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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Looking to get my second bike, currently riding a Vulcan 500. Looking for more of an upright standard style seating position, and at least decent low end torque. Mostly going to be commuting to work across town, maybe some light touring eventually. I've been looking at a Ninja 650R or maybe a Versys, but none of the Kawasaki dealers around here are willing to deal much, and the private sellers all want $5,000 for a 09-10 with scraped/cracked fairings. I found a dealer with a 2012 FZ6R with 750 miles and 8 months left on the warranty for $5,500. From reading reviews it sounds like the power is at higher RPMs than the 650R, and the 650R is better for riding around town. Looking for experience/opinions on the two bikes.

Also, one of the things I don't like about my Vulcan 500 is the tiny friction zone. I know the FZ6R was designed to have a wide friction zone, unlike most Yamahas, but some people say the 650R has a wide friction zone, others say it's pretty small. I also read a couple reviews that said the size of the friction zone can be adjusted on the 650R, but can't find any details on it. Does the 650R have a decent friction zone, or is it almost an on/off switch?
 

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Deutsche Rüstungsteilung
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Kawasaki & Yamaha are my two favorite Japanese brands. Of the two I favor the Ninja 650 as I have a soft spot for twins.
 

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I've owned both. Both are EXCELLENT for city riding. You mentioned low end torque. That's really a cruiser mentality. Even urban bikes like the 650r and fz6 you'll have to go to the mid range to launch from a stop. because of that, both bikes will be very equal.

Regarding friction zone, you gotta test ride them both. Magazines are very subjective to other riders standards, and usually relative to their experience.

the fz6 is superior in every way, but since you're coming from a twin, i'd recommend the 650r for you personally. It sounds like you have some learning to do and that one is more 'forgiving' of mistakes. Both are extremely powerful in their own right. They are only 'not powerful' compared to supersports and superbikes. but less than super does not mean 'good' or 'ok'...both can kick serious ass with the best rider. As a matter of fact, check out both ninja 250r threads here and give it serious consideration as well. A used ninja 500 will do the do also, at a fraction of the cost.
 

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I've owned both. Both are EXCELLENT for city riding. You mentioned low end torque. That's really a cruiser mentality. Even urban bikes like the 650r and fz6 you'll have to go to the mid range to launch from a stop. because of that, both bikes will be very equal.

Regarding friction zone, you gotta test ride them both. Magazines are very subjective to other riders standards, and usually relative to their experience.

the fz6 is superior in every way, but since you're coming from a twin, i'd recommend the 650r for you personally. It sounds like you have some learning to do and that one is more 'forgiving' of mistakes. Both are extremely powerful in their own right. They are only 'not powerful' compared to supersports and superbikes. but less than super does not mean 'good' or 'ok'...both can kick serious ass with the best rider. As a matter of fact, check out both ninja 250r threads here and give it serious consideration as well. A used ninja 500 will do the do also, at a fraction of the cost.
I think he's talking about the FZ6(R), not the FZ6, two completely different bikes. The FZ6, as you said, is a superior bike (maybe not in every way, but certainly in most ways) whereas the FZ6(R) is equal at best with the Ninja 650R.
 

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Coming from a vulcan 500 and as a second bike, I doubt those peak performance numbers are significant. If anything, its probably tuned more for street riding. I never bought that whole detuned argument. I beliwve it was retuned and peak numbers dropped.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I've owned both. Both are EXCELLENT for city riding. You mentioned low end torque. That's really a cruiser mentality. Even urban bikes like the 650r and fz6 you'll have to go to the mid range to launch from a stop. because of that, both bikes will be very equal.

Regarding friction zone, you gotta test ride them both. Magazines are very subjective to other riders standards, and usually relative to their experience.

the fz6 is superior in every way, but since you're coming from a twin, i'd recommend the 650r for you personally. It sounds like you have some learning to do and that one is more 'forgiving' of mistakes. Both are extremely powerful in their own right. They are only 'not powerful' compared to supersports and superbikes. but less than super does not mean 'good' or 'ok'...both can kick serious ass with the best rider. As a matter of fact, check out both ninja 250r threads here and give it serious consideration as well. A used ninja 500 will do the do also, at a fraction of the cost.
I realize it's not going to have the low end of a V-twin, but neither does my Vulcan. I want something that doesn't need to be revved as high as say the Ninja 250 or some of the 600cc bikes.

I'm already riding a slightly detuned version of the Ninja 500 engine. The Ninja does have a bit more power, and less weight, but still has most of the things I don't like about my Vulcan. The bike is on the smaller side, carbureted, and the same tiny friction zone. Same for the Ninja 250, with the addition of being a downgrade power wise. I'm 6' and 210 lbs, and planning on keeping this bike for a while. So I'd like to upgrade to a slightly larger bike with a bit more power, and definitely want fuel injection. Like I said, mostly looking at the 650R or Versys, but found a good deal on a FZ6R and curious how they compare.

There's a couple intersections on my way to work where I have to stop on fairly steep hills. Starting on a hill with an almost non-existent friction zone is a bit difficult, as are low speed parking lot maneuvers.
 

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even harleys and bikes that are meant to be tuned for low end...even pick up trucks back in the day when redlines were 4.5k, they always were meant to be revved on need. if you really need low end torque, you dont know how to ride a motorcycle or drive a stick shift.

sorry but there's no pussyfooting around it.
 

