The world launch review of the Kawasaki ER6F, a Kawasaki budget middleweight naked aimed squarely at the SV650 and Honda Hornet
The last few years have been what could be described as something of a 'second coming' for Kawasaki.
A firm that once seemed content to tick-over with minor annual updates while the rest of the competition accelerated off into the wide, blue yonder have given themselves a sturdy kick up the corporate backside of late, resulting in a healthy range of bikes with the scope to rival any other manufacturer.
Perhaps understandably, in this sports bike obsessed nation of ours, it's the headline bikes such as the ferocious ZX-10R; its nimble kid brother the ZX-6R and the new 'considerably-faster-than-you' ZZ-R1400 that have been hogging all the media limelight.
Well, that's as maybe, but for those of you a little thinner in wallet and shorter in riding experience, you should be glad to hear that it's a case of strength in depth for the green army in 2006, with the new ER-6f being a prime example.
Accessible performance, real world practicality and affordable insurance costs are, for the vast majority, just as important as three figure speeds and bar room boasts of unfeasible dyno figures.
Essentially a faired version of the ER-6n ('n' for naked, 'f' for faired) the f variant promises more potential for those looking to cover larger distances without having to resort to rigorous neck-building exercises. But it's not just been a case of botching on a fairing and hoping the best. A fair bit of thought has gone into the design process, resulting in a machine specifically tailored to suit its new role.
The front fork length has been increased by 10mm to compensate for the added weight and downforce generated by the new fairing and the horizontally-mounted, offset rear shock has been tweaked accordingly. The net result is a slight increase in caster, trail, wheelbase and improved ground clearance which is helped all the more by the stylish underbelly exhaust.
Having spent the day travelling since the wee small hours to our picturesque test location on the east coast of Sicily, the press briefing was refreshingly, erm, brief with much of the focus centring on the motor. The parallel twin configuration isn't anything new, but interestingly it does appear to be making something of a comeback in various guises other than the common or garden 500cc commuter bike.
Yamaha achieved moderate success with the 850cc (and latterly 900cc) TDM and TRX models in the UK, (though the TDM sold by the truck load in Europe) but up until the arrival of the ER-6n and the eagerly anticipated BMW F800S and ST, the popularity of the parallel design seemed to be on the decline, with more companies opting for the more fashionable four across the frame or vee-twin layout. So I guess they do have a fair point when they mention their 'unique configuration'. Well, almost anyway...
Jumping on the bike, the riding position takes me by surprise a little with just how low it is. It's a slim bike too, meaning that for those a little short in the leg, touching down both sides shouldn't be a problem (though taller riders will be pleased to hear that a higher seat is available as an optional extra). Traditional handlebars also mean that there's plenty of scope to adjust the riding position to suit, meaning that it should be a case of one-size-fits-all, which can only be a good thing. Confidence is a key word with the ER-6f and Kawasaki quite unashamedly highlight the fact that this is a bike aimed at newer riders, riders returning to riding after a few years out or simply those looking for a mid-priced machine for anything from a Sunday blast to the odd weekend away.
And it is an easy bike to ride. Heading out on to the unfamiliar Sicilian roads from our base camp in Taormina along the tight, cobbled streets that wind their way through the scattered villages along the coast, the bike allows its rider to focus his attentions on avoiding the unpredictable drivers and errant scooter riders that buzz around seemingly oblivious to what's going on around their Versace sunglasses, rather than worry about what the bike's doing.
Continue the review of the Kawasaki ER-6f
Posted: 24/01/2006 at 17:11
Posted: 25/01/2006 at 05:52
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Posted: 09/02/2006 at 13:04
Posted: 10/09/2007 at 22:04
Posted: 16/10/2007 at 00:58
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