We ride: 2003 Kawasaki ZX-6R

Published: 04 November 2002

MCN’s Keith Farr has just stepped off the new Kawasaki ZX-6R he’s been riding on the blisteringly hot Tarmac at the Malaysian circuit of Sepang. Here’s his first impressions…

You can read more from this test and see the first pictures in the November 13 issue of MCN. Don’t miss it.

" We’ve been riding three versions of the ZX-6R: the new road bike, the ZX-6RR World Supersport homologated version as you’d buy it from a dealer and a ZX-6RR with full race kit. "

ZX-6R

" The road bike is better in every way than the 2002 ZX-6R. While the power is the same, the new for 2003 fuel-injection makes the bike much crisper off the throttle than the older bike’s carb-fed motor.

" It has the best mid-range of any current supersport bike. In terms of the current opposition in hammers the CBR600, R6 and the handling is on a par with the GSX-R600.

" The chassis is spot-on. A much tauter package than the 2002 model. This is the sports bike the last model thought it was, but wasn’t.

" It’s much more refined than the 2002 bike and much smaller physically.

" The radial brakes are awesome. The new four-pot Tokicos are incredible, much better even than last year’s six-pots.

ZX-6RR

" Frankly, if you bought this bike and didn’t fit the race kit you’d be disappointed. It gives away so much in terms of torque to the bigger capacity road bike than after riding them back-to-back you’d take the road bike every time. "

ZX-6RR (race kitted)

" The difference between this and the non-kitted RR is huge. Somehow you’ve got all the tug of the road bike, with a mega top end. Very impressive. "

The heat out in Sepang has caught every one out, Farr reports. Journalists have been keeling over in the 35-degree heat and 90 per cent humidity.

The original fitment Michelin Pilot Sports were destroyed in a handful of laps before being replaced with Pilot Race, and the suspension suffered in the extreme heat as the oil thinned and damping went.