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Thread: 500 vs 600 cc sportbikes for beginners

  1. #1

    500 vs 600 cc sportbikes for beginners

    I have read many a thread on various motorcycling websites that say why a beginner should not start off on a 600cc sportbike. For the record, I do agree, and these various articles have all made perfect sense to me. What I don't get however, is that some of the same people say that a 500cc sportbike is fine for beginners. Being in the market for my first bike, what I'd like to know is what is the major difference for the extra 100cc that makes a 500 so much safer. I had originally ruled out a sportbike but I do like them, and feel it better to just keep my options as open as possible.

  2. #2
    If I were you, I would probably look at a ninjette (250cc Ninja) as a first ride. I think the hp (horsepower) should be taken as a comparison than just the cc of the engine.
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  3. #3
    Flirting With The Redline We've stopped counting... weaver's Avatar
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    The difference mostly comes from the the HP difference. Compare a Ninja 500 at 54 horses with its only slightly larger 600cc cousin at 95 horses. You also have an I-4 in the supersports instead of the parallel twins in the smaller sportbikes like the 250 or 500.

    Another reason that the 600s are not recommended has to do with the other equipment in addition to the engine. You get race-bred brakes, shocks, and steering. Add all of these together and you get a far more twitchy and responsive machine.
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  4. #4
    I actually haven't ruled out the ninja 250. I really like them. Was going to look at one back in November but it sold too fast and I missed the opportunity. They seem kind of hard to come by in my area. I was just looking into other bikes that I might get some more time out of due to financial issues.

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    RiderCoach 3000 Posts! Prof._HH's Avatar
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    There are quite a few more differences between the smaller "sport" bikes and the 600cc RRs. Namely, the smaller bikes aren't what I would call sport bikes. They may have the big fairings but they're really sheep in wolves clothing.

    In addition to what weaver mentioned, the seating positions on the small bikes are more upright (or standard). They usually have handle bars vs clip-ons so your hands are further apart.

    The smaller bikes are twin engines vs the inline 4 cylinders of the RRs. The twins have more low end torque but don't have exponential power growth in the higher RPMs like the I-4s do.

    Glad you found us mil-3. Don't let sales people, friends, etc say you'll outgrow the 500 in a year or any of that other crap. It's simply not true.

    Find an MSF, rider's edge or similar course then test sit on everything you can find.
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    Flirting With The Redline We've stopped counting... weaver's Avatar
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    Think of it this way, my Ninja 250 will outperform my Mustang; my brother's GS500F will outperform his old Corvette.
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    Flirting With The Redline 2000 Posts! Repeater's Avatar
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    2008 Kawasaki Ninja 250R - 23-27 RWHP, 376 lbs. wet, 1/4 mile in 15.6 seconds (actually slower than the '07 and earlier models by a small margin)
    2008 Kawasaki Ninja 500R - 48-51 RWHP, 437 lbs. wet, 1/4 mile in about 13 seconds flat
    2008 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R - 99-102 RWHP , 429 lbs. wet, 1/4 mile in about 10.8 seconds

    Most people have never traveled from 0 to 60 mph in under 3 seconds, which the 6R is quite capable of. This speaks pretty strongly as to why they're not recommended to folks that don't have the muscle memory or training to deal with the cycle's potential.

    That's not to count the brakes and chassis, which are tuned to work well with a rider that knows what to do with them, and how to operate them. An emergency stopping maneuver for a new rider on an EX250 is a far cry from the inevitable stoppie or locked up rear wheel on a new rider on the 6R...
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    Miles of smiles We've stopped counting... asp125's Avatar
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    CC's do not tell the whole story as others have posted. There are many +600cc bikes good for beginners: KLR 650, Bandit 600, Seca 600(?) Ducati Monster 620..

    Likewise some sub 500cc bikes are not beginner bikes per se: VFR 500, the older 2-stroke 500GP derived race bikes.

    At the end of the day engine configuration determines how much power is generated, so the guideline of 50hp is a better measure of newbie suitability.
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    Flirting With The Redline 6000 Posts! SKnight's Avatar
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    The difference is in power delivered and intended design. I'd say go ahead and get a 1300cc bike in a heartbeat......As long as I knew it only had 30-40 HP and 20-30 pounds of torque.

    The Ninja 500s are tuned and designed to produce a certain power in a certain range. I'd bet they could make plenty more power if you worked at it some.
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  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by mil-3 View Post
    I actually haven't ruled out the ninja 250. I really like them. Was going to look at one back in November but it sold too fast and I missed the opportunity. They seem kind of hard to come by in my area. I was just looking into other bikes that I might get some more time out of due to financial issues.
    Have you looked at "used" ninja 250s? I found a few(2006, 2007 - older models AND 2008 newer model) in my local market. I've seen that people seem to think they have outgrown the ninjettes and go for bigger in a few months. You might be lucky and get one at a gr8 price.

    2008 "used" is a bit pricier, but if you are just starting out, I recommend a 2006 or 2007:
    1. They are less expensive
    2. IF and it is a BIG if, you have to lay it down, it wouldnt cost you that much.
    "Adversity causes some men to break; others to break records." - William A. Ward

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