KAWASAKI ZX-6R (2000 - 2002) Review
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£50|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
Kawasaki’s new-for-2000 ZX-6R got a new swingarm, a revised rear shock and engine internals and a facelift – not good enough to compete with Yamaha’s stunning R6 on the track nor Honda’s new ally-framed CBR600 on the road. In 2002 it got a beefier 636cc motor, which made it a much improved road tool.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
Thankfully Kawasaki introduced suspension grease nipples on the J-series ZX-6Rs, so the shock has a better chance of retaining some of its performance than previous efforts. The revised geometry makes for improved cornering and the machine feels considerably lighter than before.
EngineNext up: Reliability
The Kawasaki ZX-6R's carb-fed, 16v four cylinder motor still sounds mega, with the gruff airbox roar that makes caning these Kawasakis so addictive. It’s fast, too, ripping to over 160mph out of the box. But the icing on the cake is its flexibility – it’s hard to believe it’s packing just 599cc. The gearbox should behave itself – if it’s less than slick and positive try another bike. In 2002 essentially the same bike was released with a 636cc motor bringing even more road-friendly performance.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
Corrosion is the Kawasaki ZX-6R's biggest bugbear. If the bike you’re looking at’s been garaged and pampered it should be fine. If left to the elements the finish quickly dulls, the paint on the brake calipers can flake off and the shock’s performance suffers as it gets shotblasted by road crud without a hugger.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
No, it’s not great value. The J-series Kawasakis cost the same as their CBR and R6 rivals and yet offer a less satisfying ride and much lower spec technology. Find a Kawasaki ZX-6R for sale.
The fuel tap (hard to find and hard to operate on the move), screen brace, and analogue clocks date the Kawasaki ZX-6R Js. On a positive note the mirrors are excellent, the pillion seat works for about 60 miles and the lights are bright.
|Engine type||16v in-line four, 6 gears|
|Frame type||Aluminium twin spar|
|Fuel capacity||18 litres|
|Front suspension||Preload, compression, rebound|
|Rear suspension||Preload, compression, rebound|
|Front brake||Twin 300mm discs|
|Rear brake||220mm disc|
|Front tyre size||120/65 x 17|
|Rear tyre size||180/55 x 17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||39 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£67|
|Annual service cost||£50|
|Used price||£1,800 - £2,700|
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How much to insure?
Top speed & performance
|Max power||109 bhp|
|Max torque||49 ft-lb|
|Top speed||163 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||10.9 secs|
|Tank range||150 miles|
Model history & versions
2000: Kawasaki ZX-6R introduced.
2000: Supercedes G-series ZX-6R with a new singarm, revised shock, engine and gearbox improvements.
2002: Model essentially re-released with a bog-bore 636cc motor. It claimed 116bhp and 52ft lb of torque.
Owners' reviews for the KAWASAKI ZX-6R (2000 - 2002)
35 owners have reviewed their KAWASAKI ZX-6R (2000 - 2002) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£50|
Annual servicing cost: £50
Reliable, economical and comfortable, still fun to ride and way to maintain. Worst feature is that it's getting a bit long in the tooth
Ride is dated by modern standards. Brakes are good if cleaned annually,. Rebuild on calipers 3 years ago cost over £200 but worth it
Reliable and reasonably powerful. Requires plenty of gearbox work when on the move, but way to drive around town
Easy to maintain, good build quality, strip and clean brakes annually, and it just keeps going
Way to spend more, but £50 covers oil & filter, plus any minor sundries, such as coolant or brake fluid every few years. May spend a bit more every few years to replace something, new footpegs last year, new brake switch this year.
