So I passed my full DAS a few weeks ago with a clean sheet on both tests, and am looking into bikes that I can move up to. I currently own a 12 plate KTM Duke 125 and to be blunt- it's been PERFECT! My brother got an R125 at the same time as me and it's spent about half it's short life in a garage having a repair. The KTM hasn't had a single fault since I got it. I'm keeping the KTM for at least it's first year (which would be till April) and then i'll be looking to make the step up to a 600cc+ bike. I was interested in one of the Honda CBR 600 RR bikes but they seem to have VERY mixed reviews. The only criteria I have is 600cc+ sports bike, reliable, and between £4-7000. So if anyone has any opinions/ experience/ recommendations they would be hugely appreciated!
Making the step up...
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If it were my money...
then it'll be a Daytona, good bike, great engine
People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.
Never one to miss an opportunity,
Can I have the KTM when you've done with it? It would make a good little winter bike for me.
As for a bigger bike, you could afford a nice Sreet Triple. Although it's not a sports bike it's a nice second bike as it's a good all rounder. Easy to ride in town and fairly quick once you're out on the bendy bits. Nice engine, too.
Try to be a sparkly unicorn, not a miserable cow.
there's always the Duke 690. May not be a sports but if the KTM has been perfect...
The mixed reviews of that CBR are because it's a compromise between track and road so people will view it differently depending. Really, it's probably more a road bike with track ability rather than the other way around as you don't sell a bike that's aimed at mass sales to ordinary people which is designed mostly for the track. I think when people get to the track it's a big effort to set up the suspension, tyre pressures, etc for the track from road settings. I've read also that it's the best balanced bike you can buy. I'd love to try one.
Also I'd seriously look at the cost of insurance. That clean sheet X2 (whilst damned impressive) means nowt to those bastards and often going for a sports bike means they'll rape you senseless - partly as it makes you a huge risk. A sports bike being ridden with only experience of pootling about for your test really does make it a sketchy proposition as far as I'm concerned and the stats do bear this out (to various degrees depending on your age). Going from 15bhp to around 120bhp is like going from a Cessna single propeller plane to a jet fighter. If you cock it up there will be little forgiveness in a bike like that unless your reactions are tuned to the behaviour of a faster, harder bike.
My advice is if you must have a sports then go for something like a CBR600F (the older ones). I saw one for under 3K recently. Odds are you'll never get near the limit of that bike before you reach the limit of your own ability or want an upgrade and it's also a compromise between the upright position you're used to and the head down race bike position so will ease the transition. The insurance will be cheaper and you won't be reduced to tears if you drop it. Get a red and black one. They're clearly best. Get some crash mushrooms as well.
Street triple is a damn good bike or if you must put a sports fairing on it, then the Daytona. The Daytona also does better mpg than the striple. If I had 4-7K then I'd be seriously considering a striple. Basically it's a sports bike but the nakedness will help keep your licence and it's a slightly lower insurance group. I'm a very picky git so with either of these bikes I'd want the R versions for the ability to adjust the suspension to taste. The new Daytona has a slight technical difficulty for me - the exhaust note means I must carry spare pants.
Also consider a Suzuki GXR 750. They don't have a good name for no reason. Again there are lots of good used ones out there for which the insurance should be cheaper.
There is a potential price bonus to be had if you buy in the winter period as bike sales will be down and dealers will be that bit more inclined to drop the price or throw some kit in to see some cash coming in, especially if they're struggling.
I'd remember to check the insurance - use the MCN compare thing to try different combinations and it'll let you know what happens when you do X. (e.g. a new bike might increase overall premium whilst a faster, second hand bike increases excess. Once you have an idea how this behaves you can get a better idea of how your insurance will alter when you're looking at the different bikes actually in stock at a dealer). 7K is a lot of money for a bike that you'll probably drop or crash. I've come off my current bike a few times at low speed for various reasons - luckily nothing seriously damaging or high speed. I'd spend around 3K on your first big bike, plus insurance and then spend some cash on some good kit as you'll really appreciate comfortable, high spec riding gear that barely takes a scratch in an off.