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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
£2,010 (2000) - £2,740 (2002)
Private used prices
£1,670 (2000) - £2,460 (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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20260 miles

£1,690

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3300 miles

£5,199

Kawasaki
ZX-6R

29286 miles

£2,195

Kawasaki
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11010 miles

£3,295

Kawasaki
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3005 miles

£5,694

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 4.5(59 reviews)

  • My Review

    Eddie bastardos

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Ridden all through winter and held up well with some tlc on a weekly basis. It's every bike I've ever wanted in one package.

    07 March 2002

  • My Review

    thesnowman

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
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    Engine

    I've only been riding for 2 years now and this is pretty much the perfect bike for me. Its more than fast enough for the road, very agile with superb brakes and gearbox. Its difficult to see why I could want any more than this bike offers - although maybe just a few more bhp wouldn't go amiss - like another 40 or 50 perhaps.

    Strengths



    Weaknesses

    08 February 2002

  • My Review

    rossored

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
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    Engine

    Great bike. Last bike was CBR6 (too boring) previously FZR6 (too cramped). This is the best balance between the two. I'm thinking of contacting NATO to tell them one of their missiles is missing, but I'd miss it too much if they took it away. It doesn't like starting when hot very much, but other than that its great. Shame that the dealer (Carnell Milton Keynes) was utter shite and I'd never go there again.

    Strengths



    Weaknesses

    05 February 2002

  • My Review

    essexNinja

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Engine

    The best grins per £ around

    Strengths



    Weaknesses

    05 February 2002

  • My Review

    mambastu

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Ride and Handling
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    Engine

    My first bike after learning to ride. I bought it after reading the road tests at the time and it's been fantastic. I toured Scotland last year and did 2,000 miles in a week with no problems. The standard suspension needs to be set up to really get the best out of it. But when set up it handles very well. My two favourite things about the bike are the looks and the amazing engine which howls around to the red line. I can't stop grinning when I ride it :) I've had two problems with the bike. The front struts both had seized adjusters from new and were changed under warranty on the first service without any quibble. The paint on the wheels faded badly and was again dealt with by my local dealer without charge. The only negative point about the bike is when starting from cold, which usually takes a few attempts. I'm hoping Kawasaki bring out a ZX10r which will be the only bike I might change to.

    Strengths



    Weaknesses

    12 January 2002

  • My Review

    Brecs

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Engine

    It still keeps me happy long after my last bike (fazer 600) got boring. The handling is predictable and the brakes are reasonable (sometimes fade in the wet). I hate the problems I have with starting the damn thing. Every other bike I've used just fires up, this b@stard just takes too much time. Starting this bike is like making love to a beautiful woman - you flick the switch, twiddle the throttle and all seems to be going swimmingly when all of a sudden the damn thing dies off with a cry of "I can't be bothered I've got a headache." That may be more to do with my technique than anything else, but I'm not the only bloke to have experienced this problem. As for the bike, I've been led to understand that this is a common Kawasaki trait. Anyway, apart from that this bike rocks and is more practical (I must be getting middle-aged) than for example a R6. I recommend it to anyone.

    Strengths



    Weaknesses

    11 January 2002

  • My Review

    Soulreape

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Engine

    First big bike after owning an Aprilia RS 125 for 2 years ... its like night and day and it hasnt spent one day in the workshop since I bought it , unlike the Aprilia which spent most of its time there. Absolute excellent bike fun but easy to ride and very very fast and comfortable.

    Strengths



    Weaknesses

    04 January 2002

  • My Review

    uk biker99

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Engine

    This is my first big bike. It is bloody great! with all the add ons it nearly keeps up with my bro's 98 blade in a straight line and i lose him in the corners. the zorst, k&n and dynojet really help the 5000 rpm flatspot. Well done kawasaki!

    Strengths



    Weaknesses

    03 January 2002

  • My Review

    splodge42

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Ride and Handling
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    Engine

    The bike is great, I wanted a sports bike, but was nervous about owning one, since I han't even ridden a 125 sports bike, the closest i had was a gsx600f a year previous. So I was moving up from a gp100 and was fazd at first. My first ride was taking it home from south shields it would have been nicked in days if I didnt, and I found the seat uncomfortable after 100 odd miles, but it has since eased up and is now comfy all day. It is far to easy to go too fast on this bike, but with my limited experience it does have power lowdown which I find useful enough with the 10k+ range bing left fot nutty spells. Overall I find the bike easy to live with, but in heavy traffic it easier on the wrists to filter.

    17 December 2001

  • My Review

    little j

    Average rating rating is 4.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Love the handling and the power of it compared to my old F2. Not quite as comfy but a hell of lot more fun to ride with that growl it makes. Covered 4500 miles in two months not a problem with it so far and the tyres have about 500 miles left in them, they aren't bad at all but will be changing them for bt010s for the summer next year, can't wait. Hopefully a trip to France is on the cards in about July so will be able to give it some proper testing on some excellent roads.

    05 November 2001

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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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