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I lean towrd the Honda 599 myself, for one of the same reasons - reliability. I have a buddy with a new Buell CityX and his bike has spent ,more time in the shop than on the road. I understood that the Buells were getting better, and my buddy may have just gotten a lemon, but seeing him unable to ride because his bike won't work right doesn't exactly inspire confidence. It looks awesome, and I'll bet it handles even better, but I don't buy bikes to look at (as proof, I ride a GSX-R), and the best handling in the world is useless if it won't start.



Now, fix it and ride the wheels off of that old Shadow. You'll have a ball.



Chango



 

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Go with the Honda. The Buell is not that reliable. Mine had to be fixed near Deal's Gap because the flywheel was coming loose, (At 3000 miles) and also, the Lightning doesn't like slow speed at all. It is very hard on mine to maintain a speed of 25mph like in traffic. I have not seen this fact mentionned anywhere else so it can be just my bike
 

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Speaking of the XB9SX... I have one for you on July 13th. You can keep it until the end of August. Don't say I nevah gave you anything kid.
 

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The Buell will outhandle the 599, hands down. The Buell has fully adjustable suspension, the 599 doesn't.



The 599 has more top end power, the Buell has more bottom end power.



As far as reliability, the Buell requires LESS scheduled maintainence (no valve adjustments ever) than the Honda.



I have a 2003 XB(s with a little over 12,000 miles...its never been in the shop.
 

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The Buell will outhandle the 599, hands down. The Buell has fully adjustable suspension, the 599 doesn't.



The 599 has more top end power, the Buell has more bottom end power.



As far as reliability, the Buell requires LESS scheduled maintainence (no valve adjustments ever) than the Honda.



I have a 2003 XB(s with a little over 12,000 miles...its never been in the shop.
 

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For starters, planning your next bike before you have a few months under your belt is short sighted. No one knows how you'll feel by the end of August.



Your general description is to use the bike as normal transportation and I'd look at what other owners have done to make those bikes livable. Can both bikes take a magnetic tank bag? Would their pipes interfere with or melt saddle bags?



If the Shadow is in good shape, you may want to ride that for more than just one season. Nothing is as afforable as a free bike.
 

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Fully-Adjustable Suspension: In my experience, few things can make a street rider's bike handle worse. Most (not all) street riders do little more than destroy the handling of thier bikes when they start fiddling with the adjusters.



The easy way to get a superb fire-and-forget suspension, is to UPS the forks and shock from your new bike to Phil at Aftershocks Suspension (Palo Alto, CA) It doesn't matter if it is adjustable or not, he will re-valve and tune it perfectly for your bike, weight, experience and style, then mail it back to you. All you need to do is bolt it back on the bike and forget about it. It will be 100% better than any stock adjustable-suspension. Total cost is generally less than $500 for a complete bike. Total value is damned-near priceless. -Sean
 

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I understand the Buell doesn't have that much touque, it's been tweeked for top end (!?) and you have to kind of rev it to go anywhere.



And then there's the ledgendary Buell reliability...



Get the 599.
 

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You're right about keeping the Shadow for a while. It's power delivery would be much more user friendly for a newbie, and the low seat height might be beneficial as well. Not so many years ago any bike with the power of the 600 Shadow would have been considered to much bike for a beginner. VWW
 

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Lee, it is a nice change to hear a first time buyer ask a reasonable question. Most of the time people want to know which tank is easier to stand on during a "christ", GSXR or ZX-10.



Between the two, I'd go with the 599 for a bunch of reasons.(listed above)



 

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The two current options you listed are good bikes for what you are looking for right now. Keep in mind, though, that you may want a totally different bike in a year.



Riding them will significantly affect the way you feel about them, too. I say ride the Shadow for a year and get some miles under you. That way, when you ride the bikes you're interested in moving up to (whether they are still the Buell and Honda, or completely different choices by then) you'll have the experience to appreciate the different riding styles.



Aside from reliability and overall costs (insurance, maintenance, parts, etc) no one can really suggest a perfect bike for you. Try directing your questions about bikes in a more model-specific manner; Rather than ask someone something as objective as "Which is better?" ask "What were your impressions of this bike's (braking, suspension- softer or harder-, slow-speed manueverablity, freeway stability, luggage options, etc) compared to that bike's?"



And finally, welcome to the motorcycling community.
 

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Have you considered the Triumph Speed Four? Awesome bike, very reliable and for someone living in the Phila suburbs, getting it serviced when needed shouldnt be a problem, (Manayunk, Hatboro, Pottstown); enough dealer presence to feel safe about ownership and service.



Though if you are focussed on ones you suggested, go with the Honda.
 

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I have the XB-12R and I've had only one complaint - the fuel injection. It's difficult to get used to, as it's not perfect like any of the other bikes. It's annoying sometimes. Other than that - stone reliable and a real eye-catcher. Don't forget, there is the whole riding experience that no one is talking about, maybe because most haven't ridden a Buell. Do yourself a favor and test ride one when you are ready - Buell will let ya! Just remember when you start it and you're disappointed that there's no booming V-Twin sound, $300 will get you a muffler that increases the sound and experience ten-fold. Ego factor:Doesn't matter if I take mine to an all-harley event or a sportbike ride, I feel very proud of the attention it gets. For me, that is a major part of the fun of ownership. Ok, enough before someone thinks I'm selling them. Just in case you think I'm narrow-minded, I also ride a 04 ZX-10R, 03 CBR-600RR, 03 WR-450F and 1987 Super-Magna (I love saying that)
 

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You are young - buy cheap, used and don't committ just yet!



Of course, I'm an oldish phart answering a question you didn't ask. Ask yourself why I would do such a thing.



As for the question you asked, I have no answer Grasshopper. Its the old inside or outside the box question. The bottom line is only you can answer the question and only with experience. Be safe: buy the Honda and have fun. Be different: buy the Buell and have fun.



You ain't a gonna lose either way.
 

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I agree, the 599 is the best choice for an all around bike and as the Hornet is the top seller in Europe. The 599 or the 919 are also the only thing in Hondas cuurent line I'd buy. I will break from the pack here and say go out and buy it now. Chances are the Shadow is going to cost more than $800 to fix by the time you're done with it



Better to put the money down on a new 599 and take advantage of the financing Honda has going right now. You'll have a good handling and reliable bike with a warranty and zero miles to ride instead a "free" bike that's costing you repairs before you can even ride it.

 
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