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I've seen a lot of varying opinions on whether the FZ6 is suitable as a first bike. Rather than just ask that, I'd like to give a bit of background and ask for opinions on a little more specific of a subject.

As background I am newbie rider, 37, 6'2, 220lbs, and just completed the MSF course. I've heard the advice of buying a beater bike to drive for a few months, drop it a few times, etc... but I'm trying not to go that route.

My least powerful car is 502hp. My daily car, a V12Biturbo Renntech Mercedes, puts down 645. I have a car that runs 10s and a couple in the 11s. Why bring it up? Because I haven't had a ticket or accident in 20 years, even though there's plenty of power on tap (I race at the track, not around town). I'm hoping that sheds some light on my conservative (some would say chickensh*t) defensive driving approach.

That leads me to the main question: if you remove that fact that the FZ6 is, like it or not, a 600 inline 4 sport bike with enough power to seriously maim a careless rider, I'm wondering if the bike, in and of itself, if driven conservatively without tapping the -available- power, is -then- a good first bike to learn on?

But more simply, if I'm not 18, stupid, and believe myself immortal, is it a good bike for beginners? Is what makes this not a good beginner bike something under the control of the rider, or is it inherent to this type of bike?

I've seen repeatedly that the clutch and throttle are touchy, and that's probably my main concern. Otherwise it seems a good size, has an upright seating position, not too heavy, and so on.

Many thanks for your input!
 

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Subtract the pretty cars, a few years, and thats pretty much where I was at 1+ years
ago. I've been commuting on the FZ for the entire time (minus a week here and there)

USE smooth throttle and brake inputs, get the tires/brakes warm. Some parking lot
practice helps too. Some books may provide insight. Oh yeah, get good gear.

FYI- Many riders like Carnation/Duvall, if you go out there be carefull. Home owners are placing gravel in the corners to make bikes crash.

Also, here's a link for bike legislation.
http://www.washingtonvotes.org/SearchLegislation.aspx?Keywords=motorcycle

and RIDE YOUR OWN RIDE
 

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me a "racer",i think not!
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self control will def. be a plus, knowing your limits is a must! with the car line up you have in your garage and record you have, sounds like you have some what of self control. but self control isnt what its all about, just alot. have you ever ridden street, or maybe even dirt? all i had was dirt experience when i bought my FZ6. personally in my opinion, from the little bit you stated about your self, besides having way too much money to know what to do with, you should be okay, just do the parking lot practice a bit and you should be a okay, and while your in there make sure you do some sharp slow turns and practice the touchy throttle. P.S what 65 do you have? :banana
BE SAFE!
 

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Bennedetto!
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davepl,

My FZ6 is my 5th bike (my 3rd 600cc sport bike [or sportish when it comes to the FZ]). I would suggest you not get this bike for your first bike for the two reasons you mentioned in your post, the very small friction zone in the clutch (although I think you would get used to it) and the lurchy throttle.

The throttle's not that bad for zipping around town or commuting, but I personally am dissatisfied with the throttle performance in the twisties. Yeah, people will say, "be smooth" and "change your style" etc., and I'm working on that, but I don't think that's something a beginning rider should have to deal with - there's enough to think about when you're riding, let alone being a new rider, why add more complexity to the equation?

My suggestion to you is to find an older model that is carbed instead of the FZ. While my experience with my carbed bikes is that they don't launch like a FI bike does, mine have been generally more smooth than my FI bikes (I've had 2 carbed sport bikes and 2 FI sport bikes [that includes the FZ6 I have now]).

Also, I hear you on the "older and more responsible" thing, however while learning to ride my experience says that you're extremely likely to drop the bike in your garage or driveway. It just takes time to get used to what kind of control you have to have with your feet while they're down and how to plant them and conversely how to recover from a foot-slip. I've been riding for 7 years and just recently had a foot-slip at Laguna Seca in the ticket checking area. Fortunately I was able to recover and not drop the bike, but it was close....

So, that's just my feedback. I hope you find it valuable.

:cheers
 

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I know many recommend against it (for very good reasons), and I had three beaters before I got the FZ6.

After riding a 250 for a year, I got on the FZ6 and below 6K, it's gentle. I was comfortable on it within days. If you think you can get yourself to the point where the clutch/throttle/shifter dance is instinctive in a few weeks, you might be fine. But if you're a power fiend (be honest), it will be hard to resist that 11K rush. I found myself doing 85 in 2nd gear on the onramp tonight... (Bad, bad, girl!)
 

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I started with a Ninja 250 for almost a year. That one waws stolen, and I did not have one for over a year, then I got a FZ6. I agree with Fuzz Bomb, if you keep the rpms low, the bike is very tame.
 

