IMHO buying a new bike, as a new rider is a waste of good money. The Ex500 is a much more suitable mount for someone that wants to have a little fun on the bike and is not 15-16. I won't bash the ninja 250, they did an awesome job of redoing it, but I weigh 240lbs, and I can't even think of riding a 250. It's true thata set of pipes really uncorks both of these bikes though. I say get the 500 as it will allow you to stick with the same bike a few more years. 1 season on the 250 and you will probably wish you had more bike. That will happen on the 500 as well, but it will keep you satiated longer. The 250 is technically a 250R, right? if so, expect the insurance for a younger rider like yourself to be way higher than you would expect. It is stupid, but many insurance companies look for "R"s and charge more for having one in the bikes name. They liken it to Race, but anyone that really understands, knows thata race bike is a bit different than the street bike it is based on. Fwiw, My mom would not let me on a street bike while I was under her roof as well. She was cool about letting me get a dirt bike at a young age, and I may have stepped over a line when I was 15 and bout an 84 Honda XL600R. For those that don't know about that bike, it is a 600cc single cylinder dirt bike with turn signals and all the street legal stuff. If you know what an XR600r is, that is what it was, with the street gear. She never did figure out that the license plate on the back meant something. I pushed that bike all the way out our 1/8 mile driveway, and down the road a good 1/8 mile before I started it. Now I feel a little bad about that nearly 20 years ago, but she meant well, and I always wore gear. I would rather all motorcyclists wear helmets that are more than fashion statements and don't give any real protection. But, I won't make fun of folks riding that don't wear helmets, not to their face at least. LOL My only real issue with those that wear no helmets is that they are the reason bike insurance is costly for some. Guys that try to make fun of motorcyclists that wear gear are immature and probably the biggest posers out there.