No particular favourite feature, needs a descent exhaust can, but be careful as they can mess up the power delivery
Buying experience: Bought from dealer new in 2002, on offer with over £1000 off, plus 3 years interest free credit. Cost me £5500
As many people have said, this is a superb ‘real-world’ motorbike. It will do everything, commuting through rush-hour London, tearing round the ‘Ring, touring to Moscow and back, no probs. I’ve had an R6, an SP2 and a KTM LC4 alongside my Ninja and all of them have been sold, with the exception of the Kawasaki. I couldn’t part with it and as much as I’d like to play on a newer 600, I’m not interested in owning something cramped, expensive and full of electronics. Other than proper off-road work I can’t think of anything this motorcycle can’t do with ease, be it touring, track days, B-road blasts or motorway slogs. I’m amazed at how under-rated it is, although the 900s are gaining a bit of a following now, so maybe people will cotton-on to the brilliance of the 636 sooner or later.
It's properly comfy no long rides, the pillion seat is reasonable and the grab rails effective. Some decent space under the pillion seat for tools/crisps. I did 6,000 miles on mine over three weeks, up to Norway then over to Russia and back. I wouldn't fancy that on a new 600.
Absolute peach; pulls hard through a couple of power bands. Sounds fantastic. A genuinely great engine.
Pushing 40,000 miles now and hardly any mechanical issues (although it’s been serviced regularly and pampered). The finish on the wheels suffered badly from stone chips but I had them repainted for about £120 when I put the last set of boots on and they are as good as new now. Engine, gearbox and clutch still feel factory fresh.
Ridiculously cheap for what they offer; pretty easy to work on.
They look best in stock trim, although most have the usual Demon Tweeks' accessories that don't really add much. The only really poor thing is the silly positioning of the reserve fuel dial, which is a proper pain.
Easy to maintain yourself with a Haynes manual. I've made it mine by adding a cowl, hugger and screen and exhaust etc. I've never had any other large sports bike (over 600cc). But I don't see any reason to upgrade or sell. Its happy on the roads, happy on the track and is still fast enough to keep up with some newer bikes. I would say its an excellent bike to learn how to handle the extra power after riding 50cc and 125cc bikes.
Ride quality is brilliant. I've ridden it for hours on end with no issues. Excellent for sunny day blasts. Can keep up with newer bikes on the track (can easily match my mates 09 R6 on the track). I've driven 200 miles + in 1 day with no issues on comfort.
Never had an issue with the engine.
Only issue I have ever had in 6 years is that the battery failed on me 10 miles from home. (never buy cheap batteries off ebay) Otherwise no issues. Some corrosion in areas but its 15 years old and has being in the rain and salted uk roads from time to time. My bike isn't one that only appears on dry, sunny days.
Easy to service yourself
Buying experience: Bought my Zx6r J2 6 years ago with 26000 miles on the clock. since then it has done 3 isle of man adventures and many track days. Currently at 46000 miles and going strong.
Had the j1 model for the second year now and what a bike it is. I have had all sorts of bikes from twins to triples and fours etc but this bike surprised me. Keep it in decent nick and maintenance and it'l reward you immensely.. Comfortable on the road, Sharp enough on the track,Long trip abroad no problem. Not done too much 2 up so cant say.. Fast group on trackdays no problem, fuel economy brilliant, not the fastest 600 out there but real world useable power and still enough poke to exite or scare you. Its how you ride the bike not what you own. Highly reccomended for anyone with or without much experience.
I owned my 2000 ZX6R J1 for 2 years. And what a frustrating 2 years it was. The engine was very good with plenty of power and a great noise, the build quality was good and it was very realiable, but unfortunately there were massive handling issues with this bike: it simply didn't want to go round corners. I adjusted the geometry and suspension and replaced the tyres with Bridgestones which definately helped with turning but made the bike too unstable to be enjoyable. Despite the higher bars/lower footpegs compared to the pure race-reps like the R6 and GSXR, I found the bike really uncomfortable when riding for more than half an hour. There were also a number of 'dated' parts to this bike (analogue speedo, fuel tap, boxey fairing stay) which i suppose helped keep the price down compared to it's rivals. That said, i think the bike looks fantastic and seems to be quicker in a straight line compared to it's rivals. However, for me that power isn't useable because in the back of your mind, you're dreading the next corner wondering if you'll be able to get around it. Maybe i had a bad one, but i would say definately try before you buy.
