Nice article. As the owner of my fourth Sportster-a 1200R, I must agree that overall it is a radical improvement from its '03 and earlier versions. It can still be easily smoked by most of the other "small" bikes in the test, but the grin factor when riding this bike thru curves is astounding.
The saddle continues to be an ergonomic pain-in-the-arse, the headlight equals a weak batteried flashlight and the stock Showa suspension combines nicely with the dummlopp "rim protecturrzz" to compromise handling. That said vast improvements are only(!!) hundreds of dollars away: Race Tech up front, good shocks in rear, Bridgestone BT45Vs, an aftermarket saddle...watch out curves! IMO, of the 65 or so bikes I've had the 1200R ranks up there with the best for being lotsa fun to ride. My BMW R1150GS will easily show her saddlebags to the 1200R, but the 1200R is the usual choice for riding. DFO
Not many of these are coming into the country - mine is SN 000158. After a couple of thousand miles I am impressed with this bike overall on the city and the highway. I live in San Francisco and drive the cities hills all day long. My bike rolls up to stop signs in 2nd gear and pulls strong. I have even pulled off in third without a problem, but then again I am using the bike as my main "sport" transportation daily. The engine, looks, fit and finish bury the Honda completely, although I love Honda and my other ride is a Shadow Cruiser.
I quote from the article: "...Fonzie spend a lot of time using the Yamaha as his personal commuter / camera platform and he seemed to love it. The rest of us (I mean all seven others) voted it no higher than 5th...." My comment is that I feel extremely lucky to even have one of these bikes, when it was wheeled onto the floor I was the first to put money on it and two other people put deposits on it if mine fell through.
I take this baby through the mountains "at speed" and lunch at Alice's Restaurant, and it stands tall among the best looking bikes there.
In closing, as an "odd benefit", this is one of the better bikes I have ever had a passenger on through San Francisco's "stop and go" hills - I weight 175 and my partner is 145, I am talking about the best control with passenger at low speeds I have ever experienced. Although this is only my seventh bike, it ranks as tops --- of course, I could have spent more $$$, but I don't see anything close in this weight/power range for under $12,000 that equals it overall - and of course I am counting performance AND how I look on it.
YES, I can't wait for Version two - but then again, to buy one of the first ALL NEW models made by Yamaha is always a little risky. I believe all the other choices are slightly "older tehcnology"... Again, take component for component, this is some machine at all speeds. Which reminds me, I'll take the 14,000 RPM Red line going through the mountains - second and third gear give me throttle control all through the turns with no shifting required - nice for a Street Rider.
this was pretty fun to read altho you gotta wonder how many people who have paid to read this would actually buy one of these wallowing pigs. even if they are more like piglets. and while i agree that the ex 500 is a great bike, it just "used to be" raced. it seems the sv is king now. i don't see many kawi 500s out there these days. maybe in different clubs i guess.
some of you guys have serious wardrobe malfunctions. probably martin. we don't get a lot of the newest stuff here in idaho. ;-)
the sv will kick the butt of any of these bikes. it really represents the best of the breed by far. if you took the best parts of these bikes and combined them, you would probably still not get to the sv's level. it is also capable of lots more. it has been developed. and new stuff is happening every day. i have heard that there are svs that will be raced this year with over 100hp. fire away.
and you can't beat the monster for allowing you to spend harley type money for harley type stuff, except you get to go faster.
My girlfriend just got a new Vstrom 650, and I've been breaking it in.
The thing is friggin amazing. On any road, in any niche, there is a bike thats better. But I have NEVER experienced such all around goodness.
The engine has as much power as you need (it handles 2up on the freeway just fine, actually, and can out accererate 99% of the cars on the road). The handling is impecably neutral and suprisingly fast. The gas-tank is huge. Potholes don't exist. Comfort is amazing, vibration almost nonexistant. Gravel parking lots are no problem, and I'd guess that anything which is actually called a road (as opposed to a dirt trail) would be happy territory.
As a "do everything" bike, this beats out my VFR, by a large margin.
I've seen some serious hotties on the weather channel.
Speaking of hotties, EBass's 599 comments were awesome. Reminds me of the 600 SS comparo a few years back where one tester compared the bikes to women. Excellent choice of metaphor. However, in that case, I'd disagree about the ZX6R being less sexy than the F4, but that is, literally, another story.
Overall, we didn't hate the FZ-6, but I think we were so vocal about our feelings, because we were shocked at how far behind it's overall potiential the bike is. It was the oposite story with the DL-650. -Sean
Is it me, or does the 599 look an painfully similar to the 400cc CB-1? Great engine, good ergos, standard Honda fit and finish...Except, of course, that you could have had the CB-1 for $3,500. Does an outdated 600cc CBR engine warrant and almost $3K jump in price?
Make it $5,999 for the 599. Then you'll have a great bike that we'll pony up the cash for. Otherwise...nice try. NEXT!
OK... well maybe lusting was a bit strong here. I just want one. It looks like alot of fun for an around town bike when I just want to play in traffic and don't exactly want to pull out the big bikes. And they are so cheap too. Finding a nice used one for 2 - 3 grand is the norm.
Thanks for the article. I've been riding a Triumph Speed 4 for almost 2 years and have waited for a good comparison with similar bikes. When it first came out it was not up to the race-bred tech of the 600s so I figured it was a lot more like the Suzuki SV650, not having ridden any other middle weight bike. Anyway, now it appears not to fit into that category very well either.
The Speed 4 is precisely what I wanted when I bought it but figured I'd sell it in 2 years time. However, now that 2 years is about up the only thing I can think of to replace it is another Speed 4. I'll have to see what's out there in another 2 years.
I would have thought the Thruxton would headline MO this week, since its hit the streets in the last few days. Whats the point of an online subscription if you dont get the freshest news and tests?
As far as this story goes This comparison is virtually identical to tests run in the mainstream motorcycle mags. Including weirdo but bland bikes like the F650 and Ninja 500 certainly doesnt get my juices flowing. It's not like these are NEW bikes.
Heres the review I want to see: The Thruxton vs. the M800 vs. XB9S vs. Sportster 1200R.
How the hell did you guys arrive at those mileage figures? I used to have a 99 SV650, and that never really did better than 46 mpg. That BMW is bordering on scooter-like gasthriftiness. Frankly, it seems as if you all just puttered around to allow the 'fast' guys to always be in front.