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Old 09-19-2003, 08:12 PM   #1
stanglx
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Talking Yamaha YZF 600 (Thundercat) good for New Rider?

I have been reading and have seem many experienced riders stating that a any new 600 bike especially the R series is too HOT for a new rider... What is your take on the YZF 600 or known as the Thundercat. I have been reading that this bike is

1. Much less in BHP but has better mid range
2. Somewhat cheaper
3. Less aggresive in the sitting position.
4. Not as aggresive in the steering.
5. Not as fast as the R series.

But is comfortable and fairly easy to ride... This sounds like a pretty darn good starter bike... and I think it looks good too...

Any comments welcomed!!!
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Old 09-19-2003, 09:02 PM   #2
Smitty
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Agree that you are right on all five points. STILL it is not the bike for a newbie. I have had a 600r (as we tend to call them rather then Thundercat or the YZF600r as in North America) since '97.
I picked it for some reasons you did like better mid-power, better riding position, bit better fairing coverage & something you may not know is that the brakes were the best at the time & still are.

The bike can really trot if one turns up the wick & while I must use metric numbers I do apologize, but I find the bike likes to trot at 120KPH on even 80 to 90KPH max speed limit twisty mountain roads & when on 100KPH I have a hard time keeping it down to 120 for most cases it likes to sing around 150-160KPH & this is only mid revs on the bike.

A yr ago I hit a steep hwy road near my town & let the revs sing up beyond normal, but not near red line, & while in 4th cog I was clocked by the RCMP as doing 179KPH on a 90KPH hwy. Proof that these bikes can really move.

It is not a bike recommended for beginners. Try taking a look at the Kwacker Ninja 500 twin or the Suzy GS500 & come '04 they have a GS500F coming out with full fairing & both makers feel these are ideal bikes for beginners & I agree with them.
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Old 09-20-2003, 09:24 AM   #3
stanglx
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Thanks for the opinion... I heard that Suz was coming out with a new bike that is suppose to be "answer" for new riders... I guess we will see... If $$ was not an option would you still choose the bikes you recommended? Im almost at an impass of purchasing a Kawa 250 and a nice sport bike (one to learn on and one to keep) if im going to buy and sell anyway why not get the best price.

Here in NY it is almost impossible to find a bike that is not close to 90 % of purchase value... And that is usually a bike that has over 4000 - 6000 miles and has more then 2 - 4 years on it... Plus you dont even know what the f*ucker did to it. Of course they say "never dropped".. Yea right!!!

I cant see spending 90% of the value of a bike:

to not know the maintenance history
to not know if it was in a wreck
to have worn tires or breaks or other parts that wear to be just replaced bring the price of hte bike well above 90% value

Sooo... Though I am a newbie, I am very pragmatic. The numbers just dont work out buying a used bike so I looked at the 600R. I do have some experience but not much.. I have been borrowing my friends Suzuki 750R to practice (not the best bike I admit. Its very fussy and loose) so I figured if I am learning on a "race bike" I figured I could handle the 600R once I get my own.

Still.. I appreciate any more comments... and the ones given.

Mike
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Old 09-20-2003, 08:15 PM   #4
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The Ninja 500 or the GS500F will probably be around the same price of 1 or 2 yr old bike, BUT it will be your bike from the start & with full warantee. The Ninja is on the floors now & the Suzy will not be on the floors till around Dec or Feb.
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Old 09-26-2003, 08:48 AM   #5
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Default don't buy TWO bikes

If you are learning on friends 750 and are doing ok with it's size, weight and heft, I would not bother with the 250. It is not a bad bike at all, but even the Ninja 500 is smaller than what you have ridden and would be more entertaining for a longer time. My wife bought one and she can tentatively putt around on it and I "borrow" it once in a while to go rip around, too.

I love my 600R and I am very pleased with my decision to replace stolen CBR with the Yamaha. If you feel you want a bigger bike, I would highly recommend one.

You may also consider picking up a used, small bike to ride for a while. You get it cheap and can build experience while you look at the next bike.

FWIW, the 600R is gone for 2004 and will be replaced by the FZ6, which (to me) looks like a cross between a Suzuki SV and a BMW (if you go for the fairing). Probably a nice bike, but even more gusto than 600R.

Have fun!
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Old 09-26-2003, 09:33 AM   #6
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I thought 2004 was the LAST year for the 600R?? I've seen pics of the new FZ6.... Its real nice.... I heard they should be in around December.... I will take a look at that though I would like to see a little more plastic (my personal preference).

I was thinking of trying to find a bike for around 1K just to practice a little more as I only get 1 time a week to practice on his bike now... Especially with the bad weather coming.

Do you ride during the winter? I was curios if I should even bother pursuing for the winter or pick it back up in the spring?

Thanks for the comment
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Old 09-26-2003, 05:10 PM   #7
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Actually I thought (& the word was going around) that '03 was the last yr of the 600r, but as Stangix & myself has noted it is being punched out in '04.

