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My friend runs a motorcycle school and we often road test bikes. At present the ER makes up 70% of the school bikes. My experience of the ER is somewhat mixed.
As a first bike it can be a really good bike. It depends on your weight. If you are small or under 11 stone, the bike tends to handle erratically. It dives over into corners and is quite easy to drop (Exhausts always hitting the deck).
This is good for a new rider because it means less work, but for an advanced rider it can be disconcerting when you gently draw it down and it shoots to the floor. It also seems to have problems with traction. If you hit a corner with and adverse camber, you have to force the rear down to ensure bite.
These problems do seem to be weight-related. If you are heavier(or got a pillion) the ER handles like a dream.
Acceleration is pretty good and it keeps on giving at the top of the gearbox (I have had more than the spec top speed out of it). The lower gears seems a bit gutless and acceleration is 'tepid'.
The problems come when you try and push it. Normally if you push a bike too hard, it justs 'wimps out' on you. My experience of the ER is that if you really push it, you will quickly find the handling becomes unstable.
All in all, the ER is a brilliant first bike. If you have just passed ,this bike will keep you interested for a year, maybe 2. It handles consistently under normal use and is good on fuel. I would recommend this bike for novices but advise them to move something else before they get used to having their head 6 inches from the tarmac, because it will give you some scary moments.
Thankyou for your opinion, it is really helpful to me! I am soon going to be doing my full test, and am looking around for a bike, something small and basic and cheap to run, and thought the ER fulfilled all this, and there are plenty of them around. Thanks to your article I'm starting to have second thoughts. I am fairly small (5ft5) and under 11 stone, so the problems you have mentioned may well be difficulties for me! Also, I would quite like a bike that handles nicely. Any other ideas for a first bike for a small-ish rider???
Fizi 17.01.2002 15:27
Good comment, I'm looking at buying my first bike (ER5 possible), I'll check it out now! Thanks.
craigy_baby_2000 26.10.2001 08:46
Great opinion - concise, yet with all the necessary information. Great writing :)