The “Official” Motorcycle of The New Modern Man: 2012 Kawasaki Ninja 650


Speed, durability, economy: The trifecta that makes a Kawasaki Ninja 650 such a great choice

Motorcycles are perfect for minimalists.

Before getting started, I constantly hear about how dangerous motorcycles are. I know they’re dangerous. I guess I’m just a dangerous motherfucker then. Still, I enjoy riding them. In fact, I’d go as far as saying I prefer riding a bike over riding in a car. I’ve been riding for 4 years, and wish I started riding long before that. I don’t drive like a maniac, so I’ve been safe thus far. May I continue to have the same luck in the future.

Motorcycles are a fantastic way for the minimalist to save on transportation costs. My first bike, a $2,000 Ninja 250 – was a great investment and a hoot to drive. I sold it for what I paid for it: $2,000. So, it was like a got a free ride for two years and saved not only on wear and tear on my hot rod but also fuel costs.

Japanese bikes are especially good choices, because they’re practically bulletproof, parts are everywhere, and they’re super affordable. Proving my point, I just purchased this black and silver “The New Modern Man” themed 2012 Kawasaki Ninja at a local dealer in the States for $3,999 plus taxes, tags, and fees. I was out the door for less than $5,000 for a high quality, zippy, and very fun albeit practical bike with a scant 7,000 miles on the odometer.

About the only problem I encountered with the bike was needing to clean grease off the cogs and chain, as the previous owner thought greasing them was a good idea. It wasn’t. It created a huge mess and the grease was attracting dust and road grime, which would have prematurely worn these fast-moving parts out. Fortunately, a silicone-based lubricant melted off most of the grease while simultaneously lubing the O-rings in the chain.

Operating costs of a modern bike are negligible. Insurance costs me roughly $9 a month. Fuel costs are negligible. It costs me $7 to fill up my ride. I no longer fret short trips the way I used to in my car.

The riding position is comfortable, the Ninja has plenty enough power for my needs, as it does 0-60 in about 3.5 seconds, and has been getting around 52 mpg according to the digital dash. It also handles great on the curvy country roads near where I will be building a tiny house in a couple of years.

Of course, there are faster, fancier, and bigger bikes. But, this one meets my needs perfectly and is a blast to drive. Sport bikes are a great choice for minimalists who like to have some fun. That’s why it this gently used, low cost Ninja is the official bike of The New Modern Man. It’s a great bike, it’s affordable, it’s a good choice for the minimalist, and it offers free surges of testosterone with each flick of the throttle. Check out this video of a test ride of a Ninja 650 like mine if you’re interested in purchasing a bike yourself.

I plan on taking a road trip on the Ninja next time I’m in the States. Do you ride? Are you considering riding? Have you been using a motorcycle as part of your minimalist strategy?

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  • Rel, what kind of bike do you use on your Caribbean island paradise?


  • I ride scooters now. If I were in the market for a bike, I’d either go with a Kawi Versys or Vulcan S, both of which are based on the same 650cc twin; that said, they have a more comfortable riding position vs. the 650 Ninja.


  • Ah, it’s good to see the motorcycle guys come out of the woodwork! I first started riding (in my upper 50’s) on a Kawasaki 300 a couple years ago, went down with it a couple times, learned enough to move up to a Vulcan S w/ABS brakes (650 cc) cruiser. More than enough power for me, and the riding position is easier on these old bones. Wish I’d learned to ride twenty or more years ago, but hopefully I’ve got enough time left on this old planet to get in some decent miles.

    Great bike, New Modern Man. Enjoy the ride.


  • I have a Kawasaki z125 Pro. Not a powerful machine (125cc) but it is lightweight and fun to handle.


  • I am in my 40s and have a 2002 BMW R1150GS in Sao Paulo. I chose / enjoy this bike because:

    1) flashy, sexy sport bikes are in high demand by poor kids with guns and by those that want to sell the aftermarket parts for Japanese bikes. What’s the risk in the DR?
    2) the low mileage, old model means I didn’t pay so much in import taxes and depreciation. My mechanic says it’ll run ‘forever’ as long as I take care of it. I’ve had it for 5 years and only put 27000 km on it because I live close to work.
    3) I rode speedies in the past, but the stable, upright riding position and low center of gravity of the boxer engine suits me now in middle age
    4) traffic is horrendous in Sao Paulo, but motorcycles can split the lane and save time (dangerous, I know)
    5) no snow means I can ride 365 days of the year (with rain gear)!
    6) girlfriends do like to ride sometimes, but I only allow if they wear jeans and jacket.
    7) speed limit is 50-60 km/hr in the city and there are speed cameras everywhere, so a sport bike would be very frustrating unless you took it to the track or outside the city. At 0-100 km in 4-5 secs, I’m still faster than all but the fastest sports cars.
    8) high torque engine means minimal shifting during the climb and descent of the mountains on the way to Sao Paulo’s beaches
    9) shaft drive means no chain maintenance

    Finally, I’ve noticed that by not having a vehicle with much storage capacity, I don’t buy furniture or other ‘big stuff’ on a whim that would clutter my apartment. I’m so much happier because of it.


