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vermicious,

For what it's worth, I'd suggest the XB12Scg based upon your supplied 'criteria.' Especially considering the fact that don't intend to go to the track, but if you change your mind the Buell will be great fun on the track. You'll love the practicality, streetfighteresque quality and loads of character offered by the Buell(s). Of course the other three are stellar machines and you wouldn't short change yourself with them but you might find them to be like riding tiny missiles and that may not be the best way to start your sportbike riding career. And I definitely wouldn't recommend them to a new rider, which by your own admission you are to the degree that you've never really ridden a modern sportbike. They accelerate like demons and require a subtle throttle hand. Best 'o luck—Pete, Managing Editor
 

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Hop-on-and-go: Buell. No valve adjustment, no chain lube, not much shifting required. Buell dealers usually will let you test ride so you can pick the one that suits you best (I like the looks of the Lightning better).
 

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As a guy who kinda went the other direction, from crotch rockets to Harleys, let me put my two cents in. Don't overlook the middleweight machines. Some of these 600's are almost as fast as the 1 liter bombs, but much more flckable and more fun, for a lot less money. And, you don't have to have the latest 600cc track weapon to have a machine that steers by thought. Many of the less than 100 HP machines are cheap and very, very fun.
 

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Only thing is he would miss the torque

Only thing is he would miss the torque. The 600 machines although fun in their own right and good corning machines have very little torque down low. Since he's used to riding higher torque machines the Buell's would be the better choice.
 

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I agree with what most are saying about the literbikes you listed from Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha. Even on the track, those motorcycles might be more of a handful than a good time. And for the street, they are overkill.



The Buells are cool. In addition to the ones you listed, I would consider the XB9R Firebolt. The engine isn't as smooth as the XB12 engine, but to me the 9R seems better balanced for carving tight roads. If you live close (within an hour or so) to your favorite twisty roads, I don't see how you could go wrong with the 9R.



I'd also consider the Suzuki SV bikes; you can probably get a great deal on one of the 1000cc models, and like the Buell, the SVs provide a lot of torque. But the light weight, extreme geometry, unique styling, and belt drive are all good reasons to justify paying the extra bucks for a Buell.



You might consider adding the new Triumph Daytona 675 to your list. (See, Triumph, your ad money is well-spent here!!!) Seriously, the 675 promises to offer a balance of torque and high-revving fun in a lightweight package suited for commuting, carving the backroads, and playing on the race track. I'd like to test ride one back-to-back against the XB9R. Hey, maybe MO can do another comparo soon...



Good luck with your search!
 

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I personaly "multitask" (comute, play, etc) my triumph speed triple, even the new one is cheaper than any of the others you have listed and the 02-04 version is plenty capable, handling is exellant and it certainly has the power to get you to trafic court in three points or more without making each outing an underwear replacer. I am a few inches shorter than you and seat height is ok, it seemed a little high at first, but after 12k miles it feels second nature. it has plenty of clearance in the twisties. you really need to work to drag a peg in a corner. I really like the bars/ riding position, (due to an injury to my throtle hand I have a real problem with low clip ons.) all in all it is a fun and reliable machine that you can ride for 10 minutes or three hours and feel safe on with out your race leathers.
 

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I also, begrudgingly.. pick the Buell, if the choice must be one of the above.

I would suggest the 9 instead of the 12 though.

If you're not looking for top end.

(which neither Buell is very good at)

save yourself some cash and get the 9B.

The R1 is out of the question. Tooooo light/fast/twitchy.

The GSXR is way too powerful for most, if not all riders.

The Honda is the most user friendly but still wouldn't be a good first time sport bike.

I'd look into the SV1000S if you'd like to add it to your look-see list.

The seat height might be an issue.
 

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Get one of the I-4s... if you want to experience what sport bikes are all about get something as different as possible from your current Harley. The Buell is not it if you want to see the other side. Or get one of the 600s as others have mentioned.



That said if you get *any* of these bikes you owe it to yourself to go to the track. All of these bikes deserve to be taken to the track, and it's hard to tell if you'll ever understand what they're all about without going.
 

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I've had a number of bikes from an 82 Virago, CBR 929, F4I, and a BMW GS Adventure. I'd go with a 600. Less insurance, tires last longer, cheaper on gas. For what it sounds like you want I'd get the current F4I or the Yamaha R6S. If money isn't really too much of a consideration then I will say the 929 was probably the best street bike I've had. Enough power that I didn't have to shift all the time. I think that's what the liter bikes are really about on the street, having the ability to be a lazy rider if you want. It's a pretty nice thing to have as long as you have the discipline to ride a liter bike in that manner. Of course the new hyper 600's are putting out as much hp as the 929 still not as much torque which is what allows you to putt around. That's my pocket change for what it's worth.
 

