TMH, I am to understand this will be your FIRST m/c? I take if from your line "--ridden dirt bikes quite a lot, and have ridden my friend's Kawasaki Z750S---" as saying not really that familiar with street irons. Then PLEASE allow me to suggest that you get the above fancy bikes out of mind & start with a bike that is ideal for beginners. Do note I am not suggesting you buy a 125cc for dirt & ride it a season or that you buy a 250cc street irons.
Remember the sportbikes are basically street replicas of their road racers so you are looking at bikes with peaky engines, perfection in slipping the clutch is a must, the greatest of care in how the brakes are applied, to know there is a "on pipe" part in the bike where the power-plant simply seems to want to send the bike on like a rocket & often then a new rider will get into trouble as he was not prepared for it.
We have a saying being "not forgiving bikes in handeling or slow speeds" & that is a factor in sportbikes for after all they were designed for EXPERIENCED riders with the clip-ons that force a rider to lean forward, plus the help of the rear footrests being up higher & more to the rear, giving the rider better control in the bends at good paces yet not that easy to apply a foot to the pavement to correct the bike from falling at a next to nil pace. Oh yes in said incident the narrow clip-on bars are not that helpful in keeping the bike upright while wider one piece handlebars would have been the answer.
Oh you will hear of those that claim if you handle the bike properly it will be the best buy ever. Yet many of those are no longer riding as many of them went down with the bike to often & so costly to rebuild.
Remember if you accidently crash a sportbike at around 50 to 70mph, IF the frame is not damaged & same with the forks then the plastics & some other items like signal light, mirror, control lever & a few other things will come clost the 1/2 the price of the bike when new!!!!!
SO allow me to suggest the two 500cc vertical twins by both Suzuki & Kawsaki with regular riding positions, almost bullet proof power-plants that have a lovely mid-range power. These bikes can be riden without any sweat at slow speeds yet when the stop light goes green either bike will be faster off the stop then most cages & can scoot one up to 100mph.
Other good points are enitial costs are lower then sportbikes, insurance is lower & they offer better fuel milage while tyres are not as costly & do not wear off as quicikly as on a sportbike.
Last edited by Smitty; 04-11-2005 at 08:48 AM.