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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
£1,440 (1998) - £2,940 (2005)
Private used prices
£1,300 (1998) - £2,650 (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

36901 miles

£2,749

Kawasaki
ZZR600

36901 miles

£2,749

Kawasaki
ZZR600

36901 miles

£2,749

Kawasaki
ZZR600

36901 miles

£2,749

Kawasaki
ZZR600

15656 miles

£2,195

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 4.5(30 reviews)

  • zzr600.

    JustinHancock

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Iv owned 2 zzr 600's now. the 1991 and the 1994 model. both of which i thoroughly enjoyed. The motor goes great with a perfect spread of power and great top end. Sounds beautiful too. (does it have gear driven cams cos it sounds like it- jet engine whine). The look and finish lasts very well and is an extremely reliable bike. picked both of mine up dirt cheap privately too. On the handling side they are of course more of a sports tourer but if u fit good tyres and are prepared to climb all over the bike to get it to handle at its best then really not too much can be complained against it. Though of course it is a bit soft and is its eventual undoing. Best bike ever for having a pillion on!

    26 June 2007

  • Best Sports Tourer ever

    dsaich

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Engine

    Had a D2 model from new many years ago had it about 4 years and clocked up 78000 miles and just 1 clutch replacement and the normal exhaust replacement for a stainless one then traded it in for a Urban Tiger Blade.

    21 June 2007

  • Year-round commuter bought for new at a knockdown price.

    ivan_lima

    Average rating rating is 4

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    Overall
    Ride and Handling
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    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Looking for a replacement for my 17 year old GPX600 I knew it had to be a middleweight and faired Kawasaki multi. Oh, and with a fairing as it commuted all through the year and would include occasional long trips. After looking at some ropey used ZZ-Rs for about 3 - 4 grand I found a shop selling a pre--registered H13 for just over four grand!! I nearly bit their arm off. The bike is just so efficient, especially after my clanky and worn-out old GPX. The engine is such a peach - the clinical proficiency you expect from a multi but with an atomic right hander when you're prepared to wind it on. It's also excellent around town, although a little more urge below 4,000 revs wouldn't go amiss. Finish is pretty good, although some of the fittings and exposed metal has suffered after only half a winter! Scottoil FS365 has helped to prevent it being even worse. One of the best things is its full stainless system (partly because it has a catalytic converter). Strengths: Engine - superb. Brakes - also superb, but need to be kept in tip top shape. Comfort - excellent. Looks - in silver it turns heads and has been mistaken for a ZZ-R1100. Handling - surprisingly good. Weaknesses: Low-down power below 3,000rpm Resistance to corrosion in winter (Relatively) cheap suspension.

    06 June 2006

  • A number one 600 sports tourer

    chrisjones18

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Value
    Engine

    Only problems are the front brake pads stick in winter if not kept clean and gearchange is notchy when chain is to slack can get between 8 and 10 thousand miles to a set of tyres if ridden sensibly and its been 100% reliable Ive toured two up with all luggage over spain with no trouble at all. Strengths: All of it. Weaknesses: Rear shock a bit soft as standard.

    22 February 2006

  • Damn good machine for little money - does it all

    highlandbiker

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Bought a 92 D model on a limited budget a couple of years ago, only problems I've had are down to the age of the bike. When I first bought it, I was commuting 100 miles to work on Monday morning, and same home on Friday night easily, very comfortable. It's quick, fairly cheap to maintain, not the top spec but can hold it's own, damn good allround machine. Only gripe is an annoying flatspot between 6-7000rpm - cruising speed in top, can turn sweeping overtakes into a gearshift tap dance. Strengths: Versatility, comfort, performance. Weaknesses: Gearbox notchy if chain isn't kept perfectly adjusted, suspension is basic, no underseat storage.

    09 February 2006

  • Excellent bike of it`s class

    Cribbo

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Ride and Handling
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    Engine

    After recently returning to two wheels from a twenty year gap, I have found this bike to be perfect for getting back to riding. A very forgiving bike, dosen`t complain, it`ll do all you ask and more. Strengths: Comfort, build quality, Engine is Bomb-proof, very quick just when you want it. Weaknesses: Notchy G/Box (1-3), Soft rear-end.

    01 November 2005

  • Excellent All Rounder

    karoobex

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    I used to ride this all over the country. Commuting from London to Manchester, commuting to Reading it handled all types of road fantastically. One of the most endearing features is the bikes low speed manoverability, it pulls at 1500 rpm and is quite agile through traffic, which means that it performs well as a commuter bike as well as the long haul down the motorway. Fuel efficiency is not bad, ridden sensibly you can expect 200+ miles to the tank, yet the rider can throw the bike down the twisties with the best. Strengths: Versatility. It is as good on the long haul as the in town commute. Reliability. I put 15000 on one of these with only a small problem with the injectors having lived outside through a particularly cold winter. Comfort. Pillions used to have trouble staying awake on long journeys. Weaknesses: Factory Set Up. Crank that back suspension down, otherwise you will whale around all over the place.

    24 October 2005

  • Brilliant real world bike

    sizzleofbarum

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Ride and Handling
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    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    If you want a practical day to day bike that has adrenalin pumping acceleration & top speed & can double (or treble) as a tourer this is the bike for you. 0 to 156 with heart stopping acceleration in comfort is where this bike is at. Oh, and by the way, weather protection is pretty good too. Strengths: Comfort, passenger comfort, weather protection, speed, acceleration, economy (35 to 60 mph depending on you), low seat (for short a___s). Weaknesses: Weight (198kg), soggy shock absorbers, rotten exhaust.

    22 October 2004

  • A good touring / commuting bike, greatly overlooked.

    PaulE3

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Ride and Handling
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    Value
    Engine

    Purchased in 2002 as a sports tourer, it has met that demand very well. Good examples are not difficult to find, these are not racing and scratching bikes so the owners tend to be a little more practical in their use. Smooth, very reliable, good weather protection. That said it is still reasonably quick but a little soft. Recommend an aftermarket rear shock, the orginal is not great. Something that can be adjusted easily. I replaced the exhaust with stainless down pipes and collector box for £350. Kawaski wanted £450 for the orginal parts...! Strengths: As above plus after market spares are more available than first seems. These do not tend to be listed so ask the advertisers in the MCN classifieds. The brakes are very good. Weaknesses: Steel parts can corrode easily. Without much cost / effort I have replaced various fitting with stainless and removed some brackets and repainted them. (Get to know your bike better). Look after the front brake seals, keep them calipers clean and the results are good.

    01 August 2004

  • My Review

    jamesboxall

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Engine

    Comfort is excellent. Bike is as fast as you'll ever need in the real world!

    07 January 2002

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master256

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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