There's a huge step between the 500's and the supersport 600's. The GS500 cranks out about 40hp at the wheel. The EX500 runs about 50~55hp. A new CBR600RR is running about 95~100hp at the wheel. It's a huge step, but a tolerable one. When stepping up to the bigger bikes, it's an easier thing to look at bikes like the SV650 and ER6N or even the new Suzuki 650F's. Take everything in baby steps...and I really preach that there's no reason to ever step up unless you're exceeding the limits of your current machine. I can't tell you how many people got EX500's thinking they'd ride it until they outgrew it...then never outgrew the bikes.thanks for all the good info! a great read. i was really looking into a ninja 250r but am now considering something a bit larger (500cc range). is there really that much of a step up to a 600 from there? i'll be a first time rider and plan on taking the msf course and getting full gear (a given in my eyes)
minor side question: any good reason you can't/shouldn't wear sneakers while riding? (think vans) for all the courses i see boots?
Don't wear sneakers while riding. Wear something that actually laces around your ankle. If it's a matter of dress code, carry your sneaks in your backpack or something.