Great reviews! I'd have to cast my vote for the Yamaha YZF600R as a contender for the best middleweight. A great all-around bike with fairly up-right and comfy seating, adjustible suspension, and good performance for a reasonable price. I know the review says "standards", but the seating on the YZF600R is closer to standard than sportbike as far as comfort is concerned. Just for fun, if there is a further comparison with the 599, SV650, Ducati Monster 620/800 , and hopefully the the YZF600R, lets throw in the winner of the 2003 Naked Twins test, the Buell XB9S to see how it fairs this time.
I think that all of our testers would agree that the YZF600R is a tremendous bike (definitely one of my all time favorites anyway). But this comparo was about attitude as much as anything else and the YZF is quite a bit different in that regard. Doesn't mean it's not a tremendous bike in it's own right but I think that overall the spectrum of middleweight standards was pretty well represented by the bikes MO chose.
One can argue correctly and endlessly about what bikes should have been included and which should have been left out but you have to draw the line somewhere. In this case I think practicality played a key role. MO tested what they could get their hands on in the time allowed and limited themselves to the number of bikes they could find qualified riders to ride.
Thanks for all the effort guys but my pick is the Moto Guzzi Breva. I looked at all of these bikes at the Cycle World show and the fit and finish on the Breva was way better than most. It also offers a low seat height and a comfortable "real world" riding position. Unlike the others, it seems designed to last as it offers shaft drive (can you say no more f*#@*@g chain!) and simple (i.e. repairable) technology. Most of the bikes that you tested will be junk in 5 years, Guzzis seem to last forever. Some of the others may be faster but, if speed is the goal, get a bigger motor. The Breva is the only middleweight that I'd consider riding to Daytona. Well, at least the rest are light enough to trailer there!
I certainly hope you enjoy your bike but you are dead wrong in your assertion that the bikes we tested will be junk in five years. With the possible exception of the Harley I would ride any of these bikes anywhere. Most of these bikes have a known track record which the Berva, as of yet, does not. So I'd be a little careful about knocking any of these machines before you find out what your Breva is going to do for you. Bad karma!
Actually, I do agree with your point and I do understand that you can't just test them all (although I'm sure you would like to try!). I just think it's such a great bike that it merits a try at the champ of the comparison (this one or the next). If nothing else, I would like to see a resent test of the YFZ600R just to show how good of a bike it is. Again, great test! Let's have some more!
I believe Triumph, for one, hasn't had a recall since 2000.
Very much appreciate the effort to bring your experiences with these machines to us in an informative and entertaining manner. In fact, learning about the terrific performance of the current middleweight class, especially in terms of power to weight ratios, I sometimes wonder why I bother with open classers.
I think when he meant "junk" he was referring to value rather than reliability. Guzzi's are unique and will always make someone smile when they see it.
When we were riding the mountain roads I was going as fast as I felt comfortable and thought the same thing about current litre bikes. Had I been on an R1 there's no way I would have allowed myself to go any faster than I was riding the 599 on public streets.
Wasn't it Eddie Lawson who said it was too scary to ride a litre bike anywhere near it's limits on the street? Yet squids think they can!
The YZF600R doesn't need any validation in a mag to make it a great motorcycle in my book (though Motorcyclist has been consistently effusive in it's praise of this bike). If I had to make do with a single motorcycle for everything it would be one of my top three contenders.
And it's always been a lot of fun watching Fastrack instructors smoke the field on bone stock YZF600R's on track days. Imagine how crestfallen the inexperienced riders on their shiney new Gixxer 1k's must feel.
I bought a DL650 in the first week of March. I've been riding for about 14 years now, and this is easily the best bike for me. I ride my bikes almost every day - to and from work- and usually take a couple of long tours per year (like 1000+ mile tours). I usually put 10-12k / yr on a bike. With gas prices continuing to spike up, I'm finding myself riding more and more.
My last bike was a 99 ZRX1100, a great bike with oodles of torque and a superb commuter. My main problem there was that it was a poor touring rig. I also often found myself wanting something that could take the gravel side roads here in Tx with aplomb. The DL650 fits all my needs and does it with incredible competence that I really didn't expect. Wind protection is superb. I'm pretty sure I can run through twisties faster on the DL650 than I could on the ZRX; this bike makes it easy, maybe too easy. By far the most flickable, most comfortable, most flexible, and most stable, and most fun motorcycle I've ever owned.
I agree wholeheartedly that the FZ-6 is tops in the looks department, but I think Yamaha missed the boat in regard to what people who buy "naked" bikes are looking for. By all reports, the FZ-6 has a very peaky powerband, and if you're willing to put up with that, perhaps a full-on crotch rocket would be a better choice. (At least then you'd get the handling to go with the toggle-switch powerband.)
As far as the last place vote for the Ninja 500 from Fonzie goes, I have a theory there as well. The Ninja costs at least 50% less than any other bike in the comparo, therefore it must be 50% worse, right?
Seriously, though, I can recommend the EX unreservedly, having just bought one myself.
What's not to like? Sub-$5000 MSRP, great
handling (so long as it's not compared to canyon-carvers costing twice as much), 50-odd MPG, and 12-second quarter-miles. Now if I can just get this damned break-in period done....
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