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Not your typical custom: A Kawasaki ER-6n from France

Custom Kawasaki ER6n from Duke Motorcycles
Every time I consider getting myself a super-sensible daily runner, the Kawasaki ER-6n pops up on my radar. It’s cheap, makes decent power and handles well. Smiles for dollars, it’s hard to beat…if you don’t mind the looks.

Given the limited pool of ‘acceptable’ custom donors these days, the ER-6n is not a bike you often see. But Lionel at Duke Motorcycles in Nice, France, is a believer. Until recently, his commuter bike was a white 2011-model ER-6n. Then he bought a Ducati Monster 600—and wondered what to do with his middleweight naked Ninja.

Custom Kawasaki ER6n from Duke Motorcycles
Lionel dragged the ER-6n onto the bench to service it, clean it up, and figure out his next move. Then, while waiting for the oil to drain out, he started tidying up his workshop. In no time he’d dug out a set of handlebars, some tires and a speedo—enough to make a good start on a custom.

An hour later, all that was left on the worktable was the frame and motor. And Lionel started transforming his commuter bike into the aggressive street fighter you’re looking at now.

Custom Kawasaki ER6n from Duke Motorcycles
The first changes were all hidden tweaks. He removed the airbox, then fitted a set of pod filters. He also installed a Lithium-ion battery, and relocated a bunch of electrical components.

The ER-6n’s radical bodywork is a mix of custom and OEM bits. Lionel liked the tank, side panels and belly pan—so he kept those. But he ditched the bulky seat unit, fabricating a sharper aluminum piece to fit in its place.

Custom Kawasaki ER6n from Duke Motorcycles
It sits on a custom-built subframe, and is capped off with an Alcantara saddle, upholstered by NMB Design. The stitching pattern is mimicked on the underside of the tailpiece, where Lionel also built in a red LED, with tiny holes for the light to poke through. It’s not the official tail light though—that’s further down, on the custom-made license plate bracket.

Custom Kawasaki ER6n from Duke Motorcycles
There’s more metalwork up front—notably a new headlight cowl with integrated fork guards. And an LED covered by a striking aluminum grill. Both the custom front and back ends were shaped to complement the stock bits, resulting in a fluid design throughout the bike.

Custom Kawasaki ER6n from Duke Motorcycles
That headlight grill is also a nod to the Bugatti Veyron. It’s a weird connection, but Lionel’s always liked the thousand-horsepower French supercar, and it spoke to the futuristic style that he was going for.

It’s also where he got the Kawasaki’s new livery from: the white and blue is a riff on Bugatti’s ‘white gold’ scheme. Lionel executed the paint himself, then redid the cylinder heads, crank cases and rear shock spring to match—and even the wheels.

Custom Kawasaki ER6n from Duke Motorcycles
The Kawasaki’s suspension and brakes perform well enough out the box, so Lionel left them alone. He did refresh the brakes though, and upgraded the system with new braided hoses. The tires are Continental TKC80s.

Up top are a set of CNC Racing handlebars, new grips, a Koso dial, and a single bar-end mirror from Highsider. Lionel shortened the OEM levers, then engraved his logo into them. The bike’s also sporting new rearsets from Valter Moto.

Custom Kawasaki ER6n from Duke Motorcycles
A new silencer from the Italian company Giannelli rounds out the package. It’s mounted on the stock headers, and yes—they’re wrapped in titanium pipe wrap. (But it’s such a neat job, we’re letting Lionel off the hook).

Street fighters aren’t usually our thing, but Lionel’s ER-6n hits all the right notes. And since even the most jaded of moto journalists tend to laud the naked Ninja as a rock-solid best buy, maybe it’s time we all started scanning the classifieds …

Duke Motorcycles | Facebook | Instagram | Images by Julien Giauffret

Custom Kawasaki ER6n from Duke Motorcycles

Custom Kawasaki ER6n from Duke Motorcycles

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