I hate these mirrors

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I can't see behind me

You have mirrors on your bicycle, right? You don't? Think of riding your motorcycle in the same way. Turn your head and save your life.

Not being able to see behind you is a common complaint, especially from those new to the Ninjette, but some long-time riders say that the stock 250 mirrors are better than on other bikes. If you're trying to see behind you as well as you can in a car, you're bound to be disappointed.

There are some tweaks you can do to your Ninja to improve rearward visibility; these are listed below. Just remember to also turn and look before you change lanes. Motorcycle mirrors should never be completely trusted.

Droopies

If you want to stay simple, something easy to try is 'droopy' mirrors. Tilted down about 20 to 25 degrees from horizontal, the arc of travel and semi-diagonal layout make the mirror field of view a little wider, allowing you to adjust it to better see back behind you without using up all of your view to the sides.

You can also easily add convex stick-ons (about $4 each at WallyWorld). The stick-on mirror's placement is somewhat limited by the raised lip around the edge of the Ninja mirror. You can grind things down (the Ninja mirror lip or the edge of the stick-on) or use additional layers of the 2-sided foam tape used to hold the stick-on mirror in place. By modifying to clear the lip, and placing the stick-on further towards the center of the bike, you effectively make the mirror even wider, giving you more field of view to work with.

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The shape and placement of these stick-ons can somewhat follow the contour of your elbow, effectively salvaging otherwise wasted mirror view. Looking in a convex mirror may feel a little odd at first, and can take a little time to get used to, but once you are comfortable with it you should find that it widens your field of view substantially.

Adding a blind spot mirror to your stock mirrors

Here's a mod that will make your bike safer. For $2.58 at Autozone you can get two convex mirrors that are angled toward the outside. These mirrors will help you see your blind spots and cars behind you. They're also good for seeing more of the lanes next to you.

Stick them on the inner lower corner of the mirrors (where all you can usually see is your shoulders) or outer lower corners. Which mirrors you buy, and where you put them, will be largely a matter of personal preference. You can get 1" or 2" round or rectangular mirrors. Here is a combination of BikeMaster 1" convex mirrors & a CRG blind sight mirror. This member says: "I can see everything behind me."

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Swapping mirror mounts

Depending on your taste, this may make your bike look like a broken-winged bird, but it does improve the functionality of the stock mirrors. All that's necessary is to take the mirrors apart, remove the mirror mounts (circled), and swap the mounts from one side to the other. Keep the mirrors on the same side of the bike.

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This bike is a bit different from stock, as it has Motorcycle Larry risers, but these photos will give you a good idea of what the mod looks like.

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Bar-end mirrors

These mirrors will give you more visibility to the rear. The main advantages to bar-end mirrors are that you don't need to move around to look in them, and even with flat glass they give an unobstructed view of what is behind and to the side of you. Another advantage is that you can turn your bars while you're stopped and get a better view of what's coming up from behind.

There are different kinds of bar-end mirrors. Some replace the stock bar ends, some are designed to fit around bar ends, and some bolt through the bar ends into the bars. Try to get a mirror that will preserve your bar-ends, as they are there to reduce handlebar vibration.

Many models of bar end mirrors are made for a universal fit. For these, it's usually necessary to remove or grind off the part that fits into the bars in order to save your bar ends. Then just add a longer bolt and screw them into the bars as normal. Some have curved glass, while others have flat. Some of the more expensive ones may fold up for maneuvering in tight spaces. If this is a concern, check first.

Companies to look at

  • Emgo Available at nearly any bike shop. Ridiculously cheap and reliable.
  • Bikemaster Like Emgo, sold at shops. A major player in aftermarket parts & accessories.
  • CRG Billet mirrors that are expensive but much better-made than those that look the same on eBay.
  • Cipa A teardrop-shaped mirror that's a little out of the ordinary.
  • Ken Sean Affordable and widely available.
  • Napoleon May not be available due to distribution problems.
  • Halcyon Pricey, for the cafe racer crowd.

