Not so long ago, a friend asked me if I could be honestly tell him what sort of improvements he could do to his Kawasaki Ninja 650R, which is also called the ER6F.
I explained him that top-self suspension bits are expensive, which means the Kawasaki ER6F's 41mm front fork legs aren't. Soft springs and rudimentary damping internals do a reasonable job, but making the bottom line a top priority means no spring-preload adjusters. The rear suspension of the Kawasaki ER6F is also not top-shelf, but that is easily fixed by replacing the rear shock for an aftermarket replacement.
The front brakes, those swanky-looking 300mm petal-cut rotors are reminiscent of what you'll find on bigger, faster Kawasaki Ninjas, but the two-piston calipers are not. They look identical to the calipers that stop 650cc Suzuki's. The difference is inside, where standard brake pads demand a firm squeeze. ABS is standard on the Thai ER6N and ER6F models which helps the braking in some degree.
The Kawasaki ER6F engine is taking up less space in every direction than an equivalent four or even a V-twin, Kawasaki's 649cc parallel-twin shows more sophistication than some other motorcycles in the same class. The semi-dry-sump architecture contains oil inside the crankcase, away from the crankshaft, allowing a shallow sump that helps minimize engine height. Marvelous piece of engineering.
The muffler keeps the Kawasaki ER6F sound below the 80 decibels. The exhaust system is big, the actual catalyst-equipped muffler behind these facade is as wide as the crankcase. It's not exactly light, either. But it never gets in the way, and the under-slung location contributes to the Kawasaki's agile handling by parking such heavy bits as low in the chassis as possible.
I seen up-close about 10 Kawasaki' ER6N and ER6F, and I have seen prettier welded frames, but the basic lattice of steel tubes that form the Kawasaki ER6F skeleton create a compact, cost-effective structure that's plenty stiff for fast street riding. The rear sub-frame is steel as well, and attached with welds rather than bolts. That could make straightening out a crash more complicated.
If I sound negative about the Kawasaki ER6F, I'm not. The Kawasaki ER6F is a clear winner for the Thai market, it's halve the price of any competition. With some not-to-big modifications to the suspension, I like the way the Kawasaki ER6F feels sporty without being intimidating. The Kawasaki ER6F appeals to a broad spectrum of people, the price of 257,000 Baht is surely the biggest motivator and who can blame them...