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Discussion Starter #1
I'm buying a new bike come spring. I have it narrowed down to two bikes. Suzuki SV650 and Kawasaki ZX-6 (not the r)... Who has these bikes? how would they compare in handling. I'm about 90% sure I want the SV650.... but this bike has to last me at least 10 years, so I want to get the best bike. 50% of my riding is city/highway, the rest being mountain twisties, 2-3 day road trips...

thanks for the opinions in advance
 

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I've been on both bikes. Get the SV650. The zx6 sucks hardcore. It feels really heavy, handles badly, and is in general a very uncomfortable mount. The SV650 on the other hand is a great bike. Very versatile and FUN!!! Go with the SV!
 

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If you've narrowed it down to those two, go with the SV. Especially if you want a bike that will make you happy for many years. I'm sure you've been to www.svrider.com and seen all the options available for these bikes, so you know that it's almost literally a "build to suit" bike. Very few bikes out there are so easy to modify for each rider's specific needs, be it sport-touring, weekend riding, or racing. These are definitely bikes that you can grow a long time with.

I have never ridden a ZX6, but from what I've read, they are good beginner bikes, and that's about it. Most people buy them to learn on, and then go on to buy a better bike once their confidence is up.

I have had my SV for over a year, and I coulnd't be happier with it. :cool: :D :)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
thanks much

well that settles it for me.... the kawa it is LOL, just kidding... I'm getting the SV, thanks for the help folks :)
 

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You may want to read the latest issue of Sport Rider magazine. They just tested a ZX6E.

Personally, I prefer the ZX6E for your intended use. Its got a gas gauge, centerstand, and more protective fairing, all of which count for a lot for daily use and 2-3 day trips. Plus, it will go faster than the SV650, S or standard. SV=64 hp. ZX6E=85 hp. The ZX6E don't weigh that much more. Wet weight as tested by SR was 490 lbs. Not sure how much SV weighs but it's a bit less than that. As far as handling, the ZX6E is just a Progressive Suspension kit away(F & R) from being a great bike. And the SV according to all the magazine tests I've read don't handle all that great when you push it. That bike too needs an aftermarket suspension too.

I'd get the ZX6E and invest $650 for the Progressive Suspension and you're all set. Yeah, you'll spend more. But it is more bike than the SV.
 

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Rogue_Biker said:
You may want to read the latest issue of Sport Rider magazine. They just tested a ZX6E. Personally, I prefer the ZX6E for your intended use. Its got a gas gauge, centerstand, and more protective fairing, all of which count for a lot for daily use and 2-3 day trips.
The SVs provides as good wind protection as any 600 sportbike available. Put a double bubble on, and you're good to go. My SV gets around 130 miles to the tank, and it does have an idiot blinky light if I get close.

Plus, it will go faster than the SV650, S or standard. SV=64 hp. ZX6E=85 hp. The ZX6E don't weigh that much more. Wet weight as tested by SR was 490 lbs. Not sure how much SV weighs but it's a bit less than that.
Stock SVs have a top speed of around 130 mph. True, the ZX6 has a higher top speed, but remember we're comparing an inline 4 to a V twin.


And the SV according to all the magazine tests I've read don't handle all that great when you push it.
I've been riding mine for over a year, on fun rides in the twisties as well as a 60 mile round trip commute to work, and have never had handling problems. The only complaint my husband had was that at 120, it gets headshakes a bit. Easy to solve with a steering dampener, something not uncommonly found on sportbikes.

I'd get the ZX6E and invest $650 for the Progressive Suspension and you're all set. Yeah, you'll spend more. But it is more bike than the SV.
The lack of adjustable suspension on an SV can be fixed for $1,000 or less, if the owner wants to. Had I not wanted to start doing track days, I probably wouldn't have changed mine.

Given the choice of buying an SV or buying "more bike" that still needs progressive suspension, I'd still take the SV and modify it to my tastes.

I'm not trying to be a smartass Rogue, just giving my opinions.
 

