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Kawasaki ZX-6R Sports Motorbike Review

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Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle review - Riding
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MCN overall verdict rating is 3

Kawasaki’s F-series ZX-6R was, in its day, a serious contender to the middleweight crown of Honda’s CBR600. The Kwacker can still raise a smile, but measured against the latest metal it feels harsh and crude. If you’re buying on a budget then it’s worth a look, but Suzuki’s GSX-R600 will run rings around it at a trackday, while the CBR has it beaten for practicality and build quality.

Engine

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

The DOHC in-line four of the Kawasaki ZX-6R is the blueprint for how to build an exciting motor. The more your pour on the coals the more you’re assailed by the siren songs of the roaring airbox and shrieking exhaust note. And the ZX-6R backs this up with some serious shove, cranking out 94bhp on a dyno, making it the most powerful 600 machine of its time.

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 4

For road use the Kawasaki ZX-6R's suspension feels good: precise and on the firm side of sporty, though once past 15,000 miles the shock’s damping goes off quickly, wrecking the ride. On the track it’s the front end that’s the weak point – it’s simply too soft and feels vague when you up the pace. Budget for refreshing the suspension. New fork oil and springs will set you back about £80 and another £120-£150 to revitalise the shock. The four-piston caliper brakes should be sharp and positive.

Equipment

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 3.5

The Kawasaki ZX-6R's analogue clocks date the bike badly though the tacho, speedo and temperature gauge tell you all you need to know.

Kawasaki ZX-6R (1995-1997)

Detail Value
Dealer used prices
£1,770 (1997) - £1,900 (1997)
Private used prices
£1,600 (1997) - £1,710 (1997)
  View full used price info
Engine size 599 cc
Power 100 bhp
Top speed 152 mph
Insurance group 14 of 17
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 3 rating is 4
Engine rating is 4 rating is 4.5
Ride & Handling rating is 3 rating is 4
Equipment rating is 3 rating is 3.5
Quality & Reliability rating is 3 rating is 3.5
Value rating is 2 rating is 4.5

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 3.5

Cold, damp morning can reveal carb-icing, which can cause the Kawasaki ZX-6R to choke temporarily. The best way to solve this is with Silkolene ProFST fuel additive. Brake discs warp frequently and the calipers need regular attention. The steel downpipes rot and no hugger means the shock get covered in crud and the action suffers as a result. The finish and build is generally good, though.

Value

MCN rating rating is 2
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

There’s so much middleweight choice for so little money these days that it’s hard to recommend this particular vintage Kawasaki ZX-6R. Go newer or go Honda. Find a Kawasaki ZX-6R for sale.

Insurance

Insurance group: 14 of 17

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Model History

1995: Kawasaki introduce the ZX-6R F1. At the time it’s the most powerful, best specified and most exciting sports 600 around.
1997: Slightly modified exhaust. Model superseded at year’s end.

Other Versions

None.

Specifications

Top speed 152 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 11 secs
Max power 100 bhp
Max torque 48 ft-lb
Weight 182 kg
Seat height 810 mm
Fuel capacity 18 litres
Average fuel consumption 41 mpg
Tank range 160 miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group 14 of 17
Engine size 599 cc
Engine specification 16v in-line four, 6 gears
Frame Aluminium twin spar
Front suspension adjustment Preload, compression, rebound
Rear suspension adjustment Preload, compression, rebound
Front brakes Twin 300mm discs
Rear brake 230mm disc
Front tyre size 120/60 x 17
Rear tyre size 160/60 x 17

See all Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycles for sale

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29500 miles

£1,250

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4632 miles

£5,000

Kawasaki
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5395 miles

£4,995

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5371 miles

£5,699

Kawasaki
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1500 miles

£7,299

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 4(9 reviews)

  • FPaasch

    FPaasch

    Average rating rating is 4

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Just bought one - and I am surprised how much fun you can get for less money - the sound, the engine and the handling is fantastic

    12 September 2014

  • superb

    TheTerminator

    Average rating rating is 5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    took one of these out for a test ride when they first came out, and i thought omg, how fast is this bike... the noise the power, the speed, i loved it, although i went and bought a zx9r , i never forgot this bike.... so all these year later i have bought one, and it took back to everything i thought about it then, SUPERB.

