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Hi there~

I am a newbie, I've been lurking on the forum for the last couple of months. I am in the market for a new/used bike and am interested in the 500R or the 650R. Hopefully I'll join the ninja family soon. :D

The problem is, I am having a difficult time finding any 650Rs in the area(L.A.), so I have no idea how it feels like to sit on this bike. I tried a couple of used 500Rs last weekend and they felt great! The seating position was not as up-right as I thought and felt somewhat sporty. What can I expect from the 650R in comparison? I am not tall(5'8") and would like to flat foot, which I could on the 500R...the 600R is listed only .6" higher and hopefully that's barely noticeable. Does the bike feel bulkier? Is the seating position more up-right? Kawasaki claims that the 650R engine is more compact than 500R so I wonder if the bike feels narrower. I would love to hear from anybody who has tried both.

Thanks in advance!!!
 

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Whats up Killer,

I was in the same boat as yourself a few months ago. I could find every bike imaginable at the dealer, but they never had the 650. Finaly two months ago, one shop actually got it in and I was able to sit on the beast.

I thought the upright position was going to be very straight up riding position, but it turned out to be very sporty and comfy. If its not sport enough you could always upgrade your bars for a more sporty feel.

Bike is very light and can easily be whipped around after you get the feel for it. Im 6'1" so I can't help you with the hight, but im sure you'll be fine with it.

Its definetly a great starter bike!
 

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I've been able to ride both the 08'-650r and the 09'-500.
If you are shorter than 6ft tall, and dont mind the obvious design difference in the bikes; go with the 500. Its definitely a nice rider, very fun, and it actually sounds really nice . It does NOT feel sluggish or slow. But if you are about 6ft tall , and want a sportier looking bike, then the 650 is IT. It rocks. It feels heavier than the 500 and has a higher center of gravity, but you get used to it quickly. And its fast and all too.
 

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I don't see why being under 6ft should put you on a 500 instead of the 650. I'm 5'7" with a 28" inseam and ride a Versys which is WAY taller than the 650R.

I'd buy a 650 before the 500 as the motor is creamy smooth and plenty powerful along with updated parts and specs. The 500 is a great bike with a proven reputation and you wouldn't be doing bad with either one, I'd just rather have a 650 (in green at that too, Damn is it sexy in the green).

 

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Height shouldn't be a prob man. The rear shock is adjustable as well. Me personally. I hate the way the 500 looks. This 650 is my first street bike and I love it. Not to mention I'm a big dude and I still get 50MPG.
 

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Keep in mind the 650 was built as a replacement for the 500, but hte 500 keeps selling so they keep making them. And I don't know where you've been looking but there are tons of 650's in the LA area.
 

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I have a 650 and I'm 5'7. I am not completely flat foot, but very close and like DawgFan said the rear shock is adjustable.
 

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The new 09's will be out in mid January, they have a narrower seat which should make it easier for shorter riders to get their feet on the ground...
 

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for me it was hard finding the 500.

I'm the same height as you.
I sat on both bikes and I own the 500 now. the 500 is a little more comfortable being more upright and less sporty, but it's great for just running around town, especially with a passneger since it has a nice full length seat, its got enough speed and acceleration to keep me satisfied and its limits in the corners are still higher than my limits. It's an awesome bike but more tuned to city streets.

I haven't ridden the 650 but it felt much more like a racing bike and you were leaned over the tank more and had to lift your head up higher. the seat was higher too, I had a hard time getting flat footed.

Just depends on what kind of ride you are looking for. 500 isn't as fast and puts you in a 'easier' riding postion but the 650 has more performance
 

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I'm not sure if you're still mulling over the differences between these too, but like you and many others, I was in the exact same boat only a couple months ago. My local dealership always had 500R's in stock because, frankly, they're uglier and less powerful. The only way I was able to finally sit on a 650R was by meeting up with people selling their's on Craigslist.

I chose the 650R and have one now.

Riding Height
I am 5'7-8" too, and I cannot flat-foot on my 650R. The height is a little higher and i believe the seat is a little wider. However, it is definitely comfortable to sit on. When it comes to getting my feet down (I have no experience on really steep hills), I do not have any problems while riding.

Seating Position
I was quite surprised by how upright the 650's seating position is. I recall the 500 (it's been a couple months since I've sat on it) to be more sporty. The 500 felt like a very narrow bike to me, however, and the 650 feels thicker like the beast it is. If you want sportier, it does need new handle bars. Overall, the seating position is definitely more upright/touring style, but it doesn't stop me from leaning forward and pushing it! :D

Hope this helps and good luck with your purchase! Let us know how it goes!
 

