KAWASAKI ZX-6R (1998-1999) Review

Published: 23 November 2006

"The bike that overnight made the 750cc superbikes look superfluous"

Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle review - Riding

"The bike that overnight made the 750cc superbikes look superfluous"

  • At a glance
  • 599cc  -  106 bhp
  • 41 mpg  -  160 miles range
  • Medium seat height (815mm)

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

With its genuine 163mph top speed, six-piston brakes, low’ish insurance group and evil induction noise the Kawasaki ZX-6R G-series is the bike that overnight made the 750cc superbikes look superfluous. Even today it’s still considered a capable performer, though the suspension and stoppers will doubtless welcome a fettle.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

If the Kawasaki ZX-6R's motor begs to be caned, then the chassis begs you to use it. It’s sporty yet comfy, precise but not flighty and roomy but not baggy. It’s a brilliant blend of real world practicality and trackside intent. The six-piston brakes aren’t as harsh as the older ZX-6R’s fours and can be improved with pads for the ZX-9R. The suspension and brakes will need refreshing by now to get the best from the package. Budget on around £200-£300 to do the job properly.

Engine 4 out of 5

The Kawasaki ZX-6R's DOHC in-line four sounds better with each passing degree of the tacho’s sweep – all the way up to its glorious 14,000rpm redline – as the twin ram-air tubes resonate with the cold fury of quickly shovelled speed. It’s based on the older F-series engine, albeit with revised cams and new 36mm carbs. Carbs that, just like old one, suffer from icing on cold, damp mornings. Pass the Silkolene ProFST, Cyril.

Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5

The Kawasaki ZX-6R's finish is good, but ride your ZX-6R through a winter or keep it outside and it quickly palls with corrosion setting in around the shock if you don’t add a hugger. Electrics can suffer, too, so be generous with the WD40. 1998: Supersedes the ZX-6R F-series. Gains cartridge forks, semi-downdraught carbs and revised frame and motor. 2000: G-series superseded by J-series ZX-6R (new singarm, revised shock, engine and gearbox improvements).

Value & Running Costs 3 out of 5

These days there is so much metal to choose from that an aging 600 might not seem like the ideal candidate for your cash. But the G-series Kawasaki ZX-6Rs are still handsome performers providing you overhaul the critical areas of suspension and brakes. Find a Kawasaki ZX-6R for sale.

Insurance group: 14 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 3 out of 5

With the Kawasaki ZX-6R you don’t get a hugger or centrestand. You do get a pillion seat that’s not a dirty joke, and a digital display for water temp, trips and clock, though.

Owners' Reviews

19 owners have reviewed their KAWASAKI ZX-6R (1998-1999) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

We’re currently improving the way this section works, which means we’ve had to suspend the submission of new owners’ reviews for a short period. Please check back soon.

Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.7 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.8 out of 5
Engine 4.9 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.9 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

Wow!

21 July 2009 by LukeZX6

This is my first 600 (moved up from a geared 50 :P) and it really is a brilliant machine, the only downsides are that I'm 6ft so it can get abit wristy and the fact that it doesn't have a fuel light. Other than that this is a truley awsome bike! Read more

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

New bike 4 me

04 September 2008 by tomf53

Had my 6r for a year and love it it's quick, reliable and cost effective. Read more

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

great bike!!!!!

23 February 2008 by 2601lee

i bought this bike a few years ago,as it was comfortable and roomy,brakes were a bit spongy but discs and pads/hose upgrade sorted that!also ohlins steering damper,who needs a new 600 these are just as good,and can easily keep up the pace Read more

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

I am Proud

27 December 2007 by BikerBladerAsh

I am very proud to be riding this bike, yeah its the biggest i've ridden, but what a bike i love it. the sound from my scorpion can through the k&n is awesome, very addictive. I covered 800 miles when i bought it few weeks ago in a week and enjoyed... Read more it all, i've never felt so confident in the wet and the power in all gears is soo useable, it goes faster than the figures say too, the 3 pot brakes are awesome too and the bike is soo comfy compared to any other sports bike i've rode, go by one i got mine from dealer with extras and a warranty with 11k on the clock and 2 new tyres for ....wait for it 2 grand. the best 2 grand i ever spent, and no the green ones not faster lol

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

Fabulous bike! Buy one!

