Its been almost a month since I swung my leg over my FZ6.
It was interesting how nervous I was at first. The bike was bigger and more powerful. Everything I had read on the internet had created a subconscious thought that the moment I moved the throttle the bike would shoot from under me and impale itself into a wall, leaving me broken and bruised behind it.
None of that happened. My ride out of the dealer parking lot was uneventful. I had one stall leaving the parking lot. I forgive myself for that considering I had not ridden in three weeks at that point.
Beyond that. Mantis is a bigger bike. He is taller and wider then the Ninja. However the riding position is more comfortable. I noticed immedatly on the ride home that I did not have the buffeting about the head that I did on the Ninja. Nor did I have much air flow across my body. Later rides with my other half where he complains about wind and I raise an eyebrow in puzzlement have led me to conclude that despite the half fairing has excellent wind protection. My legs are also tucked closer into the bike and do not receive the same airflow as the ninja. I may get a belly pan, I'm not sure yet.
The bike moves better. It 'falls' into turns more. I did not understand the term until I almost freaked myself out on the road to the house. The bike moves with me without my putting effort into my hands. The balance of my body is just as important. The ninja I pushed and pulled around. Some days it feels like I just tip myself into the turn and everything else flows with my wants.
I find the ride to be smooth. The ninja had a chug chug vibration to it that Mantis does not. In fact he kind of hums along butter smooth under 7k rpm. Under 6k the bike is managable. Nothing is unpredictable or suprising with throttle control. The thorttle is *not* choppy or twitchy. This was adjusted for 2007. Low speed is fine, but the FI likes to stay over 5 mph or it makes a bit of noise.
After 8k the bike buzzes. I think of it as excitement. Once you hit that 'magical' 8k rpm the inline 600cc engine comes to life and a beast bursts out of the bike. The first time I opened up, out of habit from the ninja to pass a car (I was in the left lane but the car was crawling and I didn't want to be beside it on the bridge), I opened it a lot. The bike rode up the rpm's hit 8k the mirrors started to vibrate and holy "fudge" I was at 97mph from 60 in a blink of an eye. That scared me a bit. I was in control but the bike just blew through the speeds and chopped up the road. My ninja had a longer wind up time and in general I was impressed.
I've managed not to drop the bike. I had the whole incident with the ramp but that has been resolved. The weight is higher and low speed feels different, but it is not hard or ungangly. Sometimes backing out of the shed is a bit of fun since I back down the ramp into the gravel driveway.
The brakes are large and incredible. The rear brake has a lot of power. I've spent a good bit of time getting to know them. Its also positioned better then my ninjas. As is the shifter. The bike shifts very smooth lacking the clunk of the ninja to announce each gear. However I do miss the neutral finder from Kawasaki. Sometimes going down through the gears while sitting at a stop is a bit of thought.
I now understand the torque debate. There is a difference. It isn't bad but where the ninja felt it was biting the road Mantis feels like he is sliding across it. Sometimes the feeling is a bit disturbing and I down shift a bit more. I now use more of my tire then I did on the ninja. I don't think I am riding more aggressively. I may be even more sedate then before. It is very easy to ask the bike for what it has and I don't need all of it.
The bike is very quiet. It winds up in the high rpm but its a mellow humming noise for the most part. I like it. I'm not into loud bikes and loud pipes. Gas millage is fine so far, we're doing about 50mph and we're not even to 1k miles so not yet broken in. I did my first service myself.
The end of next month I plan to take my first long road trip and visit Nalian in MA outside of Boston. I need to order some saddle bags.