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Kawasaki ZZR600 Sports Tourers Motorbike Review

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Kawasaki ZZ-R600 motorcycle review - Riding
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MCN overall verdict rating is 4

Overlooked by many but those who’ve ridden them know how good they can be. The Kawasaki ZZ-R600 is an unlikely nutter bike but, on speed alone, it’s up there in the upper echelons of  the “bikes that can get you nicked in second gear” category. Roomy and comfortable, the Kawasaki ZZ-R600 is practical, too, and you can pick them up for a song.

Engine

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

A surprise, to say the least. The Kawasaki ZZ-R600 looks so docile by today’s standards yet twist the throttle and a ridiculous surge of power carries you up to the 14,000rpm redline in no time. The Kawasaki ZZ-R600 engine is reliable, grunty enough low down and positively mental at anything above about 4000rpm. Bloody hilarious!

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4

The Kawasaki ZZ-R600 seat’s soft and plush but so, alas, is the suspension. Great brakes but the forks dive easily and the rear shock’s not brilliant either. It’s not dreadful but you notice it if you’re pushing hard. Otherwise, the Kawasaki ZZ-R600 is smooth and stable, even at high speeds. The gears can get clunky if you don’t tighten the chain very regularly.

Equipment

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4

The Kawasaki ZZ-R600's vast fairing houses a good dash with analogue revs and speedo, digital clock, plus temperature and fuel gauges. There’s a little, lockable glove box too. The Kawasaki ZZ-R600's screen works well and useful bungee hooks make for easy touring. There’s a centrestand but be careful: it grounds out easily, especially two up.

Kawasaki ZZ-R600 (1990-2007)

Detail Value
Dealer used prices
£1,450 (1998) - £2,900 (2005)
Private used prices
£1,300 (1998) - £2,610 (2005)
  View full used price info
Engine size 599 cc
Power 99 bhp
Top speed 154 mph
Insurance group 13 of 17
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 4 rating is 4.5
Engine rating is 4 rating is 4.5
Ride & Handling rating is 4 rating is 4
Equipment rating is 4 rating is 4
Quality & Reliability rating is 4 rating is 4.5
Value rating is 4 rating is 4.5

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

Cush drive wear, corrosion of downpipes and sagginess of old suspension are the most common complaints from Kawasaki ZZ-R600 owners but, overall, the bike’s a tough one. The engine’s excellent and it’s common to see Kawasaki ZZ-R600s knock up some vast mileages. Generally, build quality is good but many Kawasaki ZZ-R600s get ridden throughout winter so older models can look a bit scruffy.

Value

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

Suffering from a slight image problem (riders overlook them in favour of more track-orientated machinery), you can pick up both new and used Kawasaki ZZ-R600s for some excellent prices, if you shop around (and haggle: list price is slightly steep). Insurance on a Kawasaki ZZ-R600 isn’t bad and the fuel consumption’s a plus: take it (relatively) easy and you’ll see over 200 miles out of a tank. Find a Kawasaki ZZ-R600 for sale.

Insurance

Insurance group: 13 of 17

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Model History

1990: Kawasaki ZZ-R600 first launched and marketed in the “supersports” category (which was very apt at the time).
1993: Kawasaki ZZ-R600 got a major overhaul. New chassis and fairing, some engine modifications, a redesigned dash and new silencers.
1995: Kawasaki ZZ-R600's suspension was uprated with rebound and preload adjustment.
1996: Kawasaki ZZ-R600 got a digital clock.
1998: An alarm and immobiliser were fitted to the Kawasaki ZZ-R600 as standard. No changes since.

