The 600cc motorcycle category is an incredibly popular segment of the bike industry – and for good reason. With around 600cc on offer, these bikes are incredibly light and nimble but they’re also fast and furious too. The supersport segment, to give it the proper name, offers some fantastic options for those who are looking for the perfect ratio of handling, speed, excitement, and affordability. If getting the most bang for your buck is the order of the day, then you can do a lot worse than by investing in a used 600cc motorcycle. The sportier 600s might look the part, but they’re generally quite low on riding aids, and they’re always coming up for sale – two very good reasons why the prices are always so low for secondhand models. But before we get started, here are a few tips for buying a used 600cc bike…
The Supersport Buying Guide
As we mentioned above, there are always plenty of 600s on the market – they’re a very, very popular choice – so it’s important that you don’t fall in love with the first thing that you see that’s roughly within your budget. Rare bikes these ain’t, so you can really take your time shopping around for the best deal. There really is no reason to settle for the first thing you find, because the stars will align to present you with a much better deal moments after you’ve just handed over a stack of cash for a pile of scrap.
And yes, there’s no shortage of rough machinery on offer either. The 600cc supersport racing category is a very popular one, and there are plenty of thrashed track day specials and ex-race carcasses for sale. Similarly, it’s not unusual to hear of an unlucky 600 getting thrown down the road once or twice before being sold. Also, like all good things, there are a lot of evil people out there who like to steal them and sell them on. So whatever you do, make sure you do a thorough inspection of the bike (and its history) before parting with your hard earned cash. Just be sensible, don’t rush, wait for the right deal to come along and it will all go smoothly.
So, without further ado, here are out top ten choices of bikes if we were in the market for a used supersport 600cc motorcycle:
Top 10 600cc Motorcycle Options!
#10. The Suzuki GSX-R600 (1997 – 2000)
Here we have the first generation of Suzuki’s SRAD (Suzuki Ram Air Direct) GSX-R600. When it first arrived, it was an absolute game changed. Armed with a powerful 599cc, 16 valve, four cylinder engine that produced 110 hp, 50 lb-ft of torque, and a ferocious top speed of 155 mph, GSX-R600s of this generation were a force to be reckoned with. With a weight of 383 lbs, this Suzuki is remarkably nimble and easy to handle, making it an absolute joy to throw into the corners. It can turn, it can accelerate, and it can stop too – so what’s the catch? To be honest, there aren’t many. These models are old, and that’s their biggest fault. Luckily, these old 600cc motorcycles don’t have much that can go wrong with them, so most mechanical issues are down to poor maintenance rather than manufacturing problems. If you can find one for cheap, then invest away. They’re a far cry from what’s on sale on the moment, but if you can live with dated looks, then do not discount these old beasts. As for a guide price? For a ’98 Suzuki GSX-R600 in immaculate condition being sold at a dealership, then expect to pay around $2,100.
#09. The Suzuki GSX-R600 (2001 – 2005)
You generally can’t go wrong with these older Suzukis, so if you want something a little fancier than the model listed above, why not fast forward a few years and get one of the two models built between 2001 and 2005? There really isn’t much difference in terms of performance between these newer models. The engine produces a grand total of 2 more horsepower pushing the total to 112 hp, the torque has also been raised to 51 lb-ft, and the top speed has been boosted to around 160 mph too. These minor improvements came at the expense of a little more weight…mainly due to the addition of a fuel injection system…From 2004 – 2005, the GSX-R600 benefited from new bodywork, and new inverted forks too. And no matter what year of GSX-R600 you choose, you can bet that they’re far more comfortable to ride than their nearest competition, which is an important thing to consider when you’re looking for a versatile 600cc motorcycle. Prices for these vary, but you can generally find excellent 2001 models for around $2,400. Of course, you can pay more or less depending on quality and model year though…
#08. The Honda CBR600F (1999 – 2005)
In the days before the CBR600RR, we had the humble 600F. For the model years we recommend in this entry, you’ve pretty much got a choice of the CBR600F4 and the CBR600F4i. Essentially, both models are excellent supersports machines that have all the thrill of a sporty 600cc motorcycle but with the added benefit of being a useful, everyday ride too. The carbureted CBR600F packs a 599cc engine that can produce a respectable 110 hp, 48 lb-ft of torque, and reach top speeds of 155 mph, all wrapped in a package that weighs in at a tidy 370 lbs. Despite being a Honda, the CBR600Fs have a few issues encoded into their DNA, with regular issues reported from the regulator and cam chain tensioners – but they’re only small problems that are cheap and easy to fix. If you’re tempted by the older Honda CBR600F series, then we would recommend going for one that was released after the year 2000 – because then you get the benefit of fuel injection. However, if you want a 2005 model, you can expect to pay around $3,500 for a great dealership quality used model.
