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Not Quite the Full Litre...

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by Drasius, May 28, 2009.

  1. So, after doing my time on my little GPX 250, I finally got to go grab my big boy’s license and have now got a suitable toy to match.

    Wanted something comfy enough to do some decent rides on (500+ km a day) without needing a chiro session afterwards, but also chasing something sporty to throw around the twisty bits as well. All for <$10k.

    In general looked at something bigger as I was rather sick of feeling cramped on the GPX after a few hours in the saddle (though I'm only 6'0"). Also found after trying out a couple of 600's (GS500f, CBR600fi) that I want too much power. (Please note, want, not need.)

    You know the saying, lots of power = good, even more power = better, too much power = perfect.

    Yes, they were fun, and felt like they had enough power, but then almost anything would after a 250, and while they put a smile on my dial, it wasn’t the shit eating grin I was hoping for. All the time while riding it, I was thinking, “Yeah, this is fun, but there is something missingâ€.

    Couldn't find a decent VFR800 to test unfortunately :(

    All ‘Busa’s had a million km’s or out of my price range (too heavy anyway, so it doesn’t really matter).

    Looked at a couple of older B’Birds, but they just didn't quite do it for me. Bland is certainly not a word I would think of for something with that much power, but it's what sprang to mind while I was aboard. Did everything well, only bad things a bit heavy, brakes had no feel and, much like a redhead, lacked a soul.

    Tried out an early Triumph Sprint ST, and while it was nice, there was something just not quite right that I still can't quite put my finger on, never really felt comfortable either, I think it was because of the position of the pegs. Really liked that rockin' triple sound though.

    Jumped on a ZX9-R and it just felt right, not sure if it was 'cause it was familiar enough to the GPX but bigger (and a touch more powerful ;p) or if it was just right for me or what. Lurv the brakes, excellent feel and stopping power, very linear. Doesn't turn in quite as quick as I would like. Also, my god, the mirrors, they WORK! Not just a device for seeing what your elbows look like all fuzzy.

    While looking for a 9, found a 12 in good nick despite some extra km’s, but the extra weight really put me off. While it goes away very well once moving, at very low speeds it felt heavy enough that I was uncomfortable with it. Didn’t feel as nice as the 9 either, bars seemed both too far away and too close at the same time, not sure how that works? Much, much power to be had though.

    Threw a leg over a GSX-R 750 and had a nice ride, found it to also feel "right" if a bit small, though after only a few minutes, the buzzing had numbed my hands. Thought it might just be that particular bike, but another I jumped on had much the same problem, and for me, that wasn’t much fun after 20 minutes, I don’t want to imagine after a few hours. No wonder they paint them black and yellow stripes, little buzzy bumblebee. Also an odd clutch rattle, though I am told this is quite normal. Changes direction rather easily though, easy to throw around, felt very, very light on the move.

    If the Gixxer didn’t have that annoying buzz, I’m not sure which I would have chosen, would have had to have been settled by a back to back ride longer than I think the dealers would have been comfortable with to test their long journey prospects.

    At the end of that day, I had decided on a ZX9-R, and had a chance to ride 4 of them, an ’00, 2x ‘01’s and an ’02. By the time I had ridden all 4, 2 of them had been sold. Ended up getting the ’02 with a bit over 35 000km’s, though any of the ones I rode would have been excellent.

    Given it’s age, it is probably only a touch ahead of the new 600’s power-wise (though with much more torque, especially down low) but this is still enough to make me cackle like an evil overlord who’s ridiculously circuitous plan comes together every time I crack that throttle.

    Having spent a few hours in the saddle, I can say that yes, it is as comfy as I'd hoped after a couple of hours, and surprisingly, the fuel economy is not overly different from the GPX, though I expect that to change once I get more confident and explore both our limits a bit more.

    It manages to feel just as light as my GPX, even at low speeds, and actually feels lighter once she’s on the move. The only place it feels heavier is when off it and pushing it around. As much as I would have loved the kawa green, I really like the copper/black too. Only problem is people think it’s a Gixxer. Grrrr. Not that there's anything wrong with that...

    In the end, I think I have discovered I like my bikes how I like my cars – more power than you can ever legally use/need, large, roomy and comfy enough to do long trips while having at least the pretense of being sporty, even if something with a smaller engine and less power is faster around the track.

    TL;DR ?

    I have a Candy Gold Spark 2002 ZX9-R which I am in love with and it’s awesome.




  2. congratulations on your new purchase :)
    nice write up
  3. The ZX-9R, the thinking man's superbike. Great choice!!!!
  4. great choice- your market analysis sounds similar to my experience 12 months ago and i bought a 02 blue zx9r.

    with the exception of not ripping your arms off (which i'm happy to do without) there is nothing it wont do well. Its still my no.1 all rounder.
  5. Very Nice Bike.
  6. Love the 9, wish I had put some extra bucks towards one.
  7. Grats on the bike, cheers for the read.

    Cant wait for my time :)
  8. nice colour scheme there
  9. Nice lookin ride.

    A couple of your shopping comments had me a bit puzzled (writing off 600s for lack of power/excitement after sampling a GS and a 600f is not really fair - neither of them are at the cutting edge of mid-size sportsbike performance, and Busas, BBirds etc are a big jump, in every sense, from a little GPX... which share very little except the "ninja" name with a ZX9-r) I also took personal exception to your redhead soul-lacking comment - especially since you ended up buying a ginger ninja! Sucked in! :wink:

    Anyhoo, of course none of that matters in the slightest as long as you've got something you're happy with - and it sounds like you do. Enjoy it!
  10. Nice work mate!

    Love the colour :wink:
  11. Nice looking bike! Where did you take the photos?
  12. She's beautiful :)
  13. To all, thanks for the kind words.

    For saying the 600's didn't have enough power, I know they aren't cutting edge supersports, that's why I was looking at them! I wanted something capable of touring as well as pushing through twisty stuff, so it had to be comfy as well as under 10k, which limited my choices. I was in pain just looking at the supersports, and after throwing a leg over a zx6-r and a cbr600rr, it confirmed my suspicions that they were not the right fit for me.

    The only 600's which sounded like they would meet my needs were the above mentioned, and yes, I understand they are not a supersports competitor (though others may disagree). There is nothing wrong with the power they put out, I simply wanted more, the feeling that I had to be careful, that I had to respect the throttle. To get that with the other things I wanted, I found I needed to look bigger.

    As for 'Busa's, 12's & B'Birds being a big jump, Yeah, I get that, and I fully acknowledge that they are way more bike than I can handle (hell a 600 is more than I can handle to it's full at the moment), though they fit the criteria I had when I was looking, so I gave 'em a testride to see if they were for me. They didn't tick all my boxes, so were discarded.

    While mechanically the 9 may have very little in common with the GPX, the layout was exactly the same, the seating was similar, alot of it felt similar, making me feel more comfortable with the bike. Everything was at hand where I expected it to be, no fumbling or missing a gear/indication/lights/etc.

    Nothing against redheads, always had a thing for redheaded wimmins, and I love the colours on my bike (superficial though that may be), 'Tis just a saying.

    After taking a wander down south today for ~ 600km's, I love it more than before, and am absolutely boggled as to where they hide the jet engine, and just how something can still have so much acceleration that far around the dial.

    I found new life in roads I thought were good in the car/on the GPX, but this was something else. Awesome.

    Taken on the back beach in Bunbury. Snapped a couple this morning at the cape naturaliste lighthouse, but didn't turn out very well due to the sun.