Adam Waheed, Age: 33 Height: 6’0” Weight: 181 pounds, Racing: Yamaha YZF-R6 Track Days: MV Agusta F3
First off I love Suzuki’s GSX-R750. That and the Kawasaki Ninja were the bikes I liked riding the most during our test. But since both those bikes fall outside the traditional 600cc racing class I wouldn’t buy one. I would get an R6. Over the years I’ve raced R6’s and for the money they are simply the best race bike you can buy. They are fairly easy to work on, reliable and it’s easy to get parts. They can be a little finicky to set-up but when you get it right they absolutely rip. If you’re going racing it’s a no-brainer. Buy an R6. But for track days when it’s all about having a good time, instead of trying to set the fastest lap (well hopefully it’s about fun) then I’d for sure ride an MV. It certainly isn’t the fastest bike for me, but I just plain like riding it. It’s nimble, has a good center of gravity and has an old school feel to it. The front end dives all crazy style when you brake then squats like an old school superbike when you slam open the throttle. The whole time the engine is screaming like it’s going to explode… it’s a wonderful thing. If you’re concerned about having a whole lot of smiles and don’t mind spending some extra cash, do yourself a favor and buy an MV.
Jason Pridmore, Age: 43 Height: 6’0” Weight: 185 pounds, Racing: Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R or Yamaha YZF-R6
The bike I’d personally buy for racing? That’s a tough choice. But I would choose the Kawasaki. The Kawi is really good. I don’t know what the exact form it needs to be raced in but I would go with the green bike or the Yamaha. The Honda handles so amazing but the acceleration comes up short and would put me at a little disadvantage right out of the gate.
Jen Ross Dunstan, Age: 25 Height: 5’4” Weight 105 pounds, Racing: Triumph Daytona 675R Track Days: MV Agusta F3
For me, the Triumph 675R is the obvious choice for a bike that is ready to race. Out of the box this bike is practically race prepped with all the goodies you would typically have to add on later- Brembo brakes, quick shifter, slipper clutch, and Ohlins suspension. When I’m going racing I need a bike that I can handle and have confidence on. The 675R had ergonomics that suited me great- short seat height, narrow tank, comfortable reach to the bars. Having a bike that fits my size and stature meant instant comfort and confidence and I was knee dragging and up to speed within my first session out. Add in smooth shifting, solid brakes, precise turn in and superb grip in the corners and you have a bike that allows you to focus on the main thing - improving your racing skills.
I choose the F3 as a track bike because I like that it is a unique model and it is just tons of fun to ride. The ergonomics of this bike was definitely suited to a shorter person like me and I found slow, smooth hands to be the key to manipulating this motorcycle's sensitive controls. Although some other testers found the acceleration to be a bit odd I personally enjoyed the power delivery of this bike, it was punchy and exciting going down the straights. The turn-in on this bike was fast and the F3 was super responsive to mid-corner inputs, something I wouldn’t mind if I were new to a track and still learning the race line. What resonates with me most and made me choose the F3 is that it is truly a different feel and sound from all the other bikes - and in a good way.
Jake Zemke, Age: 37 Height: 5’6” Weight: 150 pounds, Racing: Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R
As we rode in stock trim, for me the ZX-6R was the best bike. It was the most balanced and with that extra power it feels more like a race motor. It’s a little stronger off the bottom and pulls a little harder. Then also factor in the suspension, handling, and the riding position. It might not be the most comfortable on the street but it was the best bike out of the box in stock form at the track that day. It was by far the most pleasurable bike to ride.
Berto Wooldridge, Age: 38 Height: 5’8” Weight: 160 pounds Racing: Yamaha YZF-R6
The Yamaha R6 Is the number one selling 600 for a reason… it's so darn good. I can't say enough about the bike and while I wanted to really like a different machine, the R6 just did everything near perfect without a hiccup. No tucked front ends, no missed apexes (due to the bike) and when I did miss one, it was easy to get back to, perfect exits, great entries, cozy riding position, Awesome chassis… what is there to find wrong? How about that it’s been near six years since a restyle? That's a good one for what's wrong… but I see why, the bike is so damn good!
Paul Carruthers, Age: 52 Height: 5’8” Weight: 155 pounds Racing: Triumph Daytona 675R Track Day: Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R
When Waheed posed the question of which bike I'd chose to go racing on and which bike I'd choose for track days, I had to scratch my head. Fortunately, his question about my age, height and weight were easier to answer, if not more painful. At first I thought it was kind of odd that you'd pick two different bikes to either race at the track or ride around at the track, but the more I thought about it the more it made sense. For both, however, I'd pick the two bikes with bigger displacement. Mainly because I think both the Triumph and the Kawasaki can be a bit more forgiving on the track when you make a mistake… and I make plenty. I guess that's the "no replacement for displacement theory" as there's nothing quite like having a bit more grunt to make up for an error. Although I didn't mess with it at Chuckwalla because I didn't have the time, I'd like to spend a day or two getting the Triumph perfected as far as making it feel and work better for me. But the potential is there and I think at that point it would be a great bike to race. As for a track-day bike… well, it seems like you could just jump on the Kawasaki and go, thus spending more time working on your riding than on the getting the bike set-up. And isn't that the reason we do track days?
Bobby Ali, Age: 41 Height: 5’8” Weight: 185 pounds, Racing: Honda CBR600RR Track Day: MV Agusta F3
All of the Supersport bikes are amazing nowadays… but for racing there are some that are better than others. The Kawasaki, Honda, and MV impressed me the most on the track. The Honda would be a good choice, as the motor was great, and the bike turned in effortlessly. As a novice rider my main concern is on how the bike feels in the turns. The Honda gave me the confidence to push a little harder than some of the others. The Kawasaki had an amazing motor and having a slipper clutch is always a plus. Of all the 600s, this motor felt the strongest, even though the suspension was the softest of all the bikes. However, the top choice for the track for me is the MV. Wow, this bike is excellent. This Triple has an amazing motor that loves to be ridden up in the revs. The suspension is gives a lot of feel and was the best for the track set-up. The sound that the motor makes is eutrophic when you are up in the revs! The only thing that takes getting used to is the fly-by-wire throttle. It’s a bit quirky and feels abrupt at times. Still, I would buy the MV for my track bike all day long.