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Comparison test of disguised all-rounders

But with a bowl, please

Suzuki’s small Bandit series is a great success. But it doesn’t cover all buyers’ needs. Now the fully faired GSX 650 F is supposed to close the last gap to the popular E.R-6f to be able to stand up. Does she stand a chance against Kawasaki’s slippery bestseller?? All good things come in threes. According to this motto, Suzuki is providing the 650 bandit series with the GSX 650 F, which despite its different name is nothing more than a fully encased bandit.

It remains to be seen whether it can really build on the popularity and sales success of its two sisters. Because there is no ABS that is not available for a surcharge for the time being. A shortcoming that can have enormous consequences in security-conscious Germany.

Comparison test of disguised all-rounders

But with a bowl, please


Beautiful bay, beautiful motorbikes – what could be nicer?

That the GSX tries to iron out however with an interesting price. The sporty all-rounder with the well-known, water-cooled, 86 hp inline four-cylinder should cost only 6,790 euros. Unrivaled cheap, at least in the four-cylinder fraction, in which there are no fully disguised competitors. The streamlined Kawasaki ER-6f with its compact, 72 hp two-cylinder, on the other hand, could make life, in short success, difficult. At 7,245 euros, it is a bit more expensive, but offers ABS as standard.
When you face each other from headlight to headlight, the difference can hardly be greater. Here the slim, almost petite Kawasaki, which artfully hides its muffler under the engine block, there the massive, broad-shouldered Suzuki with its pointed nose that stretches a stovepipe from the exhaust system into the sky.

If the type designation was not clearly on the fairing, the Suzuki could easily be mistaken for a larger displacement model. Identical in construction from the tank to the frame to the wheels with the 1250 Bandit models, the GSX 650 F makes a neat ride on a large motorcycle. What is reflected on the scales: A full 241 kilograms with a full tank is quite a lot for a mid-range bike. The ER-6f is a whopping 38 kilograms lighter and, for that reason alone, more comfortable to handle when maneuvering and turning.

The middle class throws itself in shell


Kawasaki’s GPZ successor with a powerful engine.

The first rehearsal underpins the image of little David and big Goliath. Narrow handlebars and wasp-like waist give the feeling of sitting on the Kawasaki as if on a bicycle. The knee is tight, the sitting position is comfortable. Everything fits easily, gives an airy, light feeling. In contrast to the Suzuki. Your sitting position is expansive, your legs have to be spread wider on the large bench in order to get safe contact with the ground. Unfortunately, the seat height adjustment of the Bandit models on the GSX has fallen victim to the red pencil. The tank surface, frame tube and side cover do not form a uniform surface, which prevents a proper knee joint. The shape of the handlebars with its strong cranking is also not entirely successful, which is why the pressure on the outside of the palm of the hand is tiring in the long run. It’s a shame, as the full fairing proves to be pleasant protection on long journeys. The wide disc, which is strongly curved towards the top, not only keeps the wind out, but also creates little turbulence. It’s a bit gusty behind the Kawa panel. In addition, it offers the driver less protection, especially in the shoulder area.


Suzuki offers a lot for the money.

Mild temperatures and sunny blue skies await the test crew in the south of France, and they will quickly make you forget the wet and cold, dreary weather around eight hundred kilometers further northeast in Germany. In the hinterland near the Mediterranean coast, thousands of small, low-traffic roads wind their way through the stony, ocher-colored mountains like gray tapeworms. The asphalt is warm and grippy. It smells strongly of Mediterranean plants. A feast for the senses and the joy of riding a motorcycle.

The Suzuki purrs like a cat. With little vibration and silky smooth, the in-line four-cylinder climbs up and down the speed ladder nimbly, turns loosely up to 11,000 rpm, in order to increase its power again in the last quarter of its speed range. If you want to fully utilize your power, you cannot avoid high speeds. The engine sounds a bit tortured then. And squeezing him like that isn’t always necessary. Even from medium speeds, the GSX 650 F accelerates properly and even allows shifting lazy driving style, as the pull-through values ​​prove. The engine hangs cleanly on the gas and reacts spontaneously to gas commands. Annoying load change reactions, for example when applying gas in tight bends, are kept within moderate limits. Only the hooked six-speed gearbox tarnishes the otherwise so good overall impression of the Suzuki engine.

