Kawasaki has extensively revised its ER-6 parallel twins - the naked ER-6n and fully-faired ER-6f - for 2012, starting by tweaking their intake and exhaust systems and re-mapping their engine management systems, to produce a wider spread of torque. Quoted output is now 53 kW at 8500rpm and 64Nm at 7000 - that's 2Nm down on the previous model, although Kawasaki says more generous midrange grunt makes up for it.
The rest is all new, with a slimmer, lower double-pipe frame and swing arm that ducts air to the new paper-filter air cleaner element (previously a foam filters) through the steering head. A slimmer single-backbone rear sub-frame allows all the relevant components to be located nearer to the bike's centre line, increasing payload from 180 to 200kg, and the seat is wider, flatter and more comfortable than previously.
Suspension damping rates have also been revised.
And the suspension gets longer legs, with 5mm more front and 2mm more rear travel.
The instrument panels on both model are new, with a 13 000rpm rev counter (redlined at 11 000) and a big, legible digital speedometer, along with a clock, fuel gauge, dual trip meters, instant and average fuel consumption readouts and an economical riding indicator as a nod to the tree-huggers.
Don't knock it, Cyril; if you keep an eye on it, particularly on the open road, you can achieve significant savings on fuel cosumption, which is not a bad thing with petrol well over R11 a litre.
The ER-6n and ER-6f come with a two-year, unlimited distance warranty.
The ER-6n is priced at R75 995 and the fully faired ER-6f at R79 995.