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Surprise-spin: Kawasaki ER-6n :-) THUMBS-UP !

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by FormerUser1, Dec 19, 2005.

  1. EDIT: Talking with Trent yesterday, there seems to be NOTHING in the wind regarding LAM's compliance, the bike, as is, is above the LAMs power-to-weight limits. Scouring the Euro-newsgroups, there's also no word of restricting the ER6 for the various hp-limits/ classes in European countries (i.e. Germany has a 50hp class)

    Perfect weather and dry roads, yeeha !!
    Just right for the planned Kwaka ER-6n tester.
    Floyd Parkes in Fern Tree Gully is pretty much one of the first dealers to have one ready to-roll.
    Trent, the sales guy, gave us some of his time, much appreciated, thanks!
    The new Kwak comes in black (golden frame and bits), the silver one still wrapped and not quite assembled slumbering in the FP-workshop comes with a red frame/ triple clamps etc.

    If you don’t like the front end, the faired ER-6F is on the boards for sometime in February.

    Get all the tech stuff from those sites.

    Let’s get going then.
    A quick, first look reveals a short, compact bike, twin wave rotors up front, a small, single rear. Seat height is LOW!! at 790mm, great for shorties. The bike is narrow, the tank not very long. The 120/160 tyre-combo predicts a good choice of available rubber, at sensible prices…no $600/set here.
    Very limited room under the seat, the tray is tiny. Only 1 luggage hook each side at the rear, but the pillion-handles are generous and great for strapping down stuff.
    The optional accessories include topbox, smaller indicators and some other goodies.
    No clip-ons, but handlebars (great for modifications/ cheaper to replace if damaged).
    Standard switchgear which includes an emergency-light-switch, nice touch.
    BOTH levers are adjustable, another nice touch.
    The “laying-near-horizontal” rear shock is different and clears out the rear-end, no heavy swingarm-brace needed for a shock-mount.
    Looks even a bit flimsy, but showed up as rock-solid lateron.
    The frame around the front covers engine AND radiator, again a nice touch, if the bike ever slides along the road on it’s side, many vitals are protected (for at least a limp home).
    The small plastic cowls at the front of the tank carry the indicators, a stupid location as even a drop-in-the-garage will destroy those for sure. Easy enough to mount some aftermarket stuff between the triple-clamps though, plenty of space there, cable-routing is easy.
    The mirrors are conventional stalk-type, control-cluster-mounted either side.
    They look fine, don’t protrude past the bar-weights…and are utterly useless. Way too close in, rear-view is greatly obstructed. Other mirrors are a MUST.
    Luckily another aftermarket item easily/ cheaply found.
    No scope to lower the rear any further (if needed), the rear shock is mounted solid between frame and swingarm-bracket, no linkages/ dogbones. (but perhaps the seat could be scooped..?)

    Let’s get on then:
    The 650 parallel-twin burbles into life as soon as the fuel pump stops whirring-away.
    This is a NEW engine, not a worked-over version of the old donk out of the ER5/ KLE500.
    Brandnew ! And it’s a BEAUTY !! A REAL bewdy.
    The first 5k’s:
    Handlebars too narrow/ mirror-view obstructed by own shoulders. Gearbox feels very smooth, best described as a “like a typical Suzuki" box.
    Easy, low pressure, positive changes up and down. Easy to find neutral everytime. No funny noises. NO VIBES, particularly through the bars !!! The “?ugly?” headlight/speedo shape do a brilliant job of keeping the wind off, very nice and completely unexpected for a 6footer on a bike that looks and feels like a 250. Good seating position, nothing is cramped, very surprising again as the seat is low.
    Yep, she feels like a 250, turns on a 10c piece, too. Very agile, very responsive, no EFI-surging. Great also the feel of stability and solidity, the front brakes are superb, the rear, despite it’s tiny size, effective and easy to use, very good feel/ nice feedback.

    The small instrument cluster doesn’t provide the “Enterprise-dashboard-lightshow” of the Guzzi Breva 1100 ridden a few hours later. Small, clean, easy to read, topped by the tacho, few idiot lights (the usual). Suspension is firm and controlled.

    With barely 1000km on the clock, there was no urge to give the engine a hard time, but… this is a gem. 6th gear roll-ons from 70kmh at 2000rpm…no problem at all.
    No baulking, no farting-around. There’s power all-through the rev-range, from 5000rpm she starts to boogie….and getting to that 5000rpm is no problem either. No rocketship, but healthy and continuously USABLE power.
    There’s even half-decent (compared to our 650 single) engine braking down to about 3500rpm…another unexpected but very usable feature in real-road riding.

