The Kawasaki Z and Ninja ranges are without doubt the Japanese company’s two most successful model line-ups. One burst onto the scene in the ’70s and instantly made Japan the titans of two-wheels and the other, the best-named Sportbike range of all time. Zed and Ninja just sound cool, ER on the other hand sounds like the place you’re trying to avoid. And the ER-5 didn’t help things, that was until the ER-6N model came along and proved to be both a brilliant bike and offered Kawasaki fans a budget alternative to their major offerings. At Indonesia’s Batakastem Workshop, head honcho Abraham Simatupang has given the simple Kwaka another purpose, the perfect foundation for high-end customs, and his latest is an urban assault tracker for when the sun dips behind the horizon.
Over the years, Abraham and his team have built a bunch of ER-6Ns into an army of street trackers. But at the start of the year, we presented an ER that the guys had totally transformed into a modern street racer, with incredible one-off bodywork and an endless array of stunning engineering tricks to truly transform the humble steed. That build helped all involved to see that the next time they got their hands on another such Kawasaki, no matter the style, they could be confident in taking things to all new heights. And they didn’t have to wait long, as it was only months after the street racer hit the internet that this build was commissioned.
Having secured a mechanically sound donor, Abraham sat down to design his back street brawler, and he drew inspiration from both that previous build, and the modern Z bikes, and then turned up the toughness on his usual tracker design. With his crew now able to see his vision on paper, they quickly had the ER back to its bones and a grinder was spun up to cut the rear subframe free. In its place, the guys have used a one-inch seamless steel pipe to fabricate a new rear frame, that is shorter and provides the perfect platform for the bolt-on bits to follow.
Now the 1.2mm sheets of galvanised steel for the bodywork could be laid out and the boys put their heads down to knock out each and every piece to perfection. It starts with the fuel tank, to replace the ugly factory piece, but the challenge of fitting it in with the two-tube perimeter frame still exists. To overcome this, the tank is designed to sit just above the upper tube and follow its lines from the headstock to where it meets the centre post. The tank features a flat top and gorgeous rounded-out sides, with dramatic knee dents to allow the rider to really get tucked in.
Moving rearwards and the side covers form part of the tailpiece, and to ensure they neatly sit over the subframe, a piece of one-inch tube is used to shape the upper section. The rest of the covers have a rounded off edge, while clever techniques are used to add further form to truly bring the part to life. This then flows beautifully into the tail section, designed to give a clean tracker style, with muscular edges. These pieces are attached very deliberately with raised head bolts to give an industrial vibe, and the underside of the tail is backfilled to serve as an inner fender, which protrudes just enough to also serve as a number plate holder.
The fenders too are all completely hand-rolled with neatly folded edges and the industrial theme is carried over to the mounts, which are as solid as can be! Then to assist the factory radiator covers to encase the engine, a custom belly pan has been fabricated with a shovel like front finish. The last piece of shaped steel forms the headlight cowl, which really helps to neaten up the look. Given the theme of the bike, lighting plays a vital role in the look and that cowl is finished out with an LED Daymaker headlight, originally meant for an HD V-Rod.
More lights for the front end come in the form of a pair of driving lights, with three small spotlights encased in each and custom covers made in-house. An LED taillight provides 3-in-1 function, and a set of indicators for the front emerge from within the cowl. More than pleased with the tough result, the colour combination of silver and champagne, with black and white highlights, truly allows you to drink in the details, while doing nothing to take away from the bike’s imposing presence. As they always do, the guys stitched up a leader seat to match and even hand-made the decals and logos used across the machine.
The engine has been left relatively standard, but the punchy twin does benefit from a full custom exhaust system, made by the team from stainless steel and finishing out of an underslung muffler. All of the little details on the bike are made in-house too, not content with the stock handlebars or any available from the aftermarket, the crew simply drew up their own and fabricated the desired result from scratch.
The same goes for the crash bars, the upper fork covers and all the little touches that help to create the machine’s cohesive finish. This is truly an example of built not bought, and the crew at Batakastem Workshop sure can build one hell of a Kawasaki ER-6N, this bad boy now ready to battle it out on the back streets.