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Discussion Starter #1
So I just started reading around here and I'm seeing a lot of people who seem to be very much against 600cc bikes as beginner bikes. So I figured I'd get some feedback from people. Is a 600cc bike a good beginner bike, and why or why not?

To give a bit of background here, I'm still a relative newb I guess. 4000 miles on my YZF 600 R. Coming up on 3 months of riding time. Took the MSF course, loved it. Spent damned near $1000 to get the best safety gear I could find and I wear it religiously. Wiped out once, low speed, on gravel.

When I finished the MSF on those nice 250's and went out bike shopping, I wanted to be safe and start with something small. Due to a number of intertwined and terribly boring details, I ended up buying the YZF brand new. Getting it home the first day, I damned near soiled myself. :) I live about 4 mins from the bike dealership, and I was sweating bullets the whole time. The amount of power on that bike compared to the nice 250's I was used to was downright disturbing.

But I can say that, having had it for a while, it has taught me to respect it. I got sloppy with the throttle a couple of times early on, and it immediately told me that I'm an insignificant little sh*t. But that made me respect it and bikes in general much more. I think my biggest concern is that, as a starting rider, you tend to be MUCH more cautious, almost to a fault. Your ego hasn't had a chance to take over yet. But once you've been riding for a while, that ego starts to catch up with you. And if you're putting around on a 250, and thinking you can control it perfectly, the moment you get onto a 600 you're going to be a danger to yourself and others, whereas the beginner who is still rightly afraid of it might not be.

But that's just my (undereducated) opinion. I would love to hear others' opinions on it though.
 

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Dude, where is my bike?
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any expert will tell u to get a 250 or 500.. but im no expert so i cant really say anything..

What kind of riding do u do? Hardcore? or just cruising around w/ friends
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I don't do any crazy stuff, but I'm on the bike every chance I get. I ride it to work and back every day, and then after work I cruise for a couple of hours every day.
 

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As a new rider I would suggest something inbetween the two. I bought a SV650 and couldn't be happier with it. It has enough power (75hp) that you have to respect it but it's not too much to handle.

It's also cheaper to buy own and repair, which I am thankful for. :)
 

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my 94 ninja 600r is my first bike...ive been riding for bout 2 weeks or so around my neighborhood and local areas w/out traffic...it handles just like the buell blast was handlin for my MSF (in terms of weight), however theres ALOT of power there for my first bike. i feel a bit dumb for gettin this thing as a first bike, but it was such a cheap price that i couldnt pass it up...ive cleaned it up alot and i can easily go and resell it double the price now, but i love this thing.

HOWEVER, although being a newb to the motorcycling thing, i dont suggest getting a 600 if u havent ridden at all...im taking my chances by starting on this thing, but by no means should anyone follow suit with gettin a 600 as i did...my first time on it (VERY FIRST time ever on a motorcycle) i didnt know how sensitive it was and i almost flipped it back...since then ive taken the msf and ive gotten use to the throttle.

but no- dont start on a 600...and ur never gunna get anyone here to even say anything good about starting on a 600 and being that i AM currently starting on a 600 i can tell you right now its not a good idea...i love the thing, but wasnt the smartest thing ive done in my life
 

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One of the stupidest things I have ever seen, I was taking my motorcycle safety course on post and their was a guy (22 yrs old or less) that had never riden before and went out a bought a 2004 R1. For some reason this guy wanted a R1 all his life but 99.9999999% sure he is going to wreck. Now on a 600 you have alot more leeway with the bike. I started off on a 600 and everybody told me I was crazy. I had the bike for a week and got run off the road, no big deal now but it was then. I had the bike for like three months and did a Deals gap trip, didn't crash their! I think it all has to do with the rider. If you mistreat the bike in a corner then the bike is going to act acordingly and whip your bitch ass to the ground.
 

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I seriously believe that it all depends on the rider - his skills (learning curve), attitude and, more importantly, maturity. I'm a new rider as well and I started off with a 600. I took the MSF class and a week after, I rode my bike home 18 miles from the dealer (with my wife and kids right behind me on a minivan!). To make the long story short I am getting more and more comfortable with the bike and really enjoying every ride. I'm not tearing it up and I don't do stunts - just a regular street rider who understands the risks and respects the power of a 600.
 

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how much does elevation have to do with things? I live at 5500ft and I have heard that a 600 acts like a 500 at this elevation?
 

