Kawasaki ER six month appraisal
First rides & tests
02 July 2012 14:52
I’ve had the ER6n for over six months now and it’s just gone through its 4000 mile service with no issues. The only thing to note is I’d overfilled it with oil which seemed to have a slight affect on the MPG.
Having said all that I’ve just managed 67.9mpg on my last 100 mile ride which is a personal best. It was mostly motorway work at a steady 70-80mph with only a couple of blasts whilst overtaking.
My brother has a 5-year-old Honda Hornet 600 and can’t get anywhere near those figures, even riding carefully he has only ever managed to scrape just under 50mpg.
So what has the bike taught me in the past six months? I was an avid cruiser fan before buying the ER6 but this machine has converted me.
After four months I was starting to turn into a speed demon around twisty country roads but that fad soon faded as I sank back into my more laidback riding style, both of which suit the ER6 brilliantly.
At one point I was even thinking I could do with a bit more power (for blasting up and down the motorway) but in real world situations you don’t need it as the ER6n is more than capable of trouncing all but the fastest cars.
I do admit I did go through an “oh no what have I done” phase about three months in when I parked the bike next to a row of classics and cruisers (the other two bikes I was considering at point of purchase were the VN900 Custom and the W800 Special), but someone pointed out that these bikes only ever come out when the sun was shining and as I ride my motorcycle in all weathers this made me feel heaps better.
I do have some grumbles with the gear shift which can be a little ‘clunky’ at times, something Kawasaki haven’t rectified since the ER5.
The front suspension can perform some dramatic diving action under heavy breaking and the rear can be a bit twitchy when riding near the edge (and fully laden with luggage) but all these issues are negated when you consider the fact that this is a budget bike after all.
For your money you are getting a very competent motorcycle that’s capable of being a great all-rounder; it will be sporty, it will cruise and it will tour but what it does best is commute.
For touring I’ve added a Puig screen which does a great job of keeping the wind off above 70-80mph and makes cruising at 90-100mph a breeze.
However I’ve since taken the screen off – while the protection at speed is nice it is also ugly and until the winter weather returns I prefer the warm summer breeze anyway.
I’ve also added some Acrebis handguards which also do make a Stirling effort of deflecting wind from your hands and also saved me from a mid-flight magpie which I hit at about 50mph.
I’ve grown to love my ER6 over these past six months and with the 4000 miles we’ve spent together I’ve only really had two problems – two flats. Both on the rear and within a month of each other!
If you’re looking for a cheap to run middleweight motorcycle as a commuter or an everyday alternative to keep your prized cruiser, classic or sports bike crisp then I can’t recommend the ER6n enough.