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Discussion Starter #1
I'm a new rider. I've only ridden a bike like once or twice. I'm not going to bullsh!t with "I know how to ride". I'm going to take the MSF and I'm going to learn from manuals and I'm not going to get on the freeway for a while. I have plans of being a VERY safe rider and I want to ride for fun.

My question is the choice of bike. Luckily I'm going to be a factor that backs up that when young people (I'm 19) look up research and find out information, they actually do tame the beast. I had plans of starting out on a CBR900RR. After doing research I know better and I have decided to start out on a lower performing bike. My question is this... Is it possible to be a beginner on a ZX6R? Because I came across an unbelievable deal for a 6R and I want to know if it's possible to be safe on one.

If not, reasons would be appreciated, maybe 0-60 times, 1/4 mile times, and horsepower ratings and I'll just go with the 500, it's just that i really want a bike that will last me a while.
 

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DifferentOne said:
I'm not going to get on the freeway for a while.
I'm sure your freeways out in CA are a bit more congested than they are 'round here, but one mistake I see a lot of folks make is thinking they'll be safer 'round town than they are on the freeway/highway. Being new, I guess they're intimidated by highway speeds, feeling safer puttin' 'round town, but you're probably much safer out on the highway (fewer cages/sidestreets, etc). Learn at MSF, practice in a parking lot, etc, then move out on the highway. Around town is probably the most dangerous place to ride.

I had plans of starting out on a CBR900RR. After doing research I know better and I have decided to start out on a lower performing bike. My question is this... Is it possible to be a beginner on a ZX6R?
You'd definitely be better off starting on a bike smaller than a 900, but don't think the modern 600s are 'beginner bikes'! Most newbies think they're 'performing' by just twisting the throttle. As Nick Ienastch was so fond of saying, "Any Gomer can twist a throttle!"

I came across an unbelievable deal for a 6R and I want to know if it's possible to be safe on one.
It is, but it depends entirely on your level of maturity. There's no guarantee (always fight!), but you're probably gonna dump it a time or two at slow speed, so ya better factor in bodywork prices!

If not, reasons would be appreciated, maybe 0-60 times, 1/4 mile times, and horsepower ratings...
Fer a newbie, it's starting to sound like ya got your priorities a bit skewed. Don't worry 'bout performance differences between a 500/600 (unless it's just to determine it has enough power to get you out of trouble) as both of 'em can get you in trouble.
Just had a co-worker's brother lowside on his brand new 1400cc Suzuki Intruder. It was his first bike, he went through the MSF course, they took him down a crooked road (but were taking it easy since they knew he was a newbie), yet he still lowsided in a slow speed curve. They think he panicked and grabbed a handfull of brake while leaned over. The 1400cc's didn't get him, the curve (and inexperience) did!

BTW...go to amazon.com and pick up a couple of David Hough's books (ther were running 2 of 'em for a good price). His street strategies will really steepen your learning curve, and may well save your life by teaching you many of the hazards to watch out for on the street.

Hey, we want ya in the sport for a loooooong time! :D
 

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From my experience with the MSF class, and riding my friends 97 Suzuki GSX 600 for a few weeks, the brand new ZX6R is to much bike. it really is. do you really need a bike that can go sub 10's in the 1/4 @ 130+MPH? i dont lol

With that said, the ex500 is a good bike, but you would get bored in 6 months. I have decided to get the ZX-6 not the R model. it is heavier, more stable, and not geared as aggressivly as other high performence 600's.

gl
 

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DifferentOne,
A couple years ago I helped a friend decide on his first new bike. He was also looking at the Kaw 500 twin and 600 fours. The dealer was willing to have me test ride the bikes. I fully expected to pick one of the 600s; in fact I didn't see much point in wasting time on such a silly test. I have been riding ZX-11s and other liter bikes for years so the bigger 600s seamed like an obvious choice. What a surprise, after riding both Suzuki and Kawasaki 600s, the little EX 500 was the easy winner. All the 600s buzzed my hands and feet big time. The 500 seamed extremely long legged, and far smoother at highway speeds. Well, he wound up getting the EX-500 and putting a header, jet kit, and a few other goodies as well. After about one year he traded it on a 750 Suzuki. I asked him how he liked the bigger bike and he said that he wished he had kept that great little bike. It always came down to the much smoother engine in the 500. The only real problem was the wimpy sound of the 500 and the manlier image of the 600 fours.
 