Well... Where do I start? I had been riding around on an RS125 for almost a year before passing my bike test (licence loss and an extended test due to some creative lies on behalf of the Police)... The RS was fully de-restricted with a few extras, it was light and easy to throw around and returned decent fuel economy... The Ninja feels a little heavier on the front but not drastically! The acceleration is phenomenal compared to the RS. It could really be doing with slightly longer standard gearing mind you. The front brakes on my machine are TERRIBLE. Braided lines have been fitted, fluid replaced, bled to death and new disc/pads fitted and they are STILL vague! For 6 potters they have to be the worst brakes I have ever experienced! The bike returns a very decent MPG although carb balancing every other month is required to keep things running stutter free. I find it extremely comfortable over long distances, for a sports bike. I have been to London and back on her with my only complaint being the weather (freezing, literally). No back/wrist issues and the bike is capable of carrying throw-over panniers and a tank bag without issue. Suspension wise I found the Ninja way to soft. Not to worry though as there is masses of adjustments that can be made very easily (make sure you know what you are doing first!). I have covered well over 8000miles on her in just over 8 months and have used her for the daily commute as well as fun at the weekends. The winter does take it's toll on things if proper preventative maintenance isn't administered! The only major problem I had was the front calipers requiring a strip-down and complete overhaul which wasn't bad considering they'd never been done before and the bike is over 6 years old (never improved braking though!). Whilst stripping the calipers themselves I witnessed, first hand, the extreme attention to detail and precision engineering which is evident throughout the motorcycle. The materials used are also of high quality and long lasting durability, a rarity these days! My main complaint with the bike, apart from the front brakes, is the markings on the rear swing-arm that assist wheel alignment. These are too far apart and too badly manufactured to ensure completely accurate wheel-alignment! I'm sure that this is an over-sight on Kawasaki's part and has been remedied on later models. If I could go back to before I bought this bike and start all over again I would definitely pick the same bike over all the 600cc rivals. I found the Yamaha R6s and the GSXRs far too cheaply manufactured/finished for my liking. The Honda CBR600RR would be a strong contender but I just couldn't buy a Honda... It's the one bike manufacturer that seems to have a confused image in my mind... I also wouldn't really consider any other bike manufacturer in the same league as the top 4 Japs for the type of bike I like. The Kawasaki brand is burned into my sole now...
The major plus point is just how flexible this bike is. It's as happy at going for a Sunday morning blast as touring across Europe. My mates ride a Honda RVF400, Ducati 916 and GSXR600-K4 and the ZX6-R can still hold it's own in that company on any weekend ride out. My old Ducati used to make my shoulders ache after 200 miles or so but the ZX6R gives me no such problems, unlike my mates bikes. I took the ZX6R to Germany in Summer '06, doing about 4-500 miles per day (try that on a 916), complete with soft panniers, tank bag and a small rucksack. The bike stayed very composed and the luggage didn't upset the bikes handling anywhere near as much as I expected it to. With luggage, it will still happily cruise all day at 100mph but will easily run up to 120mph as and when you need to with handling that was stable and good enough to be fun, if not exciting. As you would expect when touring, I rode it in the rain and it stood outside overnight but I've had no problems with corroded fasteners, though judging by the muck under the hugger, they're well worth having. Without the luggage, I took it around the Nurburgring on my way back home. It was very forgiving compared to the slow steering Ducati and saved me from at least one accident. Sounds fantastic when you cane it, even without a race can and still plenty of bottom end too. Loads of comments about the ZX6R being not as good on the road as the CBR600F and not as good on the track as the R6 which is a very pessimistic way of looking at it. Personally, I see it as a better road bike than the R6 or GSXR but more of a hooligan than the CBR-F, ZZR600 or Thundercat. Overall, it's definitely a jack of all trades but that suits me fine. Bad points are; carb icing on cold mornings; brakes lack feel (braided hoses coming soon) even though they do work well; cost of the major service (valve clearances); no fuel gauge and the fuel tap is impossible to operate on the move (I use the trip meter and get about 120 miles before reserve); The clocks require a definite look down and need more than a glance to take in any info (This and the fuel tap/no gauge are my reasons for giving only 2 stars for equipment). It does lack the pose factor of the R6, GSXR, CBR-RR but you can't buy a nice one of those of the same age for what I paid for my ZX6R with less than 10k on the clock.