The FZ6 was only going to be sold over in Europe. Seems enough complained & so to the States with a half fairing, but being basically an R6 in skelton form I have a hunch it will sell at a higher price then the 600r & still be a peaky power-plant. So the 600r will be the better bike for many.
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Old 09-26-2003, 08:53 PM   #8
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Default all year

I ride all year long. Sure, I do much more in spring/summer/fall, but winters in PNW just mean wet. On the rare occasion it snows or freezes, I park it. Otherwise, it is just wet. A few sunny and mid-40F days in December and January, too. Gotta hit those when they arrive!

Pic is in June maybe? I forget. Mount Rainier in background. Was there yesterday after a long, hot summer and there is barely any snow left on the mtn. Glaciers are all tiny and busted up with crevasses (sp?).
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Old 09-27-2003, 07:38 AM   #9
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Default YZF600R for the Newbie, I say!

YES FOR THE (educated by a course) NEWBIE!!
I have a strong opinion that, if you've taken the Rider Course from a Motorcycle Safety Foundation affiliate, the Yamaha YZF600R is a wonderful newbie motorcycle. In the same atmosphere of "Oh, don't start off on 'too much' bike" , I bought a Kawasaki EX500R as my first motorcycle, and rode it 3,200 miles in 2002. I then got a new, gorgeous black 2002 YZF600R and began riding it in April of 2003. I wish I'd known about the 600R before I got the Kawasaki, and here are some observations and comparisons:
Despite the fact that IF the rider decided to twist the throttle on any bike, it will go "too fast", the YZF is absolutely NOT going to run away with you. I find it MUCH more secure than the Kawasaki EX500R on moderate acceleration, and the riding position holds me securely. For me, with my long arms, both bikes are comfortable, and I'm pretty upright. But the YZF seating and foot/leg position nestles me in the bike more than the EX did, and I had to think to "hang on" if trying to accelerate briskly on the EX. You need not worry that you'd have to be delicate with the throttle on the YZF. You must make a determined effort to do everything. It is not delicate, or touchy, or in any way a scary beast. I have yet to use wide-open-throttle, in 2,500 miles of riding. I've chosen not to. Not once have I felt that the bike was "getting away from me". To accelerate from a traffic light you have to do what you do with any clutch vehicle. It will not scare you or intimidate you.
The YZF is MUCH more STABLE when you are straddling it balanced at rest, as at a traffic light, than the EX, which is 'way "top heavy" in comparison. I never feel that the YZF will tip over sideways if I lean over a bit to reach something- the EX always felt like it was going to topple!
The COMFORT is comparable- both bikes are good for me for hours, but the YZF is a bit better.
On the HIGHWAY there is "no comparison" (he says, comparing). The EX is well capable of keeping up, and since it's in its happy engine speed range at 55-75, it has NO trouble rocketing along. The trouble is: other traffic's windstream wash is extremely unsettling to it and buffets it in an unnerving way. I got used to it but hated it, and consequently it took me forever to get from one end of Massachusetts to the other on secondary roads (which are well paved and fun, thankfully) because I felt that the EX just wasn't safe on the 65mph...and up (since everyone drives crazy-fast here) highways. The YZF is thoroughly at home on fast roads, pretty stable even in the wake of an 18 wheeler, and has fairing superior to the EX! You ride in a nice envelope, even though you may be jamming by someone, passing at 75 or 80 mph. Now I ride wherever the hell I want.
The YZF gets about the same MILEAGE, and has a huge gas tank. I refill, just for the heck of it, at around 180 miles of riding.
The YZF has TIE-DOWN PEGS and loops for securing tail luggage, in the way the EX did. I have a Joe Rocket Blaster tank bag which I snug down at the tail seat. I like the bag a lot, and it's very secure. I also have the Joe Rocket saddle bags, which attach nicely over the tail section.
The YZF has GRAB HANDLES which can be used for tying stuff down, or for example securing a looped-up heavy security cable while riding, etc. (You can see a cable thus looped in the piccy that follows in my next post) Very adaptable.
There IS UNDERSEAT STORAGE on the YZF. None on the EX. Under the seat I carry a Kryptonite N.Y. disk brake lock, a cell phone, a bungie net AND a Kryptonite EV disk lock AND the heavy Kryptonite cable that works with the EV lock to make a "system". I have to experiment with the space, because I think I can get some other stuff in there also. A few Power Bars, anyway!
You can easily change the SPARK PLUGS on the YZF with its tool kit. Due to an emissions add-on to the EX engine, which is RIGHT in the way of access to the plugs, arcing over the plug wells, this is murder. I love how the EX owner's manual has a murky photo showing where the spark plugs are. Yeah, but that's with the top of the engine removed!! With the YZF, you reach in and remove the spark plug boots, put the tool in and down, put the turning rod through, and unscrew the plug. No need to remove fairing parts.
Although there are complaints about all the YZF FAIRING screws, it ain't that bad. To change the oil filter, I just remove the front triangular decorative fairing piece, put a section of plastic milk carton to guide the run-off of oil toward the front of the bike and into the catch pan (cheap 4' tall cat litter pan is fine). For the left-side oil drain plug, I undo the one rearmost fairing screw that holds the sides together there, and maybe another screw or two, again put a section of plastic milkl carton under the drain plug to guide the flow. Easy.
