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Bought my J1 model 2nd hand in September 06 after passing my test about a month before. Firstly i would say everything on the bike has to be looked at in terms of value for money. Its not the fastest 600 and it certainly isn’t as light or chuckable as say a cbr or equivalent new 600, however for under 3k the bike you get is a absolute bargin.
Performance: Due to my age i was forced to have my ZXR restricted to 33bhp and even then it had the ability to overtake safely when the opportunity came. I couldn’t help but feel cheated my 109bhp bike had only a third of its stock power... so after a few months I had them taken out. Since then the bike has become alot easier to ride and much more practical on the road. Power delivery through each gear is smooth and the bike pulls hard in any gear above 5000 revs all the way to the limiter. The brakes are pretty good, however I would suggest getting braided hoses on the front as the original hoses do tend to expand and ruin any feel of confidence from the front end. The J1/J2 models are pretty heavy for a sportsbike but once you get used to it you can really have fun through twisty roads. Top speed is quoted at 168mph, ive only taken mine upto 140 (it did have a long way left until the redline) and to be honest it wasn’t a pleasant experience. On a track is the only way to explore the full potential of the bike and although I have been on a track day yet im pretty sure it could keep up with any similar 600's.
Aesthetics and equipment: I think the bike still looks superb for 7 years old and there are only a few bits on the bike that give its age away, mainly the 90's looking ninja stickers. The equipment on the bike is all very functional, grab rails and pegs are good, clocks are analogue but still do the job, under seat storage is ok for a sportsbike and all the levers, etc seem to hold together pretty well. Finding certain spare parts can be a bit of a pain, especially rear sets, so just be careful not to drop it like I did.... twice.
Living with it: I’ve covered about 7000 miles in 8 months and will say it would be difficult to find another sportsbike as practical as this. The riding position is a great compromise between comfort and performance with relatively low pegs and a neutral(ish) back position. Only thing I could fault on the comfort side is that on long journeys your wrists may feel a bit sore, however ive never found this to be a major problem. One thing to watch out for on the J1/J2 models is that they are fuelled by carbs rather than injection which means that on cold winter mornings they take a couple of minutes to get going (hence why they give you a manual choke). Tyres cost me about £220 for a set of continental ''conti-attak's'', mainly because the rear tyre is huge. Fuel consumption was great!... until the restrictors came out. Since then it has become a bit of a problem for me as i am a student and spending a £10 in 2 days on petrol just isn’t on. However this is probably due to my exuberant riding style and ive heard its possible to get 40-45mpg if you ride sensibly. One massive annoyance on this bike is the fact it doesn’t have a fuel gauge. You can either set your trip meter and guess how many miles you can get out of a tank or just fill up everyday.
One thing I would suggest is get a slip on race can, it makes the bike sound awesome, and they are really easy to fit (basically 5 bolts). Overall this is a great bike to live with, its not as quick as the new 600's but you can pick a good J1 model for around £2500-£2800 and that is an absolute bargin.
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