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I'd get the Buell 1200 Scg or the Triumph 675. I wouldn't recommend the Suzuki, Yamaha or Honda because they really are much much more than you need for the street.



The Triumph should be a real screamer and unique with the triple wail and power delivery. New Triumphs have proven themselves very reliable and reasonably priced. Another good choice would be the Speed 4 if you can find one, MO did a review on one a while back so you can read up a little.



I think the Buell Lightening would make a great first or second bike and for real-world street applications would probably be the best choice for you. For the kind of roads I ride around here, tight twisty back roads and mountain passes one would be ideal plus the riding position is a little less extreme than the others though I found the Speed 4 to be surprisingly roomy for my large size.



So, forget about the GSXR, R1, CBR-RR's and get the Buell or wait in line for a Daytona
 

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I agree with the Buells being your best bet. However, check your local dealers to see who has the best customer service/mechanics. I pay extra to make sure I get good customer service and a mechanic that knows what they are doing, instead of an idiot lawn mower/jet ski mechanic working on my bike. When I was shopping for a crotch rocket to go with my road king I was shocked to see insurance for them was sky high. Buell is the cheapest to insure in my area.
 

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As a fellow rider with a seat height issue ... I would suggest the smaller Buell, not the 12. Lighter, slightly better handling, enough power to really scare you, lots of torque, etc. When I test drove it, it seemed like it would be a very fun bike.
 

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I ride a BMW R1150RT for touring but last summer I found I also missed the fun that my Suzuki DL1000 V-Strom provided. I thought of a DL650 to replace the fun factor but ultimately bought the SV650S instead (smaller/lighter and entirely different). I don't regret it and I find that it has all the power I need for acceleration and it gives me all the excitement I need in the twisties. It isn't a bike you would ride for distance on the weekends but it is the first bike of choice for a little relaxation in the evenings after work. I suggest you consider the SV650S if it's to augment your tourer and you may also want to look at the new Kawasaki Ninja 650R.
 

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I agree with the Speed Triple recommendation. I've never ridden one, although I did own a T595 Daytona a few years ago and really enjoyed the sound it made, but depending on what you're actually going to use it for a modern "naked" bike might suit your needs better than a fully-faired sportbike. I've owned several sportbikes, (748, CBR929, Aprilia RSV-R, etc.), but my most recent (Monster S4R) and current (MV Agusta Brutale) bikes have been by far the most fun of any of them. Less suited for distance, but they're the best around town, IMHO.



The MV or S4R might be too pricey, but there are other similar models to choose from, like air-cooled Monsters or used Speed Triples or Aprilia Tuonos. I'm sure your eventual decision will be based on your own biases and personal psychoses, rather than mine, but I wanted to add another vote against any Buell. I don't care if Eric B. is an engineering genius - Harley motors are jokes.
 

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I would stay as far away as possible from the Buells.

Great chassis, but the 19th century engine simply ruins them, it lacks oomph, runs out of breath way to early, vibrates like a jackhammer and weighs a ton.



My recommendations: Either the Triumph Speed Triple or an Aprilia RSV.

 

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...Here's another vote for some things that were already said... Get the XB9 over the 12... It's nearly as fast, and the way it produces power is more entertaining than the 12 (and I've had both, currently the 9sx is in my garage). But this isn't really a "Modern" sportbike unless you look at the chassis only. Also, think of last generation bikes, the YZF600R can be had for cheap and was an excellent machine (I had one of those too)... And the Honda Superhawk can be had for dirt cheap. No, these bikes aren't the most cutting edge anymore, but they'll be above and beyond most rider's abilities even so. Also, if you continue to ride the harley, I hope it isn't raked out too much... Hoping from a long and low bike to a Buell would definitely take some getting used to... I bought mine with 600 miles on it from an older gent with a custom built ******* chopper. He bought it for the same reasons, a bike to hop on and go carve up the countryside on, every once in awhile. Said he couldn't get used to it, too giddery. And it is, I love the new Buells but the head shake can be a bit un-nerving at times. Lastly, think about that new Triumph 675 triple... Good luck!
 

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The list as presented was just what caught my eye when I was surfing around. I don't have my heart set on anything in particular other than quickening my pulse. I have looked at and considered some of the middle weights but put the larger displacement bikes in the list instead because I've gotten kind of used to the weight... I guess that logic kind of runs counter to my purpose though unless I'm going with the Buell.
 
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