21 April 2006 by burncpt

Sorry to all of you that think Kwaks are only green, the Black/Gunmetal G1 is the best! Went like stink, the engine is unbelievable after bandits and the like, and the airbox howl makes it seem 20mph faster, especially with a micron can. Build... Read more quality seems good, after 7 years my G1 is mint, not even a hint of corrosion. Riding position is ace for tall riders, had to ride an SV650 for a month after being knocked off it and hated every minute in comparison. Screen is great, mirrors steady and clear, the whole bike screams quality. Will never buy anything except Kawasaki again! Strengths: Engine, looks (NOT green!) Ride quality, Build, Sound (oh yes!). Weaknesses: You will be devastated if you crash it! Seat wobbles(!) Crappy stiff fuel tap, hard to find an un-bodged original one.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

ZX6R G1 Ninja

19 October 2004 by mishka

This was my 1st big bike,i t is a cracking bike for a 1st timer. It is comfy enough for short or longer distance riding, not to painful on the wrists. Riding position is user friendly not over stretched & this is from a 5ft 9inch bloke. Get it to... Read more 9000rpm & it is instant grin factor. Strengths: Changed from Bridgestone 010's what it came with over to the 020's. These are a little more hard wearing, but still gives loads of feel.
Weaknesses: None for the bike, only me because I can't get the best from it.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

Almost perfect

30 August 2004 by DAZZX6R

This bike has taken everything in its stride. Almost 40000 miles in five years with no major problems. Everything from daily commutes to European tours. Its still great to look at, still puts a huge grin on my face, and still comfy for 400 miles in a... Read more day. What more could you ask for? Just the noise it makes at high revs is enough to make anyone laugh and grin like an idiot. Strengths: Engine, noise, comfort, easy handling, brakes, 180 miles from a tank, reliability...... Weaknesses: Expensive when you drop it. Could do with a bit more power now I'm used to it. (An extra 36cc might sort it...).

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

Fantastic performance in an everyday package.

19 June 2004 by lee6R

I have a 99 G2 model and only planned to keep it for 2 years. I'm on my 4th year and still plan on keeping it for at least another 2. I just love it's mix of raw power, easy handling and still good looks and comfort. It is used every single day for... Read more commuting and 3-4 trackdays in the fast group too. It takes it all in it's stride superbly. Reliable and economical too! Just love it. Strengths: Performance. Steering. Brakes ( after hoses and pad change ). Economy. Comfort. Weaknesses: On 3rd set of fork seals and 2nd set of brake discs.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

My Review

23 February 2002 by clements2

This is an excellent all rounder with good fuel economy, but can also keep up with the big boys. Read more

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

My Review

19 February 2002 by SpankySmrz

I had a CBR600-FS ('95 model, not the recent one) before this and found it easier to live with. I don't get the same confidence from the front end with the ZX - when pushed hard it feels like its losing it in the corners which is something I never... Read more got from the CBR. Aside from that the engine, suspension, brakes and chasis are worth their weight in gold.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
Read all 19 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1998
Year discontinued 1999
Original price -
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 14 of 17
Annual road tax £58
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 106 bhp
Max torque 48 ft-lb
Top speed 163 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 10.9 secs
Average fuel consumption 41 mpg
Tank range 160 miles
Specification
Engine size 599cc
Engine type 16v in-line four, 6 gears
Frame type Ally twin spar
Fuel capacity 18 litres
Seat height 815mm
Bike weight 176kg
Front suspension Preload, compression, rebound
Rear suspension Preload, compression, rebound
Front brake Twin 300mm discs
Rear brake 220mm disc220mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 170/55 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

1998: Supersedes the ZX-6R F-series. Gains cartridge forks, semi-downdraught carbs and revised frame and motor.
2000: G-series superseded by J-series ZX-6R (new singarm, revised shock, engine and gearbox improvements).

Other versions

None

Photo Gallery

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  • Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle review - Riding
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  • Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle review - Riding
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  • Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle review - Front view
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  • Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle review - Exhaust
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle review - Side view
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle review - Front view
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle review - Side view
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle review - Side view
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle review - Side view
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle review - Side view
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle review - Front view
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle review - Front view
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle review - Exhaust
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle review - Riding
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