Line up a heap of naked-bikes and I get all excited. Stick me behind the handlebars, though, and it doesn't take long for me to wimp out and want a fairing. The heart and the head clash over stripped versus screened, and on any long, windy or wet ride I know that the sensible side of me always wins the argument. That's what I love and hate about the Kawasaki ER6.
See. I'd really want the naked Kawasaki ER6N but a little time fooling around on the faired Kawasaki ER6F (Ninja 650R) model proved it's the way to go if you're being smart about it.
The two Kawasaki's are essentially identical except for the bodywork and a few kilos. The Kawasaki Ninja 650R eminently practical, super-efficient, sporty all-rounder that will make many people wonder why anyone bothers with naked-bikes or 600cc class sportsbikes or, for that matter, just about anything else.
The key things that really make both Kawasaki Ninja 650R and Kawasaki ER6N, the great motorcycle they are. First, the indestructible diamond, high-tensile steel chassis has lots of integrity. Just look at what it's capable of, with a bit of suspension work and maybe a tire change it'll offer you the greatest value for motorcycle available in Thailand.
Second, the engine is typical of modern 650cc parallel twin-cylinder – smooth, quite powerful enough for road use and with enough torque to get you around two-up without getting bored of the gear-shifting. The Kawasaki Ninja 650R has a responsive and fun engine, one that runs happily in the midrange all day but has a thrill in the top end for any rider who's in the market for this size machine.
And those who are negative about the Kawasaki Ninja 650R and say it's an underdog beside an ZX-6R forget that there are plenty of us out there who can get our thrills by pushing a less demanding motorcycle closer to its limits that our own. In terms of real-world sports riding, the Kawasaki Ninja 650R is great fun, cutting fast lines on scratchers' roads without having to stretch the envelope too far.
And that fairing on the Kawasaki Ninja 650R works nicely. Airflow is quite smooth, the extra protection noticeable as the raining season starts or the speeds rise after the rain. You really appreciate it at times.