This thread has great potential to end-up being stickied, as a resource to point noobs at when they announce they're looking for an SS as their first bike.
I'm seeing the littler bikes as a no-brainer option for learners but for old timers, only under 2 out of (my) 3 main riding scenarios:
track / sport riding:
- track / sport riding
- short-mid range commuting
- big rides
I've been riding since the early 80s but I'm sure if I had one of these smaller bikes, I'd be a MUCH better rider within 4-5 track days.
short-mid range commuting
I'd give them a pass but probably a 7/10. An older fuck like me, who has only really ridden big bore bikes for 30+ years would definitely find 'em fun to tool around on, yes. For practical purposes (gas / plates / insurance / tires) they're a no-brainer. The issue I could foresee is that I'm spoiled with big-bore torque and gearing, which makes stop & go traffic much less work / shifting, as has been discussed out here many times. This isn't an issue for younger riders though, who without the benefit of decades of muscle-memory and clutch/brake/throttle finesse, are as likely to wad-up a supersport in traffic as they are to arrive at work / school safely.
When I go for a day ride, it's around 50 minutes of slab / secondary routes to get to where the twisties begin up north. Same thing to come home. So if I bother, I'll ride for 5-6 hours up there to make it worthwhile.
I've sometimes become impulsive when I get far enough west of Montreal and ended-up popping in to say hi to my folks (300 miles away).
This is the only application where I can't see an R3 cutting it. Smaller ergos, smaller tank / range, higher revs etc.. don't sound to me as a relaxing big-ride mount.
Final caveat... many of us older fucks might be slightly 'more developed' around the waistline. I go up & down between 190 - 205. I wonder if a 500 twin would deliver the same fun / learning experience as a 250-300, with just a little more oomph to haul a fatter ass around?