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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm in the market for a sport bike with fairings and most likely will just get a Ninja 300. That said, how is the FZ different than a 600 cc supersport like those put out by Kawisaki, Honda, or Yamaha?

The top speeds of the 600 cc bikes are higher, they have a little more hp, the ergonomics are obviously different, but is the FZ-09 really safer?

I saw a Ninja ZX-6R today that I would love to have, but I know that would be bad move. But, how close is our bike to something like this?

Thanks, guys :)
 

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I have a probing question...why are you looking for a sportbike with fairings?...what is the appeal for you? Is it aesthetics or something else?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I've always been a cruiser person and now with the FZ-09, I have been converted to the dark side. I don't need a race replica bike for the street but I like how they look. A Ninja 300 would be the equivalent of me pretending I'm on an R6. I like how the sport bikes handle compared to the cruisers as well as the weight difference.

Since I've started looking, the specs on the 600 cc class look close to the FZ except for top speed. I'm wondering how close the FZ is to one of these things (and exactly how nuts I am as a result)!

Hope you are doing as well as you can be, Luke!
 

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I wouldn't say one is any safer than the other. The big difference in supersports and naked bikes are the riding position. At my age I prefer an upright seating position. To others, they prefer down out of the wind. It depends what you want to do with it. Short rides, long commutes, track days?

I always considered the R1 to be one bad ass ride. As far as practicality for me; zero.
 

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I never owned a real supersport, although my old bike used to be yamaha's race bike back in the 90's

If its just the look you ae going for, I def. recommend going with the 300. A 600cc SS bike can be a bit tricky...you will probably find it alot harder to ride. Its made for the track...high speeds, extreme lean angles, and aggressive riding. They are much more unstable for low speed parking lot type maneuvers...the FZ is far superior in that dept. IMO. You'll also find yourself shifting alot more...and the bike will seem slow to you (like passing cars, etc will not be as effortless) because they have so much less torque at low RPM's. I doubt that you will really be winding up the motor alot, I have the feeling that's not your style. They are great bikes, dont get me wrong...but they require a certain type of rider to appreciate...sort of a balls-to-the-wall mentality.

There are lots of faired bikes that aren't supersports that are more ridable for normal use, like the FZ6 for instance...or the 300 like you mentioned. You should try to get a test ride I think.

And thanks, Im doing well
 

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I traded my CBR500R for my FZ-09. The CBR felt like it was comatose compared to the FZ. It's 48-49 Hp felt like 18Hp because the low end torque is non-existent IMO. If I had been able able to test ride the Honda I would have saved some real money.
 

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The more aggressive the bike the more you have to exercise racing derived riding techniques in your day to day riding. They are difficult to maneuver at low speeds and have absolutely no power at low rpm. They don't like to run below 8000 rpm ever. Very difficult to ride at low speeds. The sacrifice a lot in terms of day to day livability for performance you can only only use on the race track. Trust me 300 is way better for you.

My last bike was a ZX6R. Amazing on the track. Awful off of it.
 

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I never owned a real supersport, although my old bike used to be yamaha's race bike back in the 90's

If its just the look you ae going for, I def. recommend going with the 300. A 600cc SS bike can be a bit tricky...you will probably find it alot harder to ride. Its made for the track...high speeds, extreme lean angles, and aggressive riding. They are much more unstable for low speed parking lot type maneuvers...the FZ is far superior in that dept. IMO. You'll also find yourself shifting alot more...and the bike will seem slow to you (like passing cars, etc will not be as effortless) because they have so much less torque at low RPM's. I doubt that you will really be winding up the motor alot, I have the feeling that's not your style. They are great bikes, dont get me wrong...but they require a certain type of rider to appreciate...sort of a balls-to-the-wall mentality.

There are lots of faired bikes that aren't supersports that are more ridable for normal use, like the FZ6 for instance...or the 300 like you mentioned. You should try to get a test ride I think.

And thanks, Im doing well
I rode my FZ6 today and can second this. The fz6 has NO torque at low rpm and doesn't really hit the power until 8k+ rpm. I rarely wind it out. That's why I feel the fz9 is much more fun to ride.
 

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I disagree with you weaponzero. Absolutely no power at low rpm isn't quite true, and race derived riding techniques? Good technique is good technique, tarmac is tarmac, race track or road doesn't matter. if you have good technique, low speed maneuvering is easy.
Maybe this is street derived, rather than race derived?

And jen, try a 954 fireblade, 2002 model, i think. Yes it's bigger. Ooooh, scary. But it is pretty small, low to the ground, ridiculously smooth (the last of the blades before they became the 1000rr, so it is incredibly refined). If you haven't crashed and died on the 09 yet, you should give yourself some credit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I disagree with you weaponzero. Absolutely no power at low rpm isn't quite true, and race derived riding techniques? Good technique is good technique, tarmac is tarmac, race track or road doesn't matter. if you have good technique, low speed maneuvering is easy.
Maybe this is street derived, rather than race derived?

