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Old 16th January 2015, 16:14   #1
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Default My Kawasaki ER-6N

The Buying Decision:

I have been in the market for quite a few years trying to decide on a bigger bike than my Machismo 350, and every time a fast approaching headlight in the RVM zoomed past at maddening speeds even when am doing a steady 100 kph on the highways, it sank my heart.

I had to buy a bike that's faster on those clean highways, could manage to do about 120 kph without any strain all day, and go up to short bursts of high speed, and cover about 1000 kms in a day without breaking into sweat. I had always liked the Ninja 650 for being a very practical sports tourer, but my personal favorites were the classics like a Triumph Bonneville or an HD Iron 883. Both these being out of my budget, I was almost zeroing in on the Ninja 650, when the Harley Street 750 was launched. I test rode it immediately, loved the ergonomics, the mad rush of power with every flick of the wrist, and given my height is only 5'8", I fell in love with it. The braking I could live with, I told myself, and was about to go book it.

Something told me to wait and watch. Being an Indian, and having ridden Chennai-made and Jaipur-made Enfields, this Chandigarh-made Harley didn't seem to inspire a lot of confidence as far as reliability was concerned. Plus there was a bhpian who sold off his Street 750 after about a day. I waited in vain for the ownership reports, but there was nothing concrete anywhere for me to base such an expensive decision on.

The ER6n was launched, slightly cheaper than the N650, so I decided to go see it. My wife and I had meanwhile decided that Bonneville it is, despite the OTR price in Bangalore being around 7 lakhs. On November 11, 2014, I went to check out the ER6n at the Bajaj KTM showroom in Indiranagar, Bangalore, along with Prateek, an N650 rider. I told Prateek that I will check this out but go to Triumph later and book the Bonneville.

However, seeing the bike in flesh I kind of liked it. I don't like sports bikes, but street nakeds always had a certain appeal, so I fell for it. Also in my mind were the following calculations that made my decision final:

Bonneville 68 bhp versus ER6n 72 bhp
Bonneville 7 lakhs OTR versus ER6n 5.6 lakhs
Bonneville fuel economy 21 kpl versus ER6n 25-27 kpl (kitna deti hai got me)
Bonnie needs other accessories, like even a fuel lid lock, versus ER6n needing nothing extra

Plus Prateek convinced me that the Japanese build will give a lot of peace of mind. Having suffered a British marque, and being a little short on budget, I went for the ER6n.

Within a week I was told that the actual bhp figures of the Bonnie was not 68, but only 60. Ah, was that news a bummer, but then it worked in my favor. I can live with a street naked as long as I could munch miles on the highway.

Buying Experience

Very smooth. Anil of APEX Racing (right next to Outer Ring Road KTM) kept a bike ready for me in December, and although I was told the bike will come in 90 days, I got it within 40. However, because of my jaundice, I could not take delivery until Jan 14. Prateek took delivery and dropped the bike to my place day before. After that I have done only about 40 kms, 30 on the open NICE corridor, and 10 within the city.

Ride

Am not supposed to go beyond 4500 rpm for the initial 900 km, but someone tell me how to keep this bike below 4500 rpm. It is so easily flickable, I did a sudden and sinful 130 kph and then kept it to a steady 90 all through. Absolute SHHH about this!

At this point I would like to compare my short ride on the ER6n with a similar short ride I had on the Duke 690. The Duke, single cylinder, had only 50 miles on the clock, and had so much vibes that my right hand became numb in about 30 mins or so. The dealer said they don't give the Duke 690 for test rides unless it had at least 250 miles on the clock!! It was a beast, difficult to control, complaining at slow speeds, and totally ready to do a wheelie and go screaming past everything else on the road. The ER6n, on the other hand, is very comfortable at slow speeds. I could keep it in third gear and potter around at slow speeds. I will update the rpm figures later. And at the same time it is also very eager to be revved. I think that's a really fine balance achieved and that's a definite advantage the Kwacker has over the Duke 690 (when it comes to India).

Posture

I was complaining about the aggressive stance yesterday because I am used to only Enfields, but today after taking it out for 30 kms on the beautiful NICE corridor, I realized that this bike can be a perfect touring machine. You can sit upright and ride at 100 kph at ease. Windblast at high speeds was nominal, so I must thank the Puig Rafale windscreen for that. Raising the handlebars by 20 mm will be something I will think of doing later (if I don't get used to this handlebar in the next 1000 kms).

Braking

Now this will be something many people will talk about. Yesterday I did some hard braking at 94 kmph and the front brakes were enough to bring it down to very low speeds. Today, on the highway, I braked hard (hand and foot) from high speeds and felt a little shaky. I am not used to such speeds, so for novices like me, ABS would have been better.

Cornering

Haha, in a total of 94 kms, you must be wondering why I have started an ownership thread and how I found the time to corner. The NICE corridor has nice loops on the exits, so those were my racing circuit cornering ramps. Very confidence inspiring indeed, and am sure I will become a better rider if I continue learning on this bike.

Here are some pics I clicked today. I am yet to remove the saree guard and will do it once I fully recover. I also plan to put a luggage rack and backrest.

