Kawasaki ER-5

Test, Kawasaki ER-5

Kawasaki ER-5

… Mama always said when the rich and famous of this world met to play golf.

Those who haven’t been waiting for them will hardly notice their arrival. Average face. Stature: rather small, but well-proportioned. Special marks? No. Everything is very normal. Very common. Nothing that caught your eye. You think you’ve seen them before. And yet: it is «s. The new one from Kawasaki. The one with the unusual name ER-5. Is she beautiful? Who will answer that? Anyway: what is beautiful? Gottfried Keller once said that the beautiful is “a rich idea, presented with practicality, clarity, successful intention.” Seen in this way, the ER-5 is pretty beautiful. “A rich idea” – definitely. If you only consider the sales successes Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha are celebrating with the special offers CB 500, GS 500 and XJ 600. Rich ideas – all of them. And the ER-5 is aiming in exactly the same direction: “Functionality, clarity” – nothing that would drive the price up unnecessarily. No disguise. No complex design. Proven technology, no risk. A motorcycle that runs. No more and, above all, no less. 8490 marks – but everything is there, even a lockable bench, main and side stand, a solid handle at the rear, luggage hooks. Savings were made elsewhere: on brakes, telescopic forks and struts, for example. The swingarm and wheels also somehow look like a department store. Gear lever, fuel filler cap, seat cover, so many little things seem – yes – needy. Well, an ice-cold wind blows at the low price level. There is nothing luxurious about it. And as long as things work – what’s there to complain about? KPut awasaki on the high edge with a very special trick: The engine – it was already there, consumed almost no development energy. The two-cylinder has been in the company’s service for eleven years, initially with 450 cubic meters, and has since been reproduced over 150,000 times. These days he is fueling the sporty GPZ 500 S, the chopper EN 500, the fun bike KLE 500 and now the ER-5. For its activity as an ER drive, the double ocher was conditioned to provide better response in the lower and medium speed range as well as precise switching work. And for the sake of the environment, it works with an exhaust gas purification system called KCA, which uses fresh air to reduce carbon monoxide and unburned hydrocarbon emissions. This four-valve engine doesn’t do badly. Comes out of the quark well, attracts neatly and cleanly. Not a tough guy – certainly. But also no consumptive, breathless rattle structure. Just a completely normal youngster – just 50 hp. Trips to high speed regions are not necessarily his favorite pastimes. He can, of course, but he doesn’t necessarily want to. Better to hum along, in fifth or sixth gear. It always works. However, accompanied by clearly noticeable load change reactions. And then there’s this little handicap: every time the water-cooled two-cylinder wants to prove its elasticity, the needle of the – undeniably beautiful – tachometer gets stuck at half mast. There is simply no real performance boost around 5000 tours. But you can live with that. After all, downshifting once or twice is not too much of an effort, especially not with such a perfectly functioning transmission. Otherwise, the ER-5 is more of the undeveloped type of motorcycle. Handy? Oh yeah. And how. Practically doing her thing alone. Do not wait for strong instructions, but submit. Willingly. No ifs and buts. As soon as the optic nerves have spotted the course of a curve, it is already picking up its trace. The next corner – just in sight, it swings on course and is around. Almost too easy to slip. In other words: Sometimes that certain something can be heard, this feeling … what should you call it? Gravity, maybe, moment of inertia? Glue, swing – whatever. In any case, the ER-5 does not convey it. It whizzes around on its narrow tires like one of those remote-controlled toy racing cars. Without grace, but very, very jagged. And precisely. The spring elements work. Not exactly splendid, but they do. Although designed more for comfort, they give the machine a good deal of stability. Okay, in two-person operation they hit the backside every now and then, something like that should happen in the best circles. By the way: Under double loads, the front of the machine becomes quite light. So a little more negative travel on the fork couldn’t hurt. Even lightweights would be grateful, because fast solo performances in the 50 kilo class are accompanied by a subtle handlebar twitching when accelerating on undulating slopes comes along. The slender 37 telescopic fork suffers enormously from the absence of a second brake disc and even twists terribly. The single-pane system itself also has its pitfalls, slowing down rather hesitantly when cold and biting down when it is hot. However, this characteristic never reaches mean proportions. Another characteristic of the ER-5 is more imprecise: the thing with the touchdown. If the feelers of the footpegs run aground on more daring inclines in single operation, as it should be, the main stand and exhaust collector scramble across the asphalt when walking in pairs, and that’s not at all nice. Not at all suitable for such a friendly motorcycle. Friendly, yes: Friendly to small people, because of the low seat height. Friendly to tall people because of the space available. Friendly to comfortable people, because of the wide high handlebar. Friendly to people behind, because of the usable back seat. From an ergonomic point of view, there is only one thing to complain about with the ER-5: The footrests should be mounted a little further forward, as a little too much weight is on the wrists. Is the new Kawasaki better than its competition? Who wants to answer that without a net and a false bottom? The comparison test in MOTORRAD 22/1996 will provide the answer. But one thing is already certain: the ER-5 is not bad. Especially for such little money. And the thing about beauty – who asks after the spark has jumped over? There are more important things. But we don’t want to become religious at this point, because: “Admiration for beauty is basically a religious feeling. Nobody can discover and enjoy real beauty who is not religious. ”Who do you think said that? You won’t believe it: that was a certain Mr. Suzuki.

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