KAWASAKI ZX-6R (2005-2006) Review

Published: 23 November 2006

"Hardest 600 of modern times just got a little softer"

Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle review - Riding

"Hardest 600 of modern times just got a little softer"

  • At a glance
  • 636cc  -  114 bhp
  • 40 mpg  -  150 miles range
  • Medium seat height (820mm)

Overall Rating 5 out of 5

The hardest 600 of modern times just got a little softer – and a little better, too. The Kawasaki ZX-6R's track-intent is still present and correct, but thankfully the suspension is more responsive and less harsh. Its new slippery shape means that 170mph is just a following wind away. Also new for 2005 is a slipper clutch and petal discs.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

The most appreciable difference between this and the Kawasaki ZX-6R it replaced is the quality of the ride. The swap from Kayaba to Showa means a plusher, more sophisticated suspension that, mated to a new, stiffer chassis, makes the 2005/2006 ZX-6R so much easier to push hard. There’s a new radial master cylinder for improved braking up front and new ‘petal’ discs for the all-new Tokico radial brakes to bite on, too. It all works flawlessly.

Engine 5 out of 5

Good Lord, the Kawasaki ZX-6R's DOHC, 16v motor is so close to being perfect. The exquisite fuelling, the easy mid-range, the searing power, the screaming airbox….incredible. It makes a genuine 115bhp at the back wheel, which easily makes it the most powerful middleweight motor of its time.

Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5

The Kawasaki ZX-6R is well finished and well built. There’s nothing that stands out as worth y of attention, but it’s worth checking any secondhand bike carefully for damaged lock stops, chipped wheels, under-fairing damage etc.

Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5

The only thing that counts against the 2005/2006 Kawasaki ZX-6R is its newness. Dealers tend to ask silly prices and a brand spanking new 600 isn’t that much of a leap away from that kind of money. Find a Kawasaki ZX-6R for sale.

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

Equipment 5 out of 5

You couldn’t add more toys to the Kawasaki ZX-6R if you tried. There’s a slipper clutch to smooth out hurried downshifts, a lap timer, an underseat exhaust with a mid-range boosting exhaust valve.

Owners' Reviews

24 owners have reviewed their KAWASAKI ZX-6R (2005-2006) 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 4.7 out of 5
Engine 4.9 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.8 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5.0 out of 5
Equipment 4.2 out of 5
5 out of 5

Truly amazing

21 August 2011 by roflepiclol

I've had my 2006 636 for just over a year now, and it has never failed to thrill me on the road and the track. It's a truly outstanding machine which just so happens to be my first bike after passing my test. I'd reccomend a Kawasaki to anyone. GSXR... Read more can go away >:D Kawasaki is the king ;D

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

Great first bike!

19 August 2011 by Feakster

I can't help but feel a tad nostalgic. This was my first ever bike and I still miss it dearly from time to time. Definitely the best 600 (636) of it's time, plus ninjas always seem to cost about £1000 less than the equivalent R6 (& are an insurance... Read more group lower)... Bargain! Unmolested it'll top 170mph and feels far more planted in the corners than a twitchy new daytona 675. The rubber brake lines are a tad crud, but braided hoses don't cost that much these days. Apart from that and the paint finish on the callipers (& those pointless exhaust butterfly valves manufacturers insist on using that work for about 4,000 miles... then seize), I can't fault it. Put 16,000 miles on it and it never missed a beat.

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

Suits disabled rider

17 December 2009 by andyzx636

What a stunning job the Kawasaki boffins did on this. I'd not ridden (legally) since losing my left arm in 1985. And decided that the ZX would be the right choice. Buying it has to be one of the wisest decisions I've ever made. I was easy to adapt... Read more for right hand only & I haven't stopped smiling since. I fitted an SCX damper 'just in case' & have found the handling to be precise & faultless - the faster I ride, the more planted it feels. As for the engine, wow talk about hyperspace.... Had to fit rear sets so that I'd have something to push against whilst getting it up the the red line. The power surge between 9 - 15.5k is just unbelievable - but at lower revs is has bags of pulling power & actually behaves well in slow moving traffic. I've done 2500 miles on it so far. Not once has it tried to throw me off or misbehaved on bumpy bends. A seriously well planted machine & enough power to suit anyone. I'd definately buy another

