06 August 2010

ER6F Long Term Review

Having now owned my Kawasaki ER-6F for a year now I feel it is time to give a bit of a review having used it over the longer term. So what is my overall view? Excellent, but with room for improvement.


Engine

The little parallel twin gives out plenty of poke, especially low down. Having done much riding around town this is of great benefit, making it easy to filter and pull away from the lights without having to rev the engine. When you want to be a bit more spirited you can be, although you do need to keep it revving a little higher. Once above 9000rpm you start to lose it and really should change gear. The biggest problem with the bike being a parallel twin is the amount of vibration. On this 2009 model not much of it comes through to the rider, but some does and on longer motorway trips I have found my left hand getting partly numbed by it. Perhaps the worst aspect of the vibration is that the mirrors tend to show mainly blur. Shame that they haven't been isolated as the pegs and handle bars have been.

Fuel economy on this bike can be great, I have had nearly 60mpg on one run, although averaging around 50. However it drops when you are just doing short trips around town and even more when you want to use the poke of the engine. 38mpg was my worst. Still it is a cheap bike to run fuel wise.


Body

Beauty is in the eye of... well you know. Anyhow I think the bike looks great, certainly compared to the pre-09 model. Sharp angles and lines make it look much more like its Ninja sibling, but without the sporty riding position. Ahh the riding position; I haven't ridden a supersports bike so I can't comment too much, but while the more upright sitting position is great for around town and cruising, it isn't much cop when you want to ride that little more aggressively. I found that I can improve that by moving my feet up on the pegs and that in-turn moves my body forward, putting that little more weight over the front and makes me more confident in faster corners. However I am unsure if that is the right thing to do!

Another thing with the body of the bike are the mirrors. Considering it seems to be aimed at newer riders and commuters, you can't see directly behind you. People will know if an ER rider is looking behind as they have to move their arm in to get past their elbow (or elbow out). Annoying when you do a manoeuvre; either you look like you are doing a chicken impression or have to physically look over your shoulder. One day I may look at getting the mirror extensions and see if they 'fix' the problem. However this shouldn't be a problem to be fixed it should be right out of the box. That is, however, a minor thing really and takes nothing away from the rideability of the bike.

There are some very nice touches to the bike, the side mounted rear shock being one. It gives the bike some distinctive character without looking like it is trying. As I understand it is there to even up weight and allows the battery to be moved to a better location. Along with the rear hugger, stops it being caked by the back wheel throwing up road dirt. Oh yes, it also has a rear hugger. Again this is something I am led to believe is not what you would expect to see on a budget bike.


Suspension

Basic is the work of the day, budget may be another. This is a budget bike and as such all you get is pre-loading on the rear side mounted shock otherwise nadda. Not that I would expect to see much more, this isn't the sort of bike that would have all the adjustments, at least not at what it was sold at. Possibly do to its low cost there are times the bike feels a little on edge, especially on bumpy B-roads. The rear end feels as if it isn't always in good contact with the road. Maybe more expensive suspension would improve that, but at the moment I have little idea of how to adjust it for the best setup.

I love this bike, it has enough poke to get you going to the wrong side of motorway speeds, feels confident pootling around town, but is also a lot of fun around the B-roads. Having taken it on a trip to Land's End it was commented at how well it pulled out of corners, this was by someone who used to race bikes. I have no doubt that his GSXR750 would run circles around me most of the time though!

If you are looking for a first 'big bike' or something to run around town on with the occasional weekend blast, you can't go too wrong with an ER6F. Yes it has its faults, the mirrors are vibey and not long enough and the rear suspension can sometimes feel a little hard. However this is overshadowed by just how fun it is to ride, and how cheap too. It is in the group 10 for insurance, costs £70 in road tax (I am sure that will go up), and does around 8.7p/mile on fuel (again that will go up if only as fuel goes up!).

2 comments:

R said...

thanks for the review, i'm about to buy a 2009 er6f, helped a lot, previus owner has dropped the bike, and this is my first "big bike" hope i get no problemas, tke good care of you! hope you still ride

smartroad said...

Hi! Thanks for taking the time to read my little corner :)

I still ride the bike, and it is still going strong. I would not worry about the bike being dropped. My ER6F has had the accident in the carpark (back at the end of '09), I had a minor off during my Lands End trip and another minor off as I left home and a car pulled out suddenly when I was too close.

The last two I had crash bobbins on for, which if yours doesn't I can recommend as I had next to no damage from the last too offs on the bike.

Since then I haven't had any issue with the bike, still pulls, still starts and still returns 60mpg.

Good luck with yours, they are great little wonders!