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I have a 650 and I'm a girl and I'm 5'6. I thought the 650 was going to be too big (engine wise) for me as I had never ridden before, but I sat on the 500 and thought to myself, what am I doing>? I can't ride this? Then I sat on a 650 and I instantly knew that was the bike for me. It's wicked fast (for my standards), I keep up with my speed demon husband who rides an R6 and I whip around town like it's nothing. It's all on how comfortable you feel I would think but the 650 is a very forgiving bike as well, and way more comfy than the R6 as it's not nearly as aggressive. Good Luck!
 

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Just a note the 650 comes from the factory on setting 3 for the rear shock. I want to say this is for someone 150lbs. You can lower this say to 1 and it will sit on the ground basically, especially with my 220 sitting on it. I have mine on 5. It seems more ideal for my weight.
 

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Having had a 500 for 6000 miles, and now having my 650 for 6000 miles This is my take.

First off, the biggest difference has got to be how you "sit" on the bike. You feel like your sitting alot lower on the 500 than the 650. The 6 is slightly taller, but the way its engineered you feel like your WAY up there. Im nowhere 6' tall, actually im just over 5'. The 650 is more top heavy. Even with the suspension set to 1 your not going to see a drastic change. I actually keep mine set at 6 and I weigh 150.

FI is deffinatley a plus. Starting my 500 in the cold was always a chore. Not so this season with the 650. It fires right up, first time, every time, no choke.

Suspension is LOADS better on the 650. No, its not SS level, but its alot less mushy. Also braking is lots better.

I dunno if the windscreen is that much shorter, or if your sitting up that much higher but the wind hits me about 4" lower on the 650.

160 vs 140 (or is it 130?) rear :)

Not to mention the 650 is so much more updated. Smaller physical engine dimensions, similar weight, flush mount turn signls, clear lense rear signals, nicer exhaust, faster. I do wish they would have done something even mildly sporty with the bars like the 500 and 250's did. I really hate the bicycle style clamp on bars, It just looks weird. The bike is sleek and sporty untill you see the bars which stick out like a sore thumb.
 

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I've ridden both. The 650 is way more fun and agile for me. The 500 is a good beginner bike tho. I say go with one you feel most comfortable on (so you can concentrate on riding) and also which one strikes you aesthetically
 

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I started early this year looking for a 08 250, I was a month late and a dollar short. then after doing some reading decided the 250 wouldn't fit on the type of highway riding I do.

I then decided to look at a 500 but couldn't quite get over my gag reflex... I wanted a bike I could look at and think "I HAVE to ride that", with the 500 it was more like, "You mean I have to ride THAT?!?!"

I then decided on a 650 as the bike fit my 6'1" frame and has more than enough power and gearing for the interstate and the passes that I travel over. I was going to wait for an 09 but found an 08 on craigslist that was just perfect.

So for me the difference between the 500 and the 650 was purely looks. sure the 500 would have been plenty of bike for my needs but I wanted a more current looking body style, same reason I don't walk around sporting a new pair of keds and bell bottoms with a giant frizzy perm.
 

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get the 650 and you won't have buyer's remorse later on.
09 650 is tons better then 08, having fixed vibrations issues and fairing noise, plus headlights look better. But still keep your options open, look at yamaha fz6r 09 has like really low seat height, suzuki 09 gladius also has low seat height and good engine.

so basically go to each manufacture website and find specs of each bike, especially the seat height in your case and price. But really in the end, its about price that determines what you can get.. if not, try the ducati 696 also good with low seat height.

You could always take stock seat to auto upholstery places or motorcycel seat repair places on web to shave your seat and modify to suit your inseam height.
Yes low seat height is very important in emergency stop situation otherwise you will drop your bike more often.
 

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I then decided to look at a 500 but couldn't quite get over my gag reflex... I wanted a bike I could look at and think "I HAVE to ride that", with the 500 it was more like, "You mean I have to ride THAT?!?!"

My biggest buzz kill after getting my 500 was when I had to convince people that it was in-fact a NEW bike. Its looks are so dated (relitavley unchanged since its birth in the 80's) everyone thought it was an old bike that had been very well taken care of.
 

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My biggest buzz kill after getting my 500 was when I had to convince people that it was in-fact a NEW bike. Its looks are so dated (relitavley unchanged since its birth in the 80's) everyone thought it was an old bike that had been very well taken care of.
It was supposed to be replaced by the 650, but they kept selling and wouldn't die lol. i think there is still a market for a good 500, perfect starter bike for those that want to learn on something they plan on keeping awhile. The looks stayed the same I'm assuming to keep the price down. I hate to see the 500 go out after 09, but with a body update and a switch to EFI may bring the price up to that of a 650...

Aren't there after market body kits that you can fit on a 500? should be... If not I patent the idea right now :Laughing rolling:
 
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