In what concerns middleweight streetfighter bikes, a powerful and smooth operating engine, comfortable ergonomics and light handling are all qualities that manage to do the trick each and every time. So what could have possibly been Kawasaki doing to the ER-6n that they ended up delivering such a versatile, aggressive looking and awesome performing motorcycle that it even ended up on the American market? Honestly, quite a lot.
The series of modifications improved almost every aspect of the light and attractive Kawi bike so that the highest demands would be easily met and so far it didn’t disappoint. Furthermore, the 2010 model year gets a lowered seat from 30.9 inches to 29.7 inches, making this an even more appropriate choice for beginning riders who need to be steady on their feet.
Relying on fuel injection and liquid cooling, engineers update the finishing touches of the 650cc parallel-twin DOHC, 8-valve engine in
71.15-hp fuel injected parallel twin engine
order for the 72bhp revver to look like is was meant to power the naked bike in the first place, not the Ninja 650R . A three-way catalyzer mounted inside the exhaust ensures that Euro-III regulations are met, just like in the case of the above mentioned.
Kawasaki knows how demanding U.S. consumers can be with the products they buy, especially the ones that don’t conform to their idea of a motorcycle so it ads a low (now only 29.7 inches from the ground), slim seat in addition to the comfortable riding position. Also, it is now claimed that a significantly lower level of vibrations will be transmitted through the handlebars and footpegs, making it a good recommendation for women orientating towards two-wheeled forms of transportation.
Still, the bike doesn’t look as being powered by a two-cylinder engine and hides the low seat pretty good with its big Kawi looks. The headlight is nicely contoured in a greatly finished fairing while stylish signal lights are integrated into the side fairing, giving the ER-6n a stylish, distinctive look. Even though a naked, you will need a trained eye to spot the exhaust when all the 72 bhp are being rushed next to you.
As sporty as the engine might be, it remains a twin-cylinder one and these types always require a six-speed gearbox for a more impressive top speed and better mileage especially when riding on the freeway.
Like the mechanical parts, the frame was built to be as compact and as light as possible while remaining a top performer. Being a budget bike, it still relies on the high-tensile steel trellis frame instead of an aluminum one, but as long as that does the trick, we’ll declare ourselves satisfied. Suspensions have been reset for sharper handling and the petal disc brakes are both stylish and effective so that’s another well done job on the ER-6n.
Overall, the bike looks charming and very inviting.
Kawasaki turned to building streetfighter bikes in 2005 with the all-new ER-6n – a replacement for the Kawasaki ER-5 naked bike built in the 1990s – and started selling it as a 2006 model year. The bike was a radical new approach towards riders in Europe mostly and it was built around the liquid-cooled, 649cc, four-stroke, parallel twin cylinder engine. Fuel injection was there from the start (a 2 x Keihin system with 38 mm throttle bodies, to be more precise) and it brought a major contribution to the 71.07 hp at 6,700 rpm and 66 Nm at 6,700 rpm that the first ever model year developed.
As seen, the bike was top notch from the very beginning and all that Kawi later needed to do was to simply retune the engine for greater low and midrange torque. They came up with this change on the 2008 model year which’s engine developed 48.50 Nm at7,000 rpm showing how a bike can be improved with tweaks of the torque curve.
The year 2009 brought the all-new model, which started being sent to the United States as well. Candy Plasma Blue was THE paintjob for it.
The 2010 Kawasaki ER-6n would have had all the chances to be free of competitors on the American market if it wasn’t for the middleweight Suzuki Gladius . Although not a veritable streetfighter, but a naked sport bike, the 2010 Suzuki Gladius is powered by a fuel-injected, 645cc, four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 90-degree V-Twin engine and has an MSRP starting at $6,899, pointing it as an ideal ER-6n competitor.
It’s really hard not to notice the amount of attention to detail put into the 2010 ER-6n by simply taking a look at it. A blend of naked heritage and aggressive streetfighter looks, the bike is not just a stripped down Ninja 650R , but a compact and muscular model with both looks and character of its own.
The headlight is this bike’s most distinctive touch and so are the side panels (housing the signal lights), the instruments housing as well as the sharp front fender. The gas tank is positioned in between the trellis frame’s tubular bars and features a refined shape compared to the one on the first ER-6n model year.
Now more potent looking, the blacked out engine gives an aggressive note. So do the 17-inch wheels in between which the exhaust silencer is perfectly hidden. The seat, positioned only 29.7 inches from the ground, is impeccably finished and enhances that compact bike look.
Overall, the new Metallic Flat Spark Black color makes the ER-6n look like a much more expensive motorcycle and greater performer than it actually is.
