Two little letters have always separated the sportbike crowd from everyone else. The "double Rs" as we all know, mean "race replica," and nearly every sportbike has had the aforementioned designation on its bodywork at some point in its history. But just because a motorcycle doesn't look excessively aggressive or boast its racing heritage on its sleeve, does that mean it should be excluded from the cool kids club? We found two motorcycles that prove looks can be deceiving.
The Suzuki Gladius and the Kawasaki ER-6n aren't going to digest a section of twisty road or stomp around a trackday as handily as their sportbike brethren, but make no mistake-these ain't just urban hipster rides. They may seem friendly enough to the entry-level rider who is after a tame and fashionable bike, but they certainly have a darker side-it's just that it doesn't surface very often unless provoked.
How did these seemingly docile bikes end up in SSB, you wonder? We found that in the right hands they can hold their own and still whoop up on most cars.
So which bike packs the most heat? There was only one way to find out. To the streets...
|The heart of the Gladius is a hand-me-down but tuned-back-up engine from the venerable SV650. Known to be the secret weapon of budget racers across the globe, the SV650 has been around for years and has worn more hats than Tiger Woods has notches on his belt. But does the Gladius slot in as a softer version of the sporty SV that's more suitable for the wife than a club racer trying to score a cheap adrenaline fix? Not necessarily.
||Kawasaki's Ninja 650 proved to be a successful opponent for Suzuki's proven SV650. So the next logical step was to offer a naked version for newer riders or those simply not in full sportbike mode. You still get a lot of bike for your money however, and while the ER-6n isn't going to roll side by side with a ZX-6 it still has loads of character and enough performance to get your heart rate into the cardio zone.