I have often seen 600ís referred to as a good starting point for any one new to biking, or even a "beginners" bike.
Most sportbike 600ís produced since 1990 are capable of speeds of at least 140mph (220kph), and will out-accelerate almost any car you can buy under $100,000 (and most over that price as well).
Add to this the unforgiving outcome of mistakes and the fact that you are not coddled with the protection of a steel cage, seat belts, air bags etc. and It should become clear that just because you CAN purchase a high performance bike for your first foray, does not actually mean it is a wise thing to do.
So what prompted this outburst? Well, it has often been the subject of discussion amongst us older farts, about the alarming rate of attrition amongst younger inexperienced riders. Not for any holier than thou reason, but a genuine concern about the safety of new riders and that of other innocents. Add to that the fact that it directly effects everyoneís insurance premiums and perhaps you can see why Iím roasting this old chestnut again. There is a very interesting article by David Edwards in the December 2002 issue of Cycle World on this same subject which is well worth a read.
In most countries, licensing for motorcycle use, regulates the rate of progression from true beginners bikes up the level of the phenomenal spotbikes available today. This regulation serves almost like an apprenticeship and allows you to learn to walk before you start running. Most North American and Canadian States/Provinces donít (I believe) restrict you in such a way. That, to my mind is a great pity. Instead, what legislation and traffic regulations we have are often ineffectual and misdirected.
Iím interested in others views as to what regulations they have experience of from elsewhere, that they think are good or bad. Iíll cite a couple more of my favorites whilst Iím on my soapbox.
Celphone usage (Unless hands free) is illegal in most of Europe, whilst driving. It has been proven to be more dangerous in terms of impairing the ability to drive safely -than DUI! Why canít we learn from others research?
If youíre at the head of a line of more than 5 vehicles MOVE OVER!! (Out side of town of course)