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

cont'd

20 September 2009 by Ash77

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZL5XSPn2dU&feature=channel_page 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

had a great summer thanks to this

19 September 2009 by Ash77

Done nearly 5000 miles this summer and enjoyed every one of them. An awesome all round tool and I mean all round. Been to Wales, Lakes, Dales, Peak District, North Yorks Moors etc and it never misses a beat. Have no probs doing 300 miles a day on... Read more a/b roads if needed thanks to a smooth ride and comfortable seat. Easily does 180 miles a tank too, so a tank does me on most days out & its does 50ish mpg. Initially it was getting low-mid 40's mpg with under 3k miles on, but the engine gets stronger and more fuel efficient over time it seems. Had 58mpg on a run once where I didn't overtake much due to following my mate in his by all accounts fast car. Enjoyed my first bike, an SV650s that i kept for only a year due to outgrowing it, but this is a keeper & a future classic so they say. Going by that imperious engine and the various noises throughout the rev range alone, I can see why. I could have just said theres 15500 reasons I love this bike because thats how many revs there are, but that wouldn't do justice to the other things that are attached around the engine and the Ram Air fed air box!

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

Well worth the money

28 July 2009 by Anonymous

Brilliant little Bike. I have no trouble keeping up with all my mates & they all ride newer litre bikes. You just have to keep the engine spinning. I do get lower fuel economy than the bigger bikes though, Only about 30 miles to the gallon. Only... Read more grips are 1: the standard suspension settings which are just wrong for any type of riding. What were Kawasaki thinking! when set up properly it transforms the bike into a brilliant handleing road bike better than R6 etc & 2: The Fi light comes on when the bike is left for any length of time, due to the exhaust valve motor not cycleing properly. A good thrash & then turning it off & then on again sorts it, but it is a pain.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 4 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

WOW

13 July 2009 by mjf65

Only just picked up an 06 bike with 20k on the motor but its as sweet as a nut, what a motor! Loads of mid-range for a 600, would eat R6 or CBR in the midrange and I would be suprised if any other 600's were quicker up the top end too. I believe its... Read more till the most powerful 4 cylinder sports 600 around (OK having an extra 36 cc is cheating but it works). Handling is much improved after fitting a new pair of Avon Vipers, it didn't ride well on worn Bridgestones. Suspension is firm on stock settings even with my 13 stone on it but its still effective for soaking up the worst on crap roads without being sloppy in the corners. Feels very roomy compared to the newer bikes which suits me, seat is good for at least a couple of hours in the saddle. My advice is buy one if you can find one, there's not many around. You won't be dissapointed.

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

how do they do it!

10 April 2009 by Ash77

mines the c1h 05 in titanium which looks great in the flesh. fitted the essential bits, puig double bubble screen, rear hugger (mudguard to protect suspension), r&g crash protectors. forget extra bhp etc, this feels like a 750-1000! theres an... Read more incredible low-mid range for a 600 from 3-9k which gets stronger all the way through. forget the all 600's are gutless/peaky stuff here, you can leave this in top if you want, it pulls at 30! at 9-10k it gets pretty science fiction tho! you have to hold on tight and make sure the ever lighter front end stays planted! power delivery is turbine smooth and the sound is like a supercharged ariel atom in the mid range before the race roar of the power band. its an incredible engine that dominates the experience and you even get 40-50mpg. the suspension feels and looks expensive and with a pretty comfy seat makes for a nice sports touring ride over longer distances. the handling is sporty and sharp, tho its pretty big for a 600 so maybe isnt quite as flickable as some. its unlikely many will get near its limits on a road or even a track tho. overall this has to be one of the best 600's ever, throw value into the equation and it has to be a no brainer! its probably overkill for many or very near for much less for 750-1000 buyers. +'s everything -'s poor visibility from mirrors so you need to move around a bit, poss licence probs, horn corroding quite quickly, tho everywhere else seems well finished. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYNkZt3P2ZU&feature=channel_page

