasaki first check is at 24k km.

But if the rumour mill is correct. Honda coming out with a 650cc 75hp bike that doenst have a tractor-like redline, i would give it a serious look and probably bring me back to Honda
 

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That said. I am happy with the Ninja. The upright sitting (for me) was a plus. (cervical disc issues) I agree the knee bend thing seems out of place with the upright posture.
And if the Versys was available with ABS i would have got that instead.
Yeah, gotta go with what works for you :) However, the 500R is way more comfortable than the 250R, both knees and back posture.

My Mate, Here in Australia, has the Versys 650 with ABS.

Dave
 

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One of WA dealers drops Kawi 650 (ABS and NON-ABS) MSRP down $600!
Now the price difference is even less .....

-- 53% hp increase for probably 7% price increase --- hhm..

Looking like this round goes to Kawi ...
 

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Pffff. My local dealer keeps dropping the price on a new 2012 Yamaha FZ1.
It went from $10,495 to $7,800.

If it drops any more..... i'll be MAD!

( The FZ1 is big and ugly, but it has balls! )
 

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LOL ... ugly is the in the eye of the beholder... :)

I found a dealer which has them both. I will test ride them and update my thoughts. All my considerations have been based specs & $ - not actual feel.

cheers!
 

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The Ninja 650 isnt quite as nimble out of the box, but has a huge power advantage, and massive aftermarket support.

Money out of the equation, id take the ninja, it just has way more potential, and stock, is a better fit for the riding you described.

I definitely prefer the looks of the CBR500r, its one of the best looking bikes around, period. In time, the aftermarket for the CBR will surely catch up to the Kawi, and my opinion may change then. If the CBR had 10-15 more HP, it would be a near perfect road bike, and an excellent track toy for those of us intermediate riders who have the guts to admit that a 600Supersport, or 1000 superbike, is WAY too much bike.


Good luck with the decision, let the ergos and your gut make up your mind, and you wont be disappointed
 

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Tested both briefly on local roads only (due to time constraint and surrounding bad traffic).. my impressions:

I tested the 650 first --- it's 2013 used one with 900 miles. engine was a bit rougher than what I expect / hope for. +1 to Heinrich's review on vibration. it packs a load of punch. i don't think i went higher than 6k rpm .. handling is really good. i spent 10 minutes in a parking lot doing figure 8s, sudden brakings, tight curves - very manageable. ergo is great.

CBR500R --- very smooth, very easy to handle, the exhaust is way too quiet .. enough power, but to be honest, experienced riders would want more .. in one word: vanilla. not totally out of my consideration..

I am going to do another longer test ride on the Ninja 650 ... However, I am starting to look at other options, mainly due to the rough feel on the 650...
I wish Triumph Street Triple R comes with fairing .. :) -- and yeah Mantis, you're probably going to say it's fugly .. lol
 

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Discussion Starter #36
long way for me to get to this ...

Due to the rough engine of Kwak, my 2 choices are now: CBR500R .. or .. Triumph Street Triple R. I know they are in totally different classes, different looks and different prices .... Triumph is 50% more than Honda in OTD price, has 125% more HP than Honda.

will update as I go ...
 

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Test rode the Triumph Street Triple ... WOW .. now this is a JAGUAR IN A SHEEP SKIN!! Supersport engine in a naked / low-key look. The engine is so smooth and the sound of the stock exhaust is awesome. The "bug eyes" bugged me at first, but I got used to it.

This is what I am going to get! The 2014 is coming out in a month or so. The 2013 is not discounted yet. So I am in waiting mode.

It's an unfair comparison to the 500's -- different class of bike. 50% more expensive. But if you want to upgrade from the 500, definitely consider this one, or its sporty sibling Daytona 675 (126hp---!!).

I test rode 2013 Daytona as well ... and the dealer cut the price of the 2013 from $11,600 to $9999 (=exact same price as the Street Triple!!) ... so tempted .. so tempted .. counted to 10 and walked away.

I also test rode Ducati's (accompanying my buddy) ... meeh .. overrated .. rough engine.
 
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