February 07, 2005

Motorcycles: Idle Speculation II

Another Sunday, another few hours working on the RDs. There's an added pressure now, though: Jennys bike has given up the ghost (at least for now) and while she'll miss Honey, she wants back on the road pronto. With that in mind, I thought I'd get around to the new mid-sized bikes available this year for under $10,000 (MSRP):

Yamaha FZ6 - $8,999

Slightly more reaxed bike to Yamahas R6 race bike, it still almost pulls 100 horsepower. A small fairing and comfortable riding position makes this a great commuter.

Yamaha YZF600R - $9,999

Barely makes the price limit: for the extra $1,000 you get better brakes, better suspension, and a full upper and lower fairing. If that's your thing.

Ducati Monster 620 - $9,995

If the words "Naked Itallian" catch your interest, that may be all you need to know. Ducatis best selling bike, it's "street" in every sense of the word. Started the rebirth of cafe style.

Suzuki S40 Boulevard - $6,299

Low price for one of the most basic bikes going. A single cylinder (or "one-thumper") air cooled 652cc engine, low seat, low maintainance belt drive, and low power makes it a fair introduction to cruisers.

Suzuki GS500 - $6,099
Suzuki GS500F - $6,799

The F is the descendant of my wifes bike, and she loves it. Hardly a technological marvel, but at that price? The difference between them is the F has a full fairing, the other doesn't. Very smooth bikes, very easy to ride.

Suzuki GSX600 Katana - $9,099

One of the venerable old bikes that were so amazing when they came out, and are now looked upon as easy going, comfortable sport bikes. Good all-rounder; last updated seven years ago.

Honda VT600C Shadow VLX - $7,599

Some people say you can't have a cruiser without a V-twin engine: this qualifies, then. Wide handlebars for easy steering, and if you ever get nervous about changing gears, rest assured: this bike only has four, so one of them is going to be right!

Kawasaki Vulcan 500 LTD - $6,799

A retuned Ninja 500 engine, it delivers good power (46hp) for a small cruiser. Great price, but the styling is something I've never learned to like. Six speeds make it easy to keep in its power band, but a bit awkward in town.

Kawasaki EX500R Ninja - $6,899

Fantastic price for the bike you get. A sports bike in performance (60hp) and handling, and forgiving of inexperience - to a degree.

Kawasaki ZZ-R600 - $9,699

The older generation Ninja, it's been outdistanced by a lot of the new 600s as far as performance goes, but there's more than enough power (100hp) to get you in serious trouble. And if you carry a passenger, they'll love you for the far more comfortable seating this provides.

I think that's about it for mid sized cheapies. Big ones next week (and man, has the definition of "big" changed over the past few years).

Of these, I really respect the GS500. It's a very under-rated bike to my mind, and I'd be happy to own one. But who am I kidding? I'd buy the Ducati in a heartbeat.

Rubber side down!


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posted by Thursday at 9:21 pm


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