You''re (Mostly) Idiots!!
Yes, it's me, the commie-loving, tree-hugging, Gore-votin' possible homosexual who wants to tell all of you how to run your lives.
Today's topic is how amazed I am with the bad advice you are giving this poor guy, but also how interesting all of this is from a sociological perspective.
First, let's examine what this (I presume) guy is asking. He is a NOVICE "sportrider". He wants to know what the best post-'97 600 is.
What does that mean? He knows enough about "sportbiking" to know he wants a 600 built after 1997, but not enough to know which is best. Huh?
Obviously, this guy, (and I assume it's a guy- a woman would be prudent enough to not get a 600 superbike as her first ride) has been told by enough of his "friends" (who probably want him dead, for some reason- maybe they owe him money?)told him he needs a 600 for a first sportbike. Why does he need a 600? "You'll grow out of it." "You'll get bored." Whatever.
ANY bike properly ridden at it's limits will be enough to excite the average human being. EX250, EX500, KLR650, Savage, whatever. Who on this board thinks racing a 70 HP flattracker would be boring? That's 25 less HP than any post-'97 600 makes.
But if a novice tries to ride a 600 at it's limits, he will, sooner or (not much) later, be in a horrible accident. I've seen a lot of them in my 7 years of sportriding and racing. I've actually had 5 of them this year myself. On nothing bigger than an SV650.
"Ho, ho!" You say. "You stupid liberal fruitcake! You just proved my point! It's just as easy to get in a crash on a small bike as a big one!"
Well, true. And my crashing and hurting myself has reminded me what a serious, and I mean heart-attack serious a sport this is. It's not something to be taken lightly, because it can kill you in a blink of an eye. You hear me? Kill you.
So when you answer a question like this, the best reponse is not which kind of bike to buy. That's just like telling a suicidal person which kinds of sleeping pills mix best with bourbon. What you should say is that one does not become a sportbiker with the simple purchase of a motorcycle. First you have to learn how to ride- the basics. That's the MSF. Then you have to ride, ride, ride in everyday situations so the control, balance and feeling of riding becomes second nature. That's thousands of miles of commuting, touring, and going on long rides with your girlfriend. Then, you can think about taking a track day to learn about sportbiking.
Until that day, don't worry about "sportbikes." You don't need one. Get the bike that will fit the purposes of learning how to ride. Any bike will do here- Seca II, KLR, EX500, old BMW, whatever. It should be cheap, light, reliable, comfortable and fun. Big sportbikes don't usually fit those categories. There is no "best" bike in any category. It's all up to your preferences, but you won't know what those preferences are until you learn to ride. Get it?
In our culture, we are taught that you can "become" anything you want if you spend enough money on the right accoutrements. That's fine for stuff that isn't life threatening. Pretend to be a French Chef, physicist, Wizard or Beekeeper. But don't pretend to be a jet pilot, scuba diver, helicopter pilot or sportbiker. 'Cause your vanity will kill you.