    Up Mountain Hwy and through the Mt.Dandenong backblock-twisties:
    3 bends in…and I’m on a grinner. This Kwaka is something else. It’s fun. Pulls triple figures on the short straights (and that with my 90kg weight). It moves like a rabbit around the bends, it’s FUN in CAPITALS. Brakes do the job very well and feel just sweet.
    The bends are the best part…set-up, tip-in…and hammer. No waiting for the best moment, no “feathering” of the throttle, just dip the shoulder and nail-it.
    The flexibility of that 650 twin is absolutely amazing. The agility of the package is…well...amazing. Mid-corner corrections are just so effortless, it’s stumping.
    Flip-flopping from side to side is a joy.
    After 20km I’m at home with the ER6…
    It’s so light (at least feels like it), the weight sits low, and riding is just a thought, no effort.

    On short bumps the whole bike seesaws a little due to its short wheelbase.
    Nothing new to anyone used to modern sporties. Quite a few traits remind me of the Z750/1000, nothing annoying though.
    The weird-looking headlight/ speedo unit acts as a pretty effective wind-break (at least up to well over 100kph).

    We swap and Goodie takes over, the differences to the Peg I’ve got now are startling. The Peg’s big single feels rough, is vibey, I sit more in the bike than on the bike due to the wide-and-high bars, suspension is soft…
    Another stop 30 mins later and her grin nearly splits the helmet: “why hasn’t anyone told me that I’m missing a 2.cylinder on the Pegaso?”
    She likes the ER, but never one to get used to bikes easily and quickly, that’s as much praise as one can possibly hope for. It’s a damn good sign, in fact. She loves the engine, the brakes, the agility, the nimbleness of the package,…and that’s pretty positive for the start.

    As a commuter: Ideal, very narrow, light, easy, nimble and more than enough poke.

    As a tourer: Missing luggage capabilities, hopefully addressed by the OEM-topbox or aftermarket luggage, seat possibly needs a sheepskin for long trips. It’ll make a fine tourer, no probs.

    As a fun-ner: Yo, fun’s the name of the game here. It’s got all and everything to give many bigger bikes an honest run-for-the-money. Ahhh… and it’s a bundle of fun while at it.
    Servicing: Easy, reasonably priced, due to lack of fairings the access is good.

    The ER6 has already made big inroads overseas, Suzuki has dropped the price of the naked SV650 to $9890 since the launch of the ER6, the ER6F (faired version) will add another $700…which could easily become a sting-in-the-tail for Hyosung as well.
    At RRP $11.000 ($9990 plus O/R cost) the Kwaka WILL make a HUGE dent into the middleweight-twins-class.
    It’s a hell of a good bike for a hell of a good price.
    And YES, there’s room for wheeling and dealing, similar to the Suzie SV650 (of which I’ve heard prices of $10k onroad, ride-away lately).
    For my money?? …..I can only echo the Euro-press opinion of the Suzuki SV just having been replaced as the benchmark bike!

    Kwaka will do very well with the ER6n, perhaps even better with the ER6F…and if they’d be smart, Kawasaki would come up with a whole bag-of-bikes based on those credentials, a chookie would be great, a supermotard….

    Personally: I’d junk the standard bars for slightly wider and higher ones, which should hopefully address the mirror-issue as well. I’d add a small amount of foam to the seat-padding. I like the silver/red better, the black one looks classier, though.
    After a few hours I stopped minding the weird headlight which looks like a big goop of birdshit to me, still fresh and running.
    I’d look for a slightly longer (towards the rear) front mudguard, the engine will be pasted solid after only the shortest wet-muck roadworks section.
    And that’s about it. Just for *groberts*, I’d add the topbox :p :p :p (the only feasible way to add luggage capacity).
    Never having even looked at Kawasakis over the past 15years due to their limited range of bikes, old designs and concentration on sporties, the ER6 has awakened interest, hopefully they’ll finally get around to freshen up their whole range and expand into multiple variants of fresh bikes/ engines/ideas.
    Ahhh…love that Buell-style exhaust, too.

    All up: Great bike, WELL done Kawasaki.
    Being well-priced, the ER6 will put a squeeze on other brands.
    It’ll expand the 650-twin market.
    It’ll quite possibly kill the 650-singles roadbike market.
    “Fringe-brands/ fringe-bikes” like for example the SachsRoadster/ Cagiva650Raptor will have an even harder battle on their hands, pitching a fresh, modern bike against a jumble-of-parts-with-another-brand-sticker.
    The Monster 600 series has a serious opponent, too, with a comparable seat-height the Kwaka is the younger/ better equipped/ more capable alternative.

    A day full of surprises J

  2. Yeah Pete, i agree with everything you said here.
    The ER-6n was truly a surprise for me. So much fun to ride! The engine felt like silk, gear shifting was so eeeaasy....

