When the first Yamaha FZR600 came out back in the day (1990) I was all over it like a rash. The black and pink paintscheme may have been a little 'let's go disco' naff but these were the days of the Carl Fogarty crazy worm leathers!
After that I owned one of the early Kawasaki ZX-6Rs and loved that too. I later had a Yamaha Fazer 600 which was simply a brilliant bike – the last carbed model and it did everything I wanted of it – really well!
So I felt I knew what I was letting myself in for the other night when I borrowed Adam Child's 2012 ZX-6R for a couple of days. I hadn't got a clue.
I was shocked by the ferocity of power, the extreme riding position, constant shriek of the engine and sheer, unadulterated speed. Admittedly I hadn't been on a 'modern 600' for a while and the Honda CBR500R had spoilt me.
The easy, get-on-and-go nature of the A2-licence-friendly Honda has made riding around back roads second nature. I have found my mind wandering as the bike makes steady progress without any fuss or drama.
On the ZX-6 my eyes were on stalks, every sense heightened. The absurd reality is that it took me longer to get home on the Kwak than it does on the CBR500, simply because I was so wary of the power and speed that I couldn't ride it properly!
Sure, I got used to it and by the end of the loan I was exploring the power and poise of the incredible machine. But 90mph… in second… really!?
It was with some relief that I handed the keys back and got back on board the user-friendly CBR500. The truth is the modern sports 600 has moved on a lot and I haven't. Welcome back CBR500…
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