"There have been some minor chassis and engine tweaks (a D-shaped swingarm and alterations to the fuelling, essentially) and the design brief was to make the bike appear more attractive to, well, ’young people.’" – superbike
"Powering the ER-6n is Kawasaki’s trusty 649cc Parallel Twin, the same used in the 650R and Versys, but it just doesn’t feel as lively in this machine. Sure it revs a little faster than the Suzuki and sounds a bit tougher but it just not as inspiring." – motorcycle-usa
"Accelerate off the line, and the ER-6n responds with reasonable low-end and strong midrange pull, redlining at an indicated 11,000 rpm. But a majority of usable torque can be found in the middle register, where the 649-cc twin hits its sweet spot." – popularmechanics
"Opening the ER’s throttle yields smooth, uninterrupted acceleration in all six gears. Transitioning from off- to on-throttle is seamless, giving the engine an electric fluidity." – motorcyclistonline
"The ER eagerly devours a serpentine road with more speed than you might expect. The upright riding position gives a rider the feeling of dominance over the ER, allowing confidence to soar for riders of all experience levels." – motorcycle
"...naturally enough, it feels very similar to the old bike, the engine is unchanged so there’s no difference there and it’s still a lot of fun to ride." – MCN
Having an MSRP that starts at just $6,699, Kawasaki’s middleweight streetfighter unveils a more aggressive marketing strategy of Kawasaki compared to that of Suzuki’s for the 2010 Gladius. And with more than 22,000 units sold around the world, Kawasaki can surely say their strategy is working.
Without a doubt, Kawasaki knew how to grow the small ER-5 naked into an evolved piece of motoring that didn’t even needed more than two big evolutionary steps in order to call it finished. Retaining comfort and practicability while making it sportier and better looking has been a key to this bike’s success and we have a feeling that things are going to stay this way a very long time from now.
Engine and Transmission
- Engine: Four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, four-valve per cylinder, parallel twin
- Displacement: 649cc
- Bore x stroke: 83.0 x 60.0mm
- Compression ratio: 11.3:1
- Cooling: Liquid
- Fuel injection: Digital fuel injection with two 38mm Keihin throttle bodies
- Ignition: Digital CDI
- Transmission: Six-speed
- Final drive: O-ring chain
Chassis and Dimensions
- Frame: Semi-double cradle, high-tensile steel
- Rake / trail: 24.5 degrees / 4.0 in.
- Wheelbase: 55.3 in.
- Front suspension / wheel travel: 41mm hydraulic telescopic fork / 4.7 in.
- Rear suspension / wheel travel: Single offset laydown shock with adjustable spring preload / 4.9 in.
- Front tire: 120/70x17
- Rear tire: 160/60x17
- Front brake: Dual 300mm petal discs with two-piston calipers
- Rear brake: Single 220mm petal disc with single piston caliper
- Overall length: 82.7 in.
- Overall width: 29.9 in.
- Overall height: 43.3 in.
- Seat height: 29.7 in.
- Curb weight: 441.0 lbs.
- Fuel capacity: 4.1 gal.
Features & Benefits
Quick-Revving, 649cc Parallel-Twin Engine
- Liquid-cooled, DOHC, 8-valve fuel-injected twin cylinder delivers smooth, responsive performance, especially in the low to medium rpm range
- Excellent mid-range power, exceptional roll-on response and impressive passing performance make even commuter traffic enjoyable
- Silky smooth engine vibes via a 180 crankshaft-driven balancer shaft, which in turn drives the water pump
- Oil jets on the connecting rod big ends spray oil on the undersides of the pistons to aid cooling
- Lightweight plug-mounted ignition coils deliver a hot spark and save space
- Wide radiator offers plenty of cooling efficiency
- Coolant routing travels directly to the engine cases, then on to the cylinder and head through internal passages, which keeps external plumbing to a minimum
- Fine-tuned shift lever position is easy to use
Digital Fuel Injection
- Fuel injection settings permit healthy bottom-end torque while letting the engine rev fast
- Sub-throttle valve equipped 38mm Keihin throttle bodies offer optimum performance and rideability
- Located behind the main throttle valves, the sub-throttles are controlled by the DFI system ECU for a precise throttle response, similar to a constant-velocity carburetor
- Auto-fast idle system simplifies starting and helps ensure the catalyzer reaches optimum temperature quickly
- The lightweight fuel pump is mounted inside the fuel tank.