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yooknohu said:
how much does elevation have to do with things? I live at 5500ft and I have heard that a 600 acts like a 500 at this elevation?
air is thinner at higher elevation, so engines dont run as well as they would at lower elevations. i dont know for sure how bikes compare at high elevations, but i know cars dont respond as well in the higher elevation (especially when hot out). i dont know if its that much of a difference- someone else here who knows bikes more will need to tell u...im more of a car guy gettin into bikes :)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
94ninja600 said:
since then ive taken the msf and ive gotten use to the throttle.

but no- dont start on a 600...and ur never gunna get anyone here to even say anything good about starting on a 600 and being that i AM currently starting on a 600 i can tell you right now its not a good idea...i love the thing, but wasnt the smartest thing ive done in my life
Well, for one thing I would say that buying, and more importantly RIDING a bike BEFORE taking the MSF is a VERY VERY VERY bad idea.

But I do believe I _DID_ say something good about starting on a 600 in my original post. :) Yes, it was a bit hairy my first few days, and yes, I did pop a few VERY unintentional and VERY nervewracking wheelies, but I think I've ended up a better rider for it. I have a good healthy respect for it now, and I have a good healthy respect for ALL bikes now. And I'm having a blast riding. 4000+ miles in 2 months should attest to that. :)
 

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I'll make it easy....you started on a 600 and in 3 months you've crashed it. I started on a 250, 20 yrs later, I've never crashed. Do the math.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Well, in my particular situation I could have been on a 25cc 2-wheel lawnmower and STILL crashed. :) I was only doing about 20 mph at the time anyway, so the power of the bike had nothing to do with it. The problem was my own inexperience and overreacting when I saw gravel. I tried to swerve while both of my tires were on gravel and Mr. Ground came up and said hi! :)

I still wouldn't RECOMMEND that people start with a 600, but I will say that if you DO start with a 600 it's not necessarily any more of a deathtrap than any other bike. Much as is the case with guns, MOTORCYLCLES don't kill people. People on motorcycles get THEMSELVES killed. Whether they're on a 250cc starter bike or a 'busa, the rider and his or her maturity in not going beyond their limits regardless of whether or not the bike is able to or not is what will make the difference in the end.
 

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taziscool said:
I'll make it easy....you started on a 600 and in 3 months you've crashed it. I started on a 250, 20 yrs later, I've never crashed. Do the math.
You, sir, should find some wood and start knocking!
 

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94ninja600 said:
my 94 ninja 600r is my first bike...it handles just like the buell blast was handlin for my MSF (in terms of weight)
A Buell Blast has a dry weight of 360 lbs, while a '94 ZX-6 (I don't believe there was a '94 ZX-6R) has a dry weight of 468 lbs (wet is 497 lbs)... that's quite a bit of difference.
 

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there was a ZX6R in 94...and there was the 600R...i have the 600R which according to Kawi and mutliple places, dry weight is 395 lbs.
 

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94ninja600 said:
there was a ZX6R in 94...and there was the 600R...i have the 600R which according to Kawi and mutliple places, dry weight is 395 lbs.
There was only the ZX600E2 (ZX-6) and ZX600C7 (Ninja 600R) in 1994. The first ZX-6R was a 1995 model. I was mistaken... I had the 600R and ZX-6 weights mixed up.

35 pounds (dry) is quite a bit of difference on bikes. With the wet weights (how you'd ride it), the difference is even greater...

Blast = 389 lbs wet
Ninja 600R = 456 lbs wet

That's 67 lbs difference. I don't doubt that the Blast and 600R handle similarly, but you'll definitely tell the difference at slow speeds or pushing it around.

Sounds like you've got some sense in you if you chose to go with an older 600 rather than a newer one. Your Ninja was first offered as a 1988 model, which meant it competed with the likes of the FZ600/FZR600, CBR600 (Hurricane) and Katana 600. Although it pales in power compared to the new 600s, it has more than enough power for street riding.

Have fun and be safe.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
You'll have to pardon my ignorance on the mechanical aspects here, but what exactly is the reason that newer 600's are so much more powerful than the older ones?
 

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demonbane said:
You'll have to pardon my ignorance on the mechanical aspects here, but what exactly is the reason that newer 600's are so much more powerful than the older ones?
Better engine design and manufacturing. New 600s are making as much HP as liter bikes from the late 80s.
 

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sjlee said:
Better engine design and manufacturing. New 600s are making as much HP as liter bikes from the late 80s.
And it's not just the increase in horsepower, though that's a big part of it. The newer bikes are lighter, the riding positions are more extreme, the brakes are more powerful, the throttle is more responsive, etc, etc, etc. Maybe more people could get away with starting on a 600cc bike 10 or 15 years ago, but it gets more and more difficult with each passing year as the big 4 try to one-up each other.
 
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