My journey begins at the midlife of 43 years.

Report from Jan 20, 2015

Okay, with 150 kms on the odo, I thought I should share some initial experience and photos with you.

Switchgear

The switchgear is of superb quality and if you compare with the Harley Street 750, you will see the visible difference in quality. All the switches are very easy to operate and the plastic doesn't look cheap.

Ignition key

It is right in front of the tank, so you don't have to bend to look for it (you know which bike I am referring to here).

Instrument console

The tacho is the main visible part with a white dial. The rest is digital and very easily visible even in broad daylight. It shows kms covered, speed, time, and fuel left. There's one red warning lamp at the right, which is probably for the oil. I am not very sure because I still don't have the manual.

Brake and clutch levers, cycle parts

Made of some really nice-looking alloy and inspire confidence. I don't think I will ever have to fix a broken clutch cable like on the bullet. The footpegs and other cycle parts are of pretty high quality too and you feel you've got your money's worth.

Brakes

The two petal discs are 300 mm and do their job pretty well. The rear is smaller, and between the three discs they are able to slow down the bike pretty easily. I somehow feel ABS should have been an option.

Grab rail

The left-side grab rail is missing and you are left with an ugly metal part from the saree guard. If you want to buy the grab rail for the left, you have to shell out Rs 3200! That's quite a bummer because the bike looks ugly with only one grab rail.

Oil-level indicator

This is towards the right of the engine and if the bike is parked on the side stand, the oil would not show. You have to straighten the bike to see the oil, which also means someone else should check it while you have straightened the bike. At night you can see it with a torch.

Suspension and ground clearance

The bike goes over bad roads pretty easily, but the footpegs being rear set, you can't really stand up over potholes like you can on a bullet. That is sorely being missed. You have to slow down considerably on bad roads. The ground clearance of 130 mm is not that good either. The bottom scrapes bad bumps if you are not careful enough to slow down. I believe the suspension can be made harder for two-up riding. I have not tried that yet.

RVM

The mirrors are big and pretty functional. No complaints at all.

The bike cannot be slotted into gear if the side stand is down, which I think is a big plus.

So far, in about 120 km of city riding, I have no complaints at all. It purrs along very smoothly, doesn't attract a lot of attention, and even the engine heat at back-to-back traffic doesn't trouble you. It is perceptible heat though. It is recommended to wear denims if you are riding inside the city.

So, to sum it up, here are my observations:

Pluses:
  • Quick acceleration, reaches 0-100 kph in 4 seconds
  • Plastic quality of switchgear very good
  • Cycle parts of high quality
  • Comfortable seats, good for long hauls
  • Pillion seat pretty broad and comfortable
  • Sticky 160 mm tyres from Dunlop, so bending at corners is a breeze
  • Fuel economy is a major plus
  • Mid and low range torque comes in pretty handy

Not so good:
  • Turning radius is cumbersome
  • Left grab rail doesn't come standard
  • Lack of ABS
  • The exposed radiator looks vulnerable.
  • The sporty handlebar can be seen both as a plus or a minus. For long-distance riding, when you want to sit back straight, you might want a higher handlebar.

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Last edited by Aditya : 27th January 2015 at 12:43. Reason: update
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Old 16th January 2015, 16:40   #2
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Default re: My Kawasaki ER-6n

Awesome man! Congrats again. Wish you lakhs of happy miles on this!

I have to say that the puig is looking really good on the bike!
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Old 16th January 2015, 18:47   #3
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Default re: My Kawasaki ER-6n

Congrats buddy

Wishing you numerous miles on the beast. To me somehow the ninjas look best in green and the naked ones look best in black.
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Old 16th January 2015, 19:19   #4
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Default re: My Kawasaki ER-6n

Congrats Oreen!
Have you joined the KNOGs on Facebook? There is a WhatsApp group for Bangalore KNOGs too. Let me know if you need any help with these.
Hope to bump into you (figuratively speaking)on a ride soon.
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Old 16th January 2015, 20:03   #5
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Default re: My Kawasaki ER-6n

Congrats , black looks beautiful . If possible join on sunday's ride .
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Old 27th January 2015, 12:49   #6
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Default re: My Kawasaki ER-6n

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Superbikes & Imports Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 27th January 2015, 14:51   #7
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Default re: My Kawasaki ER-6n

Congrats on a wonderful & practical machine. And some additional kudos for buying a naked in a country where people are obsessed with faired/dhoom bikes

I think, you can invest in a radiator guard (to safeguard from flying stones etc from the front wheel) and also an engine guard. Ofcourse, customizing is a pure individual choice.

A small word of caution on any new bike ridden out from the showroom. Be careful about aggressive cornering with brand new tires as they need some time to get the grips right.

