Sunday, 8 June 2008

Restricted But Not Out

When I heard I was getting the Kawasaki Er-6n as a hire bike while my Karma was getting repaired I was both excited and disappointed. Part of me was hoping for something like a Honda Deauville as my routine would go unaffected with its built in luggage, I know, sounds like a strange hope but I value practicality over most things and there are not many other bikes that come in a complete package.

Excited because the Er-6n was the motorcycle I originally wanted, it is what I had tried to order at first but after some 6 weeks of promises the bike never materialised and I ended up buying a showroom Er-6f. Though to my dismay I was also informed it was a restricted bike...I have never owned or ridden a restricted motorcycle before this so it was going to be a learning experience.

Most of my commute is done on motorways and dual-carriage ways so within a few days I was sick of the Er-6n. No wind protection at all made for long unpleasant rides in bad weather. This lack of protection really did colour my judgement considerably. While the restriction drove me insane. Being stuck behind dangerous drivers and not being able to overtake quickly and safely. This inability to 'ride for yourself' and look after my own welfare while on the bike left me not wanting to ride!

Though it was during the last week of having this bike that did make me realise what she is good for. After a few short trip on local roads, generally of poor quality, you have to take it easy and enjoy the scenery. This is when the bike made sense. I could ride it within its limits and enjoy. Weather protection generally was not required while the roll-on/roll-off nature of the engine on these roads gave me a new appreciation of this bike. Especially when I was in the city dealing with heavy traffic. It took it all in its ease with no complaints.

Something that did keep surprising me was the breaks, any time I applied them she just wanted to slide! My Er-6f never gave me such issues, but coming up to traffic lights for instance had the back wheel sliding. The bike has the same tires and is less then half the power, I know it had a slightly different rake so whether that has something to do with it I am unsure but I have not read of similar experiences...though one owner of a same specification bike said he finds it hard to keep the front wheel down!

This is a fun bike, even with the restriction. For city riders or any riding that does not involve lots of motorway work this is a highly competent machine that will leave you grinning. The restrictor is extremely novice friendly I would say. Allowing you to get away with a lot of sins without being punished. None of my mates like the looks of the bike, but the more they complained the more I grew to like her. Keeping in mind the price of these bikes new I really can not recommend enough and well worth trying.

Keep the rubber side down...