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'03 600s, Part II: On the Dirty Boulevard...

105119 Views 89 Replies 49 Participants Last post by  neepuck
Excellent report guys. This shows that the street is always the great equalizer. Bumps, blind corners, debris, cages all conspire to slow us down quite a bit compared to the racetrack.

The sound effects of the Ducati would probably send me in that direction but the R6 is a sweet-looking machine as well.
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I was gonna suggest that the Kawasaki needed a Corbin seat, but that was before I read today's article on the Corbin Motors bankruptcy!

Speaking as one who has not ridden any of the current versions of this class, it does sound like the R6 is the one to buy -- especially if cost matters -- argueably the best looking of the bunch, with the best suspension and best fuel injection, and it won't crush my nutz. And, for those for whom that matters, their race record ain't too shabby.

Although I gotta say that the Speed 4 appeals to me in some undefined way.
I hate to admit it but the Speed 4 appeals to me also. Kind of funky looking, but nothing really stand out as ugly, or out of proportion. Also I have always wanted a Triumph, but the old ones where always cursed by the prince of darkness (Lucas). I spent to much time helping my friends get get there old Triumphs running in the 70's. They have some interesting looking bike's now. Guess I might stop at the dealer to get a closer look.
Nice job on the report- both parts. I am partial to Kawisakis, so I have been glad to see their current success in the reviews and superstock racing, though not too pleased with supersport results. But it's good to see them make an all killer no filler racebike. Now I just wish they'd make a good sportbike for the real world, as they have in the past. How well does the ZZR600 thing sale anyway? It's totally outclassed by the YZF600R and CBR600f4i. What are the possibilities of rebadging last year's ZX-6R as a second tier sportbike? Anyone else agree, or even care for that matter?
Great review. It is seems like folks are picking bikes in this order (Sports Rider, Cycle World, etc. ..)

1. R6

2. CBR600

3. ZX-6R

4. GSXR-600

Which is consistent with your review. For me I would try the R6 and CBR out. The ZX-6R and GSXR are too track oriented for me. According to Sport Rider the CBR has the lower pegs than the track model and R6, which would make it my choice. Also like the looks better. I think Kawasaki made a bad choice to go to a so race oriented design and not keep the 02 ZX-6R. Honda was smart to keep the F4i.

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I have a 2001 Sprint ST and I love it. But it's a tough love thing. Unless you live very close to a dealer and don't mind doing all your business with him, buy something else. I go to any other bike shop, for tires, a chain, basic stuff and it's all, "Go find a Brit-bike shop. We don't work on those things." All the parts are unique. So it gets to be a real hassle, especially to your bank account. If you live near a reputable dealer with a good service department and aren't planning on moving any time soon, you really can't lose. They do have a great product line. Something for just about everyone, and there is that thing about being different that appeals to some.
Nicely reported, Gentlemen. Thank you.

I didn't think we'd see anything until after the tax deadline.

This was a pleasant surprise.
Definelty agree I have a 01 ZX-6R I love. Can't believe Kawasaki didn't keep it.
Yes, absolutely. I have a zx-6r and I love it for it's flexibility. However, I do love the look of the new 6r. Maybe they could build a version with different geometry, gear ratios and tuning; kind of like the differences between sv650 and sv650s.

I've heard they're concocting a z600. Maybe they'll release one with good wind protection.
The only problem would be cost- it's still $1000 more than the YZF, and in performance it's not close enough to the F4i to justify the same price.
I wish Kawasaki would bring over the 02 636 that they had in Europe. I think it would make an excellent streetbike, and can certainly replace the ZZR600.
A conclusion! I love it! Great job all around, MO staff. I would have really liked to hear what you had to say about the Honda in the company of these other bikes. But then again, there are a lot of things I would like.

Three cheers to the safe return of our troops, and our allies' troops, from Iraq.
Please tell me it ain't so...

The reviewer wrote of the Ducati: "Now that ours has had its break-in service, it revs on out to 11,000--a thing that might've moved it much closer to the front of the pack at our track day."

Are you telling us that you guys are adhering to the break-in instructions while testing? How are we supposed to tell which one would actually win if you don't ride 'em to the limit?
Re: Please tell me it ain't so...

Also it sounds like a rather pointless exercise if all the engines aren't broken in properly and aren't realising their full potential.
Re: Please tell me it ain't so...

It's programmed into the ECU for the first 600 miles or something like that, and Ducati could've easily turned down our request for a bike until it was broken in. They didn't. We love them for it. The extra thousand rpm is mostly overrev, really, but might've saved a tenth here and there on the track.
The old Triumph reliability rep is the first thing I hear about anytime someone wants to talk about my Triumph. The modern Triumph's are proving to be reliable machines. Yes, like any mfgr there are issues but these bikes are not the oil leaking, electirical gremlins, shody made bikes that caused the Brit bike industry to fail. As for dealers turning you away because it is a Brit bike, good for them if business is so good that they can turn a customer away for something as basic as tire and chain maintenance. Aftermarket parts have proven to be plentiful and easy to locate, factory parts are priced like any of the competition and the supply has improved in the last year. Factory parts delivery was an issue for some owners as reported in an owners survey. I have no issue with trusting my Triumph and have taken it on many a multi day trip 100's of miles from home.
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Great comparison! As a owner of a 02 R6 I'm glad to see the Yamaha win, but I don't think anyone could really go wrong with any of the new 600's. They are all great bikes. I read some of the U.K. bike mags and was kinda surprised of how they trashed the R6 for not being updated enough, but the R6 has done well in the U.S. mag reviews. Whats wrong with those crazy brits? Ride Safe!!
Great article as usual guys, thanks. Still looks like not a loser in the bunch to me. I could understand someone choosing to buy any of them. Too bad Honda chickened out. That Ducati looks like one easy to go rapidly in the rocks/dirt showing up in the middle of the corner world of canyonriding ride and sounds like music to my ears. I liked that sentence.
It's weird, every magazine picks a different bike.

Roadracing magazine picks the zx6r

Cycle news magazine picks the zx6r

sportrider mag picks the r6

Cycle world r6

All the British performance bike mags have picked the kawi zx6r, except one that picked the Honda RR.

What gives. Just goes to show that its not about which one is the best, it's about which one is the best for you! I picked the Kawi zx6r and absolutely love it. You can't pick a bad one though.....Good luck.

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Where will the Triumph Daytona 600 fit in ? Tested in MCN UK this week the mag claims suspension better than the R6.

I have only demoed the R6 and found it a brilliant bike, and like you , was particularly impressed by the compliant suspension, so was surprised to read the comment in the MCN report "Where an R6, for example, would be kicking and bucking and the rider backing off,the Daytona would feel serene-if it wasn't so

damn quick"

I really wonder at the differences testers claim to find. I've seen some claim the new Honda to have a poor midrange, others to claim it has more than all except the Kawasaki 636, ditto the R6.

Surely this must be capable of objective analysis?
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