    06 March 2013

  • too late

    fastasfox

    UK

    Average rating rating is 4

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Come on mcn we both know you cant review a bike ten years after it first came out.I can remember the first time you tested the bike you about wet your pants and bp and bike mags did loads of back to backs with the competition and the zx6rf run rings around the honda thundercat and gx600f it was only when they brought out the gsxr 6 srad that suzuki started to catch up and even then it was slower 0/60 and had less top end speed.Honda who are they the cbr600f (jelly mould)was more of a commuter bike.Riding a bike should excite you and leave you buzzing not just get off and say well that rode nice smooth well balanced etc etc i want to get off a bike and go f**k me that was exciting.Thats what the little ninja does and still does to this day.Back in 95 the zx6rf was the daddy.I have bought every zx6 that stood out from the competition and i still own them and will never sell them.I can remember the way the zx6rf made me feel back when it was new and i thought i wouldnt feel like that again until i got the 03 B1H wow. If you are on a budget and you want a ride that will give you a buzz then you cant go wrong with the zx6r f1/2or3.bullet proof too.

    26 September 2009

  • my review

    Titot182

    Average rating rating is 4

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    I got my 96 F2 off ebay for 1300 with extras such as heated grips, touring panniers and good upkeep. The handling feels a bit "off" compared to my ZXR250 which is really quick and nippy. You need to counter-steer the bike a bit to get it to lean over. Engine is smooth and pulls with lots of gusto for an IL4. The micron can does wonders for the sound. Deep burble going to a rasping overtone. The brakes are sharp, but only time will tell how long they'll last before they require new disks. Suspension needs some fettling and i'll budget about 300 quid getting it sorted/replaced. But a lot of bike for not a little money. Great first big sportsbike to have. Its fast and frantic and the roar of an engine is what made me stay loyal to kwaka.

    06 March 2007

  • My Review

    spykey

    Average rating rating is 4

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    I like the way it revs, especially after 11500rpm! I can't fault it at all except that it eats brake disks! You can keep up with any other bike on it down twisties but still goes like stink down the straights too! It handles brilliantly and does everything you ask of it.

    19 August 2002

  • My Review

    996R2001

    Average rating rating is 4

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    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    This bike is a proven race winner, more than able to hold its own against SS GSX-R 750s and any 600 (before the 2mm overbore). It now makes 11 bhp more mid-range, and pulls hard from 8K to 14K. Razor sharp handling, great brakes, absolutely dialed in and still out performs all comers at the track 750cc and below, and can hold its own against litre bikes, losing ground on the straights but making it up under braking and cornering. Will never part with it.

    03 May 2002

  • My Review

    littlefrank

    Average rating rating is 4.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    I ride 50 miles a day to work. Commuting on an A road > 90. Read the comments, everyone rates the sound. This engine has real character. Get it over 8000 and it'll take off. 10-11 and there's another surge in store. Handling was initially very scary at the front. Replaced pitted headraces, new fork oil, REDUCED rebound damping (way too stiff otherwise on poor surfaces), new EBC pro-lites (now starting to warp ALREADY - those Tokico calipers are v. powerful) Final touch, 010s. Handling now well fettled. Good for 130mph sweepers on overbanding with no drama - HONESTLY! Very stable bike. Now the only time I get scared is over bridges when the front wheel decides it wants to be an aircraft. Embarras your 900cc-1000cc friends in any twisty with another fine Kawasaki product. When they say Kawasaki Heavy Industries - Just think "Heavy Metal Industries" and hum some judas priest while burning your licence. Highly recommended.

    19 April 2001

  • My Review

    dewbers

    Average rating rating is 3

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    I like the fact that my bike is a red 6R and not the usual green and white. I like the way it performs in the corners on my favourite road; the Cat and Fiddle. I don't like the brakes when they are cold, but do like them when they are hot, like me!! The wife says it's comfortable on the back, bad point,but does not always come out with me, good point!! This bike is very reliable, so far. The riding position is good for the twisties but you can't go far on the motorway. I would buy another one, they have loads of power and not too expensive on insurance.

    28 February 2001

  • My Review

    Bradders3

    Average rating rating is 4

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    Like the reliability don't like the standard suspension as you really need a Maxton shock to ride over in the Isle of Man.

    28 February 2001

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FPaasch

FPaaschsays

Just bought one - and I am surprised how much fun you can get for less money - the sound, the engine and the handling is fantastic

12 September 2014 08:28

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