Jump to content
faffi

The Best Motorcycle

Recommended Posts

For a track novice out to learn how to first ride using proper technique and later going fast, what would you recommend as the best tool, the most beneficial bike for a steep learning curve? (I'll just use Kawasakis here since they have a pretty wide range of sporty machines.) A Ninja 250? A Ninja 500? A Ninja 650? A Ninja 600? A Ninja 1000? Something else?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd say engine displacement is less relevant than choosing a bike with fully adjustable suspensions and stock up on books about motorcycle/tire dynamics.

 

Just my 2cents.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
For a track novice out to learn how to first ride using proper technique and later going fast, what would you recommend as the best tool, the most beneficial bike for a steep learning curve? (I'll just use Kawasakis here since they have a pretty wide range of sporty machines.) A Ninja 250? A Ninja 500? A Ninja 650? A Ninja 600? A Ninja 1000? Something else?

Erirk;

I would recommend the type of motor bike you're most comfortable with so the bike itself isn't a distraction. An in-line four's performance characteristics are different from a L twin which are altogether different from a V-four or a single for that matter and we haven't even touched upon 4 stroke v. 2 stroke here. Displacement just adds additional layers of complication to this equation. That's why it comes down to which type of bike will allow you to focus on learning how to corner a motorcycle and not how to corner a particular type.

 

You can have a blast on any of the bikes you listed so it comes down to what YOU will be most comfortable riding once you're out there. Once you start building your track experiences you can then decide how you want to maximize those skills as you advance.

 

One person'e opinion...

 

Rainman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It sounds like you've decided on a ninja. I'd say the ZX6R. If you're just a track enthusiast, or if you want to race, this one will work. When you improve, you'll be able to stick with this bike. Before our local track fast guy crashed, he won the last 2 years on a 600 racing against 1000's. If you end up racing, you'll be able to enter plenty of contests, where-as with the others you'll be limited.

The 250, 500, and 650 are all V-twins. The power, what there is, will kick in earlier, but will decrease as your RPM's get up. The 600's power kicks in at around 9,000 RPM's, and you'll feel a pull you won't on the twins. Huge difference. The twins can't accelerate with the ZX6. If you're going to do track with the bike, I'd recommend skipping the 250 and 500, unless that's what you're comfortable on. I ride my wife's 650, and it's fun, but you don't want anything less for the track, especially if you want speed later. You should also look into the SV 650 by Suzuki. Lots of people race these, and that means replacement and upgrade parts. I'm sure the 650 has them also, but the only person I know who races those (or even rides on the track with one) is someone who's sponsored by Kawasaki.

The 250, 500, and 650, as Rocket Punch said, don't have adjustable suspension, and I know the 650 has pegs on a solid mount on the frame. On the 600, if you start upgrading and want rearsets, the pegs are just mounted to the bike. The ZX6R is a solid bike. Of course if just a speed and power guy, get the 10.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't have a thing for any brand, I just used Kawasaki since they have several reasonably sporty bikes over a large range of sizes. I could have mentioned the Hyosong GT250R, the Suzuki GS500F, the Suzuki SV 650S, the Triumph Daytone 675 Daytona and the Honda CBR1000RR without it making much of a difference to the question.

 

I do have a reason for the question, though, that goes beyond my own preferences.

 

Although modern 600s have become amazingly easy to ride, there is no question that they have a lot of power and that they are quicker and faster than the 1100s from 25 years ago. In other words, things can happen in a hurry. Which is good if it's within your capacity, not so good if it scares you. And if you are scared, you survival reflexes are likely to take over and it becomes much harder to learn, I fear.

 

Over the years, I have observed many in a position where they should know that reckommended riders start out on lesser bikes with friendly handling and about 50 easily controlled horsepower. Why? Because the bike will not bite you if you open the throttle a bit extra or enter the real powerband, and a friendly chassis you should be able to focus on learning the track and begin noticing what goes on with the bike as you begin to push it.

 

These advicers will typically suggest you stay with a "gentle" bike - like the Ninja 500 etc. - until you positively know the bike is holding your back. When you run out of cornering clearance despite using the right technique, when you start sliding the tyres before exiting your comfort zone, when you lack acceleration out of the corners even with a stretch throttle cable and when the suspension cannot keep up with your pace anymore - only then is it (according to them) sensible to upgrade to something with sharper handling and more power.

 

Another benefit of riding something with less motor is that you lines and cornering attitude and speed becomes far more important than if you can just grab a handful of throttle in order to get in touch with the group in front.

 

Still, modern 600 race reps may have evolved to a point where the benefits of starting out with something lesser isn't required anymore. To limit power, one could for instance just stick it in 6th gear and with that significantly reduce the chance of getting more than one can handle etc.

