KAWASAKI ZX-6R (1995 - 1997) Review

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4.4 out of 5 (4.4/5)
Annual servicing cost: £280
Power: 100 bhp
Seat height: Medium (31.9 in / 810 mm)
Weight: Medium (401 lbs / 182 kg)

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
3 out of 5 (3/5)

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.

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
3 out of 5 (3/5)

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.

Engine

Next up: Reliability
4 out of 5 (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.

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
3 out of 5 (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 vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
2 out of 5 (2/5)

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.

Equipment

3 out of 5 (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.

Specs

Engine size 599cc
Engine type 16v in-line four, 6 gears
Frame type Aluminium twin spar
Fuel capacity 18 litres
Seat height 810mm
Bike weight 182kg
Front suspension Preload, compression, rebound
Rear suspension Preload, compression, rebound
Front brake Twin 300mm discs
Rear brake 230mm disc
Front tyre size 120/60 x 17
Rear tyre size 160/60 x 17

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 41 mpg
Annual road tax £67
Annual service cost £280
New price -
Used price -
Insurance group 14 of 17
How much to insure?
Warranty term -

Top speed & performance

Max power 100 bhp
Max torque 48 ft-lb
Top speed 152 mph
1/4 mile acceleration 11 secs
Tank range 160 miles

Model history & versions

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.

Owners' reviews for the KAWASAKI ZX-6R (1995 - 1997)

7 owners have reviewed their KAWASAKI ZX-6R (1995 - 1997) 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 (1995 - 1997)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4.6 out of 5 (4.6/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 3.9 out of 5 (3.9/5)
Engine: 4.9 out of 5 (4.9/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4.4 out of 5 (4.4/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.6 out of 5 (4.6/5)
Equipment: 3.9 out of 5 (3.9/5)
Annual servicing cost: £280
4 out of 5 600cc rocket!!
07 July 2019 by jaymag

Version: F1 600cc

Year: 1995

Good for the money. Mines got 28k on it and still runs good.Only paid $1500. Has fast pick up,revs fast till 10k and still has more. It can break the tire loose in 1rst and 2nd gear. So you have to still respect it for just a 600cc. The motor is sweet,no complaints at all,very fast for a small motor. MIne has a full D&D race pipe. Nice wide power band and revs till it sounds like a F14 jet. The brakes are not the best, just ok. The shocks are a little soft as well. As a toy it's TONS of fun! Just rode 5 hours today alone. I can't wait to ride it again!

Ride quality & brakes 3 out of 5

Too soft, just ok!

Engine 5 out of 5

Brillant power plant! Makes awsome power for just a 600cc. I was very impressed. Being ive owned 900cc sport bikes before!

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Runs Great for an old bike!

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

I may have the carbs rebuild next year

Equipment 4 out of 5

Wish it had a low light gas indicator!!

Buying experience: Private

5 out of 5 Personally, I would rank the ZX-6R above the CBR and GSX-R 600 having owned all three
28 July 2018 by Fangpuss

Year: 1997

Annual servicing cost: £100

I have owned the CBR600 and GSX-R600 from the same year. The CBR was excellent. The GSX-R was fun, but the quality was seriously lacking and was highly strung. The Kawasaki out performed the other 2 in terms of engine, fuel tank capacity (165 mile range vs 120 for the others) and overall satisfaction. The motor is torquey and is happy at any part of the rev range which makes it extremely user friendly.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5

I have owned the CBR600 and GSX-R600 from the same year and the ZX-6R has the best engine. The CBR was gutless in comparison, The GSX-R was revvy and more like a 2 stroke and just as fragile!

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Just as good as the Honda CBR600 and 50 times better than the GSX-R600.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5

Standard fayre for its age.

Buying experience: Bought from a dealer with absolutely no complaints.

4 out of 5 Well worth the money
25 February 2018 by Will

Year: 1996

Annual servicing cost: £300

Great bike cheap to insure and buy, if you're on a budget then it's going to be the most reliable, other than the boring CBR of the same age! Don't worry about high mileage if it's been maintained correctly.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Slightly soft suspension on the front and the front brakes are recommended to be overhauled every year and Ive heard they do seize up. I'm yet do see this but it obviously is the case.

Engine 5 out of 5

Between 9 an 14 it's at its best, nice smooth throttle response.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

For its age you can't argue, slightly dated but at the time is was a great bike. Engines brilliant between 9 and 14000rpm it really comes alive.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

So cheap it's hardly a worry that the mpg is slightly lower than expected. You can pick them up for a grand mines on 35k and runs like a dream.

Equipment 3 out of 5

A hard one to score really as it's very basic but all the 600s were then so what more was expected? Does everything you need it to the rev gauge, speedo, oil and temp gauge all work as they should!

Buying experience: Check brakes operate correctly, make sure it's cold when you start it check for rattles in the top end as the tappets/ shims need adjusting/shimming every so often, also check for smoke on start up and when warm, check radiator and oil cooler are in good condition along with the headers as the air shoots though and causes corrosion. Parts are getting harder to come by for the f series and are expressive.

4 out of 5 Brilliant little occassional bike / short distance commuter
27 April 2016 by Connor Willer

Year: 1995

Annual servicing cost: £450

Very good bike, not suitable for longer distance commuting.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Soft suspension but the bike stops on a 50p piece. Pillions become sore after about 100 miles but the bike is not designed for much more.

Engine 4 out of 5

Very revy, gets up to speed with no issues. Overheats quickly in traffic.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

Only issues I have had are down to aftermarket components, engine is solid and hardly burns oil

Value vs rivals 3 out of 5

Lower MPG than expected however the large amount of spares help to reduce the running cost.

Equipment 5 out of 5

Its a bike from 1995, analogue display but perfect for everyday use!!

Buying experience: Private £1000

5 out of 5 FPaasch
12 September 2014 by FPaasch

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

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
5 out of 5 superb
06 March 2013 by TheTerminator

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.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
5 out of 5 too late
26 September 2009 by fastasfox

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.

Ride quality & brakes 3 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 2 out of 5
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