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elodello said:
.......I'm not trying to be a smartass Rogue, just giving my opinions.
I know you weren't. :)

Don't get me wrong. I like the SV a lot. I wouldn't mind having one as a 2nd bike. But for an only bike, I prefer the features of the ZX6E that the SV don't have. And if I were to get an SV, I would use it mainly as a canyon bike and I would immediately put the $1,000 suspension. Who knows. I may have one soon!
 

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Don't get me wrong cause I really love the SV but if your looking for a true all around bike the ZX will sport tour better, and sorry Elo, the weather protection will be much better double bubble or not. The SV will handle a lot lighter but the ZX is no pig either and without comparing them back to back you'll never complain about the ZX handleing slow. Both have shit suspension but if your over 150 pounds WITH your gear on the SV really sucks. The mods for both bikes are pretty much the same in cost and difficulty to upgrade the suspension if it were necessary. Also, unless you are pretty aggressive you'll never know either one is lacking. The center stand, power, full fairing, and good sport qualities of the ZX would make me lean in that direction.

You didn't tell us anything about the roads you'll ride or your experience or body type so all this is a shot in the dark. If you're very small or your roads are go-kart tight the SV is looking better (but will require many mods to provide the tour function of the zx). If your a little bigger or really want to do some 400 mile days back to back then the ZX would be my pick. Seriously though, I don't think my list would narrow down to these two bikes since they are so different (emotions aside, whatever get's you going is up to you). I'd love either one, don't get me wrong, I just wouldn't end up choosing BETWEEN these two bikes. Just funny, that's all.

Good riding
 

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Ronin369 said:
50% of my riding is city/highway, the rest being mountain twisties, 2-3 day road trips...
Think I'd probably lean towards the 6E if you're talking touring. I know of one person who put a Givi hard bag set on theirs and it looked good/worked well. For 3-day tours, the Givi stuff is a bit of overkill, but if you're talking 'bout keeping the bike for 10 years, it's nice to know you have that option. Somewhere down the road (if you have the bike for it), don't be surprised to find those 3-day tours get a lot longer!
One of my riding buddies used to have a 6E, and I spent many a ride (on my Concours) behind him just listening to his Yosh pipe. I thought that was one of the best sounding bikes I'd heard (wish he still had it so I could compare my 6R's V&H to it). He didn't have the Givi setup (used soft luggage), but sold the bike, then got a killer deal on a used VFR, which he installed the Givi bags on.
BTW, just curious why not the 6R? I thought a bit about the 6E, but since I already have a Concours, I went a little more towards the sporting end and opted for the 6R. At the time I bought my 6R, there wasn't that much difference in the price, and the 6R can be used for touring! Don't let the looks throw you: if you're thinking 'bout the 6E, I'd really do some digging/reading 'bout the 6R. Other than no centerstand, I don't know that there's that much difference in the two for 3-day trips. The 6R is going to be lighter/better handling/quicker for how much more?
I've got a tankbag & tailpack, but so far haven't used 'em. I'm good for about a 3-day tour on the 6R with only a $4.95 travel case from WalMart stuck under the seat (pray it doesn't rain)!
For an article comparing the 6R to the VFR, see:
Two Unlikely Bedfellows
Inline-four vs. V-four Sport Touring (2001 VFR 800 vs. 2001 ZX-6R)
http://motorcycle.com/mo/mccompare/...g/01vfr6r.motml
 

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6E with Givi bags
 

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Discussion Starter #13
new bike

well, I'm 5'8", 140lb. I spent all day Saturday at the Seattle motorcycle show. Sat on damn near every bike. The touring ability of the zx-6 is about the only reason I'm still thinking about that bike. But that's the thing, I don't want a fairing. You can mount a small windscreen on the headlight of the SV, it sticks up about 6-8 inches, blocks most of the wind. From reading the stats of both bikes, the zx-6 might have a higher top speed, but that doesn't concern me. The SV has much better acceleration. These two bike were the only one's in my price range that were comfortable to sit on. I'm not really interested in the traditional sport bike look, or the agressive seating of them. That why I nixed the ZX-6R. The ZX-6 and the SV650 have all the handling I'll probaby ever want. The $1200 I save buying the SV will pay for the suspension upgrades. The twisties I ride are fairly tight to medium. And since I'm on dialysis, I can't go on any road trip longer that 2-3 days without ALOT of hassle. I originally thought of the ZX-6 because of the ZX500 I have now. I have found I don't like the powerband on the ZX500, and I think the same can be said of theZX-6. Inline 4 vs. V-twin. And from the reviews in the Motorcycle Consumer News, the SV650 got much better marks in every department.

