500 vs 600
November 25, 2008 at 4:21 pm #2380
I’m not yet a new rider (wont be until spring 09)
I’m 6′ 1″ @ 195lbs so I need a bike that is high enough to be comfortable. I’ve sat on the Ninja 250 and 500 but find the slightly higher seat height that the 600cc bikes offer.
I’m running all the numbers to try to compare the different machines. I’ve read all the reviews and have gone back and forth on all the advice of why a newbie should not begin on a 600cc. Although I notice that 600cc’s are not all the same (power-wise).
The bikes I’m looking at for my first are the Suzuki GSX650F and the Yamaha FZ6R (coming out this year). I’ve considered the Ninja 500 but since it’s the last year of it’s production I really dont want to go there.
My question I guess is for those who have ridden 250’s and 500’s and are now riding the 600’s.
Although specs vary from review to review they are pretty close so I’ll use the numbers I have found to ask this question.
Ninja 500 – HP = 50.2 @ 9250 rpm
Torque (lb/ft) = 30.9 @ 7750
GSX650F – HP = 73.6 @ 10,070
Torque (lb/ft) = 42.2 @ 7730
FZ6R – HP = 76.44 @ 10,000
Torque (lb/ft) = 44.03 @ 8500
What is it about these machines that would require a new rider (me) to think about the 500 over the 600.
The advice is to not start with a 600cc bike, but my question is why? Is it the relation between Torque and HP?
I guess I’m wondering how much is too much? All these engines seem to have been tuned to have more torque in the low to mid range while leaving the top end dropping out (unlike the higher end 600cc’s) and are also tuned with a more linear powerband unlike the higher ends- The numbers above seem (pretty “close”) to me. So my real question is – what am I missing by thinking I could handle the Suzuki or Yamaha over the Kawi?November 25, 2008 at 4:37 pm #15015MunchParticipant
Very much the torque…..
In simple terms for a car….”Torque is what throws you back in the seat….horsepower is what keeps ya there”.
Almost all , myself included, when starting out get on the bikes with death grips. Turn that bike to the left and your either into an obstacle in a hurry or standing while the bike is off and running without ya. Then you slowly get away from that, you now have to milk the ego outta the newbie. Get him/her in traffic…..light changes…car honks…… not wanting to look noobish the average beginner will forget alot of what needs to be done and goose the throttle…. tire squeals front end comes up….. and alot of the afore mentioned scenario plays out.
Throttles are touchy and different from bike to bike. On the FZR with more horse power and torque out of that gate… you learning process very well could be a painful process…more so then the Ninja 500.
Two different perspectives to compare….. Horseback riding… which is safer to learn on… the 12 yr old mare thats been to several shows, physical therapy rides, and school show and tells…. or the 2 yr old mustang that hasn’t been snipped and full of Piss and vinegar. OR…if your not familiar with horses…. Would you train a first time shooter with a .22 bolt action…. or an M60?
I am not much on sport bikes but I am trying to learn … I also have found out that different models offer different performances like cars. that FZR is more towards the “Squidish” just shy of needing to be track only type sport bikes where as I am seeing the GSX600F as being more the Stylish but with abundant pep sport bike.
Yesterday is a memory, tomorrow is a prediction, but today…… is a Bi**hNovember 25, 2008 at 5:41 pm #15017
Well if we take the idea of torque and apply it to a car there is definately a big difference between a four cylinder and a six.
The six definately will power up much quicker, but even so I would not discount this attribute to not being the correct choice for a new driver. In fact the little extra power boost seems a bit more safer to me in many traffic situations. Just get goin’ and get out the way.
I understand that more torque is more power so to speak. The G-Force is greater. However I still am wondering how much is too much for a beginner.
Back to the relationship of a more powerful car, I’ve ridden in a Porche 911. Didnt drive it but went along for the thrill ride. After experiencing the G-Force I felt pulling me back in the seat I definately wouldnt recommend it to a person learning how to drive a car, however I’ve also ridden and driven a Camero and again the giddy-up is very powerful, but I would definately recommend it as a first vehicle.