And jen, try a 954 fireblade, 2002 model, i think. Yes it's bigger. Ooooh, scary. But it is pretty small, low to the ground, ridiculously smooth (the last of the blades before they became the 1000rr, so it is incredibly refined). If you haven't crashed and died on the 09 yet, you should give yourself some credit.
Why would I have crashed and died on the FZ?!? I feel so much safer compared to my Harley, like I won't die unless some freak thing happened that wasn't rider error.

I've read Twist of the Wrist II again. That stuff only applies to super sports, or to us too?

I have you guys telling me the riding style is different for the FZ, now I feel like I'm being told the style is different only for the super sports. Man, this is getting confusing.

Yeah, so far so good. I love the bike.
 

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Bikes are bikes. The principal is the same no matter what style of bike you are riding, but different styles of bikes are better or worse at certain aspects of riding - there is no such thing as a perfect bike.
I am an ex chef, so imagine this. Paring knife, chef knife, bread knife, carving knife, meat cleaver. A different knife for different jobs, but you still hold them the same way, and they are all still knives. If you have good knife skills, know one ever says "oh no, that knife is too much for you to handle".
The more you learn, the more you will see and appreciate the similarities and differences and small nuances. For now, don't over complicate it.
What i meant before was, if you have ridden cruisers, and now the fz 09 without crashing and burning, I think you'll be fine.
Go test ride a few and see for yourself.
 

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Am I the only person who is going to tell you to search for the answer like anyone normally would? ALOT of people have done comparisons... Just look...

Now because I sounded like a dick I'll give my input...

I have rode on 09&05 R6, Gixxer 600, and an R1. Differences?

The powerband. Most 600s won't get you going like the fz until the higher-mid rpms. Liter bikes do better lower-mid.

Seating position is a big difference.

You get a little better wind protection but its nothing to write home about.

Top speeds yea different.

The suspension is most likely stiffer (and I guess better). I put over 15k miles on my 09 R6 (would have liked to put more but that didn't end well), and that's all I could say about it. If you were an avid track rider I'm sure you would be able to tell its not the best suspension. I am a fat 230lb 5'10 man and it feels fine for me. I'm pretty spirited with the bike as well... I love my turns.
 

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As many have already said, the biggest differences in a supersport like the ZX-6R vs. the FZ-09 is the riding position and the powerband. My sister (who is about 5'3" and in good physical shape) loves her ZX-6R. She started with a ninja 250 and moved up to the ZX-6R after she was comfortable with the 250. She lets me borrow her ZX-6R whenever I want and while it's a fun bike for a quick 15 minute ride, there is no way I would trade my FZ-09 for one. I hate the laying on the tank riding position and it kills my wrists in pretty short order. The ZX-6R revs to about 16,500 RPMs and feels pretty docile below about 10k RPMs or so. While it's fun revving an engine that high, it isn't very useful for normal street riding. The FZ-09 has instant street-pounding torque at almost any rpm in any gear, which is a lot more fun and useful for the street. The FZ-09 is also WAY more comfortable than the ZX-6R, the only thing that would keep me from riding my Fizzer all day is that the stock seat makes my arse hurt after an hour or so. All of that being said, the ZX-6R is a great supersport bike, but I would recommend test-riding a supersport if at all possible before making the plunge.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
They don't let you test drive sport bikes around here. If anyone is familiar with a bike place in PA, NJ, or MD that does let you test sport bikes, let me know.

Another thing, and this is really one of the first times in my life I have felt this way, is being female. I went into one place and they straight out said, "we don't let women test drive the bikes." Another place told me when I was there that there are no test rides, even on used bikes. I rode in with a group of people and was in full gear. I overheard the sales guy tell someone over the phone to come in and that they have test rides. I called the guy on it and he just told me no test rides (Cyclemax in Honeybrook, PA and Wegners was the "no women.")
 

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First of all let's talk about the differences in the 3 types of "sport" bikes (faired):

1. Street/Sport - These are bikes such as the Ninja 300, Ninja 650R, Ninja 1000, Honda VFR800, SV650S, and Honda CBR650. Although these bikes are very sporty and still performance oriented (a good rider can keep up with a pure racebike in the twisties with them), they aren't race-focused bikes. In actuality, they are merely standards (like the FZ-07 and FZ-09) that have bodywork thrown on to give them substantial wind protection and a sportier appearance. They don't actually RIDE in a way that makes them in any way fundamentally different from your FZ (minor differences, such as weight and power, but not really a different class of bike in this regard), so we won't mention them anymore in this post.

2. Supersport - Generally used to describe 600cc bikes specifically (assuming 4 cylinder). The term originates from the name of the racing class that, for a long time, only allowed 600cc 4 cylinder sportbikes.

3. Superbike - Generally used to describe 1000cc bikes specifically (assuming 4 cylinder). The term originates from the name of the racing class that permits 1000cc 4 cylinder sportbikes.

The only thing supersports (600cc) and superbikes (1000cc) have in common aside from the ergonomics and look is the fact that (assuming 4 cylinder engines) they experience a sudden "surge" in power when the RPMs are at about halfway to redline.