Thats why I asked if anyone had ridden these two bikes. I like the look, simplicity, and ease of maintainance of the SV650. If they handle pretty much the same, I'd rather have the SV650.
 

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That said I think you should feel VERY comfortable with the decision going to the SV. I have ridden it and it's a blast (haven't ridden the 6e but think it's a great bike for the money and intent). As for your comment that the SV accelerates better, where is that info from? I was surprised to here that.

PS, it's an EX 500 not a ZX 500. Small point but what the hell, let's get it right. They make us speak in alphabet soup with these things but I guess we might as well get it right when we can.

PPS, the power band of the EX500 is more likely to be like that of SV650 than that of the ZX6e. If you don't like it (ex500 power) I suggest getting a test ride on the SV and find if it's power is what you want it to be to live with it for 10 years. Better to ride and be sure if this decision has to last so long.

Cheers
 

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Discussion Starter #16
SV vs ZX

Well the only detailed specs I have on the SV is from the Motorcycle Consumer News, circa 1999. Quote:

"and as long as we're comparing, performance numbers showed the SV to be quicker than the Bandit 600, Monster 750 and the Katana 600, with acceleration in line with the Ducati 944cc ST2 and the Buell 1200cc M2 Cyclone- all this from a 650 twin."

unless they have cut the balls off this bike, it sounds more than fast enought for my needs. The describe the powerband as smooth up to 7000 rpm, where more power kicks in up to 9000, without much power after that. The bike red lines at 10500. My EX500 is dull and spotty untill about 8000 rpm then it takes off like a bat out of hell until about 9500 - 10000rpm, it red lines at 11,000. The numbers of the 1999 SV beat the numbers of the 2000 ZX-6, from the sources I looked at (Motorcycle Consumer News, Cycle World, Motorcyclist, my friend has every issue going back to 1995.). I have had a HARD time finding anything about either bike for the 2001's. I would apprreciate any help in the department of online source, the manufactures sites are next to usless.

Looking at the rake/trail numbers on both bikes, the SV looks like it would be a wee bit more flickable.

I would love to try both bikes, but short of that happening and me falling in love with the ZX-6, I'm about 99% sure I'm going to get the SV.
 

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There is a flat spot in the acceleration between 3500 and 4500 rpms, and once you hit about 110 mph, the bike takes a long time to hit top speed.

Stage 1 jet kit fixed the flat spot problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
flat spot

sounds like an easy enough fix...

and isn't the >stock< top speed only 121? And I'm not too sure I want to drive that fast, unless I take a few racing classes. But who knows.

Thanks again to everyone for replying, I was surprised at all the responses, AND the great info...
 

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Someone mentioned a comparo between the YZF6r and zx6e and I have seen it. It's a good read and has power charts etc on the 6e for you. I think it was sport rider but if it wasn't it had to be cycle world or motorcyclist. The sv will be very flickable for you, the zx would likely be slower steering due to weight more than geom. but the geo counts too. I ride a phat 1000 and my first ride on a friends gf's sv had me giddy with the utter flickability. A total blast. If you do get the sv change the fork oil to 15 wt immediately. Consider front springs too but I think you stated earlier that you arn't too heavy so this isn't necessary if you want to hold off. My friends gf got an ohlins shock cheep (er) through a connection on the sv rider forum mentioned earlier. Check it out if you can afford it. It's a smokin' little bike.
Have fun
 

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Have you considered the YZF600? I ride one and commute on it to and from work 95 miles no problem. I have ridden over 200 miles in a day and only had a little rear end soreness. Check out the latest Sport Rider for a comparo to the Kaw. The YZF has a fully adj. suspension, good wind protection, comfortable ergos, good brakes and suprisingly puts down more h.p than the R6 until 10k rpm. I have ridden both and the YZF is definately a better ride, IMHO.
 
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