After passing my bike test at age 18 and giving it up age 24, marriage kids bills etc I am sure you know the story, and not having had a bike for 10 years it was time to take to two wheels.
The bike was selected, a second hand VZ800 Suzuki. This turned out to be the biggest mistake I ever made, with pulled back bars and low seat height the best I could manage was half an hour before I had to stop and fall off, begging some passer by to pick me up.
You would have thought I would have learnt by this but no, not satisfied with one mistake after nine months of the VZ I decided to make another.
I set off to visit the local dealer and pulling in to the yard there it was, a very large and very heavy Kawasaki VN1500.
The test ride was arranged and I returned smiling. Now for those of you looking for a cruiser the VN1500 is great, if you are looking for a bike to ride on dry summer days only, it did not stop or inspire any confidence in the wet at all.
Well it finally dawned on me that I had the wrong kind of bike, and the constant scrapping of foot boards complete with showers of sparks, fun to start with was becoming a pain.
Time to find the bike of my dreams or maybe as close as I was going to get.
Having set off on a round trip of the local dealers it was clear that the only deal I was going to get for the VN1500 was with the local Kawasaki dealer.
A deal was made and a 2000 ZX-6R was selected. Now for those of you who know me, I had not wanted a sports bike but a more all round machine. What I wanted was a bike for all weathers that was quick and with reasonable handling and could be ridded down country lanes at 50 mph as well as cruising at motorway speeds.
To my surprise this is what I got.
Climbing aboard the ZX-6R felt very strange at first, it felt small and very high up compared to the cruisers I had been riding, but with every mile it became more and more natural.
I had been told that sports bikes are no good around town, somebody should tell the ZX-6R, as manoeuvring around town traffic was a doddle. Shouldn’t my arms be aching by now?
I had also been told that a 600cc motor had no pull at low rpm, not the ZX6R it would pull smoothly in top from bellow 30mph and although you get a kick in the pants at 9000 it was still smooth and very manageable for this sports bike newby.
Once on the motorway it was clear that the larger than average fairing for the class worked well.
It was easy to sit up right at motorway plus speeds and most of the rain seemed to miss leaving you damp rather than soaked. My only gripe about the fairing is the mirrors, err nice elbows mister.
The handling was everything I had hopped and more. Now I am not in the habit of flying down country lanes at mach 5 with my hair on fire, but I do like a bike that inspires confidence.
The ZX-6R gives this and more, you want to push no problem, but if you want to potter along enjoying the smells of the country then that’s fine too. It seems to me that the ZX-6R offers a perfect balance of fun and relaxed riding that’s suits the way you want to ride it.
Now the brakes…what can I say. You only have to think about stopping and your wish is the ZX-6R’s command. I have ridden and owned in my time more than 25 bikes ranging from a Honda SS50 to a GPz1100 B1, oops - showing my age now.
I have never stopped so easily and quickly in my life. Now you may ask is this not a problem in the wet, well no. The ZX-6R brakes have fantastic feel as well as fantastic stopping power.
As you can tell, I like the ZX-6R a lot. It’s a great bike for those of us looking for a sports bike that is something more than the sum of its parts, and is not all about going quickly and track days but a practical bike for the real world motorcyclist.
P.S. Ray, no need to eat the tyres, you where right.