"Ebay" mirrors

eBay often has many dealers selling bar end mirrors. These may come without a brand name (many of them are distributed by Emgo) but the price is right. These are shown below. They are available at dozens of places on eBay (just search 'bar end mirror') or from D2MOTO, among others.

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They look like this:

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To install, remove the silver insert and put a longer stainless steel bolt in. These are shown with 14 oz HVMP bar ends. They also work just fine with the stock bar ends.

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This is not the highest quality product, but it's a very economical way to get better visibility and a different look for the front of your bike. The hardware can rust and parts can snap off if you're overly aggressive while tightening (see picture above).

If you're going with bar end mirrors, you'll probably want to remove your stock mirrors. You can get block off plates to cover the holes left in the fairing. Search eBay for 'Ninja 250 block off'. Ebay vendors come and go, but one that has had them is called Billet Sport Bike Parts.

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Standard handlebar-mounted mirror option

The 'body' mounted mirrors of the Ninja are a bit forward of mirrors that would be mounted in the more traditional handlebar mount method. Bar-mounted mirrors are further back and make it easier to get a little more of a view behind you without necessarily going wider. They are also easier to make wider without having to resort to fabricating or other more drastic methods.

If you want to put your mirrors on the bars there are plenty of options. Later 250's have mounts on the brake and clutch perches for mirrors. Most have at least the one on the clutch side. Handlebar-mount mirrors are available from EMGO & Bikemaster (both sell through shops) and nearly every parts house on the web. Download the Emgo Filter-Mirror Catalog pdf or look at the Bikemaster site and see all the different styles of mirrors you can get.

Shown below is a 2007 EX250 with mirrors from a Kawasaki KLR. Many different mirrors will work on the bike, but this is a known application. These KLR mirrors give a lot better rear view than the stock ones.

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If you find mirrors that you want to use, but they don't fit in the mounts you have, EMGO sells Replacement Mirror Adaptors that convert 10mm mirrors to 8mm mounts or vice versa. See your local shop.

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If you don't have mirror mounts on both sides of your Ninja, EMGO has Replacement Mirror Brackets that attach to your bars and allow you to attach 10mm threaded mirrors.

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R1/R6 Mirrors

This should be a mod that you do because you don't like the looks of the stock mirrors. The visibility with R1/R6 mirrors is about the same as with stock ones. You still can't see directly behind you, but they will give your Ninja a better cool rating.

Go to Dennis Kirk and order part# 391940 and 391939. Then go to the hardware store and buy four 10mm nuts. Take the mirrors with you, because one member found his mirrors took 6mm nuts.

Remove your stock mirrors and the rubber gasket that sits between the stock mirrors and the fairing. Also remove the windshield, and don't lose the little plastic nuts on the back. Next pull back the rubber cover on the R1 mirrors so you have the metal from the R1 mirror directly against the plastic. Carefully screw the 10mm nuts onto the mirror behind the fairing (a gear wrench really helps here). This may seem simple but it is very tight behind the plastic, so it will take a while and you will drop the nuts many times.

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No modifications are needed to get the mirrors to fit, but it's not easy to do. One person said that he could only get one mounting nut on the left one. The nuts are difficult to start and take a lot of turns. They have to be removed and put back on again when you go to adjust the valves, etc...

Extensions

Mirror extensions/brackets can be made, but if you are good at fabricating you've probably already thought of this. There is no standard mod yet in this direction. One problem is that it is conceivable that the extra torque (from the extra length and extra wind) could tweak your upper fairing stay, so go carefully.

You can definitely widen the mirror positioning with extensions and get a better view behind you, without wasting huge amounts of mirror 'real estate' on your elbows. If you do any lane splitting though, widened positioning may be noticeable. Also, the unique nature of the body-mounted mirrors makes widening hardware less simple than tweaking standard mirrors or exploring alternatives.

If you want to try to make your own extensions, you can take a look at this not-exactly-a-how-to for some ideas. Version 3 is a little more refined. You're gonna need some tools...