KAWASAKI ER-6F (2009-2011) Review

Published: 30 November 2009

"A rare package of fun, practicality and affordability"

KAWASAKI ER-6F  (2009-2011)

"A rare package of fun, practicality and affordability"

  • At a glance
  • 649cc  -  71 bhp
  • 50 mpg  -  205 miles range
  • Medium seat height (805mm)

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

The original Kawasaki ER-6f was universally acclaimed by MCN’s road testers and the revised ER sees the love affair continue. It’s a rare package of fun, practicality and affordability, which is great for novices and experienced riders alike. Its sporty, Ninja looks prove budget doesn’t have to mean bland, while revisions to the 649cc parallel twin engine have eradicated most of the niggles that held the old model back. 

Video: Living with a Kawasaki ER-6f

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

It's light and agile around town, but with wide wheels and sticky tyres it can dance along B-roads too. Its sleek, sexy fairing provides good wind protection meaning it is a capable tourer, while its up-right riding position is comfortable and makes sense for road riding. The narrow seat and low seat height (790mm) mean it's perfect for shorties or new riders, but it never feels cramped for taller riders. The rear engine mounts have been rubber mounted, as have the handlebar mounts and pegs making it a much smoother ride.

Engine 4 out of 5

Kawasaki took on board criticism of the old ER-6fs vibey engine, made some revisions and came up with a much improved 649cc parallel twin. It has smoother throttle response, especially below 4000rpm and a surprisingly accessible, wide band of power. It will sail past a ton with no problems, and needs to be hammered to reach its limits.  But is still a breeze for new riders.

Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5

It's Japanese so reliability doesn’t seem to be an issue. Predictably quality is basic as befits the price tag, but this means any parts that need replacing are affordable. Irritatingly the seat is reluctant to part with the body work, and the key equally reluctant to leave the petrol cap post fuelling. You’ll need to look after the ER-6 to keep it in a corrosion free state.

Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5

The ER-6f can be a comfortable workhorse or a machine to leave you beaming from ear to ear if you want it to. It ticks all the boxes, its affordable, will make a gentle first big bike for new riders, or provide experienced riders with a fun ride. It has all the looks of a Kawasaki sports bike, but is accessible to pretty much everyone. Find a Kawasaki ER-6f for sale.

Equipment 3 out of 5

This is not just an ER-6n with a fairing thrown on. Kawasaki has gone to the trouble of integrating the Ninja inspired fairing in to the design. From the front it looks like a small ZX-6R, thanks to its flush indicators and twin headlamps. Adding to its good looks are the neat underslung exhaust, side mounted shock and petal shaped brake discs. It's impossible not to fall in love with its looks, but this equipment is not just visually pleasing; it all performs. The brakes are reponsive, the dash has a fuel gauge, but is not always easy to read, and the rear shock has adjustable pre-load.

Owners' Reviews

7 owners have reviewed their KAWASAKI ER-6F (2009-2011) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

We’re currently improving the way this section works, which means we’ve had to suspend the submission of new owners’ reviews for a short period. Please check back soon.

Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 3.9 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4.1 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3.7 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.1 out of 5
Equipment 3.6 out of 5
4 out of 5

