In truth there can be no call between the two; it’s a mater of individual preference. I had an amazing amount of fun on the 599 – proper hooligan fun at times. The 599 demanded to be ridden hard all the time, turn that loud handle, rev that engine, grab those brakes, lean forward on the bars… it dances to a much more frenzied beat than the 919. It was more interactive, more participatory; a frantic videogame for the real world that left me grinning like a mad man. As a package the 599 is just good fun; ride it and be smiling for the rest of the day.
In fact I would likely choose the 599 over most of the 600 class sport bikes, because on the 599, speed feels like, well, speed. If you’re going fast, you feel it, the bike gives you a real sense of velocity… the wind will buffet you, the bike will talk to you, and you feel like you’re working it. A CBR600RR is a wizard of speed and time, it covers the corners and leaves you asking, “was that it then?” – there’s not the same feeling of accomplishment at hustling through the twists. It just doesn’t do it with the same energy as the 599, and nowhere near the same sense of speed. A CBR600RR is track fun and on the road you know it, a 599 – it’s just good road fun – period.
Which is why I would choose the 919.
I’m sure I would be on my way into the dealership to pick up the 599, all giddy with the thought of how much fun we’d be having on day runs, reveling in the street-fighter marketing pitch, and next thing you know… I’d be riding away on the 919.
The engine. The gorgeous smooth torque is something that the 599 can only dream of. A large portion of the 599’s frenetic feeling of energy comes from the buzz; its persistent buzz through bar, seat and peg. When contemplating multi-day rides, the 599 is your jittery, over-caffeinated friend, who’s buzziness makes even coffee a bit nervous. It’s a bit wearing after a 60km ride, tedious after a day, and I choose to edit it out of my memory when considering longer journeys. The 919’s easy, mellow power delivery makes the entire bike more versatile; eliminating the 599’s buzz gives us a bike that is properly multi-talented. Ripping the local coffee run is fun, day-runs are a breeze, and thoughts of multi-day tours won’t leave you cringing. The engine serves to make this bike just so much more comfortable; it’s a hard factor to ignore, the 919 attacks the road with torque-y poise and valor, while the 599 flings itself along with vibrating revving furry.
But what about the 919’s suspension you ask, that was hard to ignore wasn’t it? The truth of it is the bike only gave a bit of “hoola” when really pushed harder than we should really admit to. And the dance-dance revolution action that did occur may well have been a factor of the 919’s tires being a bit older than those on its little brother. That aside it’s a lot easier to upgrade the 919’s suspension than to try and increase the power and pull the stinging buzz out of the smaller waspy one.
So where does the 599 fit? It’s a stomping introductory bike and a good urban commuter. You’re saving a whack o’ cash ($2000.00 before taxes, etc.) over the 919, and it will continue to save you insurance, being in a lower bracket (at least here in British Columbia). As another costing consideration, the tune-up costs for the 599 may add up a little more over the 919 because of the carburetion. But if you’re a rider whose range often extends beyond city limits, someone who holds onto a bike for several years, or you’re concerned about outgrowing your bike, the 919 offers a lot more to room grow.
Test Bikes Provided By:
Carter Motorsports Coquitlam
#11-1300 Woolridge St.
Phone: (604) 519-0000
919 MSRP: $10,999.00 CND
599 MSRP $8,999.00 CND