Living with a 2009 Kawasaki ER-6n

Perfect for slicing through sleepy country towns and getting stern lectures from not-so-sleepy country coppers. This fiery twin has got what it takes to entertain

January 2010

The fact that I’ve ‘only’ done 1500 miles on my ER-6n in a whole summer season doesn’t really tell the whole story. Our relationship has been much more intense than the odometer reading would suggest. In truth, I’ve used it every day. Hard.

The little orange ER-6n has been my ‘shout’ bike this summer. In my other life as a retained fireman, it’s been my fast-response, thru-town wheels. The daily routine goes like this: early morning cup of tea, leave ER-6 ticking over until the idle speed drops (cold start rich mixture setting). When the last few drops of tea are done, the temp gauge is nudging 60, a few blips of throttle and things have heated up to operating temp. She’s ready to go.

And go she did, every day, every time my alerter went off.

My route to the fire station’s pretty short as the crow flies (1.7 miles), but (and this is why I chose the ER-6) it’s right through the middle of town. That’s two zebra crossings, three sets of lights and 14 corners with varying cambers and surfaces. And half an hour in a car.

Power is far less important than the upright riding position. Low, short, manageable dimensions, forgiving, predictable handling and beautifully-balanced weight distribution make it a hoot to ride whether you’ve got four decades or four weeks of experience. The front brakes need to be better, though.

With a pair of Pirelli’s super-snotty Diablo Supercorsa’s fitted, the little Kwak is the guv’nor in town. It’s so good it’s earned me a felt collar on a couple of occasions. But thankfully, there seems to be an unwritten pact between us and ‘them’ and I’ve continued on my way licence intact the proud recipient of a proper PC bollocking. My record, door to door, is incriminating so I’m not going to disclose the minutes and seconds.

For a bike that’s found support from new riders it’s not the dull pussycat you’d expect. Rev the little twin hard and it’s rudely fast. It’s effectively a ZX-12 motor chopped in half. Soft at the bottom and nuttier than squirrel poo at the top end.

Apart from some slightly dodgy smallthrottle opening fuelling issues, the throttle response is good enough to really get loose and squirmy in the wet with confidence. Pirellis and Shellgrip help here, too.

You want filter tips? By an ER-6. It’s so small and so slim it’ll squeeze through gaps that just don’t exist on bigger bikes.

And that’s why this is the best bike ever invented for people who need to hurry about their business in town.

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