Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Aurora, CO USA 80013
In terms of sheer acceleration, the 600's are really not that far behind the liter class. 600's run mid 10's in the quarter mile vs. a literbike at high 9's. The big difference is that 600's make all their power up top- 10,000+ rpm, vs. literbikes that just make power and torque everywhere, all the time. Personally, I like having the instant, on-demand power that a literbike affords. And yes, altitude make a BIG difference to motorcycles in terms of performance. (a literbike at 5000 feet is about as quick as a 600 at sea level)
On the other hand, it can be fun wringing the neck of a 600 at 15,000 rpm, they get good gas mileage, are not nearly as hard on tires, and are cheaper to insure.
Can't really go wrong either way, it just mostly comes down to what you plan on using it for. As an example, for two-up riding, the occasional longer distance sport-touring trip, or highway riding, the literbike would be better. For lots of canyon carving or track days, the 600 would be a good choice.
Either way, I'd suggest you swing a leg over a 600 and give it a good workout to see for yourself. You may like it or you may not, they are very different.