The Yamaha YZF600R: A great bike...yes the R1 and other bikes go faster, but hey, the Yamaha YZF600R is inexpensive and fun to ride...not to mention, a lot more comfortable.
I purchased my 1998 Yamaha YZF600R off of Craig's list (www.craigslist.org) in San Diego, and paid $3000. It had less than 8,000 miles on and it looks almost perfect. Most folks who see it assume that it's new. A new 2008 will cost you $7100 plus tax. Not much has changed so I feel pretty happy with mine !
My friend Steve Cirone a well known nature photographer took this photo of me riding near my home in San Diego, California
The Yamaha YZF600R engine is a liquid cooled inline DOHC four stroke, with 5 valves per cylinder. It weighs a little over 400 lbs dry. The front Suspension is Kayaba 41mm Telescopic forks with adjustments for spring preload, compression and rebound damping with 127 mm of travel. Brakes 298mm dual discs with 4 piston calipers an 245mm disc rear, 2 piston caliper. The Rear suspension Kayaba mono-shock with adjustment for spring preload, compression and rebound damping, rear wheel travel 119.38 mm It has a Fuel Capacity of 19 litres (4.9 US gal.) which means I can go about 240 miles before filling up.
Top Speed is rated at 151.5 mph although I confess to not having gone that fast....but for me, top speed is not all that interesting, it's the incredible sensation you get when accelerating (and cornering) that's the attraction...the YZF600R will get up and go fairly quickly. Red line is 13,200 rpm but at anything over 9,000 rpm it really jumps.
My YZF600R will does 0 - 60 mph in a quick 3.3 sec, the Yamaha R1 (the 1000 cc version) will curl your hair, reaching 60 mph in just 3.08 sec. For reference, a 1998 Porche 911 (which would sell for about $30,000) is left in the dust crawling to 60 mph in a sleepy 5.5 sec...so for 1/10th the price the Yamaha YZF600R actually delivers more fun per dollar!
I enjoy riding when I am in San Diego, often heading up to the mountains near Julian or out to the desert.
Speaking of the desert, If you're stateside and want to have some fun head to the desert on a Honda CR500 like the one I sold recently. Or get a similar newer model which is probably a bit lighter and certainly much more quiet than my old "two stroke beast". I fondly remember all the great times I had on my CR500, exploring the deserts of California and Baja peninsula. If you ride off road, please respect the environment and obey local laws
I get my motorcycle gear at NewEnough.com