I went from a Honda nsr125 to a kawasaki ninja 600 and i actually find it nicer and easier to ride. The bike is smooth through all the gears and you do not need to be redlining every gear to enjoy the bike. This bike is lovely to look at and a great first bike.
Passed my test Friday, took my bike out in the evening, scared myself, but the bike was so nimble, so easy to handle and so forgiving. I can't really talk all techno as thats more of a boy/male thing, but I seriously have no regrets. The standard exhaust sounds fantastic gong through the gears and revs, its responsive and commands respect on the road. It is highly fashionable, and although it has been replaced by the 636 and different colour schemes it still looks fantastic. Its seriously a unisexual bike, and will do what you tell it, if you have to go slow it will and it can keep up with my mates TL1000. Its a true mean fighting machine. Don't be put off if you are a first timer like me, riding it is truly better than sex. Strengths: Its looks, handling, braking, ride quality, comfy seat and ease of riding. Weaknesses: It really hates the damp and cold to get started but hey who doesn't, but once started its fine.
Having owned a Bandit 250 for 2 years (and a CZ before that), I felt it was time for an upgrade. I'd ridden other larger bikes but there was something about the Ninja that appealed. Now I own it and I have to say it really is perfect for me. Almost. The handling is solid as a rock. The bike is so easy to control - if you want to ride slowly, it's easy. If you want to go fast... it's even easier. Bottom end and mid range power is surprisingly strong, but the bike is an absolute blast 7k upwards. The power, coupled with the induction roar makes me smile everytime. Weight is barely more than my old 250, and the handling seems even quicker in the turn in. And it looks the nuts too. Strengths: Performance, looks, parts availability, fuel economy Weaknesses: Some corrosion in annoying places, yellow Ninja decals on blue paintscheme.
Good solid yet fast bike. Great fun to ride, loves the corners, especially since I have got rid of the standard michelin tyres and gone for the bridgestones which give a far better feel. Rapid enough for a real blast and still sedate enough at low speed for commuting, town riding, or riding in the wet. Strengths: Loves to be revved - let it breath, grippy now its shod with the bridgestones, reliable and not too costly on servicing. Weaknesses: Paint finish isn't the best, the standard tyres are crap, fairly hard ride, and the colour as my bright green bike is clearly not bright enough as tw#ts still pull out in front of me....
Bought as a replacement for a GSXR600. Found my J1 twice as good in every department. As standard it is good but spend a few pounds and it becomes a monster. The handling is excellent especially with ohlins all round and bt014`s. Power is weak in the low rev range but a dynojet sorts this out. once past 7000 it really shifts. a lot of work was done to the engine before I bought it. but it is still reliable even with the kawasaki starts. Not met another 600 that can keep up with it. The only drama is the brakes. The rear may well not be there and the front as standard is dire. replace with brembos and braided hoses is a must especially for track days. Strengths: Handling, power, looks. Weaknesses: Standard brakes, have to be very positive with gear changes, servicing costs.
After owning an R6 I swore I'd never buy another sports 600. But this ZX-6R is by far and away the best 600 I've ever ridden, and I've either owned, or ridden at length, all of them. This mint one became available and I decided to take it out for a test. 20 miles later and I'd already made up my mind to buy it! Supremely comfortable, soooo easy to ride quickly with a much more even spread of power than the R6 or even the new CBR 600 Sport. Stunning looking too in green.
Std Dunlop tyres ok for everyday but not great for grip. Dunlop 207 RR much much better. Generally great bike, goes,sounds much better with micron system with dynojet. Brake upgrade transforms brakes. ZX9R who needs one? - plenty enough speed (162 on recent track day) more flickable. Cheaper to run & insure - thanks Kawasaki!!