So again I’m at a stand-still on my thinking, because I’m wondering where the line of too much is to be drawn. I understand a throttle is not quite like an accelerator pedal in a car because hand reflexes are not the same as the foot. I am SO close to having my first motorcycle and it’s rather stressful. I will be taking the MSF in April and I’m sure it will enlighten me a lot more, but after completion it is going to be SO difficult to actually lay my money down on a machine knowing that if I dont listen to experienced riders advice, I could be in for a huge let-down.November 25, 2008 at 6:45 pm #15018
Check out the recommended reading articles on the right. Specifically look at https://www.bestbeginnermotorcycles.com/why-600cc-motorcycle-not-good-beginner-bike-updated
It’s harder to learn the basics and figure out everything you need to be doing as a noob if your on a bigger more powerful bike. The smaller bike is more forgiving of your mistakes. The thinking that you can speed out of trouble on the road is a bad one IMO. You should be avoiding trouble or dealing with it defensively not trying to out speed it. Thats asking for trouble on 2 wheels.November 25, 2008 at 7:37 pm #15020MunchParticipant
Torque is torque no matter the vehicle. In a car your a tad safer in the fact that you have a back rest to keep your arse planted. Bike…..not so much…atleast ….not OE. Also you have 4 wheels to keep you relatively stable.
That extra umph to get you out of a situation…. almost any bike will do that anyway as the power to weight ratio is awesome for the get up and go for those moments you can’t control. For the most part however your best bet is to drive defensively.
Seeing how your in with th car idea… say you have a new driver in your family….. for a first car, learning to drive a manual. Would you put your child in the Mustang with just the 3.8 and simple sally package ….or would you go full on Saleen and wish them luck?. Using a 911 vs a Camaro honestly is a reflection of mentality. Both are powerful sportscars and can be built up one way or another to out perform each other. As a starting car I absolutely would not recommend either. A V6 or V8 and/or a hyped up VW motor with performance trannies are gona get alot of kids in a lot of bad places. Especially with trying to remember all the new found skills they have to make second nature.
Motorcycles are the same in that respect. If your looking for an umbrella coverage of “how much is to much” it will, as it always will, vary on rider; mentality, physicality and maturity.
Never been on a bike …. 250 great start…. some experience but none on the road…. first bike… .90% 500 or less…. more experienced you make your own judgement based on your skill and atmosphere.
Now this is mainly addressing it from a Sport bike side…as cruisers have a different power relation. Though a 500 is still high enough to get one into trouble.
Yesterday is a memory, tomorrow is a prediction, but today…… is a Bi**hNovember 25, 2008 at 7:41 pm #15021eonParticipant
I’ve never really bought into this “powering out of trouble” argument. Once you start accelerating and the other guy does too, whatever trouble you were trying to avoid is suddenly a lot closer and happening at greater speeds. Do that a few times (and I have) and you start to wonder if braking might be the safer option. Regardless, just about every bike is faster than just about any car on the road so using as a justification to buy a more powerful machine does not really hold up for me.
Can’t really help you on the HP/torque thing, but I don’t think it is a simple safe/not safe argument. The more power you have the less room for error you have.
You have probably heard this before but it really is true, your first bike will not be your last (assuming you don’t scare yourself to death!). Why not plan on getting a smaller used bike, even if it’s only for a few months? Take this pressure off yourself, plan on riding a used Ninja 250 for the first 3 months and then get yourself the 600cc knowing you will be able to handle it. You might even turn a profit on the Ninja.November 25, 2008 at 7:56 pm #15023briderdtParticipant
Now I’ve got a LOT of road BIcycling experience (racing and road riding in traffic), and drive a stick, so I’ve got the “heads up” attitude along with an eye for the things that people can and often will do. I know how to work a clutch’s friction zone. So for me it’s a matter of translating how the bike turns/leans (a big difference between a 350+ lb motorcycle and a 17 lb bicycle) and getting comfortable with that. Yes, the throttle is touchy, and in that regard I wish that I could have started out with something that doesn’t respond quite as… fast? But I also spent the first two weeks (at least) never even venturing out onto the public roads. Just tooling around in a parking lot that’s less than a block away (on pretty much private roads). I’ve only had 4 rides out on the road. I start my MSF course on Monday.
I don’t think that it’s so much the displacement of the bike, or even the hp. I think it’s the ability of the rider to work the friction zone, be able to close it down when things start going a little quickly, and the attitude. Having that bicycling experience helps a lot, but I’m not deluding myself into thinking that it’s any kind of suit of armor.November 25, 2008 at 9:48 pm #15030
My problem with the powering out of trouble theory is that if a cager wants to overtake you then thats whats going to happen. You can’t stop them. You can’t block them either. If the guy/gal wants past you then they will find a way.November 26, 2008 at 8:43 am #15039
This is really quite interesting hearing all this feedback. This is the first cycle forum I’ve signed on with.