Other Versions

None

Specifications

Top speed 154 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 11.3 secs
Max power 99 bhp
Max torque 47 ft-lb
Weight 182 kg
Seat height 780 mm
Fuel capacity 18 litres
Average fuel consumption 45 mpg
Tank range 178 miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group 13 of 17
Engine size 599 cc
Engine specification 16v inline four, 6 gears
Frame Aluminium twin spar
Front suspension adjustment 46mm Cartridge fully adjustable
Rear suspension adjustment Preload and rebound
Front brakes Twin 300mm discs
Rear brake 200mm disc
Front tyre size 120/60 x 17
Rear tyre size 160/60 x 17

See all Kawasaki ZZR600 motorcycles for sale

Kawasaki
ZZR600

11966 miles

£3,495

Kawasaki
ZZR600

miles

£1,595

Kawasaki
ZZR600

37600 miles

£900

Kawasaki
ZZR600

26882 miles

£725

Kawasaki
ZZR600

8370 miles

£4,000

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 4.5(30 reviews)

  • 1999 zzr 6

    grav84

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    this was the bike i use to wish i had when i was at school and i got it last year after doing my das i went to switzerland and the south of france and it never missed a beat and even now the way it goes takes my breath away. my dad rides a bandit 1250 and he says the zzr's got some serious poke

    21 June 2011

  • Excellent first bike

    kibblerdon

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Went from an FT500 thumper to a 1990 ZZR600 within a few months of getting my big bike licence. What a difference. I have owned the ZZR for over a year now and it has been so reliable, even through the winter. Strengths: Engine, power, comfort, reliability, very forgiving, easy to work on yourself. Weaknesses: Soft suspension, mushy brakes (braided hoses help alot) I would recommend a ZZR to anyone as it will do anything, commuting, touring, a bit of scratching or a blast, it has the grin factor and the engine is bullet proof.

    23 June 2010

  • Purple & Pink ZZR600

    bluemurder

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    I bought a 93[K]one 5 years ago when I got back into biking, just like the one in the pictures above. I've bought, sold & ridden loads of other bikes since but I've always kept the little ZZR. It's the best all round bike I've ever owned. It's good for touring & a Sunday spin and you can throw it around quite a bit within the handling's limits. It's really pretty quick, even today. It's comfy, although the low seat cramps your legs a bit if you're tall. SP1 / CBR600RR front calipers fit easily and work well, especially with braided hoses. They make the front end dive worse though, unless you fit progressive springs too. Hagon rear shocks work well and stop the bounce. A double bubble screen stops quite a bit of the turbulence. I haven't had any real problems although old ones can apparently jump out of second gear. Don't cost much to run and pretty reliable. Mines on 40k with no real problems. Even though they're quite an old model, they're so nice I'm actually thinking of buying newer one.

    08 May 2010

  • Perfect

    TruBlu

    Average rating rating is 5

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    This bike suits ME perfectly.Ive ridden so many bikes over the years(ex bike salesman), and for where im at now,i cant fault the bike at all.My partner really likes this bike the best as a pillion passenger.I know there are newer bikes that have improved things a bit, but for me its brilliant.And for what i paid for it,you would have to steal one to get it cheaper!Mine is a minter,it was a case of right place, right time etc..A gift from Heaven!

