Well, sunny days have been here for a few days now…..I think the little Ninjette likes the warmer temps. Heading home yesterday I noticed that I was entering a number of the turns, on my commute, about 5-10mph higher than normal. OMG, this is why I wanted this bike. Nothing could be more nimble. It makes the commute home a strafing run through enemy territory. So far, I have eluded all pursuers. Well, that was just a warm up….

Today, the motor was revving to beat the band. I was zipping along at about 9K and noticed the speedometer was beginning to slap towards the right. Had to back off…before I became part of a tailgate ornament for an F350. Gonna have to order those Pirelli Sport Demons soon…..EVEN TIGHTER CORNERS.

Sorry, didn’t mean to shout, but this is so exciting. And, I am getting 55mpg. Could probably be higher, but it revvs so easy…it just isn’t fair. I had to back down as I past 65 in a 45. I feel like a hyperactive terrier restrained by a thread…..just a bit more and….ZZZZZZOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!

NO NO, bad dog…..down, down. If you are in the market for a beginner bike, a return to motorcycling, or fun/dollar sportbike the 250 Ninja couldn’t be a better buy. Mods are available, so you can customize it to suit you. I couldn’t be having more fun if I had spent twice the money. But, if I had, I couldn’t afford to do the mods I have planned.

And, I have my wife to thank for all of this. Days like this make you forget that other motorcycles exist….they can’t be as much fun….just more expensive. Tomorrow….the stealth run to the safety of the distant parking lot…..then another strafing run home. Then Friday…..

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While I have been feeling pretty good about my renewed motorcycling adventures, today the shiny began to be rubbed completely off the apple (the fruit not the computer). This morning the weather had changed, as our Midwest friends are well aware, and, at least here in the southeast, rain was in the offing. No big deal, the gear I have is either waterproof or water resistant. I was excited to try out my new stuff….

As I was about a block away from home I noticed that the rain was sticking nicely to my visor. Not running off you might note, simply beading up and staying put. Turning my head slightly, to allow the wind a different attack angle, made no difference, save the expectation that my peripheral vision would be sufficient. It wasn’t. I wound up running with my visor slightly ajar.

The effect of headlights on all those little beads is kinda like trying to read a newspaper looking through glasses made of a zillion cut diamonds. So, I plodded along at a mind numbing, traffic snarling, nerve jangling, 30-35 mph. This is just unacceptable.

All this and it isn’t like I didn’t expect this. I tried Rain-X wipes on my visor. I had used them years before. Apparently they didn’t work….at all. Now, I have to change my underwear….or at least add lots of Cologne when I get to work. Yes, there are other preparations, but I didn’t have those handy. Still don’t. But, I will be looking for them.

My other gear was nearly flawless. My Tourmaster equipment seems to have worked as advertised. I really appreciate that. HEY RAIN-X…you hear that!!!! I just keep wondering if they have changed their formula over the years I was absent from the motorcycling scene. If so, this isn’t the first product that I’ve taken a liking to that went weird. It wasn’t that long ago that the idiotic Pepsico changed the formula for Mt. Dew. Yeah, lets add more caffeine, more sugar, less carbonation, but hey its still the same stuff……aaaaaarrrrrgggghh. Why do they do that???? Why change what seems to be working already???? I guess I am not smart enough to understand.

I recognize the structure of packaging, promoting, and advertising a product. I understand that many industries that are gravely concerned about how much can be sold today and in the future with scant attention paid to product continuity with the past. Each company seeks to “improve” their products…never mind the customer that has grown accustomed to the current formula, construction, or practice. I am, therefore, thankful that a large corporation like Kawasaki has kept the Ninja 250 much as it has always been. It works very well. It is inexpensive. According to what I have read, it is durable. It is a great value for the money.

People deserve the best efforts of the company that they do business with. When payment is made, it is made for the best effort. Imagine how irritated a corporation would be if every credit card purchase made was canceled just as the goods were received. It wouldn’t take long and the business would be requiring cash payments. Maybe we should require true value….up front. I quit using Thinkpads when I noted how poorly Lenovo was beginning to make them, once the bought out IBM. I was no longer an IBM fan when they refused to move their computer business to Linux, even though they contribute greatly to the kernel. Who cares about the consumer? They’ll buy whatever we make…yeah, tell that to GM.

I have read a few reviews castigating Kawasaki for not changing the Ninja 250 very much in 20+ years of construction….maybe they were watching GM. I know that I have been watching GM….from the inside of all of my non-GM vehicles.

Wow, am I off topic….anyway, I tenderly made my way to work. I wasn’t happy, but I made it. Like flying, where any landing you walk away from is a good landing, any time you arrive with body (and bike) intact, it is a very good arrival. At least that is the way it seems to me….here….for now.

Well, over the past few days I managed to cross a threshold….the 500 mile break-in period for my Ninja 250. Now, I can open it up. Today was the first day that I began to explore the 7K+ range of the bike. For such a small engine to make such power it has to rev very high. The Kawasaki has a red-line of 11-12K or so. I have yet, and probably won’t, see the high side of 10K, but when I hit 9K this morning on a lonely stretch of familiar rode….whew….. The cams came on and the little Ninjette began to growl. It was amazing. It has been so long since I have ridden that I had forgotten that feeling. OMG, I felt like I was flying. I have no plans for a Hayabusa in the future and for me anything in excess of 60mph is probably a bit fast, I am old enough to be a grandpa, so the 250 will do just fine.

Now that I have completed my gear acquisition; a Nitro mesh jacket with body armor, Fieldshear mesh pants with body armor, and Tourmaster jean pants with body armor to match my Tourmaster saber jacket…..wait…..be patient….oh yeah, with body armor, I am ready to be a bit more adventurous….errr…not much. I have renewed my low speed efforts and am beginning to see results. If you want to check your skills try riding a figure 8 inside of a quadrant of 4 parking spaces. It will test your patience. I am beginning to be able to do so without flinching too much. I can weave in and out on the ends of the spaces without too much trouble, but that figure 8 thing is tough.

I have been reading “More Proficient Motorcycling” and am trying to apply some of the lessons…without injury to myself or the bike. It is difficult at times to teach this old dog new tricks but I am learning. It is getting kinda old having the little kids at the park laughing at me though….but, as a teacher I am accustomed to embarrassment.

So, now encased in body armor, I sally forth to slay the demons of traffic, asphalt, and all that nature can bring to bear…provided I don’t get scared and take the truck from here.