XB-9 CityX or Honda 599?

Sean Alexander
by Sean Alexander
Lee from Pennsylvania just emailed the following question:

Sean, I am writing this email to get a professional's opinion. Especially one who I may have similar riding tendencies with, if not quite the skill. I plan to ride responsibly most of the time, but know I will have to tweak the throttle once in a while. I have been interested in motorcycles since birth but only recently took the steps to getting my license.

Please keep in mind that I am 23 years old and have a bit of a speed freak temperament. I just finished the free Motorcycle Safety Course here in Philadelphia (just outside actually), PA. When I passed the class and received my license, my father told me I could have his old '94 Honda Shadow 600. This bike has sat in my uncles garage for a couple of years and needs some work to get it running (roughly $800 all told). That's not what this email is entirely about though...

The reason for this email, is that I am trying to make a bike buying decision. I looked on the forum and in other online sites and could not quite make a decision based on that. I really like both the Buell XB9SX (lightning CityX) and the Honda 599. Both are very sporty looking bikes with somewhat comfortable riding positions (so I hear, I've never ridden either). I've always liked Honda everything but, being a bit of a gadget freak, I love the ideas and look of the Buell. I will do most of my riding in Sub-urban areas and some highway use. I plan to use my bike for commuting and everyday use whenever possible at least until it's too cold or wet to ride here in PA. I would also like to use it for the two hour ride down to the crappy NJ beaches. As a new rider, I wonder what advice you can give me in a bike decision.

I will probably get my dad's bike fixed and ride it for at least the rest of this year and maybe next, but want to have an idea of what to buy when I'm done. I was hoping that you may be able to help, as someone who has ridden both bikes and is able to truly test their capabilities. Any other advice would also be appreciated. Thanks and Keep up the good work!

To which I reply: Lee, thanks for the subtle ass kissing, it is much appreciated! Wow, to tell you the truth, both of those are outstanding choices for the type of riding that you are describing. They are a bit fast/sharp for a beginner, but if you spend the next few months on that old Shadow, they should be fine as your first "new" bike. I lean a bit to the 599, because I know it to be slightly more reliable and a bit faster than the XB9SX. However, they are both excellent city & commuter bikes and tons of fun to ride in the twisty stuff. I commend you for your well-reasoned choices and believe you won't go wrong with either bike. However, if you get the chance, please attend a reputable advanced riding school, when you’re ready to move-up from the old Honda. It will greatly enhance the enjoyment of any motorcycle and should significantly boost your street safety margins. -Sean
PS. If you are thinking about club racing... there is really only one choice in this class of motorcycle: Suzuki SV-650
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