On board you instantly notice how narrow the new ER-6n is. Anyone over 5ft 2in will have no problem reaching the floor, making it a very reassuring bike to ride at low speed. The taller tank makes you feel more ‘in’ the bike and on the move the new softer suspension set-up is excellent. Speed humps, cobbles, potholes and huge manhole covers are all taken easily in the Kawasaki’s stride. Onto faster roads, away from town, the engine has nice punch while the handling is predictable, stable, easy and great fun.
The liquid-cooled parallel twin is virtually unchanged however it does gain revised fuel-injection settings and ECU. This has made the spread of torque wider and the acceleration even better. There is a different rasp from the more angular exhaust and the 650 fires off the throttle with near-perfect fuelling. Snap the throttle open and the parallel twin gives you an instant kick of power, taking you by surprise. It’s not intimidating in the least, just faster than you would expect of such a relaxed machine.
The engine is reliable but the build quality and finish can often come in for criticism.
For the money you'll struggle to find a bike which can do just as much, just as well, as the ER-6n. ABS costs an extra £600.
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The dash has a fuel gauge, eco mode display and the petal discs are a nice touch. ABS is an optional extra.