How do you split five of the best supersport machines ever made? It's not easy, but using two of the UK's most successful and experienced racers, a Spanish race track and a day's riding on dry mountain roads is certainly a good start...
Sitting in a Spanish bar following two days of testing the new breed of 600s on both the track and road, we still haven't come to a conclusion. There are two pressing questions. First, who is our favourite film star and secondly, which is the best 600.
"The problem is that there isn't such a thing as a bad 600 anymore," reckoned Niall as a conclusion after deciding that Sean Connery's performances were a bit wooden.
"That's right. I remember a few years ago, there used to be good ones and ones that were really shite," agreed James, "but now it's more what you want to do with it. There are some that are best on track, but crap on road, some that are great on road but not so good on track and some that are good at both. Joe Pesci's good, what was that film where he shoved a bloke's head in a vice?"
"Casino. Yeah, the kind of person you are really influences your choice. Well it should do," said Niall. "Buy any of them and you won't be disappointed, but follow the headline grabbers and you may find one that you get one that doesn't really suit you, or what you want to do with it."
From this it may sound that we haven't really reached any firm conclusions when it comes to splitting these bikes, which is true to a certain extend, but also not true. Both Whitham and Mackenzie chose a top bike, well the one that they would choose out of the five anyway, but that doesn't mean to say that the others aren't worth touching. Variety, as they say, is the spice of life and one man's meat is another man's poison.
So it all started two day's earlier at the Almeria circuit in southern Spain, a track known for its tight and twisty nature which BSB and WSB teams often use as a pre-season test track. Being scrounging gits we managed to piggyback onto British company Front Row GB's three-day track day booking and after what was easily the best safety briefing we have ever heard including such gems as "wheelies, we like them and the circuit director does as well" and overtaking, err you can do it," which left Whit muttering about wishing he could say that stuff at his UK days as we unloaded the bikes.
The first job of weighing the 600s fully fuelled revealed the usual web of manufacturers' lies with none of the bikes being anywhere near their claimed weight, even allowing for a tank of fuel. If you care, the R6 and ZX-6R are actually the lightest, both weighing in at 193kg wet, while the Trumpet is a portly 202kg.With both Niall and James knowing their way around the circuit like the back of their hands after years of testing there, they joined in the fast group while I watched from the pit.
After a few laps to get the night before's Baileys out of their system (and you thought racers were hard men) they got down to the job in hand. A screaming engine announced the arrival of James on the Kawasaki as he howled out of the corner onto the start/finish straight and past the pits. As he passed, the ZX-6R looked like it was a bit of a handful as every gearchange seemed to bring a small shake from the head of the bike, and compared to Niall on the Honda he seemed to be having to wrestle the bike around. Which was confirmed when he came in.
Continue the 2005 600cc Supersport test - 2/3
Become a fan of Visordown
Follow us on twitter
Other Immediate Media Sites
Our eCommerce Platform
© Immediate Media Company Ltd 2012. This website is owned and published by Immediate Media Company Limited. www.immediatemedia.co.uk