2011 Kawasaki ER-6n
The 2011 Kawasaki ER-6n has a really unfortunate name. What does the ER-6n moniker refer to anyway? You go to the Emergency Room when you're 6-teen on it? Huh? What happened, Kawi, were all the good names taken?
However, that really is the only minor quibble that can be had with this otherwise sterling machine. The ER-6n is a 650cc naked bike that shows the rest of the class how to do it right. Although the styling is questionable at best and the headlight which is a spray painted black leftover Viper pilot helmet from the original Galactica should be knocked off the bike with a baseball bat before wheeling it out of the showroom, you can't help but love the ER-6n for its thoroughly astounding performance and phenomenal value for the dollar.
At the mid six thousands MSRP (could that -6n refer to the price?) the ER-6n may just represent one of the best values on a Japanese street bike in the 2011 model year. For about the same money as the KLX250S enduro, you can buy the sweetest liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, DOHC 8-valve 649cc parallel-twin engine in history powering a trellis frame, swingarm, chassis, and offset laydown rear shock suspension with 4.9 inches of travel lifted from the Ninja 650R, all in a light, responsive, exhilarating 441 pound package.
The riding position is refreshingly upright although a bit of a pullback would help shorter riders, and overall the ergonomics are 90% spot on. Although the ER-6n's triple petal brakes aren't as flimsy or overly cutaway as some, you still wonder how much braking efficiency is lost by the absence of rotor material. The ER-6n is also a green darling since it's Euro 3 compliant through a 300 cell catalyser and fuel injection dialed in to minimize emissions. Yes, we can gum up the entire freakin' Gulf Of Mexico, but its good to keep our air clean… as it's all we have left.
The ER-6n loves to rev and is by far at its happiest when you let the motor sing in the twisty turnies. Although not a dedicated canyon carver or Sunday morning mountain racer, there is no time or riding situation that the ER-6n comes up short. Sure, you're not riding a Hayabusa here, but it's got more than enough ponies inside that extra compact engine to more than entertain you no matter where you want to go and how you want to get there. The 2011 Kawasaki ER-6n is a great bike for a great price. Call it a cut price Versys. What really is the difference between the two anyway?
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2011 Kawasaki ER-6n At A Glance
Base MSRP: $8,249
Engine Displacement: 649 cc
Engine Type: Liquid-cooled, 4-stroke Parallel Twin
Bore & Stroke: 83 x 60 mm
Ignition Type: Digital
Compression Ratio: 11.3:1
Valve Train Type: DOHC, 8 valves
Transmission Type: 6-speed, return
Final Drive Type: Sealed Chain
Front Tire: 120/70ZR17M/C (58W)
Rear Tire: 160/60ZR17M/C (69W)
Wheelbase: 1,405 mm
Saddle Height: 785 mm
Curb Dry Weight: 200 kg
Fuel Capacity (US): 15.5 litres
* Specs/pix apply to 2010 model, updates as released