Get the duck. Even if it winds up costing more to operate (although I belive insurance savings may make up for that) , it will be much more user friendly for a novice rider, not to mention a much more practical all a round motorcycle. VWW
I have fond memories of my Monster 600 Dark... Some of the most flat-out fun I've had on 2 wheels (on the street). Traded it only cause I needed room in the garage for a Confederate Hellcat. Also had a Honda CBR600 at the same time, great track bike, but my last choice as a street ride. Take a look at the Moto-Guzzi line, if you can find a dealer in your area. BMW also offers some great street rides. If all else fails, I recommend the following 5-step program. (1) Buy what you like. (2) Ride it. (3) Acce$$orize. (4) Trade in on new ride. (5) Repeat.
I really dig the Monster S2R dark, you can't beat the single sided swingarm. It's just a gorgeous, great sounding motorcycle. I've got the urge for an S4R but I'm waiting to see if they put the 999 engine in it.
FWIW the CBR600RR is a great bike, probably one of the more user friendly of the 600 super sports. I don't think it's direct competition for the 620 though. I would lean more towards the Honda 599, Speed 4, I personally like the Kawi Z750S (but I'm a Kawi man) I have a friend who just got a ZZR600. Great bike for the money and cheaper insurance to boot
Your first bike isn't going to be the only motorcycle you'll ever own. Many motorcyclists get a different bike every two or three years, for a variety of reasons. Why else would there be so many late model bikes listed for sale in the classifieds section of any newspaper? Pick up a used EX500, have a blast on it for a couple thousand miles and then sell it to another rookie rider. Then get that Monster or CBR you've wanted, assuming your tastes haven't changed.
And the best part about starting with a used EX500 or similar bike is that you'll have a chance to figure out what you really want your future bikes to do. After riding for a while you'll know better whether you care more about ultimate handling, ultimate power, ultimate torque, ultimate redline, ultimate comfort, ultimate posing, ultimate distance riding, or ultimate versatility. Or maybe you'll end up being normal and wanting some sort of compromise.
I guess that between the two you've narrowed it down to, the Monster is the standard, but I sure would hate to drop a Monster. They're too pretty. That's another reason to start off with a beater, preferably one that has already been beaten a little - that way it won't bother you as much the first time (and each subsequent time) you drop it.
If I were to get another 600, it would be the 600rr, hands down. But I am rounding 21 years old and have 6 years of riding under me. So, the poor ergo's and demanding power band of the CBR are two characteristics I don't mind (I prefer, actually).
When I started riding, though, I didn't tell myself, "I'm responsible, I'll be OK on the CBR." I told myself "I'm responsible, so I am going to start out on a 250 for the street."
I completely empathize with your lust toward the CBR; if I had income to support a second bike, that would be it. But I'd rather crash a CBR600F4 than a CBR600rr. Plus, while the F4 (or F3, or Yamaha YZF600R, etc.) is a very sporty bike (for 1-2 hr. weekend rides), it will more easily accommodate longer rides (i.e. the occasional commute to work) than the 600rr.
Don't be like Kellen Winslow and go out and buy the hottest 600 available, because you can't handle being on a "lesser" bike.
I think most riders on this forum would tell you they all have very fond memories of their first POS bike. The crappier the bike, generally, the fonder the memories.
Good luck with your search, and welcome to the wonderful world of motorcycling.
I know the questioner has made up his mind and just wants an "enabler". However, I am confused because the bikes are so dissimilar.
Why not a Monster S2R or M800? They are closer in price and power to the CBR600RR than the 620. They also offer more comfort.
I've had (well, I bought it for my wife...) a 2003 620 Dark for a year, and I think it's perfectfor the useage you described. But from the tone of your posting, it is clear you want the Honda.
The Honda is not such a great streetbike. It's very, very good on the racetrack, though. Around town and for two hour rides you will be happier on a Monster, at least you will be after you change the bar (a cheap aftermarket bar works fine, about $20) to counter the bizzare riding position.
It's common for begining riders to put styling in front of every other concern when they select a motorcycle. That's because the only thing they know about motorcycles is how they look. As motorcyclists gain experience, their rides tend to become less stylish and uglier, much like the rider himself, as the rider discovers the utility of different features besides sheer looks.
It's sound advice to buy a cheap bike like an EX500 or GS500 to ride your first season, but you'll probably disregard it and buy the sexier Ducati or Honda. At least buy used to avoid the depreciation if you choose to sell the bike in your first year!
This is a joke right? Don't get a CBR600RR for your first bike. It's got too much power and not enough comfort for you to learn on. My recomendation would be a DL650 VStrom, probably one of the most forgiving and comfortable bikes out there, or the Ducati, or an 883 Sportster even.
What you want is nice controlable and a broad powerband, not something with a high RPM hit that's going to put you in the weeds. It's not so much engine size, it's smooth power delivery. A 750 Nighthawk Honda would be a good choice as well for smooth power. Anything but a CBR
There are plenty of bikes out there that will satisfy your needs, and of the two you list, I would say the CBR600rr is NOT the best option, especially if you're thinking about the commute to work. It is not at all a comfortable bike. I love the way it looks, but the seat is waaay too hard and the clip-ons waaay too low. The Monster is a better choice, unless your commute takes you above speeds of 70 mph. The wind buffeting on the naked can get irksome, especially in colder weather. Like the MO staff noted, cost of ownership will be higher with the Ducati, but as far as I now the engine is friendly enough to be a first bike. Much moreso than the 600rr.
You make a very good point noting that these bikes "do something" for you, but do consider others such as ...
Yamaha YZF600R (great all around bike with comfy seat, ergos, and good wind protection)
Honda CBR600F4 or F4i (for that matter an F3 or F2 wouldn't be bad either).
Kawasaki ZZR600 (the old carbuerated ZX-6R, another great all 'rounder).
If none of those do it for you, I'd say go with the Monster.
I'm 33 and in the same situation - I've taken the course, read a ton of books, and read everything on this site (i'm in Iraq for a while) and want the R1200GS and R1 (yes both) but am going with a 500R to start with. Then I'll move up with time.
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