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Coming from a vulcan 500 and as a second bike, I doubt those peak performance numbers are significant. If anything, its probably tuned more for street riding. I never bought that whole detuned argument. I beliwve it was retuned and peak numbers dropped.
Dude, there's a difference of around 20hp. As someone who has ridden all three (650r, FZ6, FZ6R), I can tell you the only two that compare are the FZ6r and the 650R, the regular FZ6 is a different animal altogether. They're all good bikes, but the original Fazer is a slight cut above both of the others in terms of overall performance. It's an I4 600 that feels like one with a mild case of restraint, the (R)'s both feel more docile and tame.
 

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I realize it's not going to have the low end of a V-twin, but neither does my Vulcan. I want something that doesn't need to be revved as high as say the Ninja 250 or some of the 600cc bikes.

I'm already riding a slightly detuned version of the Ninja 500 engine. The Ninja does have a bit more power, and less weight, but still has most of the things I don't like about my Vulcan. The bike is on the smaller side, carbureted, and the same tiny friction zone. Same for the Ninja 250, with the addition of being a downgrade power wise. I'm 6' and 210 lbs, and planning on keeping this bike for a while. So I'd like to upgrade to a slightly larger bike with a bit more power, and definitely want fuel injection. Like I said, mostly looking at the 650R or Versys, but found a good deal on a FZ6R and curious how they compare.

There's a couple intersections on my way to work where I have to stop on fairly steep hills. Starting on a hill with an almost non-existent friction zone is a bit difficult, as are low speed parking lot maneuvers.
I'd suggest sitting on both to see how they feel, the differences in ride quality and performance are negligible. The FZ6 has almost no friction zone (can be fixed with a clutch saver mod) the FZ6R has a much broader friction zone comparatively. The Ninja isn't very narrow either, so out of the 2 (R) bikes, I'd say whichever you like the look and feel of better and whatever one you get the better deal on if you ultimately have no preference. An SV650 might also be a contender, unless there's a reason why you haven't considered it.
 

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Why is the "friction zone" such a big deal? Every bike's friction zone will become second nature with experience. Not sure why anyone would be so concerned about this as a purchase requirement.
 

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I have an '08 EX-650 and love it. I changed the bars to something more aggressive and can do 3 hour rides on it easily. I commute on it daily and it has enough power to get me through almost any little window I want. It's OK on the backroads, but my friends leave me behind on their sport bikes. It has a great RPM range, as most twins do. I've tested the 2011 FZ6R and it has a little more power, a noticeably clumsy clutch that takes some getting used to, and I wasn't a fan of the ergo's. It's a little cramped. I'm 6'2. On the twisties is where I started enjoying it. I kept thinking how much fun it would be on the track. Didn't even think about the ergo's. It may have a little more power and a higher RPM range. It is a 4 cylinder after all. I was excited about getting my hands on the Yamaha for a couple of hours, but it wasn't what my brain told me it was going to be. If I had it to do again, I'd go with the EX.
 

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Back in the good old days of the FZ6 forum someone - Parabellum I think - called the FZ6R an abortion. Compared to the original FZ it was. Less HP and so on. Slap some fairings on it and call it an "R". First (and only) time I ever saw something get an R on it and be slower and less powerful than the regular one. And I am a Yamaha guy through and through.

The small friction zone on the original FZ is way overhyped. Get yourself an original '6. I've seen low mileage ones going for very reasonable prices. You won't regret it.
 

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I seriously doubt theres a noticable difference for most urban riding between the two but youre right. For the eu I could understand but not here.
Again, the fz6 and ninja 650r are more than capable at being fun at 100+mph.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Why is the "friction zone" such a big deal? Every bike's friction zone will become second nature with experience. Not sure why anyone would be so concerned about this as a purchase requirement.
During regular riding it's just a minor annoyance, taking off from a stop on a steep hill I hate it. Since I have to do this several times on my commute, figured since I'm getting a new bike might as well get one with a better clutch.
 

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Wow, you are putting WAY too much emphasis on the friction zone of the clutch. Use the rear brake on a hill (like you're supposed to do), give it a bit of throttle and realease the brake.....simple.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Wow, you are putting WAY too much emphasis on the friction zone of the clutch. Use the rear brake on a hill (like you're supposed to do), give it a bit of throttle and realease the brake.....simple.
I never said I couldn't do it, or that the clutch would be the deciding factor. I just don't like an on/off clutch. Looked into the regular FZ6 before looking at the FZ6R, given the number of people I found on various forums complaining about the friction zone and/or doing the mod to widen it, I don't seem to be alone.
 

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I seriously doubt theres a noticable difference for most urban riding between the two but youre right. For the eu I could understand but not here.
Again, the fz6 and ninja 650r are more than capable at being fun at 100+mph.
Actually, you have it backwards, the FZ6 (non-R) was still being made in the EU (S2 model), but it was restricted down to 78hp, which makes it very similar in a lot of ways to the 650r and the FZ6R. In the US, there is a very noticeable difference between the FZ6 and the FZ6R (but not really much between the Ninja 650R/FZ6R/SV650 --unless that's what you were saying above and I misread). Seriously, ride both and you'll figure it out pretty quick.
 
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