The reason why I’ve looked at the FZ6R is because of the advertising to tell you the truth. The “beginner bike” claim.
It’s the same bike that Europe has (except they dont have full fairing and they call it Diversion), but there are specs available from their side of the ocean.
I’m really not trying to overpower myself with my first bike, but I’m not trying to underpower myself either. I’ve sat on the Ninja 250 – I really dont see how people that are 6′ tall claim it fits them well and is comfortable. It feels like a mini-bike to me (no offense to anyone who owns one, I’m merely talking about the comfort that a couple more inches of seat height offer).
But is everyone saying that my choices are unreasonable? These are not the superbikes of the 600 class I’m talking about. I dont think either one of them are going to win any races unless they are against they’re next of kin. And these both have the upright seating position, handlebars not clipons.
I just might look at the SV – not sure about the hunch over position though.
The thing is salespeople at any of the cycle shops around here dont know didly and there is no test riding. I dont understand how come people sometimes suggest test riding. There simply isnt that option around here. (not that they would trust me with one anyway at this point, but you see what I mean).November 26, 2008 at 9:03 am #15040
I did check out the why 600cc ‘s are not good for beginners article, but I found it to be kinda superficial. It just said dont do it rather explaining the why’s in any great detail.
Are you saying that the claims of “beginner” or “entry level” bikes by the manufacturers are false?
Isnt what Yamaha is doing by introducing the FZ6R giving new riders a choice of something that is more manageable? Or is that the 600cc class of motorcycle has gotten a bad rap because of all the high end super-bikes on the market? Or could it be that they are just playing a bunch of tom-foolery on unsuspecting first-time buyers like myself?November 26, 2008 at 9:15 am #15041
Explain the “friction zone”.November 26, 2008 at 1:52 pm #15044briderdtParticipant
That’s the region of clutch lever travel where the gears start to grab (“friction”). It’s not an “on/off” thing (unless you just let the clutch out fast), but a continuum from nothing to full gear engagement (the “zone” part of it. Working the clutch lever out slowly gives you a feel for how large that “zone” is. From the first video I saw (Ride Like a Pro), they talked about practicing opening your hand over a 5-count to get used to letting the lever out slowly.November 26, 2008 at 1:55 pm #15043dcJohnParticipant
There’s pretty strong consensus that the FZ6 is a great second bike, but not a very beginner friendly ride–not just a view here, but on the FZ6-specific forums as well. While Yamaha has played up the beginner angle on the new FZ6R in its marketing, it’s not at all clear why the bike will be any friendlier to first-time riders.
It is clear where they cut some corners on the R to lower price. And the detuned-for-torque engine will put power further down in RPMs, where more casual riders are looking for it. The FZ6’s inline-four was known to give a sudden umph higher up in the RPMs that might get inexperienced riders in trouble, and the retuning of the engine could result in a more consistent and predictable throttle. But it’s just conjecture on the ride dynamics of the FZ6R–last I checked, they haven’t shown up at dealers and won’t for another month or two.
If you’re seriously looking at the GSX650 and FZ6R, I’d put the Ninja 650 in the mix. Yes, more power than the 500, but if you’re looking at new versions of the bikes, the new 650 has a lot of promised nice refinements, while the 500 has really been left behind in terms of development. Personally, I’d go with a used 250 for a few months and then go up to the Ninja 650. With the Ninja 500 it seems like you’re getting the worst of both worlds: a bike with power that can get a beginner in trouble and at the same time shy enough on power and updates that you’ll still likely want to upgrade the bike soon.November 26, 2008 at 3:26 pm #15048
If your worried about comfort and your height you might want to look at a dual sport.. Best thing you can do is sit on as many bikes as possible to get a feel for comfort. We are just warning you that the bigger you go in bike the harder you are making the skill learning curve. It’s not impossible but it’s harder.November 26, 2008 at 7:16 pm #15050
I am not ignoring anyones input. That’s why I’m here and appreciate the warnings and advice. I merely fell in love with the artistic side of the Japanese designers at Yamaha. Some people may not appreciate it, but I really do think the new FZ6R is a piece of art. It’s nice to look at. I’m glad for all the input on the reality of riding it though.
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