I've only been riding for 2 years now and this is pretty much the perfect bike for me. Its more than fast enough for the road, very agile with superb brakes and gearbox. Its difficult to see why I could want any more than this bike offers - although maybe just a few more bhp wouldn't go amiss - like another 40 or 50 perhaps.<br><br>Strengths<br><br><br><br>Weaknesses<br><br>
The best grins per £ around<br><br>Strengths<br><br><br><br>Weaknesses<br><br>
My first bike after learning to ride. I bought it after reading the road tests at the time and it's been fantastic. I toured Scotland last year and did 2,000 miles in a week with no problems. The standard suspension needs to be set up to really get the best out of it. But when set up it handles very well. My two favourite things about the bike are the looks and the amazing engine which howls around to the red line. I can't stop grinning when I ride it :) I've had two problems with the bike. The front struts both had seized adjusters from new and were changed under warranty on the first service without any quibble. The paint on the wheels faded badly and was again dealt with by my local dealer without charge. The only negative point about the bike is when starting from cold, which usually takes a few attempts. I'm hoping Kawasaki bring out a ZX10r which will be the only bike I might change to.<br><br>Strengths<br><br><br><br>Weaknesses<br><br>
It still keeps me happy long after my last bike (fazer 600) got boring. The handling is predictable and the brakes are reasonable (sometimes fade in the wet). I hate the problems I have with starting the damn thing. Every other bike I've used just fires up, this b@stard just takes too much time. Starting this bike is like making love to a beautiful woman - you flick the switch, twiddle the throttle and all seems to be going swimmingly when all of a sudden the damn thing dies off with a cry of "I can't be bothered I've got a headache." That may be more to do with my technique than anything else, but I'm not the only bloke to have experienced this problem. As for the bike, I've been led to understand that this is a common Kawasaki trait. Anyway, apart from that this bike rocks and is more practical (I must be getting middle-aged) than for example a R6. I recommend it to anyone.<br><br>Strengths<br><br><br><br>Weaknesses<br><br>
First big bike after owning an Aprilia RS 125 for 2 years ... its like night and day and it hasnt spent one day in the workshop since I bought it , unlike the Aprilia which spent most of its time there. Absolute excellent bike fun but easy to ride and very very fast and comfortable.<br><br>Strengths<br><br><br><br>Weaknesses<br><br>
This is my first big bike. It is bloody great! with all the add ons it nearly keeps up with my bro's 98 blade in a straight line and i lose him in the corners. the zorst, k&n and dynojet really help the 5000 rpm flatspot. Well done kawasaki!<br><br>Strengths<br><br><br><br>Weaknesses<br><br>
Love the handling and the power of it compared to my old F2. Not quite as comfy but a hell of lot more fun to ride with that growl it makes. Covered 4500 miles in two months not a problem with it so far and the tyres have about 500 miles left in them, they aren't bad at all but will be changing them for bt010s for the summer next year, can't wait. Hopefully a trip to France is on the cards in about July so will be able to give it some proper testing on some excellent roads.
A very fast and confidence instilling machine. Annoying high-pitched engine tapping noise, not sure if this is a normal ZX6R trait but it is pissing me off (might need valve adj at 7500m service-will buy brand new next time). Otherwise, looks and feels great.
Battery died after 1 year due to alarm, Kawasaki would not replace under warranty because the bike had an alarm fitted. Paint coming off on grab rails. Apart from that everything about the bike is very good.
Love the bike to bits. I would recommend it to anyone. The only thing I don't like about it is the incredibly high service costs.
Awesome induction sound, Very Positive handling, on slightly toned down Performance Bike settings (better on bumpy lanes round near me) The low speed engine ticking from the cylinder head reed valves (yes true believe it or not) is a bit annoying, but only when I forget me earplugs.
First real sports bike owned, and I wouldn't change it for any other. Its as quick as you need it to be on the road and it is brilliant on the track. Handles very well, very forgiving, brakes are excellent and it is very comfortable. Only fault so far is that the paint seems a bit thin on the wheels, well it is on the yellow one.