  • I have’nt been on a bike since I was 16 but; may I suggest you always carry an extra helmet. Some babes will definitely be eyeing your bike. All you have to say is ‘I have an extra helmet’.
    Girls would hand me their number to get a ride on my bike or in my Sebring Kit Car.
    Girls haven’t changed in that regard.
    Also, they get really horny after a great ride and they’re ready for another great ride.


  • Motorcycles have a dual danger. One of these dangers you addressed, namely the way the motorcyclist drives. The second, and by far the more dangerous of the two , is the way people drive cars. You are going up against somebody who is basically driving a tank. I don’t care how dangerous/badass someone thinks they are because they ride.
    They are going to the emergency room or the morgue when that 79 year old grandma pulls out of a parking lot in front of them, or 17 year old Jennie just has to take that selfie and fails to look before changing lanes.

    I like to ride.
    I see the way people drive.
    I don’t ride.
    Personal choice.

    I too, hope your luck holds.


    • There are things you can do to minimize all of that… Never cruising next to a vehicle, watching drivers’ heads and eyes through their mirrors, always having an exit. When I ride I’m hyper alert, I see shit I don’t even know I see. It’s like being in the matrix. Riding courses are worth every penny.

      21 years riding experience, 30+ bikes owned. 1 accident the first hour I got a bike, 1 more a year later. Both were in the middle of nowhere and my own fault.


    • The Angry Outernationalist

      The K-selected part of me thinks that I’m too valuable to risk, and therefore I drive a highly manoeuvrable “tank”.

      The r-selected part of me was killed off by sniper gunfire by the K-selected part of me, and so the r-selected part of me will not be joining this conversation. 🙂


  • I had a buell lightning s1 (1203cc) in race trim that was a torque freak. 0-60 in just under 4 secs with a 150# rider clicking the gears w/o even touching the clutch. Im having a hard time believing a 650 jap bike could compete. Sorry its just proverbial gearhead trash talk 🙂
    I went through back tires monthly. Those Harley engines are low power monsters firing both cylinders near the same time. Plus the fit & finish trumps all others. Reliable? Not like a jap bike for sure or gas friendly but it will pull more bang tail. Ps wd40 on a microfiber rag is best bet clean chain wax.


    • Bro. Ain’t no one who is interested in speed is saddled on a Buell. No disrespect to your chosen machine, but an r6 has more horsepower and a faster 0-60 time (2.8). The Buell has a boatload of torque, which no doubt makes it a ton of fun to ride, but in every other category, a basic r6 slaughters it. I’ll give you the comment on more tail tho… Buells, Triumphs, and Ducatis have more personality.


      • Oh yea no doubt my top speed was paultry and it was a rattle trap to boot. Retightening stuff daily. Cornering not to great with that massive counterweight spinning as well.
        Lots of bikes are way better race machines. Hell the new Panigale has like 216 hp v4. Nuts.

        But after a supped up carb, intake, cams, vance and hines pipe, head work etc it had low end grunt as do most harleys that just flat moves like a raped ape.


      • Yeah, but with an R6, you have to rev the SHIT out of it to do anything. When does that thing get on the cam, 8k rpm or more? That means you’ll be CONSTANTLY shifting the thing to keep it in its narrow, peaky powerband. With the Buell and its low end grunt, a rider can just roll on and off the throttle to negotiate a turn, whereas the you’re constantly working the clutch and shifter on the R6.

        Is the R6 a better pure race bike? Is it a good track bike? Yes, it is. Do you race on the street? No, you can’t. Even casting the legality issues aside, the street has too many hazards that keep you from even using a fraction of the R6’s capabilities. Between idiot cagers, substandard road surfaces, dirt, oil, grime, et al, the street is NO place to be racing.

        If I were in the market for a fun, zippy bike that won’t break the bank, I’d opt for what our blogger, Relampago Furioso, uses; I’d opt for a Kawi Ninja 650. It’s quick, cheap, reliable, agile, and fun; it’ll do 80% of what an R6 can do for less than HALF the price. That’s what I call bang for the buck! That’s what I call a good, solid bike…


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