I took my new to me 2005 R6 out for a short ride today. Hereís my first impression.
OmmaGod! OmmaGod! OmmaGod!
I really, really like this bike. I just finished putting this bike together (see: Salvaged R6 Rebuild
) so my intentions for this ride were to just take it out and make sure everything felt straight and tight. I ended up staying out for about an hour, and thatís only because it was 38 degrees out. I was bundled up ok, but I didnít have my electric gloves on (no battery leads for this bike yet) so 15 minutes into the ride, my hands were numb. The fun I was having enabled me to stay out an additional 45 minutes Ė but love at first ride will only go so far.
Not being a moto-journalist, I really only have my 02 R1 to compare this bike to so much of this is based on that comparison. I found myself riding in between 8k and 10k under normal conditions, a good deal higher than I ride the R1 which I thought this was excessive at first, until such a time as I rung the bike out to 14500 RPM. 8-10k rpm felt quite normal after that. I was also able to ride on some open road at a relaxed 6ooo rpm and the bike is quiet and composed. There is clearly better wind\weather protection for the legs than the 02 R1 and the stock seat was very comfortable. Even when compared to the Corbin on my R1. The shorter reach to the handlebars makes for a significantly more comfortable ride (even though my R1 has heli Bars), but under hard acceleration I would prefer more of my weight forward. I sit nearly upright on the R6. As a result, I felt like I was hanging on for dear life when the bike starts to pull. Tucking in fixes this but I had to do so consciously. The R1 places you in a tucked position automatically due to its ergos. I know I will be dropping the tubes down when I take it to the track which will take care of that, but for street riding the position is a welcome change from my R1. The R6 will likely take over commuting duty from the R1. I have ridden other 600s before, most recently an F4\F4i and ZX6R. This bike seems to have more midrange than either. Even coming from an R1, I can say with some confidence that I don't think power is going to be an issue with this bike. The front wheel comes up with almost no problem. Bouncing it up at 10k is absolutely effortless, and easily felt more controllable than the R1. I will have to work on the suspension, not because of the bike but rather because of my weight. The bike became unsettled over rough terrain under hard acceleration and head shake came a bit too easy for my taste. In the bikes defense, itís not sprung for someone of my weight, and I have not even tuned the suspension yet. It still has the stock settings. The bike feels absolutely planted and smooth at speed in sweepers and tight turns alike on smoother ground. I think I can already state that the 05 R6 handles better than the 02 R1, but I will refrain from making such claims until I become more familiar. But the very fact that I felt comfortable enough to ride the R6 semi aggressive on my first ride out with it speaks volumes. I expected more bite from the front brakes. Theyíre not bad, but compared to my 02 R1, they needed more of a pull. Feel was better however, and there was no evidence of fade but I didnít push it hard enough to be sure. Only the track will tell. Also note that I am comparing the brakes to my R1, which has braided lines, fresh high quality brake fluid and brand new HH rated pads. These are among the very first mods I intend to make on the R6.
Iím not certain Iím ready to give up on the power of the 02 R1, but for pure fun itís hard not to like the R6. I have always enjoyed that the R1 allows me to be lazy with regard to shifting, but I found the fact that I had to work to make the R6 go made it more engaging and therefore more fun. I thought at first that having the R6 and R1 would be kind of pointless; I mean why have two sportbikes? What I have found thus far is they are vastly different bikes, both fun but in different ways.