KAWASAKI ZX-6R (2003-2004) Review

Published: 23 November 2006

"At its launch this was the hardest, most technologically advanced 600 of all time"

Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle review - Riding

"At its launch this was the hardest, most technologically advanced 600 of all time"

  • At a glance
  • 636cc  -  112 bhp
  • 38 mpg  -  150 miles range
  • Medium seat height (825mm)

Overall Rating 5 out of 5

The ZX-6R of 2003 marked a dramatic return to form for Kawasaki. At its launch this machine was the hardest, most technologically advanced 600 of all time, boasting radial brakes, upside-down forks and fully digital clocks alongside fuel-injection, a lap timer and all wrapped up in a tiny, tight chassis and plastics. Gorgeous.

Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5

This is a track machine without compromise and as such it begs for a steering damper. And preferably a softer spring in the shock. It’s a hard ride on British roads – the front gets frisky under power and the back end feels harsh and crudely suspended. Get it on the track and it gels beautifully. No complaints about the brakes - the four-piston radial Tokicos are simply awesome.

Engine 5 out of 5

Kawasaki stuck with their capacity advantage over the rest of the ‘600’ pack, which means that there’s still beefy mid-range as well as a howling top end. The fuel-injection is flawless and if you can find a road or track long enough it’ll sling you towards a top speed in excess of 160mph. With a full system and a Power Commander this machine will put out a genuine 114bhp. Only a notchy gearbox stand in the way of perfection.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

The paint on the tank is easily scratched, so a tank pad is a sensible idea. Thankfully a hugger comes as standard, so the shock get an easier time and isn’t pelted with road crud by the tyre.

Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5

Excellent value, but be careful to check it for crash and wheelie damage carefully. A good number will have been on a track. Check the lock stops, head races and get the fairing off any bike before you commit to buying it. Find a Kawasaki ZX-6R for sale.

Insurance group: 15 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 5 out of 5

All the toys come as standard – LED brake lights, lap timer, radial brakes, etc etc. But you don’t get an immobiliser as stock, which is poor in this day and age.

Owners' Reviews

9 owners have reviewed their KAWASAKI ZX-6R (2003-2004) 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 4.9 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.6 out of 5
Engine 4.8 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.9 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.9 out of 5
Equipment 4.2 out of 5
4 out of 5

My Ninja 636 B1H

24 May 2014 by Qieran636

I've owned this bike for 9 years now & it's a little cracker! at 164kg's it's the lightest of the Ninja's ;-) Great, fast, reiable little bike. Service it on time, look after it & it'll do what you want. A little old now but holding it's. Great value... Read more & a good looking bike :-)

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
5 out of 5

my zx6r

01 September 2011 by fardell1

iv had my zx6r for abot 3 months now and it is a brilliant bike it hasnt missed a beat iv had 170mph out of my zx6r the only mods i have on it our airblade double bouble screen and an sp engineering exhaust (race can) the handling isnt brilliant... Read more needs a steering damper,im running pirelli diablo rosso corsa 2 tyres and are excellent tyres except when you get a puncture lol ;(

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 3 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

WOW

23 April 2011 by Adeninja

Hiya ive owned mine for the last 3 years , 15,000 and still come back with a smile on my face ,cant wait till tomorrow another blast out on my B1H , 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 5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Top Bike

17 January 2009 by nickodemon

This bike has razor sharp handling, excellent brakes, but poor comfort. basically the shock is too hard for the road. The engine is a peach. Looks the best kawasaki zx6r by far, as the other models have plastic tanks and don't have the same lines.... Read more The only thing i would recommend for comfort and road handling would be to get the shock revalved and resprung (k-tech). The engine benefits from a K&N filter and a race can. The 2003- 2004 model will be a classic in time.

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

zx-6r

18 February 2008 by sad500

Bought my bike with less than 3k on the clock so as new really. I love it to bits, very quick, easy to handle, awesome brakes and looks the biz. Only thing i can fault is the pain in my wrists after about an hr in the saddle but thats an easy... Read more (though expensive) fix with some bar raisers. If your a tall chap like me it may be a problem but its one i can live with!!

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 5 out of 5
5 out of 5

wooooaaaaahh

02 June 2007 by mattski34

Just bought a B1H after owning a F2 for last 3 years. The performance is mindblowing, a little lumpy at low revs but thats not where this bike is used to being! suspension not as hard as i expected but still a bit firm, open it up tho and it goes... Read more round corners perfectly. I am in love with this bike! and hope to be together for many months to come!!

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

2003 636 A1P in Green with R&Gs and Datatool alarm, otherwise standard.

06 March 2006 by rashton

I bought this 636 after it caught my eye in the garage I take my bandit to for new tyres. I was on the look out for a sports six and had tried the honda CBR600F, Gixer and R6 but they weren`t really for me. I hadn`t seen another 636 in my price range... Read more that was worth more attention than ah hell its covered in aftermarket tat. Anyway took it for a test ride, and it blew my socks off, I had to take it easy due to a spill on the bandit left me with a dodgy shoulder, but that was soon forgotten with the engine note and the pull from the engine. To say I was smitten was an understatement. Strengths: The engine is awesome. For a gangly 6ft 2" person there is plenty of room on the bike and it is generally comfy although around town, although it can get a bit heavy on the wrists. Weaknesses: The carb icing the bike has suffered in the last 2 weeks has been depressing. In the next few weeks it will get a good run and be put on a dyno to check fueling.

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

mega fun, wheelies for fun

31 August 2004 by dunnbigbear

Mega fast for a 6 and handles mint theirs not much better.  Strengths: Motor and brakes. Weaknesses: Rider not having bigger balls to make it go and handle. 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

Leave sofa riders (Honda) in your wake with the ZX636R B1

22 June 2004 by neninja

This bike never ceases to astonish me. Yes the rear shock is a minger as standard. Over damped and over sprung. Replaced with a Nitron unit (top quality and performance) Yes the build quality isn't perfect. Yes it eats the other 600's breakfast and... Read more spits them out. On track it out performs many bikes with more cc's. You want corner speed, demon brakes, plenty of strong drive but with sensible insurance then their can be only one choice. With a little bit of sorting the 03 ZX6 becomes an awesome package. Strengths: Handling Looks More grunt than other 600's Light weight Induction noise Wheelie ability It's not a Honda. Weaknesses: Truely woeful standard rear shock Finish isn't the most resiliant.

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
Read all 9 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2003
Year discontinued 2004
Original price -
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 15 of 17
Annual road tax £80
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 112 bhp
Max torque 46 ft-lb
Top speed 162 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 11 secs
Average fuel consumption 38 mpg
Tank range 150 miles
Specification
Engine size 636cc
Engine type 16v in-line four, 6 gears
Frame type Aluminium twin spar
Fuel capacity 18 litres
Seat height 825mm
Bike weight 161kg
Front suspension Preload, compression, rebound
Rear suspension Preload, compression, rebound
Front brake Twin 280mm discs
Rear brake 220mm disc
Front tyre size 120/65 x 17
Rear tyre size 180/55 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

2003: Model introduced.
2005: Superseded by new ZX-6R C-series with underseat pipe and slipper clutch.

Other versions

ZX-6RR: A 599cc machine homologated for racing in Supersports. A comprehensive race kit available from Kawasaki pushes output to almost 140bhp. It comes with a slipper clutch, an adjustable swingarm pivot and a closer ratio gearbox. It was a £1000 premium over the ZX-6R.

Photo Gallery

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