Buying a LAMS (Learner Approved Motorcycle Scheme) Approved motorcycle can be one of the most exciting things you can do, but at the same time it can be quite a confusing process. There is a lot of information out there on the interwebs and it's easy to become overwhelmed with different opinions on what's best - and you know what they say about opinions. In the end it comes down to what is best for you - the rider.
Easily one of our most asked questions is "what is the biggest difference between the 250cc and the 400cc models" In short, quite a bit, and more than just the obvious capacity differential - which we’ll get to below.
HEIGHT AND WEIGHT
The first thing we usually do is to have the rider sit on both motorcycles. The seat heights are fairly close with the Mercury 250 Mk2 at 790mm and the Nemesis 400cc at 800mm. However, what the riders notice most is the weight of the bikes. Although both are very light for their class, there is a noticeable difference between the two, with the Nemesis weighing in at 25kg heavier than the 125kg Mercury. As an example, the Nemesis 400 weighs in at 150kg where as something like the Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 comes in just under 200kg. That's a big difference, and a lot of extra weight to control when you are starting out.
We often see that novice riders are particularly attracted to the lighter weight of the Mercury 250 Mk2, as it feels like a more accessible and less intimidating option than the 400cc models for getting started.
Given the excellent power-to-weight ratio of both the 250cc and 400cc models perform more like larger capacity motorcycles. Having that said, they are still very easy to ride with excellent ergonomic riding positions and controlled acceleration.
Quite often the defining factor on which capacity will ultimately suit each rider the best comes down to where they plan to ride. Generally, if you are planning on mainly riding around town with the occasional day trip on the highway we’d usually suggest that the Mercury 250 Mk2 is the better fit. However, if you are planning on doing longer rides regularly, commuting on freeways, or are wanting a bike that will see them through from Ls to Ps and beyond we’d recommend the Nemesis 400 or Apollo 400.
In addition to how you're riding you may also want to consider where you'll be riding. The vast majority of city riders won't be going on unsealed roads, but it's worth considering the differences in each capacity for off road use. Generally we would steer someone towards our Nemesis 400 Scrambler if this is going to be the intended use - the extra torque of the 400cc engine comes in very handy when you 'go bush'.
Don't decide before you ride the range
In our experience, some riders come in for a test ride with the preconceived notion that the 250cc is for them, but after they ride one of the 400cc models they feel it's suits them more!
Our entire range of production models across the two capacities are great for learning the craft of riding. So when it comes to deciding which one would suit you we'd say come in, try them both and see which one ultimately feels right for you, your riding style, and how you plan to use the bike.