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Kawasaki ZX-6R Sports Motorbike Review

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Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle review - Riding
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MCN overall verdict rating is 3

Kawasaki’s new-for-2000 ZX-6R got a new swingarm, a revised rear shock and engine internals and a facelift – not good enough to compete with Yamaha’s stunning R6 on the track nor Honda’s new ally-framed CBR600 on the road. In 2002 it got a beefier 636cc motor, which made it a much improved road tool.

Engine

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

The Kawasaki ZX-6R's carb-fed, 16v four cylinder motor still sounds mega, with the gruff airbox roar that makes caning these Kawasakis so addictive. It’s fast, too, ripping to over 160mph out of the box. But the icing on the cake is its flexibility – it’s hard to believe it’s packing just 599cc. The gearbox should behave itself – if it’s less than slick and positive try another bike. In 2002 essentially the same bike was released with a 636cc motor bringing even more road-friendly performance.

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

Thankfully Kawasaki introduced suspension grease nipples on the J-series ZX-6Rs, so the shock has a better chance of retaining some of its performance than previous efforts. The revised geometry makes for improved cornering and the machine feels considerably lighter than before.

Equipment

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 3.5

The fuel tap (hard to find and hard to operate on the move), screen brace, and analogue clocks date the Kawasaki ZX-6R Js. On a positive note the mirrors are excellent, the pillion seat works for about 60 miles and the lights are bright.

Kawasaki ZX-6R (2000-2002)

Detail Value
Dealer used prices
£1,950 (2000) - £2,690 (2002)
Private used prices
£1,740 (2000) - £2,420 (2002)
  View full used price info
Engine size 599 cc
Power 109 bhp
Top speed 163 mph
Insurance group 14 of 17
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 3 rating is 4.5
Engine rating is 4 rating is 4.5
Ride & Handling rating is 3 rating is 4.5
Equipment rating is 3 rating is 3.5
Quality & Reliability rating is 4 rating is 4.5
Value rating is 3 rating is 4.5

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

Corrosion is the Kawasaki ZX-6R's biggest bugbear. If the bike you’re looking at’s been garaged and pampered it should be fine. If left to the elements the finish quickly dulls, the paint on the brake calipers can flake off and the shock’s performance suffers as it gets shotblasted by road crud without a hugger.

Value

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

No, it’s not great value. The J-series Kawasakis cost the same as their CBR and R6 rivals and yet offer a less satisfying ride and much lower spec technology. Find a Kawasaki ZX-6R for sale.

Insurance

Insurance group: 14 of 17

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Model History

2000: Kawasaki ZX-6R introduced.
2000: Supercedes G-series ZX-6R with a new singarm, revised shock, engine and gearbox improvements.
2002: Model essentially re-released with a bog-bore 636cc motor. It claimed 116bhp and 52ft lb of torque.

Other Versions

None.

Specifications

Top speed 163 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 10.9 secs
Max power 109 bhp
Max torque 49 ft-lb
Weight 172 kg
Seat height 830 mm
Fuel capacity 18 litres
Average fuel consumption 39 mpg
Tank range 150 miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group 14 of 17
Engine size 599 cc
Engine specification 16v in-line four, 6 gears
Frame Aluminium twin spar
Front suspension adjustment Preload, compression, rebound
Rear suspension adjustment Preload, compression, rebound
Front brakes Twin 300mm discs
Rear brake 220mm disc
Front tyre size 120/65 x 17
Rear tyre size 180/55 x 17

See all Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycles for sale

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£5,495

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£3,295

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£7,799

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£4,100

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£2,499

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 4.5(59 reviews)

  • My Review

    beefcakesninja

    Average rating rating is 4.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Customer service excellent & Bike, well Awesome.

    31 October 2003

  • My Review

    sv650sadam

    Average rating rating is 4.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    The side stand is crap! The bike fell over on the drive and a huge repair bill followed. The engine is brilliant, far more torque than any other 600 I`ve tested with no major powerbands unlike the pain in the ass gixer600 (doesn`t work till 9000rpm). Gearbox is very good however every so often it hits a false netural in between 4th and 5th. But why a fuel tap??? As a road bike no other 600 will beat it, tested a GSXR600 and was hard work the ZX is perfect and easy to ride and no need to rag it like the gixer and r6, that extra torque makes a massive difference on the road try it for yourself and the gixer makes no sense other than racier looks and awful riding position.