    26 January 2010

  • A "do anything" bike

    Limpet7R

    Average rating rating is 4

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    I bought my ZZR600 E2 after passing my test in 2002, have had several other bikes since, but I've hung on to it all this time. The reason is, it's worth naff all to sell, and frankly it's still a lovely bike to ride, and does everything I ask of it. Scratching, commuting, touring, bumbling around town - it does it all. The engine is a belter. Tractable and docile, and with beautifully set up carb'd fuelling, it will pull cleanly from car revs in any gear, but as it approaches 7000 RPM you feel it perk up, by 8000 RPM it's gone into full blown mental mode, and screams its way to 14,000 RPM (and beyond if you let it) in one addictive long surge. Sounds really angry as it does so as well - like it's about to burst out of the frame. The airbox howls away like on all Kwaks, and it still makes me grin even after all this time. Returns 50 mpg on a gentle commute too. Needs its plugs regularly gapping and cleaning, and the camchain tensioner greasing and resetting annually, but other than that, totally untemperamental, oil tight, and never skips a beat. When I got it, I quickly became annoyed at the centre stand decking, particularly two up. Although convenient for maintenance, I took the centre stand off, upgrading the hopeless rear shock to a Hagon at the same time. What a difference not only in terms of handling and ground clearance, but ride too. Changing the fork oil for a heavier weight helps the dive too. The biggest disappointment really is the quality of the parts used on the bike. The cheap mild steel collector box rots and disintegrates, brake caliper pistons seize, discs warp, and fasteners corrode if you even mention the word salt. When the original exhaust fell to bits, I fitted a 4-1 Micron system with a Quill T3 can, which sounds great, but took a stage 1 Dynojet kit and four hours of dyno time to set up. The fuelling on these bikes is very picky, and I would recommend talking to a tuner before you buy replacement pipes - I would have saved myself hundreds. On the plus side, the dyno session found 3 bhp, with a healthy 102 bhp on a then 18,000 mile engine. It's a comfy bike with a sporty but not extreme riding position, excellent mirrors, and a decent pillion seat. The low seat height makes it easy for shorter riders, but at 6ft 2, I'm not cramped either. You sit "in" this bike rather than perch on top of it. I've done 350 miles in a day, and apart from a slightly numb bum, had no aches and pains at all. The generous fairing makes motorway cruises effortless, but taller riders should invest in a double bubble screen for a more peaceful upper body experience. On the whole, it's a fantastic bike with a storming engine, license losing performance, and good reliability. With a suspension upgrade it handles well beyond most people's capabilities (mine included), yet will tour, commute and amble equally happily. Peanuts to buy as well, but watch for those exhausts and brakes, as you could quite easily end up spending £500+ to put them right. That's a lot on a bike you can pick up for £800 upwards. If it weren't for the poor quality of the original exhaust, brakes and shock, reckon the bike would deserve five stars.

    28 October 2009

  • A good cheep bike

    Mjollnir

    Average rating rating is 3

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    Ok in it's hay day it was considered very fast indeed, but by modern standards it is now a sports tourer. For a first bike/ cheep bike you cannot fault it. That is not to say it is without it's faults. The suspension is a little soggy and the riding position doesn't quite suit me, but these are small things. Fuel economy is good, and I did enjoy riding it.

    05 August 2008

  • ZZR 600 E11

    Anonymous

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Once I got the the bike from Whites in Swindon. I headed out to to get the suspension sorted. As eveyone, I think, would have grounded out the centre stand. Jacked up the rear and stiffened the front and she worked a treat.

    20 June 2008

  • ZZR 600 E5

    cbrpilot

    Average rating rating is 4

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    This is the second ZZR 600 I've bought. After giving up trying to cut my arse in half on a CBR600RR, I stopped and thought about previous bikes and what I wanted out of riding. I considered a VFR800-2, but the cost put me off. Then I remembered how the ZZR 600 D2 I had got me in and out of Birmingham for work over 3 years, in comfort. It only ever stopped once, and that was a snapped drive chain (my fault...) and was light on fuel and tyres. The later version has a few more bits. Fuel gauge is nice, so is a clock. Sure a CBR is quicker, but I think Honda should come back to the real world again. I thought the CBR600F was superb, but since then they just rev to oblivion and are so bloody uncomfortable. I want to go 24 miles to work, and then I still need to be able to walk for christ'sake. The ZZR is doing europe this year, something I've wanted to do for years, and something I know it will do well, with no drama. All in all, it's a real world bike. It's useable.And no I'm not Valentino Rossi.