 

I'd like to hear various opinions on this :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't have a thing for any brand, I just used Kawasaki since they have several reasonably sporty bikes over a large range of sizes. I could have mentioned the Hyosong GT250R, the Suzuki GS500F, the Suzuki SV 650S, the Triumph Daytone 675 Daytona and the Honda CBR1000RR without it making much of a difference to the question.

 

I do have a reason for the question, though, that goes beyond my own preferences.

 

Although modern 600s have become amazingly easy to ride, there is no question that they have a lot of power and that they are quicker and faster than the 1100s from 25 years ago. In other words, things can happen in a hurry. Which is good if it's within your capacity, not so good if it scares you. And if you are scared, you survival reflexes are likely to take over and it becomes much harder to learn, I fear.

 

Over the years, I have observed many in a position where they should know that reckommended riders start out on lesser bikes with friendly handling and about 50 easily controlled horsepower. Why? Because the bike will not bite you if you open the throttle a bit extra or enter the real powerband, and a friendly chassis you should be able to focus on learning the track and begin noticing what goes on with the bike as you begin to push it.

 

These advicers will typically suggest you stay with a "gentle" bike - like the Ninja 500 etc. - until you positively know the bike is holding your back. When you run out of cornering clearance despite using the right technique, when you start sliding the tyres before exiting your comfort zone, when you lack acceleration out of the corners even with a stretch throttle cable and when the suspension cannot keep up with your pace anymore - only then is it (according to them) sensible to upgrade to something with sharper handling and more power.

 

Another benefit of riding something with less motor is that you lines and cornering attitude and speed becomes far more important than if you can just grab a handful of throttle in order to get in touch with the group in front.

 

Still, modern 600 race reps may have evolved to a point where the benefits of starting out with something lesser isn't required anymore. To limit power, one could for instance just stick it in 6th gear and with that significantly reduce the chance of getting more than one can handle etc.

 

I'd like to hear various opinions on this :)

 

I see a lot of common sense in your post on this one, your right many riders (certainly starting out), don't use the potential of their bikes, often scare themselves, and get in above their heads. Those factors have no doubt accounted a lot for many crashes over the years.

 

What we mustn't overstate how much marketing, brand affinity and shiny objects of affection come into people's decision making process, ( I know it did mine, and still does today), and the flexibility that modern day bikes do afford the riders does mean they can be so much more flexible I guess.

 

Still can't justify having something like a litre bike on the road though they're just mental things! :lol: Don't stop people buying them though does it.

 

Bullet

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lots of great info above Eirik, just adding a point.

 

If the rider is comfortable (physically) on the motorcycle then a lot of the CSS tech will come easier.

 

Sounds so obvious that the above is easy to dismiss. Comfort is often overlooked, how many riders spend countless thousands to buy a great bike and aftermarket bits, yet never spend the few minutes it takes to adjust the brake or clutch levers to be comfortably reached, footpegs at the right height and even gear/rear brake levers easier to access. Would they benefit from being more comfortable on the motorcycle?

 

Would they benefit from having a suitably sized motorcycle that provides a correct fit for their body size?

 

If you place a tall or overly large person onto a 250 or even some 600s and they may not feel as comfortable as they would on a different 600 or 750 or whatever works. Vice versa with a light/thin/short build person. See the point on the comfort?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I see a lot of common sense in your post on this one

 

Bullet

 

Proof there is a first time for everything :lol:

 

Still can't justify having something like a litre bike on the road though they're just mental things! :lol: Don't stop people buying them though does it.

 

Bullet

 

I know many who prefer a litre bike on the road because they can be ridden in a more relaxed manner due to their massive torque and flexibility. But realistically speaking, nobody needs 200 hp on the road - it's all down to lust for excess :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lots of great info above Eirik, just adding a point.

 

If the rider is comfortable (physically) on the motorcycle then a lot of the CSS tech will come easier.

 

Sounds so obvious that the above is easy to dismiss. Comfort is often overlooked, how many riders spend countless thousands to buy a great bike and aftermarket bits, yet never spend the few minutes it takes to adjust the brake or clutch levers to be comfortably reached, footpegs at the right height and even gear/rear brake levers easier to access. Would they benefit from being more comfortable on the motorcycle?

 

Would they benefit from having a suitably sized motorcycle that provides a correct fit for their body size?

 

If you place a tall or overly large person onto a 250 or even some 600s and they may not feel as comfortable as they would on a different 600 or 750 or whatever works. Vice versa with a light/thin/short build person. See the point on the comfort?