Great Bike

23 June 2013 by Anonymous

I've had this bike (2011 model) for about a year and have used it for commuting, days out and recently on a long trip to Europe and back. My previous bike was the 2008 model. I'm 6ft and about 90kgs. I've been riding 30+ years and this was my first... Read more brand new bike for about 20 years. I think the bike is great value for money and looks great. Easy to ride, very nimble and agile and can hold 70 - 75 mph on the motorway with no trouble; even very fully loaded. I wouldn't say it has the effortless power of a bigger super-tourer but it is pretty good. Riding round town or on the commute is great, plenty of acceleration and pull even in top gear; gear changes nice and positive, controls easy to use. Fuel economy is OK - I get about 60 mpg from my bike - I don't thrash it. I fitted a Givi Pannier Rack to the bike and that was fairly easy. The Insurance is quite cheap. A few niggles: first of all - the mirrors are rubbish. Kawasaki need to sort this as it is a common complaint. The seat, although nice and low, which makes the bike great for shorter riders, is not very comfy on a long ride, also it is a pain to get on and off the bike. I think the 2013 model has a split seat so that's one thing sorted. I agree that you need a tank protector. The exhaust position is great for the looks of the bike, but I would like a centre stand - this would make cleaning the bike that much easier. The instrumentation is OK, nice and modern and very clear at night but a bit difficult to read in bright light. It would be nice if the bike came with a fitted power supply! As Kawasaki seem to be making regular improvements to this model, I am very likely to get another one. Very good bike - suits me just fine.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
2 out of 5

Think Commuter only

26 September 2011 by dohc

Very basic suspension. I felt like I was getting a piggy back ride on a kangaroo. I think Kawasaki upgraded the engine and the looks from the ER5 but forgot to do anything about the suspension. Nice engine, economical and easy around town. The seat... Read more gives numb bum within minuites and the mirrors are useless Do not mistake it for a sports bike when it come to cornering. The main let down is the suspennsion. It should be much better for the 6k price tag.I sold mine yuck !

Overall Rating 2 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 2 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 2 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 2 out of 5
Equipment 2 out of 5
3 out of 5

Very nice bike but....

06 July 2011 by Anonymous

The is a very nice bike and still one that I recommend to all my friends as they step up from the 125 world and into the big bike universe, but... it's just a bit boring! It's nice and smooth on the thottle and the power is friendly enough for any... Read more rider. I did find the engine lacking a bit when carrying pillion, but at just 71bhp (and I'm a big bloke) this isn't really surprising. The styling is excellent, but pick one of the colours and not Black - I had the black one and EVERY little scratch and mark shows. Lastly, I had mine from new and traded it in after 12 months, just before I traded it I stripped the fairings off to 'deep clean' it. I was really disappointed to find that nearly all the rubbers on the bolts needed to be replaced and some of the tubing was already on it's way out. Overall, this is a great novice bike if you feel your not ready for a sports bike. That said, I've had alot more fun on my CBR600 (2002 Rossi rep) since and can't help but feel I wasted a year 'playing it safe' on the Kwacker.

Overall Rating 3 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 3 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
5 out of 5

Great first bike

03 May 2011 by edinburghbiker

I bought my 2009 ER6f in August 2010 and I am so glad I went for the choice I have. Since then, I have tried friends’ Bandit, SV650s, XJ6 and Fazer, with these only helping to reassure me that I got the right bike. It may be in the budget-bike... Read more catagory, but it punches well above it. As a new biker, I wanted a reasonably low-cost all-rounder. A bike suitable for the daily commute, but something that will put a big smile on my face at the weekend. The ER6f certainly does that. The engine is lively and provides the punch when needed, the look is great with it’s ninja-style lines and side-mounted rear shock, plus even the all-digital display has turned heads. I have been riding my ER6f for 9 months and she’s maintained an almost spotless bill of health, which was the same for the previous owner too. The only thing I have needed to do is have one of the chain adjuster caps re-painted (at very little cost) as the paint had started to flake slightly. The rest of the paintwork has been flawless. First big bike?... A no contest in my view.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

