Kawasaki ER-5

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An ER-5, lateral view

The Kawasaki ER-5 is a naked commuter motorcycle. This Japanese workhorse is powered by a liquid cooled 4 stroke DOHC 498 cc engine based on the design used in the Kawasaki GPZ500, producing around 50 bhp. It is capable of a top speed of around 110 mph (175 km/h) and usually lasts around 55,000 Miles. It is a favourite among training schools in the UK and around Europe because of it's relatively low maintenance costs and forgiving nature. The handling is unexceptional, but the standard Dunlop Arrowmax tires provide quite good footing. They do, however, tend to slip in wet or rainy conditions. Many users choose to change them for Bridgestone BT45's. Overall it is considered to be a good "first bike", as it survives being dropped more or less unharmed, is easy to work on and easy to get spare parts for. It also gracefully accepts being restricted to 33BHP/25KW, which is the maximum power output permitted for certain types of restricted licences within Europe, adding to its appeal for beginners.


Another view of a Kawasaki ER-5

There are several other midweight 500 cc motorcycles that should be considered direct competitors, namely:

  • Kawasaki GPZ500- More powerful than the ER-5 and started its life out as a budget sports bike.
  • Suzuki GS500 - Another bike that is popular with training schools.

There are, of course many other 500 cc motorcycles but these are the most popular and new biker friendly.

Well Known Problems

ER-5s are known for certain issues to develop during their life-cycle, notably:

  • The Reg/Rec Unit breaking
  • Speedometer cable snapping
  • Corrosion, especially around the downpipes

Despite these faults, the ER-5 has built up a reputation as being cheap to maintain.

Technical Features

  • Displacement: 498.00 ccm (30.45 cubic inches)
  • Engine type: Parallel Twin
  • Stroke: 4
  • Power: 48.00 hp (36.5 kW))
  • Valves per cylinder: 4
  • Gearbox: 6-speed
  • Transmission type final drive: Chain
  • Front brakes: Single disc
  • Rear brakes: Expanding brake
  • Power/weight ratio: 0.2793 hp/kg
  • Dry weight: 179.0 kg (394.6 pounds)
  • Cooling System: Liquid
  • Seat height: 780 mm (30.7 inches)
  • Top Speed: 110 mph (183.12128 km/h)
  • Fuel capacity: 16.00 litres (4.23 gallons)