 

 

You are right about that. In addition to taking the time to adjust everything to suit the owner, many also suffer dramatically because they want to buy into some sort of style, be it choppers with apehangers on tour or radical racers with stiff suspension used for commuting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I see a lot of common sense in your post on this one

 

Bullet

 

Proof there is a first time for everything :lol:

 

 

You know, I didnt want to say, but hell yeah baby! :lol:

 

You're definitely getting the hang of this superbikeschool forum malarky. What you do, is just agree with everything we say, and you're life and motorbiking experience is dramatically transformed into a riding god. ;)

 

 

Bullet

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you look at every racer in the world, the top guys in the world you will see that they have worked their way to the top through either mini bikes, dirt bikes, 50cc championships etc etc etc,

None have jumped onto a superbike or a moto gp bike from the beginning, It wouldn't be possible to find the limits of these bikes without their previous experience!

In the real world though as a track day rider, it wouldn't be cost effective to work your way through loads of different bikes slightly increasing your skill level with each faster bike you master, so you have to pick something that suits you!

I personally like my cbr600rr, can I ride it to its limits? No Way but over the years as I have improved the bike has taken it in its stride and seems to get better all the time, I think the same can be said for all the modern 600 sports bikes, they are very user friendly but really start to excel once they are pushed!

 

Bobby

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You are right, Bobby; Rossi honed his skills on minibikes and then scooters before moving up to 125cc. And as you mention, most have gone the same route. Two notable exceptions are Biaggi and Bayliss; Biaggi rode first time at the age of 18 if memory serves and Bayliss at least didn't start racing until well into his 20s. I guess if you are gifted enough, "rules" can be broken :)

 

I love small, simple bikes - most of the time. Beating a Honda Blackbird and a Yamaha FJ1200 with my 30 year old and abused Kawa twin over a twisty section was far more satisfying than doing the same road on my Sprint 900, despite the latter doing it faster, easier and better. Also, slow bikes are fun in that you can wring their necks without ending up in jail; an R1 goes faster in 1st gear than my 400 did in 6th.

 

But there are times when slow bikes are less fun. Like when you want to pass an 18-wheeler uphill facing a gale. Or just riding long days, always having to buzz the engine to keep a respectable cruising pace.

 

There are also times when small bikes are no fun. Like when you want to carry a passenger or you want some room to stretch.

 

Still, on our roads where the speed limit is mostly 50 mph or less, I'd love a Ninja 250 as a bike number two. It is probably roomier than most litre bike race reps and has ideal power for the sort of gnarly backroads I enjoy most. For touring, a dual purpose machine would be perfect in that it will still be fun on gravel roads and cope nicely with the frost heaves up in the mountains.

 

But for now I do not have room for more bikes since my son bought a Ducati Monster to share space with my Daybird, and my other son is soon to buy his first motorcycle (which will be limited to 125cc for the first two years). With 3 bikes inside the shed is close to bursting. Still, one day the kids will leave and I will have more room for more toys :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If you place a tall or overly large person onto a 250 or even some 600s and they may not feel as comfortable as they would on a different 600 or 750 or whatever works.

Remember that a large displacement doesn't equate to a physically large bike. My R1 comes to mind :-)

But heck, I happily rode my Polini DreamBike, which are around 16" long and the seat is 8" off the ground!

 

But the point stands: what is 'comfortable' to you is highly personal.

 

 

Kai

post-15296-1264709519_thumb.jpg

post-15296-1264709623_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't get the whole "riding it to its limits" thing. Who cares? Really. And what does that mean. How many people would actually be on anything bigger than a 150? I don't think there would even be an instructor in CSS who could ride a 150 around a track as fast as, say, Rossi. He would define "to the limit" to me. Get that out of your mind.

 

If you want comfort, the 650's would probably be your best option. I do, however, know that I melt into my wife's EX-650 when I'm cornering on it. One thing though, I've never been uncomfortable on a sportbike while riding track. I'm not really in one position long enough to get uncomfortable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What Jason Woods meant (I believe - he really should be allowed to answer for himself ;) ) is not touring comfort, but making sure that the bike you have fits as well as possible. Many people ride around with brake and clutch handles in obviously awkward positions. The same goes for handlebar position (though some are fixed) as well as brake pedal and gear shifter. Some bikes also allows for footpeg repostitioning. Finally, setting at least static sag within the ballpark and keeping damping as light as possible without causing pogoing will usually benefit most riders.

 

My own point about the limit isn't the limit determined by Rossi & Co, but the limit where I know that the bike I'm on is holding me back, that I am now in a position where I can use more power/handling/cornering clearance/tyre grip effectively to go noticably faster..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thats a great photo Kai :)

 

Yep, you've got my point in one Eirik, a bike that works well with you physically is not only an aid to better lock-in with ease and accuracy of control, but the rider wont have to remedy riding errors introduced when holding on too tight or muscling a bike that the rider feels isn't working for him or her.

