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Just returned from three days at Bike Week in Daytona and lots of demo rides. My Z650 experience was fine, but confusing.

I have never been able to ride one so was really looking forward to the ride and really had pretty much made up my mind to buy the next used one that came my way in the Atlanta area...as long as it was White. So, rode the bike with about eight other riders and had a good experience. I'm a smaller guy so the bike fit me very well. However, I did notice the infamous vibration that lots of people have commented on. I felt it as more of a pronounced buzz as opposed to a vibration, which to me is what a Harley does. :) Not a deal breaker, but there.

Then by chance I sat on the new Ninja 650 which fit me almost as well, just the bars a few millimeters further away, but still fairly high, which fits my short arms. Another group was just going out and the guy in charge asked me if I wanted to take it...so I did. Frankly, I was VERY impressed. I've never owned a sport bike or any bike with a fairing, I really prefer naked bikes. I've had two SV 650s and currently ride a '88 Honda Hawk GT650. Yea, I'm a naked fan. None the less, the Ninja was a TOTALLY different bike from the Z. It was faster, smoother everywhere and NO VIBRATIONS. When I got back the first question I asked was about the motor. When I was told they were the same, I realized the guy did't know what he was talking about so I went a few hundred yards away to the main pavilion and asked for the top tech guy. He told me the same thing. What!? Indeed the motors and 99% of the Ninja is the same as the Z650.

So why did the bike feel so much better to me? I have no idea and no one else seems to know why either, but I have found a couple of other people who have experienced the same thing. As I was pondering this I realized I had been riding the "Performance Edition" with the Akrapovic pipe. Other differences include clip-ons instead of tubular bars, and an additional 15 pounds of weight (from the fairing I presume) and the gauges are slightly different. Could the overall smoothness, performance and lack of vibration be because of these things? Maybe just from the pipe itself? Or the combination of the pipe and the clip-ons? I still prefer the look and lower weight of the Z, but I'm afraid the riding experience of the Ninja 650 has thrown a monkey-wrench in the equation?? Thoughts? Tremont, would love to hear from you, since you've experienced a different pipe set-up. Did it add anything to the riding experience other than more power?

PS: The Akrapovic pipe sounded great and I was wearing earplugs.
 
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