KAWASAKI ZX-6R (1995-1997) Review

Published: 23 November 2006

"Measured against the latest metal it feels harsh and crude"

Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle review - Riding

"Measured against the latest metal it feels harsh and crude"

Overall Rating 3 out of 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 3 out of 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 4 out of 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.

Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 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.

Insurance, running costs & value 2 out of 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 group: 14 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 3 out of 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.

Owners' Reviews

5 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
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4.8 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.2 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.4 out of 5
Equipment 3.6 out of 5
4 out of 5

Well worth the money

25 February 2018 by Will

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. Read more

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.
Build Quality & Reliability
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 & Running Costs
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

Very good bike, not suitable for longer distance commuting. Read more

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.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
Only issues I have had are down to aftermarket components, engine is solid and hardly burns oil
Value & Running Costs
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 Read more

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

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... Read more 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
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
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... Read more 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
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
2 out of 5
-
Read all 5 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1995
Year discontinued 1997
Original price -
Used price £1,500 to £2,000
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 14 of 17
Annual road tax £64
Annual service cost £380
Performance
Max power 100 bhp
Max torque 48 ft-lb
Top speed 152 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 11 secs
Average fuel consumption 41 mpg
Tank range 160 miles
Specification
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

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.

Photo Gallery

  • Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle review - Side view
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle review - Instruments
  • 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 - Instruments
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle review - Side view
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle review - Front view
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle review - Brakes
  • 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 - Side view
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