 

Now that could be any capacity size, just finding one that works means you have to ride all the options out there to make the right choice... life is hard hey :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't get the whole "riding it to its limits" thing. Who cares? Really. And what does that mean. How many people would actually be on anything bigger than a 150? I don't think there would even be an instructor in CSS who could ride a 150 around a track as fast as, say, Rossi. He would define "to the limit" to me. Get that out of your mind.

 

If you want comfort, the 650's would probably be your best option. I do, however, know that I melt into my wife's EX-650 when I'm cornering on it. One thing though, I've never been uncomfortable on a sportbike while riding track. I'm not really in one position long enough to get uncomfortable.

 

Jason, your asking a question that probably deserves a thread of its own!

Reminds me of a story Andy Ibbott told me about him riding an R1 following Rossi riding a stock R6, I'm sure you get where this is going!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Reminds me of a story Andy Ibbott told me about him riding an R1 following Rossi riding a stock R6, I'm sure you get where this is going!

 

Yeah but that's coz Ibbot never rides and is getting on in his old age (safety first). If it had been someone else, we'd have had him......... :lol:

 

Bullet

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jason, your asking a question that probably deserves a thread of its own!

Reminds me of a story Andy Ibbott told me about him riding an R1 following Rossi riding a stock R6, I'm sure you get where this is going!

 

Rossi riding an R6 http://www.ebike-ridingtips.co.uk/video.php

 

You can get as many tips like these as you want, but without a good instructor to watch you and explain your improvements as well as your errors, it can only do so little. Which is why it is good there are schools like the Superbike School connected with this forum :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jason, your asking a question that probably deserves a thread of its own!

Reminds me of a story Andy Ibbott told me about him riding an R1 following Rossi riding a stock R6, I'm sure you get where this is going!

 

Rossi riding an R6 http://www.ebike-ridingtips.co.uk/video.php

 

Which is why it is good there are schools like the Superbike School connected with this forum :)

 

Not conencted, is run by the school and moderated by the coaching staff for students, (present, past or future) or people interested in learning from the work of Keith, the CSS school.

 

Bullet

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Although modern 600s have become amazingly easy to ride, there is no question that they have a lot of power and that they are quicker and faster than the 1100s from 25 years ago. In other words, things can happen in a hurry. Which is good if it's within your capacity, not so good if it scares you. And if you are scared, you survival reflexes are likely to take over and it becomes much harder to learn, I fear.

 

Over the years, I have observed many in a position where they should know that reckommended riders start out on lesser bikes with friendly handling and about 50 easily controlled horsepower. Why? Because the bike will not bite you if you open the throttle a bit extra or enter the real powerband, and a friendly chassis you should be able to focus on learning the track and begin noticing what goes on with the bike as you begin to push it.

 

My '08 GSXR600 has a mode select on it (forgot exactly what they called it). It allows you to choose between three different power settings basically. A is 100%, B calms down the throttle response but you still get 100% on top end, and C reduces the power all together. I'm not sure by how much but it is signifigantly less power on C. I'm sure its still more then 50hp but this lets you bump up the power while your still riding if you feel you could use more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just bringing this topic up to life again. This is primarily directed towards the instructors, but feel free to voice your opinion whoever you are smile.gif

 

The most advanced and powerful bike available to the buying public today is the BMW S1000RR. If you consider those who participate on your school days, do you think they on average would be able to go faster around the track on this rocket (set to race mode) than let's say a Suzuki SV650? Or would the massive power overwhelm them?

 

And to take it a bit further - what about the average rider in the general population, including scooter and cruiser riders, how do you think they would fare? Would the friendliness of the SV outweigh the power of the BMW or not?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Digging back to this threads beginnings. It hit a note for me as when I was just getting ready to buy a new bike this spring, I was strongly thinking I would go with the Kawi 650r thinking the ZX-6R was just too much machine for the street. It would be my first bike in a really long time.

 

OMG, I am so glad I didn't buy the 650r! I'm quite certain I would have been bored silly with the bike in a couple of weeks.

 

Granted there are many people who are not very experienced riders, or who really do want the sport look but is more of a touring rider, it might be great for them.

 

So much has to do with the person and their maturity. Giving a new and young rider an inline four rocket as a first bike I think is nuts until they've proven they can handle it respectfully.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally, and my needs are a bit out of the ordinary, the tings that are important to me are the shift assist, anti-lock brakes and traction control. I have no problems with a big bike, but do have strength and endurance issues and fatigue quickly. Knowing this makes the electronic assistance much more important to me than engine displacement. I don't want to have to worry about the bike, and will take all the help I can get.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...