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first off, corrado's are cool cars. i had a 92 vr6, red, winter package, no leather bbs's (which look nice clean, but never are, i wish i had the 93-4 speedlines). i loved the thing. now that my mechanic and i have become good friends, he talked me into a honda (well acura integra). i don't see him as much now, and i noticed he sold his mercedes... :)

anyway, to the topic. i'd like to break this up a bit.

first thing. at 19, do you own your car, or is it in a parent's name and insurance in anyway (i know a lot of young people get mad at that question, but hell, i did it until speeding tickets came). if the anser is yes, you need to find out if their insurance will write a bike on that policy or discount appropriately. otherwise, unless you pay cash and fix your own crash damage, a new 6r (or any 600 supersport) is likely a dead issue already. i know in 91 (19 at the time), no tickets, full coverage for a new gsx-r750, stand alone policy would have cost $3600/yr. the bike was like $6600 to purchase. the 600's weren't much cheaper, i think it was like $3300 for $5700 f2. and i live in a low-risk insurance area. just to put it into perspective, the insurance payments would have been A LOT more than the bike payment.

now buying a used bike takes a big chunk off of that insurance hit. also, buying a smaller displacement bike helps.

second thing. what do you want to do with it? if you pick a goal that you want a motorcycle to do, there's a bike out there that will do your top priority best. for example, when i bought my first sportbike, i had some street time on a standard. what i was looking for was a bike that would be able to do sportbike things (great handling, fast, good looking), but i wanted to do the things i learned to love with my standard, like sport touring, taking the bike to work and school, taking girls out, riding to places i've never been. at that time the 750's i loved so much were torture racks, so they didn't fit into what i wanted. i went for a cbr600f2. the zx6e probably would have done a better job, but the f2 had more poser value (i.e. it was faster). the ex500, katana's and few others bikes may have been better choices, but i did love my f2. and honestly, if work didn't get in the way of my sport touring schedule, i would probably still have it. or maybe i a futura, but anyway...

third thing. have you looked anywhere else besides kawasaki? they do have the BEST starter bikes that fit into the sportbike catagory. though, a street and trail bike is a million times better for learning (unless you're short). anyway, honda, suzuki, and yamaha have some good choices too. i've owned 4 streetbikes, one from each of the big-4 japanese makes. they are all good bikes. my kawi and yamaha were both older. and both have given my regular wear issues. the honda wasn't as dependable i thought it should be. not bad, just surprised. the suzuki is more dependable than people say it should be (but i did change the infamous shift shaft on it).

and last, a motorcycle's perform means very little to a new rider. most new riders can ride smaller, slower, more conservative motorcycles faster than they can the last, greatest, plastic fantastic.
 

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To a newbie from a newbie

Hi all,

Just want to comment that when I finally decided to get a bike, I have never rode previously. I didn't know the difference between the 500 or 600 except that the 600 was bulky with lower handlebars. My first ride was scarely as hell on my little ex500.

I also thought of the money as well. I could get a used ex500 for half as much as a good used 600.

Being 5'5" the 600 was what I called a "tippy toe" bike and the lower handlebars made it very aggressive looking and intimidating.

Anyways, I went with the 500 and found that I made a good first choice. When riding in packs on the Atlanta freeway, I get left behind often but who wants to run over 160mph anyways.

After about two months, I am bored with my ex500 and want something bigger and flashier. My suggestion is to learn to ride on a friends bike or take the class. Then go out and get a 600. A friend once said that it is better to have the power and not use it then to not have the power at all.

smiles,
rwp;)
 

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I'd like to make one key point that I don't think has been mentioned yet. If you buy a more appropriate beginner bike like an EX500 (only one example of MANY), you'll find it has more than enough performance for a while. If and when you decide to upgrade, you will probably get most or all of your money back when you sell it, even if it's been tipped over.