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I agree with keeping the RPMs low the bike is tame. I bought my FZ6 earlier this summer as my first street bike and after having mid to low amount of time on a dirt bike. I have had no problems with the bike at all. As for the throttle/clutch/shifter dance, it is just like buying a new car with a standard transmission after driving an automatic for a long time, you just need to get used to it. I am not a seasoned track rider like some here I just use my FZ6 as a daily commuter to help save some money because of gas prices. Just my 2 cents.
 

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Welcome to the board, Dave! You won't find a better place to go for FZ6 info.

I think, like most people, that it's a borderline beginnner bike. It was very easy to switch to after my Seca II. However, it does have that serious power up top.

Regarding the small friction zone, I was under the impression this was common to all Yamahas. I know that my Seca II has the same small friction zone, which can be difficult for a new rider. After a year, I still stall every once in a while.

Offtopic, Nohands, what's with those laws that you posted. Does
to make it unlawful for any person to transport on a motorcycle a child under the age of five, a child whose feet do not rest firmly on the passenger foot pegs, or a child who is not sufficiently supported by a passenger back rest attached to the seat.
mean that you won't be able to carry your kids with you unless you own a cruiser? I know you can get a crobin seat with a backrest for some sportbikes, but who wants a sissy bar on a Gixxer?
 

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My First Bike

I just wanted to chime in that the FZ6 is my first bike and almost 4,000 miles on I've not had any problems and quickly got used to the bike. I got it two weeks after taking my MSF course. It's a joy to ride and the transition from the 250's used by MSF wasn't difficult at all. As with any bike, if you ride within your skill level and don't push your capabilities too far at a time you should be fine.

--
Omeganon
 

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Face is a Maserati!!!
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6'2", 220 lbs.

Go for it. Even if you drop the bike at a stop, you probably can catch it and stop it at, oh, 6" from the ground, keep it there, pick your nose and then bring it back up !!! :eek:nfloor

Seriously, I find it ridiculous that we always attempt to give this kind of advice at someone whom we haven't seen riding. I remember from my riding classes a petite lady and another guy with your built.

Guess who I would never ride with (especially with that person behind me)and whom I would lend my bike anytime?

Riding a bike is a skill! All the rest is secondary...
 

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TD Survivor
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the fz6 is the first bike i have ever been on and i love it. its all in the way you look at it. i respect my bike for the power it has and never try to go beyond what i am cappable doing. yeah ive had her at 140 and hitting twisties scraping pegs but you need to know the limits of yourself. and yes i have dropped her but at the same time i had something in my head telling me not to push it and if i had pushed her the drop would have been so much worse for me and the bike. i know i havent even scraped the surface of the total capabilities this bike has to offer. and dont think i will ever see total capabilities till i hit the track. hint, hint.
 

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Bennedetto!
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AirForceTeacher said:
Regarding the small friction zone, I was under the impression this was common to all Yamahas.
My 1999 R6 did not have such a small fiction zone, and neither did my 1990 FZR 600...
 

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I say go for it. This is my first manual vihicle and withen about 500 miles I had the clutch down pretty well. Now that I have the 2000 miles on it I have it down to an art. Below about 6k on the odometer the bike is quite tame and easy to control. Above about 7k it really feels like a different bike. This is also my first bike too.

Ohh, by the way...I am 18 and I am immoral.
 

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I thought 18 yr olds were immortal. But I guess immoral works too.
 

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AirForceTeacher said:
Offtopic, Nohands, what's with those laws that you posted. Does mean that you won't be able to carry your kids with you unless you own a cruiser? I know you can get a crobin seat with a backrest for some sportbikes, but who wants a sissy bar on a Gixxer?
It's Washington state, ya got me. It seems people (gov't) up here have a different view of reality. Beyond the Corbin, the Ventura luggage rack would work good and look better.

They try to pass the lane splitting thing here all the time, just can't pull the tr*****. After ridding in CA for a couple weeks I became used to it.
Conflict between Environmentalism and haves/have nots...
Splitting would save 5-30min each way on the commute and how much gas.


And now back to the origionally posted thread...
:fiddy
 

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Go for it, you'll be fine. The FZ6 is a well-made, user-friendly bike. Once you get accustomed to the clutch, it does absolutely nothing unpredictable below 7000rpm.

I started last year on a Ninja 1000. Big heavy bike (I'm also 6'2 and 220 btw), too much for a new rider, and I was fine. No I wouldn't "recommend" it but it was fine for me. I started off on side streets and worked my way up just like a teenage girl. ;) There is a somewhat fatalist attitude out there that everyone has to crash, and tip over their bike. On the day I picked it up I muttered something about being a newb and probably dropping it, and the guy who sold it to me said "No you won't." Huh?? "Don't think that way... you won't drop it", he said, firmly. Everyone (except him) told me I'd drop my first bike, probably multiple times, and y'know what? I never did. I've now ridden close to 19,000 kms between the two bikes and haven't been in any serious trouble. I'll always be grateful for that little comment. (sure, I've made a few panic stops -- I believe there's more to learn from saving it than losing it. Ymmv)

At this point I'm obviously not an accomplished rider but I've had a chance to ride several bikes and I know that nearly all motorcycles behave just fine if you treat them with respect and take the time to get to know the machine.