Miles of Smiles

19 March 2011 by Anonymous

Bought the 2009 ER6f in Nov 2009 brand new on returning to biking after many years 'resting'. Never had more than 500cc before, but wanted something that would last rather than getting bored after a few months. Looked at the 650 Bandit SA, Yamaha... Read more 600 Divi, and this. Tried each bike a ciuple of times at different dealers but this was the one that I got off smiling each time. For a new 'big biker' or a born again like me, you can't go wrong. The handling is great, the power delivery very easily controlled and smooth rather than snatchy (goes with being a twin rather than a four pot). The run-in of 600 miles was a good chance to run myself back in too, but I was itching to go from 4000 revs to 6000 by 600 miles. Once fully run in at 1000 miles, to be honest I didn't feel the need to push it too much further for a while. I have now covered 3400 miles and absolutely love this bike! As my confidence has grown, I have teased more from the bike, but realise that even now there is so much more to offer performance-wise and this bike will last a good while yet. It has proved 100% reliable, the services are cheap at around £100. The only fault has been the LED tail light which went on the blink at 11 months old but was replaced on warranty.I have extended the warranty to 4 years for confidence as I will likely keep the bike till then at least.I can't think of anything worth changing it for without going up to supersports. If you want a bike than costs less than £6k (I paid 4900 new from Lloyd Cooper)but gives as much fun as you could want, is great round town, does 60mpg and looks like a proper Ninja then this baby is it!

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Impressed

15 August 2010 by charonboatman

Had my ER6F since Feb 10, was the looks and colour that snared my attention (sports styling and that Kawasaki Green colour). Digital dash completes the look along with the uncluttered back end. Had no problems at all so far (touch wood) Read more

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Great Bike!

20 December 2009 by micwilliams

The first thing that impressed me before I even got on the bike was the digital dash, looks very good and works very well. Only thing lacking is a temperature gauge, although it does have a light that comes on if the engine is overheating. After... Read more swinging a leg over the seat I was further impressed by the riding position. This gives the rider a nice upright position and compared to my CBR125 I've just parted with, a much more dominant feel on the road. I haven't run the engine in yet and with the cold and wet weather conditions we've had recently I haven't really tested the bike yet, in terms of handling etc. But I've covered just over 300 miles so far and the bike is very easy to handle at slow speeds manoeuvring through rush-hour traffic. I've also had someone on the back which was no issue for the bike. As for the engine, all I can comment on at the moment is that it feels very powerful. Until the bike has been run in, I can't rev above 4,000 for first 500-600 miles and so far I haven't really needed to. Plenty of pull low down in the rev range means town riding is effortless. Duel carriageways, motorways etc. are a breeze, 4,000 revs in 6th gear is about 55mph. The bike feels very comfortable and stable at this speed and I'm guessing will be at 70mph+ aswell. On the 125 I could feel every bit of side wind and had to keep adjusting my steering and balance, the ER-6f though deals with this much better. I can't comment on the reliability due to only owning the bike for a couple of weeks, but the quality of the finish seems very high. Overall I'm very happy with this bike and would strongly recommend it to anyone looking for a bigger bike. Whether upgrading from a 125 or even 500, this bike will provide plenty of fun and power to entertain.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
Read all 7 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2009
Year discontinued 2011
Original price £5,999
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group -
Annual road tax £80
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 71 bhp
Max torque 49 ft-lb
Top speed 124 mph
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption 50 mpg
Tank range 205 miles
Specification
Engine size 649cc
Engine type 8v, liquid-cooled, 6 gears
Frame type Diamond, high tensile steel
Fuel capacity 15.5 litres
Seat height 805mm
Bike weight 204kg
Front suspension 41mm telescopic fork
Rear suspension Single shock with adjustable preload
Front brake Dual semi-floating 300mm petal discs.
Rear brake 220mm petal disc
Front tyre size 120/70
Rear tyre size 160/60

History & Versions

Model history

2005: Kawasaki ER-6f introduced
2009: New ER-6f

Other versions

2011: ER-6f ABS [£6,375]

Photo Gallery

  • KAWASAKI ER-6F  (2009-2011)
  • KAWASAKI ER-6F  (2009-2011)
  • KAWASAKI ER-6F  (2009-2011)
  • KAWASAKI ER-6F  (2009-2011)
  • KAWASAKI ER-6F  (2009-2011)
  • KAWASAKI ER-6F  (2009-2011)
  • KAWASAKI ER-6F  (2009-2011)
  • KAWASAKI ER-6F  (2009-2011)
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