Good luck and factor in quality gear into what you can afford.
 

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Go for a used 600... CBR 600 F3's are good starter bikes if you are a controlled driver and can keep yourself in check... IF not, then go 500 b/c it's much harder to get in trouble on a twin when you ride in a pack with R6's and CBR900's... Trust me, I know.

I like my GS500, don't get me wrong, but I already want more power after less than 2 months. And I"m not that crazy of a rider... I just want the ability to accellerate on the highway w/o downshifting into 5th gear in order to get any pull....

I'm 5'9" and 140lbs but still sit comfortably, and mostly upright on my bike... But I won't misdirect you and tell you to go smaller just because it's more "reasonable". Feel free to PM me if you have any insurance questions or other bike questions. I'm 19 in PA, so I can help a little bit with that kind of thing even though I'm a relatively new rider.
 

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I have a thought. If you aren't going to hit the highway just because you don't need to it might be good for you to get a 250. Even cheaper to buy, insure, maintain, and repair. Not only that they are super light which makes for suprizingly good performance and great handling.

Another thing that hasn't been mentioned is that the power from a sub 600 bike will generally be friendlier than the I4s. They are natorious for bringing on all the power all at once which can get you where you don't want to be REAL fast.

I'm looking at a bike that's a "great deal" but it's got a huge motor. The good news is it's a Buell so it's basicly a touring motor and has lots of smooth torque and a wide (read easier to use) power band. I'd trust it's 1200 CCs as a beginner bike before I trusted one of the I4 600s because they both put out about the same power (some 600 are actually MORE powerful), just the H-D does it much smoother and easier to control.

If you get a lot of tickets or find yourself showing off in your car a lot I'd stay away from the more powerful bikes for sure. It all comes down to you (and what you can afford ;)).
 

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My wife started riding last year on a 250 Nighthawk and outgrew it in 4 months. She got an EX500R which she LOVES and never plans to sell. (I tried to talk her into an SV and a F650). She can ride the twisties with (almost) anybody. Last Sunday, she out ran a VMax coming up the west face of Monarch Pass (about 10 miles of high speed twists and turns). And that one-day ride from Denver to Crested Butte and back was 457 miles - she wasn't hurting at all when we got back. Ask how your wrists and butt would feel on a sportier bike.
The EX500 handles as well as my SVS and VFR, and is a lot of fun to ride. Everything just "works" the way it should, like, you can get on the gas in a turn without overpowering yourself. My wife has dropped her EX500 about 5 times. Just in the driveway, basically. There is a little scuff on each bar end and mirror, and a few scratches on the belly pan - hardly noticeable. I wouldn't hesitate to get a clean used EX500, ride the crap out of it for a few years, and then sell it for what I paid.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Well what I was wondering was, how exactly smaller is a 500 to a 600 or higher bike?

Because I think I'll be very happy with the performance of a 500R, but I don't want to be left wanting when I look at the bike. I heard the ZX6E is good for that taste because it has the power of a lower displacement bike but at the same time it has the bulkiness of a bigger bike.

Thanks a lot for the info guys, this is really helping me to decide.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Another thing I heard that was rather disturbing was, "Everyone lays down their first bike."

Is this true? There's no way of avoiding it, like maybe laying down a friend's bike or so? heheh... Coz I mean I don't really want to lay the bike down.

Oh and what's a good brand for a helmet? By which I say good, I don't mean affordable I mean something that will not leave my brains on the pavement, excuse my disturbing terminology.
 