Compact Engine Design
- Powerful twin-cylinder engine is the most compact in its category, which helps reduce the dimension of the entire motorcycle and allows use of a slim, minimalist frame
- Triangular setup of the crankshaft and transmission shafts makes the engine short front-to-back
- Transmission input shaft, output shaft and change drum are contained in a cassette-style package that allows a compact layout and eases transmission maintenance chores
- Semi-dry sump design reduces engine height
- Plated, linerless aluminum cylinders with a narrow cylinder pitch keep the engine light and slim
- Efficient fuel injection and a three-way catalyzer inside the exhaust produce very low emissions, able to pass the stringent Euro-III emission regulations
- Utilizes a compact and light 300-cell catalyzer unit
- Under-engine muffler placement improves mass centralization and the bike’s low center of gravity
- The exhaust pipe bend and under-engine muffler arrangement contribute to the ER-6n’s attractive styling
- Rubber upper-rear engine mounts decrease the vibration transferred to the rider through the seat
- Handlebar is rubber-mounted to lessen vibration transmitted through the handle grips
- Rider and passenger footpegs are rubber coated to further reduce vibration
Lighter Handling Trellis Frame
- Frame has all the key ER-6n elements slim, low, lightweight and compact design that is narrow at the knees and footpegs for rider comfort and control
- The strong, high-tensile steel trellis frame not only looks lightweight, it is rivaling that of aluminum frames
- Balanced rigidity, achieved through extensive 3D analysis, translates directly into superb handling
- The frame, rear suspension and swingarm designs flow together with an integrated line running from the steering head to the rear hub
- Short front-to-back dimensions of the engine allow for a long swingarm and a short wheelbase combination that contributes to the light and nimble handling
- Swingarm stiffness adds balance to the frame’s rigidity due primarily to the rubber engine mounts
- The D-shaped cross-section swingarm, stabilizer, chain adjuster design and elegant one-piece rider/passenger footpeg stays complement the ER-6n’s high-quality appearance
- Front and rear suspension settings match the frame and swingarm rigidity values for lighter, rider-friendly handling
- Shape of the 41mm fork lower ends around the axle shaft adds to the bike’s performance and high quality image
Confidence Inspiring Ergonomics
- An ideal handlebar, seat and footpeg relationship results in a comfortable and natural riding position suiting a wide range of riders
- Frame narrows just aft of the fuel tank enabling a slimmer seat, making the reach to the ground even easier
- The offset single-shock rear suspension layout with the battery located beside the shock instead of beneath it allows a lower seat height as well
- Low seat height and slim overall design make it easy to plant both feet firmly on the ground when stopped
- Aluminum passenger grips are positioned and shaped for easy grabbing by the passenger
Sharp Masculine Styling
- Angular, stacked dual headlight and shroud contribute to the ER-6n’s masculine image and features two-position lights
- Headlights can be adjusted behind the headlight cover
- Reinforcing the ER-6n’s masculine styling, the sharp, edgy radiator shrouds feature integrated front turn signals with clear lenses and orange bulbs and forward-leaning lines
- A flush-surface fuel cap and its sharp-edged motif give the tank a distinctive look
- The ER-6n’s compact front-to-rear appearance is enhanced by the short front cowl, short rear cowl with its LED tail light and shrouds that start behind the front fork
- Finishing out the bike’s aggressive image is a sharp tail cowl design featuring a slimmer rear mud flap and turn signals that can also function as hazard lights
- A long front fender keeps the water splashing to a minimum and its two-tone design matches the ER-6n’s light, compact theme
- An inner rear fender helps keep the underside of the tail cowl clean
- Storage options include four tie-down hooks for baggage or a spare helmet to be secured to the seat and a storage space under the seat with room for a U-lock or similar device
- Mirror design is a similar supersport style and offers an unparalleled rear view
- Dual 300mm front petal disc brakes with twin 27mm piston front brake calipers and a single 220mm rear petal disc deliver plenty of braking power
- Housed in a curved brake master cylinder reservoir , the front brake lever utilizes an optimized ball-joint and pivot location to deliver smooth actuation of its 14mm master cylinder piston
- Attractive six-spoke supersport-style wheels augment the bike’s light look while reducing unsprung weight
- Stacked instrument cluster has a sharp design and clean layout with an analog speedometer that uses white LED backlights for excellent visibility at night
- The multi-function LCD screen has amber backlighting and its features include a fuel gauge, bar-style digital tachometer, clock, odometer and dual trip meters
- Inner cover inside the front cowl provides a clean appearance in this area
- Handlebar mount design and curved shapes on the brake master cylinder reservoir and clutch lever contribute further to the ER-6n’s masculine appearance