Wish you many many miles of enjoyable riding
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Old 27th January 2015, 16:02   #8
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Default Re: My Kawasaki ER-6n

Hey congrats on the bike, a good decision. I also welcomed you on the KNOG group and at that time didn't know you were here too.
\Where did you get the Puig Rafale windscreen and if possible post a square side picture of her just to see the inclination of the windscreen.
Another must have are frame sliders. I and quite a few 650 owners have Puig Pro sliders @ 9500/- or so.
swing arm spool sliders are also nice to have.
If you are happy with the brakes let them be but some 650 owners have added EBC extreme pro pads and steel braided lines. I have the pads only and they were a major upgrade on the brakes.
And lastly get yourself some good gear to protect yourself. Actually this should be firstly not lastly.
Enjoy your baby.
Where are you located in Bangalore? Hope to see you on some rides shortly.
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Old 27th January 2015, 16:39   #9
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Default Re: My Kawasaki ER-6n

Congratulations for the ER6n !!

I will be closely following this thread. I am very keen to buy either the ER6n/Ninja 650 or the Bonny next year, currently I ride a Classic 500 Desert Storm. I love everything about the Bonny but my riding typically involves lots of outstation rides, fairly long ones. So I need a reliable mile-muncher, the Desert Storm has proven to be very reliable in the 30000 kms of ownership.

The Bonny is very comfortable, but the British reliability is yet to prove itself. Since they have adventure bikes like the Tiger in their line-up, it gives me some amount of confidence in the brand and the reliability. Plus some BHPians have done fairly long distance riding in their Bonneville's only to praise the comfort and ride quality later.

I was almost sure that my upgrade will be this British-twin, till I rode the Ninja 650.

The Ninja 650/ER6n are really comfortable motorcycles, specially for my 6-foot, 100 kgs frame. I found the riding position to be more comfortable during the short ride I took in a friend's Ninja 650. Add to that the Japanese reliability, makes the ER6n and the Ninja 650 perfect for long-distance touring.
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Old 27th January 2015, 16:51   #10
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Default Re: My Kawasaki ER-6n

Congrats on your new buy! Watch out for the ignition. On my Ninja, there is a position beyond the lock which is P, upon reading the owners manual, it said that leaving the bike in P position will lock everything but will allow for the hazard to remain operational and could deplete your battery. Havent tried testing it though.
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Old 27th January 2015, 17:11   #11
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Default Re: My Kawasaki ER-6n

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oreen View Post
At this point I would like to compare my short ride on the ER6n with a similar short ride I had on the Duke 690.
Surely you meant 390, or did I miss something?

And congrats on your new ride!

Ride safe
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Old 27th January 2015, 17:22   #12
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Default Re: My Kawasaki ER-6n

Quote:
Originally Posted by batterylow View Post
Surely you meant 390, or did I miss something?



Ride safe
Hi, no, I meant the 690 Duke, borrowed from the biggest dealer of KTMs in the UK, based in Hedingham, Essex. It happens to be owned by a friend's dad (Jim Aim Motorcycles), so the friend arranged for a test ride mule and also got me an insurance in about two hours. I got a total ride of 50 miles in and around Hedingham, and that bike was an untameable beast compared to the ER6n.

Here's a pic.
Attached Thumbnails
My Kawasaki ER-6N-hedingham.jpg  

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Old 27th January 2015, 17:28   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oreen View Post
Hi, no, I meant the 690 Duke, borrowed from the biggest dealer of KTMs in the UK, based in Hedingham, Essex.
Here's a pic.
Ah, mea culpa.

I should have caught the reference to the distance being referred to in miles,

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Old 27th January 2015, 17:29   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by killjoy View Post
Congrats on your new buy! Watch out for the ignition. On my Ninja, there is a position beyond the lock which is P, upon reading the owners manual, it said that leaving the bike in P position will lock everything but will allow for the hazard to remain operational and could deplete your battery. Havent tried testing it though.
Hi Killjoy, although I have not got my manual yet, a fellow N650 owner, Prateek, showed me that P position and warned me about it. My Machismo 350 with CDI ignition starts without a battery, so am sure getting stuck on this bike with the battery drained out can be quite a pain. It doesn't even have a kick starter

I want to know about the Slime puncture protector liquid, the pros and cons of it. Has anybody used it?

Haroon, thanks for the tip about cornering. I will definitely remember that. I am totally uncomfortable taking right turns at high speeds, so I guess a few days at Apex Racing should help me get rid of my fear. Am still basically a Bullet guy, man, what do you expect?


Hi Goandude, I am near IIM Bangalore and plan to get my first service done at Venkat Shyam's garage in Banashankari. The Puig Rafale was purchased on Amazon and brought to India by a friend. It costs about USD 102. I will post a pic from the side soon. It looks kind of upright, but you can decide for yourself when you see it.
About riding gear, I still use my Cramster jacket/gloves and knee guards. My boots are those huge Gosgo Army boots suitable for bullets and Harleys. I feel I need to upgrade from an LS2 helmet to something a little more cozy. This LS2 has a mind of its own at high speeds!! Upgrading from a bullet is like experiencing such a sea change in everything that I took for granted and was happy with all these years.

Last edited by Oreen : 27th January 2015 at 17:47. Reason: English
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Old 27th January 2015, 23:08   #15
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Default Re: My Kawasaki ER-6N

Also, last time I checked the left hand side grab rail was 800. Its now 3200?
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