    But why hasn't ANYONE ever told me, that i'm missing a second cylinder in my life?? Why did u people let me ride all these years with only the one???
    Do I have one wish left for christmas? Pleeaase!
  3. :LOL: :LOL: :LOL:

    Yo....been wondering about that one too.
    The frame "cages" the upper half of the engine including the fairly high-mounted radiator. It's standard-diameter round stuff, should be easy enough to replace individual tube-sections for people like Bobby Martin.
    One never knows with Kwaka spares prices...frame looks simple enough (and the rest of the bike too) to just unbolt all the bits and nip them into a fresh frame...the thing is a bit exposed around the front end due to the narrow tank and not much general plastic-tinsel covering it.
    Just looking at it, the frame should be one of the cheaper variety.
    (only add all the paperwork and other official garbage that goes along with a frame-replacement).

    Topic: Oggies !! Should be available aftermarket fairly soon, there is an obvious mounting point either side.
  4. The pictures of the bike that I have seen actually dont really do the bike justice...

    I saw them in the flesh the other day and was really pleasantly surprised...

    Oh, and there is a review of this bike by Keith Code, who gave it a similar review...
  5. Hey Glitch, a thoughtful, balanced and well-written report!
    (thinks, with Loz and Glitch writing such good reports, we could start Netrider Magazine......)
    I was especially interested to see that they've dealt with the dreaded twin-cylinder vibration. And the looks are subjective; I saw it at the Sydney Show and it wasn't bad, but the faired model DOES look nice.
  6. Are they doing a LAM's model? Anybody know?
  7. Thank for the great review...

    The obviously wanted the er-6n to be different and to stand out in the 650 market.. eg low hanging exhaust, angled rear shocker.. But they just went a bit over board with the headlight...

    Does the headlight look any better in person?

  8. Great write-up Pete, sounds like a blast.

    So is Goodie thinking about trading in?

    I'll have to pinch that Sachs Roadster off JohnnyO for a quick spin to see how it stacks up, he's a big rap for it.
  9. Just reading up around the net about the ER6n, sounds like fuel consumption is pretty good too, one other site (darn it, closed window, don't know where it is now) was quoting a good 25km/l!
  10. that was a really great review, very helpful there mate!

    please please somehow make it LAMS in NSW!! :)
  11. I edited the original post as well...

    Talking with Trent yesterday, there seems to be NOTHING in the wind regarding LAM's compliance, the bike, as is, is above the LAMs power-to-weight limits. Scouring the Euro-newsgroups, there's also no word of restricting the ER6 for the various hp-limits/ classes in European countries (i.e. Germany has a 50hp class). Bummer !!
  12. It looks great when you're sitting on the bike :D :D
    Seriously...Being around the bike for a few hours, it got less and less of an eyesore....then again, I'm a perverted bastrd, I even paid for a V-Strom :LOL: :LOL:
    The headlight sits quite low on the bike, looking at most press-shots, they're from a front-low position, magnifying that item.
    Walking around the bike, and in the mirrors, the view is from front-high, looking downward or sort-of-levelled-out in the mirrors (with Goodie following me). In the end I could honestly say that I didn't mind it anymore, given some more time I might even get to like it.
    Who cares anyway, as long as it does it's job fine....the rest of the bike is superb, and sitting on it, that's all that counts.
  13. The look has a touch of Benelli TnT in it I reckon, but softened and compacted.
  14. Waiting for the chookie-version of it...you know us :LOL:
    If they junk the KLE500 (as the last bike with the ER5 donk, the ER-5 is already dropped) also junk the KLR650 single and build a new, modern frame/package around that engine, keep the weight to below 175kg....I'll be on it like a fly on shit.
    Yo, wanted to have a go at the Sachs, too...but at dead-even pricing with the ER-6n it's rather water-under-the-bridge, for me at least. it's just no comparisson (sorry Johnny-O).
    The Kwaka will also hold it's value better.
  15. I'm starting to like the look of the bike too (looking at more pictures). Well, from certain angles anyway. From some angles it still looks a bit strange. I like the way they've hidden away the exhaust and put the flat muffler at the bottom, very neat.

    A very strange looking bike, but I think I like it :) Must see it in person sometime...
  16. I like the look of the faired version, just a shame it seems to have the same riding position as the naked - bit too upright for my liking.
  17. There's just none of it (only the tiniest bit through the pegs), nothing coming through the bars. The later ride of the Guzzi Breva 11 had fingers tingling with 15 mins, though.
  18. A very well written and informative piece of work. I second Hornet's, 'easily good enough for Netrider magazine' comment. What we need to do now is get you a steady supply of bikes to review. Well done, our very own Alan Cathcart clone. :D
  19. cool, nice sounding bike, and good to hear that it actually seems to deliver what it promised.

    I'll stick that back ON my list of possible future bikes.