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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys! Sorry, I know this is another "what am best bike" thread, but most of the threads I've found throughout the web deal with brand new riders, not riders with some experience. So I thought I would try asking! First paragraph, by the way, is about my riding experience. The question is after.

Anyway, I started riding about 3 years ago. Even though I had ridden a dirt bike when I was younger and technically knew HOW to ride, I took the MSF course and started small, getting an old 1982 KZ550 LTD (my dad had a 900 version and my mom a 440 back when they were in college, so it was a family recommendation, haha). Great way to start! The bike had enough pep to keep me happy at first and remind me that a bike can get away from you...without actually getting away from me. I was able to focus on the riding rather than "Oh my gosh, I'm gonna die..." Had my share of almost-wrecks, and was involved in one wreck a year ago that could have been extremely bad had I not reacted the way I did (luckily I didn't even hit the ground). So while I'm by no means an expert, I at least feel comfortable and confident on a bike, both in traffic and on the twisties.

So even though I love the KZ, I'm sort of "outgrowing" the engine. It's nice, but feels sluggish to me now. Also, I'm considering trying out the sportbike world to see what it's like! Now, I'm not a track day sort of guy, I don't dive hard into the curves or sprint on the interstate at 100mph. I like to accelerate...to the speedlimit, then chill out and cruise :p I'm also not looking to be laying on the tank. More aggressive than the KZ, yes, but not insane. Something like the newer Ninja 250 is good, or maybe something like a YZF600r (a bike I'm heavily considering). I use the bike to commute and such mostly, so I carry a backpack and such and would need something that can still be comfortable for that.

What sort of bikes should I be looking for? I'm looking for something used, since I definitely can't afford a new one. Average price range would be maybe $3000 or below. A few I've considered are the YZF600r, SV650, maybe GS500 (though I hear they perform more like the KZ). I've also heard the CBR F4i name passed around. So what do you guys think?
 

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SV650 is a great all around option, I love my FZ6 though the stock bars can be a little uncomfortable. I wouldn't really choose the GS500 as a big step up, the YZF600r is going to be the step down from the R6 and more suited for commuting (which might make it ideal for your needs).
I'd say you picked perfect weather to get a bike, but terrible timing as far as pricing. This is generally when prices are at there highest, good luck with the search.
 

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Very much agree with the poster above. The YZF600R seems like the perfect choice for you. Great bike with a great engine. There are equivalent versions from other manufacturers too, I'll bet.

Here's a quick example for sale in your price range.
YZF600R Forums • View topic - FS: 2005 YZF600r
 

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Triumph Street Triple 675 (I'm prejudiced cos I own one; get the R model if you can swing it) Reasonably comfortable, light weight, effortless handling, strong powerband at any rpm, and I can guarantee that you will exceed 100 mph many times after you get one! Get the Speed Triple if you are a big guy. Ride defensively and for conditions always.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the input guys! Wow, when I asked for opinions on another forum all I got was complaints about how my price range wasn't high enough.

I've been looking at more info on the YZF and I think you guys are right, it's what I'm looking for :) Plenty of power to keep me happy, since I'm not a fast rider, but never enough to get away from me by accident. It does get a lot of good rep for the ergonomics from commuters and long term riders and such as well, which is a huge plus for me. One bike I read that compared to it was the CBR600 f4i. But it sounded like it traded out some comfort for some performance that I don't really need.

As for the Triumph suggestion, I got the chance to hit a Triumph dealer back just before I started riding (my dad was looking for a new bike at the time, so we made a day of it since I was wanting to start) and I will say...one of my goals in this life is to own a Triumph motorcycle :p Definitely worthy of their reputation, if first impressions are an indication. The ones I've found so far have sat comfortably outside my price range though :( Maybe one day!

Most likely what I'll do, since this really is the worst time of the year to look at buying used on a budget, is possibly sell the KZ now and then snag something at the beginning of winter. I ride in the colder months too unless there's potential for ice, so all I'd miss is a little light-gear weather :p
 

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The YZF600r is a great all arounder. Another really good one that is worth searching out is the Kawasaki ZZR600. There are two bikes that have used this name, the one I am referring to is the newer one, it is the same bike as a 2000-2002 Ninja ZX6r, before 600ss bikes really got racy. It's much lighter weight than the YZF and has similar attributes (comfortable, good wind protection, great lights). These can often be had for $3500-4000 with low miles.

A Honda CBR600 (f3 or newer) is another "can't lose" choice.

Where all of these have a big advantage on the SV650 besides more power is suspension and brakes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
The list is growing, thanks guys!

Just out of curiosity, what are some details on the earlier R6 models, like up to about 2004 or so? I know they're a step up in performance from the YZF600, but what does it mean practically? And what about the comfort, if anyone has experience? The reason I ask...it's just so flipping pretty :p I've been eyeing up the 2004-ish model for ages and I'd LOVE to get one, but I also don't want to work myself into a bike I can barely ride for an hour before needing a chiropractor, haha. I know it's going to be subjective, so I'll need to go actually sit on a few to tell whether it's for me or not. But what are some other's experiences? I'm about 5'10", so about an average height.

Seriously, you can't look at this



and not smile :p


EDIT: Ok, I still look at the R6 and smile...but from the sounds of it I wouldn't be smiling while driving around town or taking longer rides off the track :p Apparently I hadn't researched the R6 yet, because I found a lot of new info on it. Still want one!...but maybe not right now, haha. Still looking at the YZF, CBR, etc etc. though! I may be looking for too much "middle ground" that doesn't exist, since I want something sporty for all those short rides that are just for fun, but something that I COULD take on a longer road trip if I wanted. Doubt I'll find that in the sportbike world though, so I'll have to compromise a bit. Ah well, to be expected!
 