    22 August 2003

  • My Review

    Avacee

    Average rating rating is 4.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Likes: Very versatile. 2-up to Paris with no problem, can tilt it right over in the twisties and can potter around town in the rush-hour. Headlights are better than my cars. Dislikes: rubbish bungee hooks.(well it is a sportstbike). Turning circle is just a bit wider than my road :( No fuel gauge or low fuel warning light, so I use the trip meter.

    22 October 2002

  • My Review

    Intro

    Average rating rating is 4.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Had an Suzuki SV650S before this and that handled, but the ZX6R is a lot better. Feel solid in the corners and the engine is the really good with almost the same grunt in the lower rev's but a hell of a lot more up top, it fly's.

    17 September 2002

  • My Review

    ninj6

    Average rating rating is 4.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Great all rounder once I got the Dunlop D205 tyres taken off and replaced with 010's, feels like a new bike. Only let down is the false neutrals between 2-3-4 if not very decisive in gear changes. Engine is bullet proof.

    27 August 2002

  • My Review

    swood

    Average rating rating is 3.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Engine is pretty strong - in mid range the ZX6 is no slouch, & top end is awesome - especially with induction noise. Bit snatchy at v. low revs - just off idle fueling tends to be on/off - can be a pain in low speed traffic. Handling is good - front end excellent if a bit harsh on bumpy roads. Stock setting for rear preload is way too hard - & no adjustment possible to make it softer! Experimenting with damping front & rear improves things. Riding position is perfect for me (6'1") very comfortable. Overall - best bike I've owned in almost every respect (recent bikes - Ducati ST4, Bandit 1200, Firestorm).

    15 August 2002

  • My Review

    woofwag

    Average rating rating is 4.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Fab engine & brakes. Set up needs tweaking as the handling is pants over 100mph - very reluctant to turn into bends and feels like it is pushing the front end too much.

    04 August 2002

  • My Review

    FlurpMoosey

    Average rating rating is 4.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Dealer gets 10% for the worst set up of a new bike. It was not even road worthy !!! Lost spare keys, headlights pointing everywhere, rear split pin missing etc. the list goes on.. Gearbox is the achilles heel...see how many false neutrals you can find, especially between 2/3/4. Monster mid range, sorry R6 owners, but it's whupped them everytime on midrange grunt.

    23 July 2002

  • My Review

    Lump

    Average rating rating is 4.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Still running the bike in, but seems to have plenty of guts low down for a 600 - can't wait to hear this intake roar that I keep reading about. Remus pipe sounds good, and tires haven't let me down yet, even when scrubbing-in during Ausi Winter.

    11 July 2002

  • My Review

    PeterMKwak

    Average rating rating is 4.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    This is my first bike and it's a cracker. I've done a bit of Kart Racing and thought an SV or 400 would bore me too early. The motor is electric and the handling is way beyond what I'm capable of. The screen helps with touring which me and the Mrs did to the south of France. The Givi Top Plate spoils the lines a little but a colour coded box allows for stylish intercontinental blasts - mega first bike. Datatool alarm knackered battery after 18 months - fit a trickle charger from new!

    09 July 2002

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lynxer

lynxersays

2002 ZX636R

Had mine for a year now and have done lots of miles because I ride every day. Weaknesses: carb icing makes it well dodgy when below +5C (Silkolene Pro FST fuel additive sorts it), front brakes mediocre, no fuel gauge and plugs a pig to get at. Strengths: a sweet little bike with great mid range that'll really hustle round the corners and is comfortable enough for very long journeys unlike its successors. Great headlights too. Overall - if you're new to sportsbikes and want something credible but without scary insurance premiums, pick one up with 6000 miles or less for £2500 private. Insure it TPFF and you'll have serious performance for silly money.

03 June 2007 22:26

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