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Classic Motorcycle Mechanics - - COMING CLASSICS -

hat we have here with the RF600 is Suzuki’s an­swer to the CBR600, and an en­try to the new-at-the-time 900 class to com­pete with the likes of Honda’s Fire­blade and the Kawasaki ZX-9R which were tak­ing the sports­bike class by storm. I re­mem­ber see­ing my first RF600 at my lo­cal Suzuki dealer in 1993 and was un­de­cided on its styling as I still am to this day. I love the body-coloured frame on the ear­lier mod­els and the vents in the side of the fair­ing looked awe­some but the su­per-wide tail-light? What was the de­sign team think­ing? I seem to re­mem­ber the road tests of the time say­ing that the 600 did ev­ery­thing well but didn’t excel at any­thing and had a slightly soft set-up to its sus­pen­sion when com­pared with the other bikes in its class like Yamaha’s age­ing FZR600, which was up­dated the fol­low­ing year with the FZR600R; it also suf­fered from poor mpg. Some chas­sis parts also ended up on the later Ban­dit 600. When the 900 was re­leased the fol­low­ing year many peo­ple were ex­pect­ing a Blade beater, but what we ac­tu­ally got was a softer more se­date all-rounder, which was amaz­ing value for money. I re­mem­ber a lad I went to col­lege with say­ing that it would be miles bet­ter than a Blade, so much so that I went to the lo­cal newsagents and bought a What Bike mag­a­zine just to see what all the fuss was about; this had the RF tested against the new ZX-9R. I can’t re­call the out­come of the test but I do re­mem­ber all the road tests I read at the time said both the RF600 and RF900 were priced very com­pet­i­tively es­pe­cially the 900 which was priced at £6799 while the ZX-9R came in at £8095 and the Fire­blade at £8195. The 600, how­ever, was only a cou­ple of hun­dred pounds cheaper than the ZZ-R600 and CBR600 although it was around £500 cheaper than the out­go­ing FZR600. Th­ese low prices came at the cost of the qual­ity of the bike’s com­po­nents (steel frame rather than al­loy) and

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