The YZF BRAKES are superb! Superb. Everything you've read and continue to read is true. The EX's brakes... adequate.
Oh, on the EX, I used to think "Dive! Dive!" when braking, 'cause the front end just mashes down. When I was new to the bike, I was pumping the brakes as I do with my car to catch the attention of the driver behind me. Not good to do with the EX, since it will bunny hop on the soft front end. Not so the YZF.
It seems true, the YZF will no longer be sold in England (UK) and perhaps Europe for 2004, due to its carbureted engine not being able to keep up with emissions regulations. BUT it IS being sold in the USA as a 2004!! YEAYYYY!! There is a very fine and fun and ACTIVE UK website, an msn group that I belong to and get daily email updates from, the yzfthundercats site. I recommend it. There you can see a photo of about 30 of the bikes side by side on a "rideout" the members did. They talk a lot to each other, offer repair and upgrade advice, etc.. etc. Terrific.
Oh the only difference I'm aware of, besides color, between the 2002 and the 2003 bike is that the SPEEDOMETER of the 2002 has numbers only at the 20, 40, 60, 80 etc. and just lines at the 10, 30, 50, etc. The 2003 has all the numbers (10, 20, 30, 40, 50, ) as well as lines at the "five" marks. Probably easier to make sense of at a glance- I know it takes me a second to "compute" what I'm seeing for speed on the less-informative 2002 speedo.
PRICE: I got my 2002 Black (Ahhh!) in October 2002 from Ronnie's of Adams, Massachusetts for $6,299. The dealer set-up blah blah brought it to $6,580 out the door. And the people there are great. It was a thorough pleasure buying from them. My EX cost me about $1,000 less, but I had to sell it, at $3,900 this spring. Had I bought the YZF (had I "known better" than to take all the"beginner bikes" advice as some sort of friggin' Bible) first, my skills would have advanced, safely, comfortably, faster, and I'd have been riding the highway when I wanted to..and in th end have saved a bunch of money. Happily, the oil filters I got for the EX fit the YZF!!
Other considerations:
1) RUNS HOT: The YZF runs hot soon when idling or in low speed traffic, and gets a bit balky. (I gotta say the EX was much more stable in warm weather traffic, but it had less fairing, for a smaller engine.) The frame units,under your knees and thighs, also get really warm! You'll want those Joe Rocket Blaster perforated leathers between you and that heat, probably. I never ride without full gear. It cools quickly once underway.
2) HELP! IT'S THE PRINCE OF DARKNESS!! The headlight is for sheit. All you may read on the UK Thundercats site will be proven true. The high beam has a weird black triangle in the middle of the beam pattern. Wretched. (At least the EX had a good headlight.) It doesn't help that dealerships don't bother to adjust the headlight aiming on new bikes. This is the second bike I've owned, and neither dealer adjusted the headlight before selling me the supposedly "inspected" bike. The EX's light was aimed at the ground a couple feet from the bike. The YZF's was aimed at Pluto.
3) COVERING: It's a big machine. The Dowco Guardian 100 cover will cover it to the ground! Perfect. I love that cover.The smaller Dowco Guardian 50 I had for the EX is kinda small. Chaparral has the Dowco covers at a best-price-I've-found.
4) LOCKING: Good Luck. You cannot fit a standard disk brake lock through the rear brake disk. There are no holes large enough. Grrr. Nor can you fit one of the slender locks such as the Abus "Quick" lock- also called the Granite- or the Kryptonite similar lock, through either front or rear. The holes of the disks are just in the wrong place for that. (Shame, 'cause I liked my Granite on the EX, which accepted anything.) I can fit the Kryptonite N.Y. Disk (heavy, small lock) on the YZF's front, and I add a heavy Kryptonite cable looped through the rear wheel and locked to the front with a Kryptonite EV lock as well.
5) SHIFT GLITCHES? There are many postings about troubles with the YZF's first to second shift, getting "false" neutrals when upshifting, etc. After a couple hundred miles, my initial occasional problems were about over. There just needs to be a distinctive Ka-chunk pull up from first, through neutral, into second. If you don't give it a firm pull, it may stop in neutral. Thinking to pull good and hard overcomes this. It will happen if you are not concentrating, and give a light pull. I also had trouble finding neutral during the first couple hundred miles. The bike has self-cured that problem also, with breaking in.
6) I SEE YOU! BYE! The mirrors and their placement are a big improvement over the EX. Now I don't think about trying to see around my elbows and upper arms all the time.
7) TRIUMPH: Hey, my Triumph Stealth jacket is the Nazz ! Look "cool", be comfy! (See photo in my following post.)
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Old 09-27-2003, 07:51 AM   #10
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Default YZF for the NEWBIE!!

Here's a piccy, taken just before I started out on my first ride on the new (have you ever seen a more beautiful motorcycle?) Yamaha YZF 600R, in April of 2003. Ronnie's of Adams, Massachusetts kindly delivered the bike to my sister's house for me. I took a bus across Massachusetts to get there, then rode the bike home. A 150 mile first ride!!
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