Like on rails


Flea hopping: The fun bikes prance through the curves with little weight and a narrow silhouette.

The six-speed gearbox of the ER-6f can be shifted more smoothly and inconspicuously. But one looks for an optimal gear step less often than with the GSX. Its lively two-cylinder with a robust character is inferior to the Suzuki in terms of top performance and also in terms of performance, but the difference is not noticeable on the winding roads of this region. Even from low revs, the engine pushes forward powerfully, hangs cleanly and directly on the gas, in order to develop its full power between 6000 and 8000 rpm. In this speed range, the twin produces even more power and torque than the four-cylinder GSX. Therefore, the ER-6f has no trouble following its higher-revving competitor on the foot. The result of a speed-saving driving style: fuel consumption is pleasantly low. 4.2 liters normal are it at a moderate country road speed. The Suzuki approved on average almost half a liter (4.6 l / 100 km) more.
The lightweight Kawasaki swings agile and carefree through the winding landscape. Lively in a positive and negative sense: What gently announces itself on a flat asphalt surface with a sporty driving style becomes uncomfortable on a bumpy tar area. The spring elements, which are not adjustable except for the spring base of the directly hinged strut, reach their limits here. They are extremely comfortable and undamped on top of that. In addition, the telescopic fork begins to stuck on poor asphalt. No trace of deep contact with the ground. The ER-6f rattles across the road and loses its otherwise good steering precision in the corners. With two people or with a load, the whole behavior is even stronger. The shock absorber and fork then hit through.

At least you can rely on the brakes. Although the pressure point is a bit spongy, the ER-6f has it under control at all times. The ABS regulates properly with a noticeably pulsating hand lever, but with a good grip the Kawa tends to unwanted stoppies before the ABS takes action.

The suspension set-up of the GSX 650 F is completely different, but not without blame. Although the spring base and rebound damping can be adjusted, you cannot find a comfortable setting in solo mode. For that, it’s exactly right with a full load. The fork is also somewhat insensitive and occasionally locks up during hard, abrupt braking maneuvers.
However, the tight spring elements also have advantages. The Suzuki is honest, predictable and very neutral, which makes it likeable. Not as light-footed as the Kawasaki, but it steers more precisely and precisely through curves, remains more stable and easier to control when the road conditions deteriorate or the driving style becomes more energetic and sporty. Their brakes are also more vehement and can be more finely dosed.
The bottom line is that the better performance and especially the more stable chassis ensure the victory of the GSX 650 F over the ER-6f, although it loses valuable points due to the lack of ABS. But if you are looking for a light, handy and also very dynamic motorcycle in this class and if you do not want to do without an ABS, you will prefer the ER-6f.

Performance chart

The difference between theory and practice: The Suzuki feels limp at the bottom, but is on par with the Kawa up to 6000 rpm. It has its strength in the range between 6000 and 9000 / min, looks rather tough above it. On the other hand, the GSX continues to turn loosely until the limiter intervenes at just under 12,000 rpm. While the ER-6f delivers exactly the promised 72 hp, the Suzi lacks five hp at the top of the nominal power.


Kawasaki ER-6f

Engine: water-cooled two-cylinder four-stroke in-line engine, two overhead, chain-driven camshafts, four valves per cylinder, fork rocker arm, dry sump lubrication, injection, Ø 38 mm, regulated catalytic converter, alternator 336 W , battery 12 V / 14 Ah, mechanically operated, multi-disc Oil bath clutch, six-speed gearbox, O-ring chain.
Bore x stroke 83.0 x 60.0 mm
Cubic capacity649 cm3
Compression ratio 11.2: 1
Rated output 53.0 kW (72 PS) at 8500 rpm Max. Torque 66 Nm at 7000 rpm
Chassis: tubular steel frame, load-bearing motor, telescopic fork, Ø 41 mm, double-arm swing arm made of steel, central spring strut, directly hinged, adjustable spring base, double disc brake at the front, Ø 300 mm, double-piston floating calipers, disc brake at the rear, Ø 220 mm, single-piston floating caliper, SECTION.
Cast aluminum wheels 3.50 x 17; 4.50 x 17
Tires 120/70 ZR 17; 160/60 ZR 17
Tires in the test Bridgestone BT 020, front »GG«

Dimensions and weights: wheelbase 1410 mm, steering head angle 65.0 degrees, caster 106 mm, spring travel f / r 120/125 mm, seat height * 790 mm, weight with a full tank * 203 kg, payload * 181 kg, tank capacity 15.5 liters.

