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Kawasaki ER-5 Naked Motorbike Review

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Kawasaki ER-5 motorcycle review - Riding
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MCN overall verdict rating is 3

The Kawasaki ER-5 has a straightforward parallel-twin middleweight commuter that’s as easy to use as a pair of pants. As a cheap workhorse you won’t find much wrong with the Kawasaki ER-5 - providing your expectations don’t go beyond simply getting from A to B.

Engine

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 3

The Kawasaki ER-5's DOHC parallel-twin doesn’t want for pluck, and around town it makes the most of what power it has. However, raise your ambitions even slightly and the Kawasaki ER-5's motor feels ever so wheezy. Motorways are not it’s forte and the ER-5 struggles to cope two-up without a fairing.

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 3

The Kawasaki ER-5 is better than most of its rivals. But that’s not saying much and Honda’s CB500 beats it hollow in most respects. The Kawasaki ER-5 brakes are particularly woeful and pillions only make matters worse. Rider comfort is good on the ER-5 and the gearbox is fine for the first few winters.

Equipment

MCN rating rating is 1
Owners' rating rating is 3.5

Kawasaki's ER-5 is about as basic as you can get, though some aftermarket crash bars is a common addition. The only bolt-on that’s worth it’s salt for the Kawasaki ER-5 is a Scottoiler, to help eke out chain life and reduce maintenance.

Kawasaki ER-5 (1996-current)

Detail Value
New price £3,345
Used price range View Kawasaki ER-5 bikes for sale to see current asking prices
Engine size 498 cc
Power 48 bhp
Top speed 110 mph
Insurance group 8 of 17
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 3 rating is 3.5
Engine rating is 3 rating is 3
Ride & Handling rating is 3 rating is 3
Equipment rating is 1 rating is 3.5
Quality & Reliability rating is 2 rating is 3.5
Value rating is 3 rating is 3.5

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 2
Owners' rating rating is 3.5

‘Poor’ is the best way to describe the build qualityo f the Kawasaki ER-5  To stay on top of the corrosion you’ll need to wash the Kawasaki regularly and spray with a water-dispersing spray religiously, especially if used over winter. Electrical problems are another bugbear with the ER-5.

Value

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 3.5

Despite its shortcomings the Kawasaki ER-5 is frugal on fuel, cheap to insure and its tyres last for ages. Secondhand prices are low, making the ER-5 perfectly viable as a winter hack and a more than satisfactory commuter. Find a Kawasaki ER-5 for sale.

Insurance

Insurance group: 8 of 17

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Model History

1996: Kawasaki ER-5 introduced.
2001: Kawasaki ER-5 re-styled.

Other Versions

None.

Specifications

Top speed 110 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 14.9 secs
Max power 48 bhp
Max torque 33 ft-lb
Weight 179 kg
Seat height 800 mm
Fuel capacity 17 litres
Average fuel consumption 46 mpg
Tank range 170 miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group 8 of 17
Engine size 498 cc
Engine specification 4v, parallel-twin, 6 gears
Frame Steel tube double cradle
Front suspension adjustment None
Rear suspension adjustment Preload
Front brakes Single 280mm disc
Rear brake 240mm drum
Front tyre size 110/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 140/70 x 17

See all Kawasaki ER-5 motorcycles for sale

Kawasaki
ER-5

11219 miles

£1,694

Kawasaki
ER-5

22000 miles

£875

Kawasaki
ER-5

13710 miles

£1,575

Kawasaki
ER-5

17087 miles

£1,495

Kawasaki
ER-5

31488 miles

£900

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 3.5(30 reviews)

  • does what was made for

    ranksounds

    Average rating rating is 3

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    and not much else, great first bike but you quickly get bored. It's a work horse and as such not too suitable for someone who wants a bike thier going to enjoy for a long time, it's a heavy lump, but it's still got enough to tear away from the lights leaving the cars in your wake

    12 February 2008

  • Basic but Great

    snoody

    Average rating rating is 4

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    OK... It's never going to be one of those bikes that set the world alight but what more do you want. It's got a well proven twin cylinder engine that Kawasaki have been using since the dawn of time. Any garage can service it.. or.. service it yourself.. it's that easy.. Using the bike as a commuter is a breeze.. Get the bike in the wrong gear.. so what.. it will manage.. Very easy to ride and zip in and out of traffic. It's a light bike so easy for moving around and getting on to the centre stand. A nice upright riding position and a comfy seat that you couls sit on all day. It's low insurance, Good on fuel.. Could be the ultimate commuter! Minor niggles.. The brakes could do with a bit more feel but then again I suppose it stops you locking the wheels up.. It is geared guite low so it feels like you need another gear 65/70mph.. Overall: Its a basic bike but if you need a day to day reliable bike that won't break the bank.. get one of these...

    22 January 2008

  • Bought new July 2005, for the daily commute to London. Never let me down.

    George1009

    Average rating rating is 3.5

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    Decided to commute by bike after 12 years of packing onto the train. I have the bike serviced every 4k miles, as per warranty requirements, which isn't cheap. Had 2 mirrors replaced due to silver disappearing, and the Starter clutch replaced, all on warranty, with no problems. Strengths: Reliability and MPG. Weaknesses: Expense of servicing by dealer, and frequency of servicing. If you buy a new car the first service is approx 18k miles, bike is every 4k.