    17 April 2008

  • love it

    gazkwak

    Average rating rating is 4

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    i have a 1993 zx6d american import which is the same as a zzr 600 i can,t believe the power for a 15 year old 600

    18 March 2008

  • No baby Koalas here

    eatcs01

    Average rating rating is 4

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    A truly excellent bike. Viewed by many as “an old man’s” bike, or even a bike for people who haven’t learned to ride properly yet. How wrong can they be. Sure, it’s not a ZX6, but for 90% of ROAD riding, it’s just as quick, and easier. I am on my 2nd E model. The fairing is big enough to keep the rain off me. The seat is “all day” comfy. The engine is a real gem. Lots of real world bottom end torque, but with a screaming, 14000rpm top end. A sports tourer that will do an indicated 160mph. Faster than a VFR. The handling is good enough to get the pegs down. A centre stand makes tyre changes & chain lubing an absolute doddle. Most of my riding is 2-up, so a “Sports” bike is out of the question. My partner doesn’t want to look like a baby Koala on the back (as seen on any sports bike, on a Sunday). 1500 miles in a week round France, and no real discomforts. The brakes are a weak point, and so is the finish. The brakes are an issue, because they’ve never been updated since 1993. Honda cbr600/900 rr2/3 front calipers fit (almost) straight on, and improve the braking LOADS. The finish is OK, but if ridden in the winter, it needs regular rinsing. The standars mild steel downpipes are scrap after 1 or 2 winters. There are plenty of stainless systems about. Newer models have them as stock. I'm taking it drag racing this year. Watch this space for my quarter mile times...... (I anticipate 11.5 secs).

    24 February 2008

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master256

User's Badge

master256says

ZZR 600 or YZF600R?

Looking for my first sport tourer. What will be the best choice ZZR 600 or YZF600R? Mine main requirements are power about 100 bhp, weight under 200 kg, good wind protection. This two bikes are almost equal but I don't like the cheap-looking dashboard on YZF600R.

24 December 2011 23:47

oldpete

oldpetesays

zzr600

Traded in my 600 bandit a year ago for a 2002 ZZR600. I've just got back from a trip to Scotland, and can honestly say its a far better bike than the Bandit for this sort of trip. Good weather protection, cruising mostly 70-90 on the motorways and still returned 64 mpg.(Bandit only ever made 55 mpg) Starts first time every time, reliable through the winter, no serious corrosion. Mind you I spray WD40 on any exposed metal and keep the bodywork well polished, etc. Not looking forward to valve clearance check especially if I need to take the camshafts out to adjust the clearances but you can't have everything. I thought the ZZR would be uncomfortable on long trips compared to the Bandit but not so. You've actually got a bit more scope to move around to ease the aches and pains, and tank bag, panniers, etc all fit on ok with plenty of bungee points etc. The Bandits a good bike, easy to work on, thoroughly reliable etc, but the ZZR is a better performer all round, except when it comes to maintenance time. 

 

 

 

 

25 June 2011 21:32

kazza600

kazza600says

ZZR

Been riding for 30 years, there is NO bike to touch the zzr600 for overall brilliance, Nothing else offers such speed,comfort and excitment for the same cost------ Nothing.

Dont be fooled This bike can keep up with the big boys! Not of course for top end stupid speeds, but I have kept up with many out and out sports bikes on the twisty bits. AND the best bit if you want to learn to get your knee down then this IS the bike for you. I can scrap a slider all the around a roundabout at very low speeds, such is the handling of this truly super, superr bike. Simply the best.

27 February 2010 21:58

kevinm6012

kevinm6012says

Great All Rounder

Been riding 30 yrs and owned 2 of them,which says a lot as Ive never bought any other model twice and ive tried many. Great sports tourer and comfy- scratch the twisties with yer mates of an evening, take the missus mini touring at weekends, and commute with  confidence through the rush hour traffic all week. The ZZR600 does it all. Nothin fancy, but does exactly what it says on the tin and will have you grinning a plenty. Recommended and great value for the dosh! Maybe i will get a 3rd one sometime.

04 February 2010 15:00

adc1961

adc1961says

zzr 600

As a new rider after many years an great bike to start riding again. Had great times when starting out and filled me with confidence to move on to bigger and better things. Pity they don't still make it as I am sure they would have improved it even more. fantastic all rounder

10 January 2009 13:38

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