With 600s specifically (and the R6 is the absolute WORST in this regard, while Kawasaki's ZX-6R is the best), below that point, they make such relatively low power that it can make maneuvering the bike at lower speeds very difficult. They seem like they struggle to make enough power to even get out of their own way, and they have a tendency to run wider in turns than you might expect. Above this point, they turn into a landbound missile.

Due to the traits of the engine and being tucked behind a fairing, you don't really FEEL any sense of speed. The only time you really experience a tactile sense of speed is during the transition point when you experience that surge. Above or below it, you feel like you're going slow, no matter how fast you're actually going. My FZ-09 FEELS faster at 60mph than my ZX-6R did at 120. When cornering, it's important to make a commitment to keeping the RPMs above or below that point--never crossing that "surge" point (entering the powerband)--because the sudden loss in power you experience when you go below that point is similar to having chopped the throttle, and the sudden surge in power from going above it mid-corner can get you in trouble if you're not expecting it. With 600s specifically, keeping it below that "surge" point isn't really an option, because the power they make BELOW the powerband is comparable to a 250, only on a much heavier, taller, and more top-heavy bike, with ergonomics that make low speed maneuvering so much more difficult.

Now, with 1000s (superbikes) it's totally different. They have enough power available at low RPM (below the "surge" point) to effectively ride using that. Their power delivery at low RPM is similar to an FZ-09 in "STD" mode I guess (as far as your frame of reference). When you hit the surge point, it's the closest you'll ever come to entering hyperspace (if you've seen Star Wars, you'll know what I mean). They have enough power available at low RPM to do power wheelies in first through third gears, just like the FZ-09 in STD mode. They're normally about 20 or so lbs heavier than 600s, and although it doesn't seem like much, you can feel that added weight when cornering. They're not as nimble.

The ergonomics of pure supersports/superbikes places you more on top of the bike, laying over the gas tank. This combined with the very narrow bars means the bike itself becomes more top heavy, and depends on the centrifugal force generated by moving at speed to negotiate turns effectively. Low speed maneuvering, of course, suffers. On 600s specifically, negotiating the figure-8 turn can require dragging the rear brake and revving the bike much higher than you might think. On 1000s, it's not as bad due to the low-end.

If all you want is the "look" of a fully faired bike then you would do best to stay away from pure supersports and superbikes and stick to bikes that fall into the Street/Sport category I mentioned above. Actual race-focused bikes DO require a more technical approach to riding. Not just on the track, or even when riding aggressively, but in day to day riding even at a more relaxed pace (this is more due to the ergonomics than anything else).

In regards to the more technical aspects of "how to ride" mentioned in Keith Code's books (Twist of the Wrist II), they do apply to all bikes, but the more "relaxed" the ergonomics of the bike and the more "relaxed" the steering geometry is, the more it becomes optional rather than mandatory. On bikes with more aggressive steering geometry and ergonomics, it does become more important to practice these techniques at lower speeds and incorporate them into your day to day riding.
 

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They don't let you test drive sport bikes around here. If anyone is familiar with a bike place in PA, NJ, or MD that does let you test sport bikes, let me know.

Another thing, and this is really one of the first times in my life I have felt this way, is being female. I went into one place and they straight out said, "we don't let women test drive the bikes." Another place told me when I was there that there are no test rides, even on used bikes. I rode in with a group of people and was in full gear. I overheard the sales guy tell someone over the phone to come in and that they have test rides. I called the guy on it and he just told me no test rides (Cyclemax in Honeybrook, PA and Wegners was the "no women.")
The only way to test ride a motorcycle as far as I know is to attend a "ride event" where manufacturers bring a truckload of new demo bikes to a dealer in your area and let you take them on a 20-30 minute long organized group ride. I got to test ride an EBR this way =D

Regarding the "no women" thing, WTF. I don't know what to say.
 

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A lot of dealers don't allow test rides at all. Some have a few models they'll test, but not all of the available ones. Sometimes the factory will have a demo day, where they truck in bikes and allow the public to ride. Look on craigslist, you may be able to talk a private seller into a test ride. especially if you have a cash deposit.
 

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Jen, you are going to get a myriad of responses here, you also have to decide who you want to listen to, who do you trust, etc.

I don't think you would 'kill yourself' on a supersport, you clearly have alot of self control on the FZ. But admittedly, you ride it pretty docile...I dunno if its still the case, but for a long time you hadn't even taken it over 70mph. This isn't a bad thing, but it is revealing as to the type of rider you are...the type of rider that is more at home on a naked or sport/street bike then a 600SS. Like I said before, I really think that you plain wouldn't enjoy riding a race bike...the ergo's are so extreme, that when riding slow, they are just plain uncomfortable. The one advantage I will admit is wind protection...it depends on the bike, but the fairings do a nice job deflecting the wind. My only other comment is, if you got a 300 or a 600 street bike, I do expect you would find it boring when compared to the FZ, and would end up not riding it that much. Buy whatever you want, of course, but I think it may almost be a wasted purchase...the bike you currently have is the best yo can get!

Sucks about the sexism you experienced
 
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