KAWASAKI ZX-6R (2009-2012) Review

Published: 12 December 2008

"New big piston forks use MotoGP technology"

Kawasaki ZX-6R- resembles the ZX-10R

"New big piston forks use MotoGP technology"

Overall Rating 5 out of 5

In terms of chassis and handling the new Kawasaki ZX-6R a big step forward over the old ZX-6R. The new big piston forks use MotoGP technology and make a huge difference. They take a little getting use to at first but enable you to brake devilishly late yet the bike remains stable. Engine wise 115bhp at the back wheel makes it the most powerful standard 600 we have ever tested, say no more.

Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5

Kawasaki is claiming they have shed 10kg off last years bike, which is a huge amount for a supersports 600. It certainly feels lighter, more lively and turns in much easier. It’s easy to spot the difference between the new and old bike when riding them back to back. But the huge gain over the competition is the new big piston forks which are stunning.

Engine 5 out of 5

On the initial launch of the 2009 Kawasaki ZX-6R the engine improvements didn’t feel too significant, more midrange but not too much at the top end. However, the Japanese test track was at altitude, and now we’ve had the bike on the Dyno in the UK its easy to see the gains. Kawasaki is claiming a significant boost in the midrange which was always a weak point of the old bike with some serious power up at the top end.

Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5

Kawasaki build quality has really improved over recent years, not that it was poor to start with. We’ve run many Kawasaki long term bikes over the years at MCN with very high mileage and never had a problem with any of the bikes therefore there is no reason to question the reliability of the new ZX-6R

Insurance, running costs & value 5 out of 5

Its right in the ball park up against the competition, and considering it’s a new bike with the latest technology it seems good value for money. Kawasaki also run an attractive insurance package too. The Suzuki GSX-R600 is slightly cheaper and there are deals to be had on the Yamaha R6 but they are a few years old now. Find a Kawasaki ZX-6R for sale.

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

Equipment 5 out of 5

Fully adjustable suspension front and back, designed with help from Showa using MotoGP technology for starters. Slipper clutch as standard which works excellent, radial brakes with wavy discs and there is even a lap timer incorporated into the clocks, what more would you need? Compare and buy products for the Kawasaki ZX-6R in the MCN Shop.

Owners' Reviews

9 owners have reviewed their KAWASAKI ZX-6R (2009-2012) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your KAWASAKI ZX-6R (2009-2012)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.9 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.8 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.9 out of 5
Equipment 4.6 out of 5
4 out of 5

Great with a few tweaks

23 April 2014 by camwlkr

I have a 2011, which I bought used last year. After 6 track days (B-grp pace) and 3500 miles or so on the road last year, it was time to assess and make a couple of changes. The shock seems a weak point, and I spent a lot of time dialing it in, but... Read more without success -- it would fade, and the compression damping (in particular) was poor. New shock (JRi) installed this Spring. Huge difference - among the changes was adding a little ride height, which enhanced stability and feel. Brakes are great, forks are great - no changes. Double-bubble screen - good change. Found a used Akra full-Ti system with PC-V. Wow....motor was never weak, but now if properly revved will pull pretty evenly with a stock GSX-R750 on the track...only loses a tiny bit on top, and is loads smoother after the re-mapping. This is a proper sports road & track machine, and she'll be kept around for a while. Highly recommended - and getting the suspension dialed makes it a truly willing accomplice....

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

zx6r 09

06 April 2012 by rocketzx6r

Bought it after arriving back in the UK 20 months ago after having a er6f in Australia.Set my heart on a 07 cbr 600,but stumbled on a zx6r 09 at millenium in warrington for the same price as a 07 cbr.After riding on boring Australian roads the ZX is... Read more a revelation still to find its limits.Good seating position for a sports,powerfull engine,brilliant brakes,the engine revs like a prostituite begging to be abused more,the brakes wipe off speed with no dive,the slipper clutch lets you knock it down gear like kicking a politician on the head repeatedly.Bad thing lost a bit of paint on the mirror stems,but did take it on the motorway with salt on the road one day,the paint hasnt got any worse though.In genneral a good fast bike which will be in front on a sunday thrash,never regretted not buying the cbr,as this one howls like a virgin on wedding night.

