Kawasaki has taken quite a while replacing their old trusty workhorse and beginners bike the ER5. So I expected them to come up with something that could maybe knock Yamaha’s FZ6 off its pedestal. In terms of modern design and technique it’s a big leap ahead from the ER5, but is it a good bike?
My absolute first thought was that the handlebars are very narrow. But otherwise it was quite comfy – everything sitting where you would expect. Heading off, I found no issues with the brakes and suspension. You have to get a bike under your skin before you can really start to test the brakes. But for a beginner’s bike, I’m sure they are more than capable.
The Kawasaki ER6n feels very light and with its 174 kg it is also 20 kg lighter than what I’m used to. Which would be just fine, but my impression was that the weight combined with the narrow handlebars made it very wind sensitive. It was a bit windy that day, and once when I overtook a car and gave the throttle an extra notch, it didn’t feel comfortable at all. No doubt the engine would like to play, but the steering was holding back on the fun. I certainly didn’t experience that on the FZ6.
Looks wise I think the bike is pretty sharp. Rear suspension spring tugged in asymmetrical on the right hand side, Buell style exhausts hiding beneath the engine, not your average square swing arm. There are a lot of nice details on the bike, except for the headlight and gauge area that looks like they forgot to give it gauges and had to come up with a quick fix. I wonder if you can pick up Zeta Rocks on the clock radio Kawasaki put on top of that fly screen. Seems the good old classic round motorcycle headlight is seriously going out of style.
I’m going to be nice and give it three helmets, because of the long awaited design update and the side by side twin engine. It’s not Kawasaki’s fault that they don’t know round headlights and wide handlebars is the coolest thing next to the Tesla Coil. For a beginner’s bike, it’s not a bad choice at all.