If it's your first middleweight 600, it'll teach you a lot
Persistent problems with warped feeling front discs when braking - front discs replaced three times free of charge, but problem never sorted.
Again front brakes. After the discs were replaced a couple of times the brake lever never felt as firm as it did when I first bought the bike, even after fitting braided hoses. Spent many hours bleeding and re-bleeding, but never got it back to normal.
Head bearings at 12000 and 21000 miles.
Rear wheel bearings at 26000 miles.
Unsurprisingly, rear shock pretty slack by 29000 miles!
The power is typical Kawasaki, a big rush towards the top end of the revs. It sounded great too, with it's ally Quill race can. I had to buy a green one, obviously, a top looking machine in my opinion!
Started out on Bridgestone 010's, which felt fantastic and the rear did about 3500 miles. I went to Metzeler Sportecs, which weren't quite up to the 010s' levels for feel. Eventually had to go for more touring type tyres cos of the mileage I was doing. Pirelli Dragon GTS, which lasted about 5000 miles on the back, but neither ends gave much feel.
But the thing was great to ride, very fast (wicked acceleration from about 7000 rpm and top speed of 172 indicated), stable and forgiving. I remember having one mother of a tankslapper when accelerating hard over cats eyes, which by rights should have either had me on the floor or bouncing into the car I was overtaking (must have scared the crap out of them; proper lock-to-lock job). But it kept me upright, which I was very grateful for.
I went up two teeth at the back sprocket in an attempt to get some of the rampant feel of my mates '99 R6. It didn't make a lot of differnce at higher speeds but it did come up on the back wheel a lot more often then, in first and sometimes second.
The only really gutting thing was the trouble I had with the brakes. It still hurts when I think back to all the trouble I had, but the front end was not right from the start. When braking down from a good speed, it always felt like a warped or badly fitted brake disc. To be fair Frasers of Gloucester replaced the discs three times to try and sort it (mind you the last time was because the previous set were 2mm undersize - make of that what you will), and the front wheel was balanced. The problem was never sorted.
Also the front brakes went soft at the lever, and I spent HOURS over the course of a year bleeding over and over again trying to sort that out, ending up with braided hoses and spending a lot more time trying to bleed those. Still never fixed it. That was the only thing that let this bike down. I remember that the brakes were amazing when I first got the bike, but it wasn't long before that feeling was a distant memory.
In the end I couldn't face riding the poor thing through a third winter and so sold it to get myself four wheels and a big stereo...
The build quality is not fantastic, and it will suffer if you take the thing through a couple of winters. Keep up on the servicing and preventative maintenance and it shouldn't let you down.
I did love my time with it and compared to the VFR; what it lacked in torque, it made up with in attitude and handling.
Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 3rd January, 2007