After a year of owning the Tiger, a thirst for a little more power began to set in. So when I heard a friend-of-a-friend was selling this 1997 Kawasaki ER5, I rushed out to meet him. She wasn’t pretty, with sun-baked plastic fairings held on with plastic zip-ties, chipping faux-chrome details and completely bodged electrics, but the price was right, and her fat tires and 500cc engine grabbed the Bali roads like nothing I’d ever felt.
Most of the credit for elbow grease and ingenuity goes to Doel, at whose garage the ER5 lived for the better part of a year. He did the top end, electrics, and fabricated some truly impressive parts: brake caliper brackets, fenders, subframe. I used EBay to procure a new pair of carburetors and rear disk brake, and Carmo Electronics supplied a new TCI and regulator/rectifier. The handlebars are from an ER6n and the wheels are from a Ninja 250. I bought a headlamp cluster from a Sachs MadAss 125, and custom-fabricated the aluminum muffler nearby in Gianyar. This bike is a blast to ride.