Watch out after a couple thousand miles when nothing bad's happened, they say that's the deadliest time, because you have a sudden rush of confidence that you 'know what you're doing', when in reality you still have no real skills.
 

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FZ6 is my first bike too - I'm not seeing the sensitive throttle that the experienced riders are talking about, but then I have nothing to compare too. It does have a kick when you do a quick twist of the wrist, but do it with control and it's not there.

I compare this problem to driving a manual car. My friend and I have both been driving manuals for years and both cars have the same relative HP. But when riding with him, I always feel the car lurch foward when he shifts gear. I've always thought it was just the way his car behaves, until I drove it a couple of years ago - it's him, he just can't give the car a finess (sp) touch when he is shifting gears.

anyways, back on topic -- I believe it's a great beginner bike. You went through the MSF course already, so you already have an idea if you'll be satisfied with a 250 as a starter. I was not impressed with the 250, even though we were just riding around in the parking in 2nd & 3rd gear only. My guess is that if you're asking, you probably aren't going to be satisfied with a 250 either.

The first 2 weeks I was riding around - I kept the bike one gear above where it should be (i.e., 4th when I should be in 3rd). Doing that will keep the bike from sending you flying even if you (accidentally) go full throttle. Besides you only need 4th for in-town riding. And on the open road, just keep it in 6th, and you won't get in trouble.
 

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davepl said:
But more simply, if I'm not 18, stupid, and believe myself immortal, is it a good bike for beginners? Is what makes this not a good beginner bike something under the control of the rider, or is it inherent to this type of bike?
It kind of depends on your definition of "beginner bike." In my mind, the FZ6 lacks most of the qualities of a good beginner bike. Too much power, tiny friction zone, touchy throttle, a bit too tall, a bit too heavy (pretty good, though), and too much plastic to break. I think that most new riders I've seen graduate from the MSF basic course would be better off on something other than an FZ6. They usually have some leftover throttle/clutch coordination issues, and haven't quite figured out how to keep the bike from leaning a little when stopping. Not a big deal on the little course bikes, but distracting on the FZ6 when they hit the roads.

Self-control and defensive driving habits are great, and will really serve you well down the road. They won't help you learn basic motorcycle skills any quicker, though. Like I said in the other thread about this, the good thing about a "boring" beginner bike is that you'll learn smooth basic operation more quickly. That will help you get your attention out on the roads where it should be.

A good beginner bike also won't punish you for making newbie mistakes. The brakes on my first bike were pretty weak compared to the FZ6. I had to start braking earlier, but I also never locked up either wheel during a panic stop. Several people here have gone down (or almost gone down) because they locked up the rear wheel of the FZ6 inadvertently. It's not that they didn't know what they were doing. It's just really easy to make that mistake on this bike.

That's all generic advice about the FZ6 as a "beginner bike." If I'd seen you ride in the MSF class, I might be able to be more specific. But I can tell you that I'd recommend it to very few people that came out of my classes, and most of them had previous dirt experience.

My $.02.
 

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davepl said:
Is what makes this not a good beginner bike something under the control of the rider, or is it inherent to this type of bike?
Rider is an important part of the equation, sure. But smaller, less powerful bikes are easier to learn on, if that is your primary objective. For some people it's not. You're going to want to know what you're doing when bad things happen, even if those bad things are not your fault.

What kind of track do you race on? Car racers are about the only prospective riders I meet who understand the start small advice usually. Unless you mean the drag strip.
 

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Least powerful car 502 hp?!!! You like overkill huh? I sure would love to help you destroy some expensive rubber.
You should know how ever no matter what kind of car you can handle it doesn't count for anything when it comes to bikes. The skill levels involved don't even compare with driving a car they are that much higher.
The FZ6 shouldn't get you into any trouble seeing you 37 and likely out grown your "youthful exuberance".
Getting a beater aint a bad way to go either. I did it that way and that 40-45 hp bike seemed fast to me then, for maybe 2 months then it had to go. The plus of a beater is your first major cash outlay for a bike can be on something a step up the ladder from the fz6. The FZ6 is still a great bike regardless of where it sits in the performance chart. But I would get a YZF600R instead and would be worth you checking out as well.SV650 is another.
Ah first bike, nothing like the first.
 
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