Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Aurora, CO USA 80013
Any one of the 600 class bikes is going to be reliable as a stone ax. (The Honda perhaps just a bit more so) The performance difference across the class is perhaps 1%. That being the case, it really just matters what bike fits you best and turns you on the most.
Oh, and don't discount the Triumph 675. It doesn't fit the normal mold, in that it is an inline 3-cylinder engine. You can think of it more as a 600 supersport, as its' performance is directly comparable to that of the Japanese 600 4-cylinders. Personally, I think the 675 is absolutely gorgeous and would be my choice in that class.
As Vash has mentioned a liter-class twin wouldn't be out of the question. But aside from Ducati, I don't know what is left in that class anymore- it's a class that was popular several years ago but has died off. But if you're buying used, there are lots of good choices. Besides the RC-51 you mentioned, there was the Suzuki TL-1000R, TL-1000S, and SV-1000, Honda SuperHawk 996, Ducati 800SS and 1000SS. (all of these have since been discontinued) I feel a used SV-1000S would be the best choice out of this list.
"Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life son." - Vernon Wormer.- Dean, Faber College.