#07. The Yamaha YZF-R6 (1999 – 2005)
The Yamaha YZF-R6 is the epitome of a great 600cc motorcycle. Introduced in 1999 to be the smaller supersport companion to Yamaha’s flagship YZF-R1 model, and a more sports oriented version of the already successful YZF600R, the R6 has a few accolades to its name. After Yamaha decided to revamp their engine, the R6 became the first ever 600cc production bike that could produce over 100 hp in stock form. Obviously, it was a title that it didn’t hold for very long, but it gives you a snapshot of how much Yamaha was putting into the development of this fine 600cc motorcycle. Between the years 1999 and 2005, the R6’s 599cc engine evolved to produce up to 120 hp, 50 lb-ft of torque and reach a top speed of 160 mph. While its competitors boast similar stats, the R6 does boast a very smooth power delivery, with a practical, usable midrange. If you can get your hands on a 2005 in reasonable order, then you’ll get the added benefits of USD style forks, LED lights, and radially mounted brakes. For a decent 2005 YZF-R6 from a dealer, expect to pay somewhere in the region of $3,650.
#06. The Kawasaki ZX-6R (2003 – 2006)
Coming with a slightly larger engine at 636cc, these Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R motorcycles are not for the faint-hearted. To put it bluntly, they’re Kawasaki in every sense of the word. They’re fast, they’re powerful, and they require a little bit of wrestling – but once you’ve got the hang of them, they’re absolutely unstoppable on the track. If you’re looking for something that ticks all the usual boxes but comes with a bucket of character thrown in for good measure, then this may be the 600cc motorcycle for you. When you’re looking for a used model, it doesn’t really matter which of these years you look for, providing that the price is right and that the model in question hasn’t been tortured too much. That’s really the main concern here: motorcycle abuse. They usually get a little roughed up while the rider learns how to control them… Apart from that, they’re pretty bullet proof. The engine can churn out a throaty 130 hp at the crank, and about 48.1 lb-ft of torque at the wheel. All in all, it’s a veritable powerhouse. Prices vary tremendously for these, but if you’re looking for one in great condition, you can expect to pay somewhere around the $3,000 marker, give or take a few hundred on either side.
#05. The Triumph Daytona 600 or 650 (2003 – 2005)
If you want something a little more exotic than you’re usual Japanese offerings, don’t forget the humble Triumph Daytona. In the days before the 675, we had the choice of the 600, and the 650. While both are quite fun, we’d actually recommend the later 650 over the 600. The old-school 600 feels a little underpowered, and Triumph managed to right that wrong with the 650. Powered by a 599cc, 16 valve, fuel injected four cylinder engine, the Daytona 650 produces around 114 hp at 12,500 rpm and 50 lb – ft of torque at the 11,500 rpm. As for the top speed, this old Brit is surprisingly quick with a reachable top speed of 160 mph. It’s surprising because the Daytona 650 is quite a large bike in comparison to its Japanese colleagues – but that can be a benefit if you’re a taller or larger rider. The only downsides are the clunky feeling gearbox, but that’s just the way it is (was), and it’s very difficult to get your hands on new plastics…so be prepared to see a few weather-beaten models. Prices can be quite low too, with an average (according to the internet) of around $3,000 for a 2005 650.
