Kawasaki launches a new beginners' bike. Looks weird, goes well. Sounds alright then.
Kawasaki prefers not to mess around. Other manufacturers might make lighter bikes, prettier bikes, or bikes that are easier to ride, but Kawasaki - quite rightly - sticks two fingers up at such sentimental softness and consistently delivers red-blooded motorcycles with more power and higher top speeds than anyone else.
So it's a bit of a surprise to find the mean, green Kawasaki machine offering a bike designed entirely from the ground-up for beginners. The new ER-6n is "aimed at the full spectrum of riders, from first-timers, to returnees to motorcycling, experienced riders and ladies," says Kawasaki UK's Martin Lambert at the launch in Austria. A Kawasaki built for girls? I nearly spilled my Pinot Grigio down my shirt.
The design of the ER-6n was a big deal at the launch and a bold step. "Kawasaki wanted a 360° design so the bike looked unique from every angle," continued Martin. Apparently the front of the bike is based on Japanese fighting masks. I thought it looked great when I first saw it, now I'm not sure. It's certainly very busy, and comparisons with Benelli's TnT will be unavoidable, while the under-slung exhaust will doubtless be referred to as 'Buell-style'. One thing is for sure, it's hard to ignore the ER-6. From the metallic anodised chassis to the laid-down rear shock and bug-faced headlight, the design of this bike is like Marmite. People will either love it or hate it.
Which, for £4500, is good going. For it is a relatively simple thing to produce a budget bike. Rummage around at the back of the factory, find some engine and frame parts that are less than 10 years old, bolt them together and off you go. But to make an affordable motorcycle that is contentious to look at and fun to ride, well, that's another thing altogether. Suzuki struck gold with their evergreen SV650, Ducati continues to churn out 620 Monsters, and now the ER-6n is pitching in for a damned good scrap.
Continue the Kawasaki ER-6n Review 2/2
Posted: 04/08/2009 at 13:30
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