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
5 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

Great commuter if you want to arrive at work smiling

24 October 2011 by Anonymous

Bought a new 2010 model as a step up after 4 years with my first bike - an SV650S. Thought I was going to go for a more sensible upright position (ER6) but turns out I actually prefer a sportier riding position. I did have reservations about... Read more buying a 'proper sportsbike' for 250 miles a week commuting (half of it in London traffic). But my worries disappeared in the first few days. It's comfortable (max ride has been 1.5 hours so far), gives me better wind protection on the motorway, brakes are brilliant, and I've found I can actually manoeuvre at slow speeds better than on my old bike. (Seems that I've still got my feet firmly on the pegs filtering through stationary traffic when the scooter riders are dragging their feet along the ground.) Absolutely fine in the rain, my other worry that the throttle would be too ‘twitchy’ for commuting was completely wrong too. I can’t compare to other 4 cylinder supersport bikes as I haven’t ridden any, but to me the performance is brilliant. When I find that rare bit of open road it actually recaptures the buzz I felt when I first passed my test. The same goes for handling – I’m not saying I’m fast around the bends but I’m definitely leaning over further than I ever did on my SV and it feels rock solid and capable of a hell of a lot more than I am. My only negative is that the mirrors are not as good as my K2 SV650S, but I’ve yet to find any other bike with mirrors that are. This makes me more vigilant about life-savers anyway so not all bad. My recommendation – buy one!

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
3 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

2010 ZX6-R is a great performer

19 June 2011 by gamey75

I would say this is the best 600 I have ever had and probably the best around at the moment (2011). Fairly comfy allrounder takes a while to get used to. Engine sounds and goes like crazy. A mad machine. Read more

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

perfect

16 February 2011 by monkeymagic

Had mine a year now, and still love it. Can do it all, and is still pretty comfy. No faults at all. Read more

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

Love it etc

26 May 2010 by eddieknocker

Forgot to say that despite smaller turning circle than my er6 it's as docile and as practical for commuting.And then as bastard mad as you want the rest of the time. Will know how good the finish is after it's first winter! Read more

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
5 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

Love it etc

26 May 2010 by eddieknocker

Forgot to say that despite smaller turning circle than my er6 it's as docile and as practical for commuting.And then as bastard mad as you want the rest of the time. Will know how good the finish is after it's first winter! Read more

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
5 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

Love it.

26 May 2010 by eddieknocker

This is my second bike after an er6n which i loved. It is the natural progression i wanted. I can only review this bike in isolation as haven't ridden any other sports 600s. I got the black. I like the angular look and back to back with the... Read more previous model it looks more modern. The induction roar(?) is addictive and so whatever bike i get next has to sound as good. The forks are as everyone raves. Pull hard on the brakes and very little dip which i like. Comfort and economy are not fantastic but that's what i expected and i didn't buy this bike for that. Acceleration is awesome. Exhaust is a bit fugly but i guess Kawa assumes most people will change the exhaust? Price was £6900 for this years plate ('10) and 0% finance - rude not to.

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
5 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

great bike

26 April 2009 by haldaios

the bike rules at 600cc Read more

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
-
Read all 9 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2009
Year discontinued 2012
Original price £8,468
Used price £4,500 to £6,400
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 15 of 17
Annual road tax £58
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 115 bhp
Max torque 46.67 ft-lb
Top speed 162 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 10.97 secs
Average fuel consumption 39 mpg
Tank range 144 miles
Specification
Engine size 599cc
Engine type 16v (67X42.5), 6 gears
Frame type Aluminium perimeter frame
Fuel capacity 17 litres
Seat height 815mm
Bike weight 191kg
Front suspension 41mm Big Piston Forks, full adjustability
Rear suspension Fully adjustable
Front brake 2 x 300 radial 4 pot cal
Rear brake 220mm disc single pot
Front tyre size 120/70x17
Rear tyre size 180/55x17

History & Versions

Model history

New version for 2009
2011: ZX-6R Performance (Akrapovic silencer, tank pads, seat cover, bubble screen) [£9,081]

Other versions

None

Photo Gallery

  • Kawasaki ZX-6R- resembles the ZX-10R
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R- wheelie
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R- action
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R- on track
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R- lean
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R- on track
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R- 10kg lighter than last year's model
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R- compact and nimble
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R- knee down
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R- knee down
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R- big lean
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R- sharper styling
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R- top down view
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R- rear three quarters
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R- side view
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R- front
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R- resembles the ZX-10R
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R- wheelie
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R- action
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R- on track
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R- lean
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R- on track
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R- 10kg lighter than last year's model
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R- compact and nimble
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R- knee down
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R- knee down
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R- big lean
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R- sharper styling
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R- top down view
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R- rear three quarters
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R- side view
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R- front
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