2009 Kawasaki ER-6n vs. 2009 Suzuki Gladius — Comparison Test: Completing…

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Kawasaki ER-6n

2009 Kawasaki ER-6n vs. Suzuki Gladius – Comparison Completing the Triple Play a pair of all-around Twins.

by Jeff Allen

All good come in threes, right? brunettes and redheads. Detroit’s Big (well, not so much these Tic Tac Toe. Ready, set, go! yadda, yadda. Kawasaki and

Come again?

Think it: two Twins, each engine a trio of entry-level machines the popular sport, adventure now, … market While Kawasaki’s fully Ninja 650R and stilt-legged have been available for some time, the stripped is brand-new to the U.S. this Ditto Suzuki’s Gladius, a bare-it-all spin-off of the trackday-friendly and go-anywhere V-Strom 650.

to their essentials, the ER-6n and the are practically, uh, twins. Both steel frames and swingarms. are fitted with conventional forks and spring-preload-adjustable monoshocks.

feature tubular handlebars, seats, rubber-covered footpegs and passenger grab handles. come with disc at each end pinched by twin-piston, calipers up front and single-piston at the rear. Wheel and tire cast aluminum hoops with 120/70 front and rear radial rubber—are too.

Same goes for claimed heights—30.9 inches. It is as though factory knew exactly the other was building.

With one exception: engine architecture. the 649cc ER-6n pairs its cylinders side-by-side, the 645cc splays its battleship-gray barrels 90 apart. The rest of the spec is pretty much state-of-the-art Japanese Motorcycle: liquid-cooling, overhead camshafts, four per cylinder, electronic fuel-injection, transmissions and cable-actuated clutches.

it debuted in 1999, the SV650 was an success. Retailing for $5699, original carbureted model was commuter, part sportbike and all The midsize Suzuki even an Honorable Mention in CW ‘s annual Ten balloting—no faint praise.

For use in the the latest version of this V-Twin received a number of updates—intake and exhaust tweaks, camshafts, a heavier flywheel and a clutch mechanism. An automatic Speed Control (ISC) into each 39mm body is said to stabilize revs at start-up and reduce An oval throttle pulley low-end-to-midrange power delivery.

The result is an even more package, making 68 horsepower at rpm and 49 foot-pounds of torque at 7500 rpm on the CW

We first came to know semi-dry-sump parallel-Twin with its vertically stacked transmission in the 2006 Ninja 650R—called the in Europe. The ER-6n debuted at the time, but its sale was for the past years limited to overseas Now, the 6n is available on these

While the 650R and the Versys use the 180-degree firing order, is different. The last Versys we made peak horsepower (59 hp) and (42 ft.-lb.) a full 1000 rpm in the rev range—at 7600 and 6225 respectively—than the 650R. The ER-6n, is Ninja-spec all the way: 62 hp at 8680 rpm and 43 of torque at 7340 rpm.

More powerful, yes, but down 9 and 12 percent to the Gladius.

our surprise, then, when the 4-pound-lighter Kawasaki was a little than the Suzuki both 0–60 mph (3.5 vs. 3.6 seconds) and the quarter-mile (11.8 seconds at 110 mph vs. at 105). “Both of these get off the line really well,” Road Test Editor Don The ER-6n also has a slightly top speed than the Gladius: 123 vs.

121 The Suzuki did win the fuel-economy battle, a multiple-tank average of 51 mpg; the mustered “only” 41 mpg.

had mixed opinions about two engines. Some found the at-ease Suzuki Vee motor and less “busy” at speed. argued for the Kawasaki with its upper-rear engine mount and

Kawasaki ER-6n

Everyone agreed the Gladius great noises; the Kawasaki and sounds as though it is working even when turning revs.

Regardless, both bikes are approachable and easy to ride, light-effort controls, span-adjustable and wide-set, usefully large mirrors. The Kawasaki has a nearly wheelbase, which should it more nimble. But, with preload jacked up, it low in the back, and steering suffers.

off the ER-6n after bombing repaved Ortega Highway, Editor Mark Cernicky that he couldn’t remember the time he’d ridden a that required so much input to hold a line a corner. “I can’t even do a added our resident stunter. front tire just up and slides. Great wheelies,

About those brakes: The is fitted with 300mm front discs; the Suzuki conventional 290mm floaters. Yet the has better feel and stops with less rider Quick stops from on the ER-6n require an especially squeeze on the …-feeling lever.

are conceptually the same—medium-height handlebar, dished seat, mildly footpegs—but the Gladius is more Staffers short or tall, big or felt instantly at home on it. the handlebar has a tad too much rearward for the sportiest among us, forcing the to pull himself into the at freeway speeds, but swapping it for one a different bend would take a few minutes.

The ER-6n presents a different its narrower bar (with 2 fewer of rise) and higher-set footpegs for a sportier albeit somewhat cockpit. Also, while saddles are on the thin side—flat-footing at having gotten the nod over comfort—the Kawasaki’s has a nicer with fewer sharp Suzuki’s accessories division a more amply padded, seat ($170).

We tried it, and if taller than 5-foot-10, leave the dealership without it.

count, too, especially emptying your own bank All agreed that the Kawasaki is the Jolie of bargain bikes, from down low, the golden-hued twin exhaust can be seen snaking their way to the shapely muffler. “I’m to the ER-6n,” mused Contributing John Burns. For Senior Paul Dean, the 6n wins by “I hate the Gladius’ styling,” he

I’ll admit it: I’m torn these two machines. The Kawasaki is a motorcycle and a kick to ride. On the side, the Gladius’s organic has its admirers, too. What sets the Suzuki apart the Kawasaki, though, is its great V-Twin.

You simply can’t go with that engine, no how Suzuki packages it.

Kawasaki ER-6n
Kawasaki ER-6n
Kawasaki ER-6n
Kawasaki ER-6n


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