Warranty two years
Service intervals every 6000 km
Colors Black, Green
Power variant 25 kW (34 PS)
Price 7.245 euros
Additional costs 180 euros

Suzuki GSX 650 F

Engine: water-cooled four-cylinder four-stroke in-line engine, two overhead chain-driven camshafts, four valves per cylinder, wet sump lubrication, injection, Ø 36 mm, regulated catalytic converter with secondary air system, 400 W alternator, 12 V / 10 Ah battery, mechanically operated multi-plate oil bath clutch, Six-speed gearbox, O-ring chain.
Bore x stroke 65.5 x 48.7 mm
Displacement 656 cm3
Compression ratio 11.5: 1
Rated output 63.0 kW (86 PS) at 10500 rpm
Max. Torque 62 Nm at 8900 rpm
Chassis: double loop frame made of steel, telescopic fork, Ø 41 mm, adjustable spring base, two-arm swing arm made of steel, central spring strut with lever system, adjustable spring base and rebound damping, double disc brake at the front, Ø 310 mm, four-piston fixed calipers, disc brake at the rear, Ø 240, single-piston floating caliper.
Cast aluminum wheels 3.50 x 17; 5.00 x 17
Tires 120/70 ZR 17; 160/60 ZR 17
Tires in the test Bridgestone BT 011/010, front "N", rear "G"
Dimensions and weights: wheelbase 1470 mm, steering head angle 64.0 degrees, caster 108 mm, suspension travel f / h 130/128 mm, seat height * 800 mm, weight with a full tank * 241 kg, payload * 214 kg, tank capacity 19.0 liters.

Warranty two years
Service intervals every 6000 km
Colors: Black, Black / Silver, Blue / White
Power variant 25 kW (34 PS)
Price 6790 euros
Additional costs 135 euros


In terms of smoothness and performance, the two-cylinder Kawasaki, which is around ten hp weaker, clearly lags behind the livelier, four-cylinder Suzuki, although the performance characteristics of the ER-6 twin prove to be more advantageous in practice. The only thing the bandit messes up with is its somewhat hooked switch box, which can only be operated with force. Pleasing: your sovereign cold start.

landing gear
The ER-6f scurries easily and agile through dense city traffic and tight curve combinations. The 38 kilogram heavier GSX 650 F is much more unwieldy to handle, but comes up with a tighter suspension setup. The soft, almost underdamped spring elements of the ER-6f, which set limits to sporty driving early on, are not very pleasant.

everyday life
The driver feels at home on the ER-6f. The pillion can also be much more comfortable than on the GSX 650 F. Unfortunately, the low payload of the Kawa does not fit into the concept. Better wind protection, good equipment thanks to adjustable chassis, more informative cockpits and electronic immobilizer as well as more range bring the Suzuki points.

The GSX 650 F cannot make up for the major shortcoming of a missing ABS in the safety chapter. Even if your stationary brake is easier to dose and more effective, the set-up torque when braking is lower.

Low costs, whether in maintenance or inspections, apply to both. The Kawa is still unbeatable in terms of consumption.

Test result

Suzuki GSX 650 f Good driving performance and the silky smooth running of the four-cylinder, in conjunction with the stable, safe chassis, are the decisive factors for victory in this group test.

KawasakiER-6f Common sense doesn’t always win. The more manageable, dynamic motorcycle has ABS, but has to admit defeat because the suspension elements do not work satisfactorily.

Price-performance winner: Suzuki GSX 650 F
A lot of motorcycle for little money. With this motto, Suzuki is again asserting itself in this class. Where else is there a fully faired four-cylinder all-rounder with adequate performance for less than 7,000 euros?

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