#04. The Ducati 749 (2003 – 2007)
Classing this one as a 600cc motorcycle is a little bit of a stretch, but it would be unfair to leave Ducati out of this list. After all, most of us aren’t going to under the scrutiny of race direction officials measuring every precious cubic centimeter, so who cares that this Ducati engine is a 748cc beast? It’s not just a 748cc engine that makes it buck the trend: it’s also an 8 valve, fuel injected V-twin too. Armed with 103 hp, 57 lb-ft of torque and a top speed of 150 mph, you might be thinking that the Ducati 749 might be a little behind the Japanese competition in the specs department – but take one for a ride and it may very well change your life. Or your riding style at the very least. As they say, variety is the spice of life. In an ideal world you’re going to want one that’s from 2005 or later because the earlier models have suffered from a few electrical issues on occasion. Don’t fret though, because that’s par for the course for the Ducati’s of this era. As for prices, you should be expecting to pay something in the region of $4,500 for a 2004/2005 model. It’s pricier than most on this list, but you are buying a Ducati at the end of the day.
#03. The Kawasaki ZX-6R (1998-2002)
You might be wondering why we’ve placed an older Kawasaki ZX-6R further up the list than its more modern counterpart, and we have a good reason: general practicality. These older 600cc ZX-6Rs are much more street friendly than the newer 636 models. If you want a 600cc motorcycle that can won’t be chomping at the bit when you’re just trying to go for a casual ride around town, then this Kawasaki Ninja is a superior choice to the 636. They do not have the performance, the presence, or the character of the newer models, but that’s not always a bad thing. The carbureted 599cc still offers a decent 111 hp, 48 lb-ft of torque and a top speed of 150 mph, but in a much more manageable package. Now, finding one in good condition might be tricky, since they’ve been on sale for a fair while now – but if you can get one in good working order for around $2,800, then you’ve found a faithful companion to get around on.
#02. Honda CBR600RR (2003 and onward)
The only reason why the Honda CBR600RR doesn’t take the top spot is the fact that it doesn’t have the same kind of sex appeal as our numero uno. As an all-round machine, the CBR600RR is the perfect of example of everything a 600cc motorcycle should be. It corners impeccably, the handling is divine, and it’s alarmingly easy to ride and have a good time on. The engine may not be as aggressive as other models in the segment, but maximum performance isn’t everything. That being said, the 599cc engine produces a very respectably 117 hp, 49 lb-ft of torque, and is capable of hitting 160 mph. On paper, it’s fine, but in reality the midrange is a little lackluster, and overall the whole package isn’t the most comfortable to ride. Reliability is rarely an issue though, however it’s not uncommon to hear of the odd warped brake rotor, the occasional cam chain issue, and battery issues. If you’re looking for a used 2005 CBR600RR, expect to pay somewhere in the region of $4,000 from an official dealer.
#01. Yamaha YZF-R6 (2006 and onward)
If we could pick one 600cc motorcycle to see us through, it would have to be the Yamaha YZF-R6, specifically from the year 2006 and onward. While we’d pretty much be happy with anything else on the list, there’s something about this R6 that makes it such a versatile bike. It’s an absolute machine on the track with razor sharp handling thanks to the top end suspension combined with a fun, revvy engine that enjoys a work out. The 599cc engine shoots out 127 hp and 49 lb-ft of torque, boasts a top speed of 160 mph and weighs in at 354 lbs. In an ideal world, you would want a model that’s from 2008 onward but they don’t come up as often as the older versions. What makes the ’08 superior to the older ones is the fact that it can be adjusted to deliver more useful midrange power making a better every day runner. If you’re not concerned with day to day comfort, then get yourself an ’06 and give it some on the track. You can pick one of those up for about $4,000 for one in great condition.