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I'm pretty much in the same boat as you DifferentOne, inasmuch that I was kind of torn between the 500R (why does everyone keep calling it the EX500?) and the SV650S, a 600cc cycle. To me, it kinda just comes down to the money and the mentality of all of it. Everyone does say that you will crash/drop your first bike, so the logical thing to do would be to buy a used bike. However... I'm 20, been working all summer & thru college, and just now have enough money to buy my first, brand new, shiny thing that I can be proud of, and I'd rather not have to buy a used one. So that's why I'm getting a new 500R. They are the beginner bike of choice it appears too... I'd like to buy a ZX-6, but keep in mind that they are $2000 more... :-( And you are right that they look better... I'd just rather not have to wait the three extra months it'd take to save up for it. So...well...if money is a variable, I'd go for the 500R. Otherwise.... go for the gusto and get the ZX-6R

Disclaimer, please read: Keep in mind that I don't have a bike either, so all this is just opinion from another guy kinda in the same boat, so take it with a grain of salt.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I'm leaning towards a ZX6E right now. As others have put it, it's a 'smaller bike with the look of a bigger bike'. And I looked up that they perform pretty well so I'm pretty sure I'll be happy with it for a while.

I have my MSF course scheduled, and first chance I get I'm going to get my gear.

Any recommendations on a good helmet and good boots. (good = not inexpensive being a big factor, but being extra safe)
 

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Different One:

My first bike is a 01 ZX6R, in terms of looks I love the way it looks, handles, performs, and how comfortable it is (IMO it looks much better than the EX500 or the ZX6). The zx6r isn't a bad bike to start from, you just have to respect the bike (or any bike, remember even a 250 or 500 can kill). Also the members are right, the bike WILL go down eventually (in my case it was because I let my friend go around the block with it, NEVER NEVER lend your bike).
 

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My first "real" bike (after six months on a scooter" was/is a ZX6R. I'm 28, and have put more than a half-million kilometres (300,000 miles or so) on a half dozen cars before going to a bike. The number of times I've been on my ZX6R and thought "geez, I would be dead now if I had this thing at 16/18/19/21" is enough to suggest an EX500 as a great bike. I've also ripped around on a 250 while my '6R was getting tuned up, and 250s are FUN! (I'm 200lbs and 6'2").

All sportbikes are fast. ZX6Rs are, for beginners, no-words-go-here fast. I can't imagine starting on anything bigger - even now, I KNOW that if I'd started on a GSXR1000, I would be dead now. Or at least very sore (and broke)! :)
 

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I'm 5' 6" and 147 lbs and I started to ride a 96 500 that I absolutely love. I've had it since the middle of July and have been sharpening my riding skills on it. I'm not into any really radical riding because I want to keep the skin I'm in. When I do upgrade in a year or two, I plan on getting a ZX-6E because I think it'll be a more gradual step up and I know I can flat foot it which will help manage the weight. It's also a better looking bike than the EX 500. Never piloted a 6R but from what I've heard, it can be alot of bike if you let it get away from you. I'd suggest running the hell out of a 500 then you can more confidently pick your next mount.
 

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DiffOne, If your looking for boots and you want the most protection you might want to take a look at the Sidi Vertebra II's or the Sidi Vertebra Race: http://www.motonation.com/ Having been on crutches for several weeks due to an ankle injury I can't see cheaping myself out on foot gear. It was as inconvenient as it was painful.

Any Snell and Dot certified helemt is as good as any other Snell and Dot certified helmet as far as protection goes but I like the KBC Euro VR1 for style and price:

Evaluation

Prices

Manufacturers Info

I don't own either yet but I plan to. Also might want to take a look at the Gear forum here. I'm also a newbie.
 

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I'm no expert, but here's my opinion. I'm 18 and just bought my first bike in September. Just so happens that it's a new Honda f4i. Sure, you have to respect the bike, but I became incredibly comfortable on it in just a few weeks time. I contemplated buying a smaller bike, but I would be kicking myself in the butt right now if I'd have done that. It does depend on what you're going to use it for. I've put a little over 2000 miles on it, and couldn't imagine having anything smaller now. I don't really believe that everyone will drop their bike either, but who knows what might happen.:confused: Hopefully not though. If I were you, I'd buy the 600. But I'm not.........


By the way, I'd buy a Honda. I couldn't be happier with my f4i.
 
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