Suzuki V-Strom 650. Check out MO's recent middleweight comparo. You will not like the big CBR for 99% of what you want to do (see our open class shootout for info on the CBR1K. If you must have a literbike I highly recommend, after having ridden all of them, the Triumph 955i. You will smile for a long time.
You could check out the CBR1100XX. It's on the bigger side of the sportbike spectrum size-wise, easy to ride with smooth, predictable power, and used ones can be had for cheap. Oh yeah, it's really, really friggin' fast too!
One sad truth about pro motorcyle racers, is that in general, they are not large men. On one end you've got the Capriossi or Jimmy Felice size (120 lbs in helmet & wet leathers),
at the other end you've Reuben Xaus, maybe 5'11", and 160 lbs.
The problem is this: the manufacturers build all these repli-racers in dimensions, that fit pro-racers.
With this in mind, I would probably look first at the bikes that fit me best. That would probably rule out most of the current crop of 600 sportbikes. It may even mean looking at some of the sport touring bikes like Aprilia's Futura.
The Ducati 999 has adjustable seat and peg locations.
I'm 5'11" and 185, with a 33 inch inseam, I don't bend like I did 30 years ago (age 24), and I don't like the fit of this current crop of mini-sized super bikes.
I would even look at bikes like the Guzzi V11's or BMW R1100s, just to be comfortable even though I know there will be a performance penalty. Maybe a Suzuki 'Busa?
6'-5", 230 lbs, eh? Mostly, it's great to be tall, but there's no added value in being a big guy when you're looking for a bike that fits.
Here's my votes.
-Yamaha FZ1. Great all around bike, goes like stink, handles very well for real-world use. Heck, it handles pretty well at the track; BIKE magazine ran it around Bruntingthorpe (there's a Brit name for ya) track as fast as the sport 600's. Relatively tall seat, and seat-to-peg dimensions. Good two-up. Given its versatility and performance, it's an INCREDIBLE bargain. You can buy a brand new one here in Seattle for $7900.
-Honda CB1. They haven't made it for ten years, but this was a good bike for a tall guy. It's a naked, though, and I think the FZ1 is more versatile because it comes with a half-fairing.
-BMW R1200GS. Ok, ok, I know it's not a sport bike. But it is a terrific tool; good handling, rediculously durable, great dealer support, and best of all a nice tall seat, generous seat-to-peg, and a screen. It has very cool expandable hard luggage (I checked this out a couple of weeks ago and man, it's the dog's. The luggage lids telescope in and out). It is kind of a grown-up bike (only you know how that makes you feel). Good choice if you have excess cash and need something useful to spend it on, because a 1200GS is going to go 15 large.
An earlier poster suggested the ZRX1200. I think that its ergos are too small for you. They fit me pretty nice, and I'm Loris Capirossa sized; you're gonna hate it.
Whatever you buy, you should have the suspension retuned (it's no big deal) for your weight. Stiffer fork springs, maybe revalve the rear shock. Any good shop can do this for you.
I think if you made a composite of all top racers you would probably get something like this: 5' 6", 140 ~ 150 lbs., and muscle tone and conditioning signifigantly better than 30 years ago. (kinda your jockey, gymnast, rodeo rider size- sinewy,tough,light).
Back in the 50's when the motocross guys rode Goldstars, AJS, & Matchless & other big singles, they were a lot bigger. In my lifetime the dirttrack and roadracers have always been small.
You guys have had better input than some of the postings I've put in other sites like SportRider and Cycle World. Just want you guys who have contributed thoughts to know.... I am listening. Thanks........ =)
I'm just an inch and a few pounds behind you. Bikes I've found that I fit on tend towards the sports-standard side. My current rides are an '01 VFR and a suzuki bandit. Both are quite comfy for long rides and both have been to the track. Of course the VFR did better on the track than the Bandit, but my bandit is far from stock and holds its own in the local "B" group. You can't start a thread like this without hearing about the SV650 and the Connie. Of the two only the SV belongs on the track, and I don't fit on an SV. I've ridden my friend's SV650S and was very cramped. Now someone can pipe in and tell us the have had their connie on a track. After that the XX is a great recommendation. I almost wish I'd bought one instead of the VFR. Then I see how much people pay for insurance and tires and give my VFR an affectionate pat on the fairing.
I have an 03 ZZR 1200R and I don't think you'd be comfortable on it for any distance. Short trips and commutes, possibly. I'm about 6' and 200lbs and I'm looking to do some mods to help the ergos (heli bars and a flip windscreen) so I can take some pressure off of the wrists and and reduce some of the wind pounding. She doesn't do everything but what she does well she does very well. It handles great in long fast sweepers. Don't even think about the tight stuff unless you have plenty O' experience. Yes, she will run like greased stink as can be confirmed by the Ohio State Patrol. Handles adverse road conditions like construction zones very nicely She wouldn't be anywhere near my first choice for the track except for maybe Talledaga.
BMW would be a good choice, ergonomically. Their ergos are made for taller men. In the Japanese realm I second the advice to get a SuperHawk or CBR1100XX. Those bikes fit taller men relatively well. The more I think about it, the more I have to agree with much of the advice here. The Triumph 955i would be my first choice, too. Just try 'em on. For the most part, having a bike feel small is a good thing, as long as it's not too small.
Three words. Triumph Speed Triple. Check out the MO track test from last year. It has regular handlebars so you can replace 'em. It runs like a bat out of hell, will commute, run canyons, do wheelies, you name it.
If money is no object then, two words. Aprilia Tuono.
Or try a Suzuki SV1000S. Better ergos than the SV650S. Better for street work than the Super Hawk. You can upgrade the suspension for better track performance and it's relatively cheap.
I have a friend that is about your size 6-6 290. He has had a Hayabusa, ZX-12, Valk, and Road King in the last few years (5). His suggestion is try the Busa or ZX12 for sport bikes. The ZX-12 is a little taller than the Busa but both are surprisingly comfy for tall riders. Both are big longish bikes. My friend however has went to the dark side last year and only has the Road King now. We hardly speak to each other anymore ;} Just kidding.
Since nobody else has said it yet, you might be surprised at how much power 600's have these day's. You might even check out the gsx-r750 too. It's hard to find a bad bike these days, so when somebody asks me, I always tell them to go sit on and/or test ride several bikes and just find one that "feels right" to you. As far as liter bikes go I wouldn't recommend one as your first sportbike, but from what I have read, the cbr seems to be everyones pick as best "first" literbike. hope this helps-good luck.
You should consider a Honda 919. It offers more or less the same power as a modern 600 ( now considered a good entry level catagory) and yet is a little larger, read more suitable for your size. Personally I feel 600 sportbikes are a little too fast for entry level, but I am tired of swimming up stream on that issue.
I agree that the Suzuki DL1000 could work, not so much for track days, but a good bike for re-wetting your feet.
I'm about exactly your size, and the Kaw ZX-9 fits pretty well. I can go plenty of miles before the pain sets in, and it's smaller than a Busa or ZX-12 for track days. The newer 1000cc bikes are all a bit small for your size, if you plan on riding it for more than a few miles. I'm sure any standard would fit like a Speed Triple or ZRX. Scope out a ZX-9. I'm sure there are a few new ones out there still, and for good prices.
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