I bought one of these a few months back after writing off a 2004 R1. I thought I'd get something cheap but cheerful. The one I had had low km's and was in good nick too. Once I had the local bike shop service and tune it up I got a chance to give the bike a fair go. I remember lusting after one of these back in 1993 so it would be interesting to compare reality with to my 10+ year old expectations.
Well the bike actualy felt a little heavier than I thought it would though it is no porker. Also the general standard of build quality was not that great, bikes have come on a lot in 10 yrs! On the road the first thing that hit me were the brakes, they are strong and have a reasonable amount of feel, and I nearly left my bollocks on the fuel tank the first coupla times. The engine felt at best average in its output. You have to rev it hard to get max thrust almost like a 2 stroke and below 4krpm there is not much going on at all. Just as well the gearbox is a very slick affair, with clutchless changes the norm. First gear is incredibly tall, for track use only, and slipping the clutch from a standstill is required to get above 4krpm. The suspension on the road, albeit fully adjustable, is a little stiff and although there is reasonable feedback the general feel is a little agriclutural.
I took this bike on a track day as well and that is when this bike really began to shine. Modern 600's will beat it on the straights, but this bike loses nothing around the corners at all. You can slam on the anchors really deep into corners and throw the bike on to its side and it will just grip like hell and fly around the bends. Knees, pegs the lot.
After a few months I got a bit hacked off with this bike really because the engine is lacking power by modern standards, and I got sick of having to rev so hard and that tall first gear was a pain. So I have flicked it on. I sure miss the handling though, one of the best handling bikes I have ever owned.
If you get a chance get the SP version with flat sides. I rode a mates and the kick from those flat sides is far stronger than the standard CV's.