Eric "E-Money" Nugent
Take a group of 250/300cc bikes, and a six-foot-tall, 211-pound rider…in my head, not the best combination, but surprise, surprise! Clearly I'm not going to say any of these pint-sized machines are rocketships, but for what they had to pull around all day, I was impressed. All of them offered a fair amount of room; the Honda was the most comfortable of the bunch with its rubber-covered footpegs, and even though we were hovering around 8000 rpm to keep up with traffic on the highway, it was surprisingly easy to ride for a fairly long trip. The Ninja 300 already has the upper hand as the extra 50cc are greatly appreciated; the styling is more aggressive and it's still a fun bike to ride through the canyons. The Hyosung is a bit of a contradiction; it's sized like a modern day 650cc machine, yet it has a 250cc engine. It looks like a big bike with dual front discs and inverted forks, but I think the other big-bike attributes — tall seat, long reach to the bars — hurt the Hyosung more than help. The Kawasaki and the Honda have a true entry-level feel with great styling and price tags. So If I'm getting on the road for the first time, I'm taking the Ninja and running, with the CBR getting the next nod.