Kawasaki's new ER-6n reviewed

  • Autocar India
  • Updated: Dec 03, 2014 12:16 IST

It turns out Kawasaki’s big bike portfolio is steadily evolving at a welcome pace in India, with each successive motorcycle pretty much at the top of its game, even in terms of the crucial affordability factor. The recently introduced ER-6n isn’t an exception to this rule, and likewise, holds firm ground in its segment. The bikini clad, twin-cylinder bike is an exciting streetbike, which doesn't burn a relatively large hole in your pocket. Let’s take a closer look at how this versatile motorcycle actually rides in India.

This bike is essentially the Ninja 650 minus a front fairing. The mass has been carefully centered for better handling, and this also helps it maintain a sleek design. Moving on to the details, the front headlight presses inwards, as its cowl flairs back into the bike. The headlight is a daytime running unit, and works well to provide ample visibility by night, with a wide, really bright and well focussed beam. Muscular radiator shrouds accentuate the headlight when viewed head on, providing it a macho, broad-faced look. Top quality supple rubber grips, as well as alloy machined reach adjustable clutch and brake levers come as standard, while its switchgear and mirrors do a fine job.
It comes only in black here, metallic with dark matte plastic deployed in some areas, all imparting a Kawasaki-trademark top-quality feel. The bright red, single side-mounted shock absorber strut stands out as well and there’s a plastic underbelly cowl. Look down, and you can see the silencer tucked away neatly beneath the engine. A stepped seat and grab bars are provided. Overall construction and fit-finish are excellent on the new bike.
It is powered by a 649cc, four-stroke, parallel-twin and liquid-cooled engine which has been given a black look. It uses a four-valve per cylinder layout and dual overhead camshafts. This potent Japanese engine provides a decent power output of 71.1bhp at 8,500rpm while peak torque of 6.5kgm comes in at 7,000rpm. The fuel-injected engine displays torque rich character, with a meaty mid range that makes this an easy bike to zip past traffic in.
The smooth action clutch proves comfortable while shifting through the slightly heavy feeling six-speed gearbox. Once used to its weight though, shifts are smooth and precise in a 1-down, 5-up pattern. The engine does, however, send up a considerable amount of heat, and we noticed this despite riding in the early hours of cold winter days in Pune, on relatively traffic-free roads. So, this could be some cause for concern when riding the new bike in crowded Indian city traffic on a summer day.
We put the new bike through its paces on some really fast, twisting roads during its time with us, where its engine proved a willing, refined performer when pushing hard. The ample low and midrange catapulted us out of corners without calling for excessive downshifting. The seamless midrange of the powerband also enabled a smooth ride on crowded highways, where brisk overtaking proved a breeze. The totally vibe-free bike packs more than enough punch, the new bike being good for a sprint to 100kph in no more than 5.2 seconds, as tested by us. Top speed is more than respectable too, in the region of a true 210kph, the lack of a wind deflecting fairing becoming apparent when facing excess wind buffet when riding at anything over 160kph.
It seats riders in an upright position, the handlebar in just the right position, but the rider footpegs sit a touch high and farther behind than ideal for that really comfortable riding position. The bike seat is comfortable, and well padded. Ergonomics are good enough for hard riding, but not as ideal as could be for touring.
While no featherweight at 204kg in Indian city traffic, the bike does handle well, allowing for enjoyable riding. It inspires confidence while attacking corners, with neutral steering feel and nice ride quality. Thick front forks, a well engineered frame and a single side-mounted rear shock absorber provide the bike good stability at high speeds. It comes with twin petal type disc brakes up front and a single disc brake at the rear, that work well, providing strong bite, with progressive feel. We did, however, miss an ABS option, which the bike maker has sadly not thought fit for the India-spec bike.
The new bike makes a neatly styled, high quality motorcycle package, offering ample power for Indian roads, be it for a green horn or more experienced riders. Such good quality is sure to make this a reliable bike, with minimal maintenance costs. All of which make it quite a tempting proposition, only really lacking in terms of ABS. To answer the big question then; yes, it is certainly top value for its Rs 4.78 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) asking price.

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