Bad points: Back brake is crappenshite. Build quality is poor, fairing panels move apart and hard to get back in place. Lots of corrosion in the nooks and crannies, it's only been out in the bad weather a few times and then it was washed down. Good job it's not my only bike or I would get rid of it for this reason; I haven't got the time to meticulously wash a bike every time I use it. I seem to burn my boot heel onto the exhaust when I've got my toes on the footpegs. Good points. The engine and the handling are superb. Whether it's fast sweepers or bumby B roads, it's a blast. Went to Switzerland on it in June, covered 2500 miles in 6 days and felt fine on it, from long stretches on the peage to the hairpins on the mountain passes, the bike coped beautifully. Body felt fine but I got a sore ass, but I get that on every bike if I do more than a couple of hundred miles a day. For the performance and the price paid, it would be hard to beat.<br>
Until I got the WP shock the bike handled well but got out of shape on bumpy roads. The new shock has transformed the bike. It was fitted by Wayne Lamb at WP near Louth who also set up the shock and forks to suit my weight, riding style etc. It has allowed an extra 10-20 mph round corners due to better grip and confidence. Highly recommended. Only problem is I'm now getting through tyres much too quickly.
Very fast with a great smooth engine and gearbox. Handling and front brakes are excellent. Controls are light and well placed. Changed tyres from standard 207's to Pilots Sports (never liked 207's), made bike feel much more stable with loads of grip. Back brake is like a wet sponge. Engine fluffiness under 3k rpm in first is a pain in town.
What a bike, I love it. The back brake is my only disappointment though, not very responsive. Luckily the front makes up for it. Handling ids out of this world, I'm on the edge of the tyres trusting every bit of the bike. Recommend it to everyone, good motorway muncher too.
Great bike, shame about servicing costs. As a high milage user I was disappointed with the every 8000 mile check shims service which at my local dealer is over £450. I also needed shims as well and apparantly have a high spot on the cams. Eats disc pads and rear brake is c**p. Looks great and handles as well as expected. engine drives from nothing and weather protection is good. Shame its got to go as I can't afford the twice yearly 8000 mile service which is double or even triple the price compared to the other manufacturers.
I the think I love about this bike is the all round appeal. I have sat on Gixer 600 and R6 and I bet they feel great on the track but not so great for everyday riding. On proper dry roads it corners like a demon and sounds great even with the stock can. The brakes kick arse in any conditions and the reliability so far has been faultless. Even though it's a new bike I think the header pipes ain't gonna last as long as they should but that will just give me an excuse to swap them for a full system. Planned purchases to get the most out the Summer are a KN filter, Stage 1 dyno-jet kit and race can. I can't wait to hear it sing.
Now that the bike is fully run in it is excellent to actually open it up and feel the acceleration. I have managed to find some dry bits of road and the handling is impressive. With pillion on the back started to feel a bit wallowy at speed, but I found out that the 36psi Carnell recommended for the rear is different to the 42 Dunlop recommends. Hoping to get some serious mileage in now, but no gripes really as yet. Alarm kept false-alerting whilst locked in the garage though I think this was because it was starting to drain the battery, I'm getting it checked anyway.
I love this bike, having previously owned much bigger bore sportsbikes I thought I might have been disappointed. After a quick test drive I found myself handing over my hard earned cash rapidly for a black and silver model. I tested the new CBR and R6, but felt this bike would be just as happy around town, thrashing around France or scratching. The pillion seat is fairly comfortable, with the addition of a set of throw-over sports panniers almost anything is possible. I only have two main complaints about the bike - 1. Carburation suffers when riding long distances through wet weather, I've found myself running on three or two cylinders in heavy rain, which may be something to do with the huge ram-air intakes. 2. A hugger would be better fitted standard, the rear shock spring has already started to rust. Although not as important the rectifier / regulator could have been fitted in a better place (somewhere other than in front of the back wheel). All in all the bike has been brilliant, and with the addition of a few extras is starting to look fairly trick. Can't recommend this bike enough as a brilliant all-rounder.<br>
Superb all round bike, docile round town with great low down grunt for a four, but exciting top end. Handling and brakes superb, very predictable, deceptively fast. Dials too small, but fairing gives excellent protection, could do with a centre stand. Love the looks, insurance costs excessive!