After owning one of these sporty, corner-gobbling gems, I seem to be getting a lot of hits from beginning motorcyclists who think that a 600 cc inline-four is a ´good beginner bike.´ It´s anything but and I´ve scared away a couple of newbies out of some sense of responsibility to protect them from themselves. The following are several good reasons NOT to get an inline four as your first bike: Really, NO sportbike is a good beginner bike for a number or reasons. 1. While it has a relatively small displacement the 600cc inline four has a HUGE amount of horsepower (HP) for its size (roughly 100 HP). To give you some perspective, my 2006 Honda Civic has about 40 more horsepower, but it weighs 3000 lbs! The Honda F4 supposedly goes 161 mph and I can personally attest that they can go 145 mph. Please trust me when I say going fast like that is not fun. It´s scary. In addition, this type of engine does not pull evenly as you run up the RPMs. Inline four sportbikes like this one are often described as having a ´Jekyll and Hyde´ personality. I´ve had several people say this to me and I agree. They feel kind of weak and clumsy below 6-7000 rpm, but once you hit what´s called ´the power band,´ they are viciously fast and more importantly, they´ve got a lot of torgue. Without getting any more technical, torque is what causes that feeling like the bike wants to jump out from underneath you when you roll on the throttle. It´s part of what makes riding fun, but it´s also why people wreck. So here´s a common way people wreck them: You´re riding along at 50 mph in 3rd or 4th gear and going into a turn. You misjudge your line or hit an imperfection in the road, gravel, etc. This causes the bike to lunge, which causes you to accidentally roll on the throttle. This is not something you can help. It happens to me every time I ride it; I´ve just come to expect it. The RPMs jump from 5 grand to 7 grand, the back tire breaks loose or you tense up and the bike goes right out from under you. Or worse, it takes you off the road or into the path of a car coming the other way around the curve. This is the main reason I would not recommend this bike to beginners: It´s just too powerful. And the power is in the upper reaches of the tachometer. It requires great skill to ride this bike the way it´s meant to be ridden. The rest of the issues with this bike for beginners mostly deal with comfort and the risk of dumping it in parking lots or driveways (especially if you´re small). However, they also contribute to what I said above: 2. It´s a relatively heavy bike compared to more modern sport bikes and naked standards(more than 430 lbs with fuel). 3. That weight is relatively high up, so it´s tough to balance. 4. The four cylinders make the bike really WIDE. I know this doesn´t sound that important, but that 31 5. The bike has sportbike steering, which means the bars don´t turn far, so it´s got a big turning radius. 6. The design of a sportbike stretches you out to reach the handlebars (making you more aerodynamic), but this causes steering to be difficult because you´ve got a lot of your weight on your hands. Couple that with a high center of balance, and the poor low-speed steering and I think you get the picture. This thing can be a pig at slow speeds unless you´re pretty tall and have long arms. 7. Finally, nobody REALLY wants to ride a sportbike more than 50 miles without stopping. It´s EXHAUSTING and painful. There are some other more technical reasons why this is not a good beginner bike, but I think I´ve given you enough. So, you´re still looking for a motorcycle, since I´ve talked you out of an inline-four. Here are three bikes I would recommend you check out: Honda Rebel 250 (cruiser-type bike), Kawasaki Ninja 250 (sport-type bike), or the Buell Blast. The first two won´t be particularly good on the highway if you weigh more than 150 lbs, but the Buell would be fine, especially for commuting, and it gets 70 mph! My wife is interested in learning to ride and we´re considering the Blast. It´s a 500 cc bike with about 30 horsepower (remember, the F4 has 100 HP!). It´ll give you plenty of acceleration unless you a big person and big people tend to ride cruisers anyway. If you want the sportbike look, but need a bigger bike, consider the Ninja. It also comes in a 500 cc twin cylinder engine. If I get another sportbike at some point, I might look at getting a Ninja 500 or 750. While I´m thinking about it, here is a bit about cylinders. . . Single cylinders (like the Buell) get great gas mileage and tend to have lower HP, but they have a reasonable amount of torque. Two-cylinders or ´twins´ are a bit more powerful and ´torque-y´, but still pretty forgiving and pretty comfortable. I´ve had one single-cylinder bike and one twin. I liked them both. The inline fours are VERY buzzy. I would encourage you to talk to other people you know who ride, but be very careful taking the advice of hotdogs and speed freaks. Sportbikes look really sexy and they can be really fun in the right environment, but in my opinion they are NEVER a good bike for beginners and the inline four cylinders are maybe the HARDEST bike to learn to ride well. Someone might make the argument that you can ´grow into it,´ but if you´re not hyper-conservative, you´ll kill yourself on it first. Of course, keep in mind that ANY motorcycle can get away from you if you don´t concentrate at all times and respect what its capable of. Here´s a bit about me. I´m not a big guy (5´11', 175 lbs), but I´ve been riding motorcycles on and off for the past 15 years. I know what I´m talking about with this bike. If someone tells you anything different about sportbikes, they´re either really experienced, good riders or really stupid. Either way, they´re not giving good advice to a beginner if they recommend a sportbike.