The combined UK and French group had use of 20 machines in either white or yellow for two days of carefully planned riding with each using a GPS temporarily fitted to their loan machine to navigate around spectacular Portuguese mountain roads and picturesque towns and villages.
Positioned as a major update of the current very popular ER-6n in the press presentation prior to riding, a static example of the new faired ER-6f was also on display inside the hotel which served as base for the launch.
Riding commenced on Thursday at 08.00 am with a trip to a local town for some photography in an urban environment and then onto a more demanding winding hill road section to the second photography location.
Meeting the journalists here, the staff from Kawasaki Motors UK who attended sought early impressions from the riders which were extremely positive. MCN’s Senior Road Tester, Adam Child said of the town manners of the new bike this it was “improved in every area”
, and “the new, softer suspension setup makes the most of the engine in town”.
Displaying even more refined fuel injection characteristics and some subtle tweaks to the suspension and chassis, the new machine was equally judged ideal for tight mountain roads and many riders spent the final 20kms of the route to the second photo stop in just third gear allowing the torque of the engine to do all the work. Adam was also impressed by the new injection settings saying: “The 650 fires off the throttle with near-perfect fuelling” .
Remarking on the new Dunlop Roadsmart 2 tyres, the UK press declared them extremely well suited to the new ER-6n twin offering good grip and feedback adding to the confidence inspiring overall feeling of the 650cc water-cooled twin with Adam adding that the new tyre choice gave, “constant grip”
A short ride to the specially prepared tracking photo location was followed by lunch and then a “free ride” back to the hotel where riders could follow the prescribed route or work their way across country using their own way points.
While the majority of the morning riding was conducted in the zone that most applies to the ER-6n customer (learner, new to two wheels or experienced rider returning to biking), the run back in hot conditions to the hotel was at the sort of speeds and with the cornering confidence that a more experienced rider would employ. Adams opinion?... “Even after 120 miles in blistering heat I was still surprised by, and really enjoying, the little ER”.
Like the highly experienced MCN road tester, the vast majority of comments were very positive with the virtues of the slim, easy to manoeuvre chassis, well matched tyres and responsive wide-powerband of the willing twin cylinder machine convincing many journalists that the ER-6n will indeed appeal to a remarkably diverse group of riders.
Day two dawned with skies as clear as the first and by 09.00 am the temperature was an amazing 22 degrees rising later to 32 . Some journalists rode to the local harbour for further static photography while others attacked day two’s route along with a riding guide provided by Kawasaki Motors Europe.
It is always a good sign on the final day of a launch when the majority of riders want to ride again – especially as the sky was blue from horizon to horizon and the temperature climbed even further during the day. In fact, the only absentees on day two were seen in the hotel foyer finishing off their test ride reports as they were on a tight deadline by their printed publications and web sites.
Given the deign brief to refine and update already highly popular machine, the 2012 ER-6n has taken a very impressive step forwards for 2012 and the many styling and engineering updates were equally understood and appreciated by the UK press.
MCN’s Adam Child summed up the new ER-6n in his published press test verdict saying that Kawasaki have; “succeeded in enhancing every aspect of its appeal…the ER-6n is now easier to ride and more manageable which should attract more new riders….the revised, rev-happy motor is a peach, which both experienced and novice riders will enjoy…it’s brilliant around town and pulls from as little as 2000rpm”
– he finished by declaring that , “On its own merits the ER-6n is a hit.”
See 19 October edition of Motor Cycle News for full details. Further coverage via: Visordown, Bike, RiDE, Motorcycle Sport and Leisure, Superbike, FastBikes, Performance Bikes.
See more ER-6n launch images, plus add your own comments, on the Kawasaki News UK
Follow Kawasaki on Twitter @Kawasaki_News
MCN's web page can be found here MCN.com