Thanks for the quick reply! I have read some info about the ninja and really like the styling. Different places (forums, wiki) put the MPG around 50-60 with some claiming up to 75mpg (would like personal input). Is this MPG riding really slow or is it at a constant speed? I looked at top speed and says around 110mph so I suppose doing 60-65mph on the highway shouldn't put much stress on the bike at all.
Don't have any numbers for you but my first tank took forever to go through so that would be slow riding, under 4k rpm (break in) and lots of stops, starts, gear changing. Some of the reviews put the mileage at the upper end 70-ish.
Many people use it on the highway and it has no trouble jumping up to pass if you need to. I'm smaller 5'3" and have no issue with the wind so far. I don't have much highway experience with passing tractor trailers and their turbulence so I'd check one of the ninja forums to see what people have to say about that. Can't see it being a problem or there wouldn't be so many on the highways.
As for reliability is it on par with whats said of the honda rebel? This is another starter/commuter bike that caught my interest. MPG said to be around 65-75. Supposedly legendary reliability if taken care of(never had anything honda except for a lawn mower lol) and easy to work on in case something does go wrong. Can do 60mph, but top speed about 75-80mph.
Reliability is one of the things this bike is known for - they offer a huge roadside assistance package for peanuts so that leads me to believe that I probably won't need it. The rebel may be the same, been around forever so that's a good sign and I still see lots on the road from different years and many for sale from different years. Someone on here should be able to give you a better idea of the reliability of the rebel. Hang tight and more folks should be along in the coming days.
Rebel might be the most comfortable for commuting and you could easily attach bags to carry your work clothing and such.
I think most of the big three Japanese bikes will be very reliable for the price.
I have heard that tires on bikes do not last much at all, some claiming that at 5k miles you may need to change them and that they are expensive (150$ for one). What has been your experience with this on the ninja? I do not mind changing the rear tire at 12k (approx once a year) and the front at 24k, but 150$ at 5k seems a bit too much.
I've been reading a lot about my tires lately and there's certainly two camps of opinion, at opposite ends of the spectrum. Some have three years of commuting on the originals and others ditch them as soon as possible and put pirelli street demons on them. I guess it's how hard your commuting surface is? Mine seem to have nice grip even when I lean quite a bit. I ride in the cold and the rain and haven't had any issues there either. They are not known as high quality tires but I haven't heard of anyone having them wear out early from regular riding. There's some specific info about tires on the website I mentioned earlier in the FAQ. Hell, we may even have one here??
If you buy something like an older ninja - keep in mind that they take smaller tires so your tire choice would be limited.