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Everyone is forgetting the EX650. I have an '08 and it's a spectacular bike. I whip through city traffic in a way I know you won't (because the odds are you're not as retarded as I am), but can assure you it's a more than capable bike. I have some slightly more aggressive bars than provided and can do 3 hour rides easily. Also, the new Ninja is a 300 and is receiving rave reviews.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Alright, so possible bikes so far are, in no particular order:

CBR600 f4i
SV650
FZ1
FZ6
YFZ600r
R6 (maybe. If I feel like sacrificing more comfort :p )
ZZR600
EX650

And one that I just recently found while browsing Craigslist is the Suzuki RF600r. Haven't done much research yet, but at a quick overview it looks like it stands similar to the YZF, only older (and thus, cheaper!). Might be something worth checking out, in other words.
 

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You would sacrifice a little bit of comfort for the R6, as well as a little bit of streetability in the engine. It's tuned for max hp and won't be as strong in the lower rev ranges where most street riders operate, most of the time. If you like the idea of the R6's light weight and tech, the Kawi ZZR-600 is worth a closer look. It's got all the same tech but dosn't give up as much for it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well, admittedly the R6 was more of a "looks" thing, haha. Like I said, I've been admiring those since the second gen was released and still think the first and second gens were the best looking bikes on the road. But I did read a lot of negatives on the daily riding, and I do use a decent amount of low end around town and such, so unfortunately I don't think it's the right one for me. I may still look at one, but I doubt I'll go that direction. It sounds like the ZZR, YZF, and CBR are my best bets right now.
 

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The ZZR600 is the exact same thing as an early 00's ZX-6R I believe. The most streetable bikes on that list are the SV650, FZ6, and EX650, and YZF600R.
That is true of the ZZR but it is very streetable. This was before the 600's became full race replicas. It and the CBR 600 F4i led in that era on the merit of their versatility. It is now considered a great sport tourer that leans more towards sport.
 

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When I lived in florida for a year, the roads fairly sucked, I could count the good corners, on less than ten fingers. If not for my dual sport, suicide would have been the easiest route.

So if you have access to offroading, it opens up your opportunities of enjoyment alot in addition to street and exploring, cruiser riding is way too mondane for me, so you cant help but to improve from that platform, IMO.

BUy a Bike that will work well in your enviornment and intended use. Budget bikes are okay, but good componentry is much nicer.

where I live now, free offroad has dissapeared, so Im stuck with street only, which sucks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Alright, I had a little extra time today so I stopped by a local bike shop to see what they had on the floor, since they stock used bikes as well (unfortunately this is cruiser territory, so most of the time the only sport bikes they have are used. But beneficial in my situation :p ). I sat on an SV650s, SV1000s (basically the same as the 650, stance wise, from what I saw), CBF600 F3, GS500f, and the new CBR500 (for kicks, right?).

Turns out the SV650s felt more like GSXR territory to me and I felt like I was laying on the bike. Now, it may feel WAY different when you're riding, but admittedly I felt like it would be uncomfortable for me, and especially during a longer trip. So if I were to hit an SV650, I'd probably just go all out and get something in a different line. The CBR600 also felt that way, and didn't feel like something I would want. The GS500f still felt great, stance wise, I just wish it were peppier. However, the new CBR500 seriously felt PERFECT. Actually, it felt almost identical to the newer Ninja 250r, which also felt perfect. Still felt aggressive to me, yet it wouldn't bother me to ride a longer distance on it.

It could just be that the sport bike world isn't for me, haha, but then there's the oddity like the CBR500. But like porky786 said, I too feel like all-out cruiser riding is too mundane. It's great for just cruising, but there's no real excitement in it now that I've learned to ride. So I'd still like to make the swap to a sport-ish bike at least. It'd be great if I could ride one around for season, just to see if it really IS for me and I'm just suffering from "never done different" syndrome after doing all of my riding on either the KZ or my first 1990 XR100 back when I was 12 :p (ok, to be fair, I rode my dad's Suzuki Bergmann down the road once. Hated every second of it. La-Z-boys shouldn't go that fast.)

Wish I could afford two bikes at once! Then I could keep the KZ and pick up just a cheap old sport bike for a while to see if I can learn to love the stance once I'm moving and not just sitting in a bike shop, then decide what crazy nice bike I want to snag (they offer test drives at the shop, but I have this vision of me hitting a small piece of gravel coming out of the parking lot, sliding a mile down the road, the bike catching fire, and ending in a small nuclear explosion with the shop owner saying "Idiot..." :p )

So, in that light, do you guys have any words of wisdom? Even "hit the road" if it sounds like the sport world just isn't for me? Still musing on most ideas :) I have thought about a dual sport, but truth is the offroading here is pretty poor, usually just quads and horses. I'd rarely get to go offroading anyway, honestly. More looking to have fun while going to the errands and such I have to do anyway, haha.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Dang, that's an awesome tool! I hate the idea of going to Craigslist ads just to see how a bike model feels, wasting their time, but it's also hard to find the bikes used at the two shops in my area. Thanks man!

Aah, I didn't realize that about the SV. The one I tried had the half fairing, I think an '07 model (something like that) and had the handlebar styling like on a GSXR or something (I can't remember the term. Three pieces bolted together rather than one bar across.). That's good to know, since for some reason the SV has stuck out to me for a while as being a bike I liked sitting on once before, and I've never been a fan of laying on the bike (looks great, but doesn't feel right to me personally).
 

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I can ride comfortably on the sv for about an hour before needing a stop (depending on the riding, up to two hours). I'm 5'8 and the only thing that starts bothering me is my right hand, but a throttle lock will be on order soon and should fix that.

The sv has tons of aftermarket parts and a huge following on svrider

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