Moving from a 2007 Yamaha R1 to a 2015 Suzuki GSX-R600 (Warning: Long)
When I was looking for something to replace my 2004 Kawasaki Ninja 500R that lasted 109k miles, I was initially looking for a 2008+ Yamaha R6. While I was looking, I noticed that the R1s were coming in at around $1000-$1200 less than the R6s. I initially wanted a 2004-2006 R1, but a decent deal popped up on a 2007 R1 with 14k miles and so I pulled the trigger (2007-2008s went from 5 valves per cylinder to 4, went to ride by wire, shortened the intake runners past 10k rpm, and were the last of the flat plane cranks). At first I bought into the hype of the R1 being a lightweight literbike, but was disappointed when the actual weight fully fueled was 460+ pounds.
The closest track to me is Jennings off of I-75 near the FL-GA state line. It is a tight track and although the R1 was incredibly stable, I was never “one” with it as I felt I had to wrestle it into the turns. When I was sitting on various bikes, even the current generation R1 felt top heavy.
Other issues with the R1 were as follows. The main source of dissatisfaction stemmed from the fact that the engine did not wake-up until the engine climbed north of 10k rpm. Then, redline hit quickly at 13.75k rpm. By then you are exceeding any speed limit in the US in 1st gear. I just couldn’t use it without the fear of getting arrested. Plus, Jennings is such a tight track, I rarely made it past 3rd gear. I never did make it to Daytona before the R1 grenaded its engine at 53k miles, which was another disappointment. The second issue was that 1st gear was so tall that it struggled to come off the line unless you were feeding it a lot of revs, which was annoying on a daily basis. This necessitated re-gearing, which also for me meant a SpeedoHealer. The next issue was that the ergos were designed for a taller rider than me at 5’5”. This led to me purchasing some Vortex rearsets that were great, but the shift rod wouldn’t fit through the frame, which necessitated switching to a GP shift pattern (this led to another issue—the leverage generated from the shift rod being so far from the bike caused it not to stay attached to the shift rail, which left me stranded once and limping around until I could get home several times until I bought a shift knuckle manufactured by Woodcraft). The next issue was the cat collapsing and nearly melting everything above the exhaust and the exup valve motor dying. This necessitated grinding off the valve and buying an attachment in place of the motor to get rid of the check engine light and getting an aftermarket midpipe to eliminate the cat (I couldn’t afford a full exhaust at the time), which was a good time to get a tune (I’m fuzzy, but I think that pushed wheel HP past 160). A few years ago, I lowsided at Jennings and tweaked my left bar. A new bar was like $100+ and so I went with clip-ons. I didn’t realize that this meant that I could no longer use the stock steering stabilizer. This eventually led to be buying a Scott unit approximately 2 weeks before the R1 died.
So when I looked for a replacement, my priorities were a race influenced bike with low weight and a bike that I could use on the street without necessarily getting arrested. I also wanted a bike with a longer production run than two years. I narrowed the choices to the GSX-R600 and CBR600RR. I came across a decent price on the 2015 GSX-R600 with 6k miles and pulled the trigger.
I absolutely love this bike! I love the mid-range. I love how it comes alive lower in the rev range and doesn’t just light up at the top end. I love how flickable it is. I love how the ergos are right for me. I love how I don’t have to sprinkle it with aftermarket parts to make it work for me. I can’t wait to take to Jennings.
I know that for many, the 750 is the better bike, but for me, the 600 is perfect. I probably wouldn’t have thought this had I not come from a literbike, but this is where I am now. Thanks for reading.