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

top bike

08 March 2009 by superbol

I baught a 06 last year i wanted another blade but money was a bit tight.But wow! its great reminds me of my old 92 blade its that good .My only gripe is that its the titainum colour (more metallic hearing aid beige) but a respray will sort that out... Read more .Anybody downsizing from a 1 liter need not be worried about a flat non midrange bike 600 its fab .

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 5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Bonkers

19 February 2009 by kawasakipillion

Do you know that this is the bike to own full stop - i know we can go a little faster on the bigger more expensive to run and own, tyre munching bikes but in the real world do you need more than a 600ish cc bike..! I think you should know that at... Read more 190mph with 500rpm left ,still pulling and creaping up i guessed to about 196/7 on the clock at the limiter on the over run wow amazing, from a standard bike ok down hill and 3miles to wind it up, wind behind, but it goes striaght to 180 on the flat,with no help. Maybe the clocks are inacurate but i know my zx12 did 220 on the clock it was derestricted as 186 was max before, and its blood fast over 170mph no matter what you are on cause its pulling your arms off and your head off, where at that speed, everything that is moving is stationary, and you count the flyovers by in quick succession..ummm vanishing point is important very important. BUT this bike tracks like its on rails at high speed and you can keep your line and your speed just keep throwing it at the tarmac and it goes round the corners. i did not give it 5stars for ride as i set it for track days and the good few roads out there so the rest of the time the ride is harsh but worth the rewards when you find a good piece of road to let rip on.I might add there is a time and place for over enthusiasum.! and thats not in rush hour-although there is a buzz from riding down the middle of cars the bike is very narrow and i have not had any bikes follow me through yet..detracting from the zx6r well at just over half the price of the out going new model 2009 you would have a lot of change for all your gear ,insurance , paint job and accessories list etc.. with a bike that is still producing power the same or better than any current bikes,and definatly a beater of top speed,and you won't need to run it in either..remember only on paper is a bike quick its down to the rider to make it that quick.so dont be surprised if a pizza hut delivery boy leaves you in his wake if you are a new rider in town lol..nothing to be ashamed of it happens lol ohh the virtues of twist and go but they cant get through the gaps like me on my zx6 amazing if it wasn't for traffic lights i would be a winner haha. My recomendation is to buy one, to give you an idea! when i had my zx12, a real nice bike by the way, i still preffered the zx6 to ride most of the time...it puts a grin factor of 10 on your face and you dont feel like your on old metal like some bikes make you feel over time -think this will be a classic one day for many reasons.

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 5 out of 5
Read all 24 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2005
Year discontinued 2006
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 114 bhp
Max torque 52 ft-lb
Top speed 168 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 11 secs
Average fuel consumption 40 mpg
Tank range 150 miles
Specification
Engine size 636cc
Engine type 16v in-line four, 6 gears
Frame type Aluminium twin spar
Fuel capacity 17 litres
Seat height 820mm
Bike weight 164kg
Front suspension Preload, compression, rebound
Rear suspension Preload, compression, rebound
Front brake Twin 300mm discs
Rear brake 220mm disc
Front tyre size 120/65 x 17
Rear tyre size 180/55 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

2005: Kawasaki ZX-6R introduced.
2007: Model set to be replaced by all new, 599cc ZX-6R.

Other versions

ZX-6RR: This is a 599cc machine homologated for racing in Supersports competition. It boasts refined engine internals, a close ratio gearbox, stiction-reducing fork coatings, revised suspension and a boss for a steering damper. Kawasaki can also supply a racing kit to help push the power up towards 140bhp.

Photo Gallery

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  • Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle review - Side view
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  • Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle review - Side view
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  • Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle review - Riding
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  • Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle review - Side view
  • 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
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  • Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle review - Riding
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