Ultimate Commuter?

Square End 2 End2014My humble Kawasaki ER6n finally has a rival in the form of the Yamaha MT-07, I’ve ridden one and I’m torn to say I’m smitten! Now my trusty ER6 is not giving way to this young upstart any time soon but it really is a viable alternative to consider if you are in the market for a budget commuter that will also put a smile on your face.

I’ve ridden many pretenders to the ER6′s budget throne, the Suzuki SV650 might be a cheap fun track day machine but compared to the ER it’s unrefined, jerky and showing it’s age. It’s stable mate the Gladius is a little plusher but still suffers with a jerky throttle response and patchy torque band meaning in town you’re constantly changing gears between 2nd, 3rd and 4th in town traffic. It’s not bad but falls short of the Kawasaki.

The Honda NC700 ain’t bad, for a commuter it’s probably more practical than the Kawasaki and edges it on fuel economy too but crucially it falls short in the smiles department. It’s not nearly as fun to ride. I’ve not tried the new NC750 yet and by all accounts things have improved a bit but it’s still a focused budget commuter aimed at people who want the practicality of a scooter in a motorcycle. I’ve not had the pleasure of riding any of the new CB500 range yet but I have sat on one and it doesn’t fells as ‘grown up’ as the ER6, which is saying something.

And so to the Yamaha MT07, on first impressions it doesn’t look bad. It may be cheaper than the ER6 but it somehow looks more expensive, better put together and more like it’s bigger brother the MT09. When I sit on it though it makes me smile, not because it feels good but because the suspension feels soft and bouncy. It feels much lighter than the Kawasaki, more like an old 400 and the engine sounds more like a generator than a motorcycle. It makes me feel that I own the right bike with the Kawasaki as there’s no way this little toy bike can get close. And then I take it out on the road… Continue reading

Kawasaki ER6n on a 24 hour End 2 End UK Ride!

20131009_130442This summer I will be taking my ER6n from Lands End to John O’Groats, a distance of over 870 miles, in less than 24 hours (not as in riding time but as in an actual day). The biggest distance I’ve travelled so far in a day is about 250 miles so this is a big personal challenge and will see if the modifications I’ve made to the ER6 help with long distance comfort (Puig Rafale screen, Oxford Hot Grips, Bagster seat, Acerbis handguards). I am planning on doing this on 21st June 2014 and completing the ride in about 18-20 hours allowing for fuel, food and fatigue stops. However the key attraction here is I want to raise some cash for Teenage Cancer Trust while I do it so have set up a JustGiving page.

Teenage Cancer Trust are a great charity and work with cancer patients between the ages of 13-24 to help with their quality of life. I have noticed that many visitors to this page come from around the world but that doesn’t mean you can’t contribute. I am looking to raise a modest £200 but it doesn’t have to stop there. If you can spare a little it all helps. Visit www.justgiving.com/RebelRide for more information and my End 2 End 2014 blog for updates.

19,000 miles on

It’s been a while since I’ve updated this blog but now that the Kwak is closing in on the 20,000 mile marker I thought it an appropriate time to let you know about a couple issues I’ve had with the bike.

Issue numero uno was collapsed rear wheel bearings shortly after the 16k mile service. The bearings were replaced under warranty as I’ve had my machine less than 2 years but as most bikes will do less than 4k miles a year this is something you should look out for on 4 year old machines or higher mileage bikes. I was assured by the dealer that this was unusual but this could just be the dealer trying to reassure me about the Kawasaki brand. Continue reading