ER5 Page



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As you will be aware if you have read "the saga continues" we have moved from scooters to bikes. This was done at the request of Gwyn who, having done her training on a 500cc motorbike decided she would rather have a bike than the scooter.

We traded the scooters for 2 Kawasaki ER 5s as it was an ER 5 belonging to the riding school Gwyn took her test on and she really liked the bike.

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The ER 5 is a water cooled 500cc twin producing 50BHP. As you can see above we added a GIVI screen to cut down on wind blast at higher speeds.


Colour Options Blue, Red
Engine Size 498cc
Insurance Category 8
Engine Layout Liquid Cooled, Parallel Twin, 8 Valve
Claimed Power in BHP 50 @ 9,000rpm
Claimed Weight 174kg
Fuel Capacity 16Ltr
Seat Height 780mm
Wheelbase 1430mm
Main Service Interval 4000 miles
Starter Electric
Front Tyre Size 110/70-17 54H
Rear Tyre Size 130/70-17 62H
Carbs 2 x Keihin CVK 34
Ignition Transistorised
Transmission 6 Speed

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The ER5 must be run-in at 4,000rpm for the first 500mls, this equates to around 55mph. The initial running-in was not easy as the ER5 is not particularly happy below 2,500rpm so the rev range you can use is very narrow. This makes for never ending gear changes and the bike never enters its power band (which we have discovered starts around 5,000rpm and continues smoothly from there).

This bike is seriously easy to ride, it has a large flywheel making the engine very forgiving. There is a "positive neutral" feature which means that if you are stopped in 1st gear the bike will only select neutral. Great! no more fiddling at traffic lights!! You need to have a real talent to stall this bike! The rear shocks are adjustable and arrive set at the softest setting this is fine for 1 up riding and is ample stiff enough for spirited cornering but does need stiffening for carrying a pillion passenger.

Once the first 500mls have been covered the engine can be revved to 6,000 rpm this equates to 80mph. above 4,000rpm you begin to get the feel of the potential of the bike.

The riding position is very good, not too much weight on the wrists both Gwyn and I can ride for fairly long periods without problems.

The exhaust note is quite pleasing, at low revs it has a nice "twin" sound and higher up the revs it will not annoy the neighbours but is loud enough to give feedback to the rider when matching revs to change down through the gears.

All controls are very easy to operate and the lighting is excellent much better than many bikes.

The bike is very easy to keep clean as there is not much "bright" work and few sticky out bits with nooks and crannies behind them to trap dirt. If you get caught out in bad weather the ER5 can be quickly restored to pristine condition with the minimum of elbow grease. 

The acceleration is extremely good made better by the wide powerband. Handling on corners inspires confidence and although the rear tyre is quite narrow by today's standards it seems to stick like glue. All in all this machine would appear to have no real vices.

There are of course a couple of niggles (isn't there always), the rear brake is a drum and feels ineffective. It probably isn't but I feel a disc would enhance the bike. The engine is not the most mechanically quiet I have come across. It does not sound unpleasant but seems a bit "rattley" at low revs. Once revved a little all calms down.

If someone came back from the 80s having never seen a modern bike there is nothing on the ER5 that would raise an eyebrow. The design is VERY traditional. This does not make it bad by any means and apart from liquid cooling, 4 valves per cylinder, and electronic ignition it could have been designed in the 80s.

This tried and trusted technology is probably what makes the ER5 the choice of riding schools all over the country.

All in all a nice traditional piece of kit with modern performance.

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The GIVI screen was added to reduce wind blast at higher speed and although it is not big it does offer significant protection. Fitting was not particularly easy as the screen is "universal" (this could have been me!).

However once the best place was found for the brackets on the handlebars it went on reasonably well. Getting the fittings symmetrical was a bit difficult and it is not absolutely perfect but holds the screen fairly solidly considering there are only 2 mounting and the arms do not obscure the dials.

One other nice touch on the ER5 is that both the clutch and brake levers are adjustable for reach. This means anyone with small hands can adjust the lever travel to a comfortable position.

The mirrors are quite good, they are far enough apart to allow you to actually see what is behind you rather than what is along side. This may seem obvious but there are many bikes (the Fazer being one) that you cannot see directly behind. If you try to adjust the mirrors all you see is your arm!