    12 April 2006

  • Great first bike

    angusmedic

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    First bike after passing my test in 2002, as I am only 5ft tall it was a low seat height, you can buy a lower seat for about £100. I got bike with only 322 miles on clock so more or less a new bike So good a bike I am awaiting my new 55 plate ER5. Strengths: Handles well on bends, will start first time no problem, great on fuel and cheap to insure, also parts are cheap and service charges are ok. Weaknesses:
    Not great on motorways could be doing with a fairing, but new ER6 looks a lot better. Problem with stand cut off switch but a litle grease should cure any problem.

    09 September 2005

  • Practical commuter thats fun on the limit

    leonbuteux

    Average rating rating is 4

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    Bought 7 months ago for £400, with 28,000 miles on the clock and another 5000 miles added. Used nearly everyday as a second bike/commuter, I've found the ER5 to be the ideal tool. Easy to ride and cheap (if more than a little ratty) the little Kawasaki is great at putting a huge grin on my face! There is a perverse pleasure to be had out of riding this bike to its limit, something that I cannot get anywhere near on my Kwack ZX6R. It's proved to be capable of everything I've thrown at it and nothing exspensive has gone wrong beyond normal wear and tear. Strengths: The ER5 is reliable, rugged and very easy to ride. Weaknesses: The engine is needs to be kept in the top half of the rev range for rapid progress (not really what's it about though...), the brakes take some effort and the gearshift is pretty agricultural.

    05 June 2005

  • Better than any car

    bajka

    Average rating rating is 3.5

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    I ride ER-5 everyday, mostly commuting in London. Bike is lite and filtering is easy, sometimes scooters have to stop in tight gaps and I would suprise myself going throu, wondering how much tighter gaps I can take, and most of the time it will pass ! I bought it new 0 miles from George White for 2500£ which was 900£ off the list price, its a plate 54. I have riden it whole winter and this shows the weekest point of the bike, corrosion , all fasteners and bolts on suspension are white already after 4 months, but I did expect that as I read a lot of rewievs before I choose it against CB500 and GS500. I never liked the look of above two, ER-5 looks much liter and fresher, almost modern;) And hey for the price I could buy 2002 CB500. Engine is nice and quite flexible and when You wind it up above 5000 RPM it will make You smile, if the buzz on the handlebars will not put You off. Be delicate with the paint (thin like mist) Budget suspension make You ride wide. Strengths: Price, economy, weight, bulletproof jurrasic engine. Weaknesses: Corrosion, paint, suspension.

    13 April 2005

  • No frills and basic

    mleet

    Average rating rating is 3

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    Bought ER5 new for under £3000 on the road, to use as hack to work. Took bit getting used to after my CBR600 and at first hated it. It is rough, runs like a tank, looks bit like one too. Now having done 12,000 miles on it in about 9 months through all weathers, I am used to it, and it does serve its purpose well. Very cheap to run, good mpg, and easy to service. Howvere the finish is really bad, and this has put me off buying any other Kawasaki. The forks, swingarms, engine, tank etc are all corroding. I do look after it washing the salt n crap off, but that seems a waste of time. Strengths: Cheap to run, insure etc. Easy to ride, reliable. Weaknesses: Very poor quality.

    07 January 2005

  • Cheap but some bits are nasty

    richardhince

    Average rating rating is 2.5

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    I have an ER-5 for winter hacking; my 'best' bike is a Harley Dyna Glide. Compared to the Dyna, the ER is frankly awful - or it should be. I keep telling everyone how much I hate it, but really, it does everything that I ask of it. Compared to the Harley and no doubt most other 'fancy' bikes, this thing is basically free, and mine has been 100% reliable in the 2 years that I've owned it - despite being cleaned about three times and having the most basic maintenance schedule possible! It was left for 6 months without being touched, I dug it out from all of the rubbish piled on top of it, and it started 1st prod. Can't do better than that, can you. Strengths: Cheap, handles pretty good, and HOW many miles to the gallon?? Loads! Weaknesses: Substantial, plus the paint finish (especially the engine) is terrible.

    24 September 2004

  • Great first bike or for those who USE their bike

    aide555

    Average rating rating is 4

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    It's not got wrong in 23K, it's comfy, fun to ride and cheap cheap cheap! only negatives are the cheap finish on swing arm, exhaust and engine case, but then it is used all year round. Strengths: Reliability, simplicity, all roundness. Weaknesses: Finish and the brakes could be stronger.

    18 August 2004

  • My Review

    markfilby

    Average rating rating is 4

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    Great first bike, used in all weathers, totally reliable, predicatble handling even in the wet, best looking 500, fast enough for everyday use but growing out of it. Seat height is just right, just make sure you keep it clean and the finishes are fine.

    16 October 2002

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stitchwort

stitchwortsays

 My wife had one of these and it did everything she wanted it to including touring...(France and spain )

and lots of local trips with camping gear and or shopping...rectifier packed up and cooked the battery, and black box ....but replacement parts were cheap tp get on e-bay...she's also owned a cb500  which she loved and has now got a cbf 500 which she keeps dropping because it's to heavy at low speed so i'm going to try a gs 500...i would be happy to take any of these bikes touring, back roading or shopping ..but if speed is your thing go buy a sports bike

01 October 2013 12:40

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