KAWASAKI ZX-6R (2013 - 2016) Review
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£230|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
The 2103 Kawasaki ZX-6R has been designed to be more usable for the environment in which it’ll be most used – the road. And in many ways Kawasaki have succeeded.
The new 636cc motor boasts a more usable spread of power and torque, both on the road and track, it’s less manic, and easier to get the most out of for the average rider.
The rider aids work too, and while the power modes are a somewhat pointless gimmick, the traction control and optional ABS are excellent. ABS is optional.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
On track settings the steering is very quick and sharp, impressively responsive to your every input, ensuring that you’ll never miss an apex. There was the odd head shake, but nothing alarming, just feedback to let you know that you’re getting close to the limit.
The ride is noticeably softer on road settings. There’s more travel from the rear, and the ride feels plush at all speeds, taking bumps, swells and potholes in its stride, ensuring that the pilot is always comfortable in the saddle. Despite this ‘softness’, it doesn’t squat too much on the power.
EngineNext up: Reliability
The longer-stroke motor in this version does its job well, boasting an attractive combination of smooth torque and top-end power. It will pull cleanly around town from as little as 4,000rpm even in top.
But at 7,000pm it starts to awaken, then kicks at 8,000 with a noticeable aural assault from the new larger air-box, as it surges to its peak power rush from 10,000rpm to the redline.
It has far more midrange than the outgoing 599cc model but I remember the old 636 being a bigger step in performance over the then 600. This new 636 motor feels tangibly closer to the outgoing 600.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
As with all Japanese manufacturers build quality and reliabilty is top notch. There's no reason to think the 636 will be any different.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
Prices for are what you expect to pay for a new supersport bike. You'll pay a £1000 premium (£9999) for the ABS version.
Traction control comes as standard and there's no reason to turn it off when on the road. Even in mode three - the highest setting - it isn’t particularly intrusive. You can only feel it smoothly react when accelerating hard in first, or if you tap the power on hard when you’re still on the edge of the tyre.
In settings one or two, and even if riding like it’s the last lap of the North West 200, there’s also very little obvious intrusion. Just like the Kawasaki ZX-10R, you can hold small power wheelies in the first two modes, too.
|Engine type||Four-stroke, liquid-cooled DOHC, 16v inline four|
|Frame type||Aluminium perimeter|
|Fuel capacity||17 litres|
|Front suspension||Showa 41mm inverted big piston forks, fully adjustable|
|Rear suspension||Showa fully adjustable rear shock|
|Front brake||2x310mm petal discs. Nissin four-piston radial monobloc calipers|
|Rear brake||1x220mm petal disc, Nissin single-piston caliper|
|Front tyre size||120/70ZR17|
|Rear tyre size||180/55ZR17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||41 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£93|
|Annual service cost||£230|
|Used price||£5,800 - £7,500|
15 of 17
How much to insure?
Top speed & performance
|Max power||120 bhp|
|Max torque||51 ft-lb|
|Top speed||186 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||155 miles|
Model history & versions
Although the Kawasaki ZX-6R name can be traced back to 1995, it was 2003 and the launch of the ZX-6R B1H that really kicked-off this bike's history.
- 2003: New generation ZX-6R B1H launched with radial brakes and upside down forks. It was the raciest of its supersport rivals in the golden age of the 600. A 599cc ZX-6RR version was available for racing, too.
- 2005: New rounder bodywork, slipper clutch, calipers, master cylinder, plusher suspension and underseat exhaust are added. Again, a ZX-6RR version is available.
- 2007: Sharper styling, capacity reduced from 636cc to 599cc and host of detail changes made.
- 2009: New styling, side mounted exhaust, Showa Big Piston Forks, more midrange and 10kg of weight reduction.
- 2013: Capacity is added back up to 636cc (and no 599cc ZX-6RR version), power modes, traction control, optional ABS, revised suspension and styling.
In an age before Euro4 regulations, Kawasaki were able to sell both an ABS and non-ABS version of the bike. The ABS version cost £1000 more when new.
Owners' reviews for the KAWASAKI ZX-6R (2013 - 2016)
6 owners have reviewed their KAWASAKI ZX-6R (2013 - 2016) 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:||£230|
Version: ZX-6R 636
Annual servicing cost: £100
Overall the 2013 onwards ZX-6R 636 is a very capable motorcycle. Pros... The ZX-6R 636 is an easy to get on with bike, feels lighter than it really is and most will be able to get comfortable on it. The engine is smooth, strong and the power delivery linear. The ABS works very well, including track day use (up to a point) as does the traction control. The Power mode is useful for wet track days. Build quality still appears to be very good after over one years use with no corrosion anywhere but compared to my previous Fireblade SP the quality of fit & finish and depth of paint seem less so impressive. Cons... Standard suspension is adequate for everyday road use but is inadequate for fast road work and totally unsuited to track day action - particularly the front forks which lack sufficient damping. The oil filter is located centrally on the left hand side of the bike, which means you can change it without removing the fairing...however, no matter how careful you are the oil will spill over the engine casing, hoses and cabling in that vacinity - I'd prefer a sump location to reduce the mess.
The brakes required uprating for sustained track work. HEL brake lines replaced standard hose and EBC GPFAX pads provide excellent fade resistance with good initial bite. No appreciable increase in disc wear. Discs inspected after track day and brake fluid changed every six months. The riding position as standard is pretty good for track use, adding adjustable Gilles rear sets improves ground clearance but the Gilles VCR rear sets are not in my experience particularly robust even in low speed spill with a typical repair/replacement cost of £200. Standard clip-ons are set at a natural position but are an inherently weak design with poor crash resistance. I designed a replacement set for myself from superior material with similar dimensions and they are much more robust. The standard suspension was quickly replaced with after market items as the factory stuff, particularly the front forks was of poor quality. An Ohlins GP TTX rear shock with a sping rate suited to my weight was fitted, once comp & rebound were dialled in the rear tyre wear was very even and my confidence improved enormously. Likewise, once the front forks were sorted with appropriate springs and a Race Tech Gold Valve & shim stack (took a little trial and error to refine) were fitted the whole front end feel improved greatly. The standard front fork on this model are poor.
The 636 is very strong for a bored out 600, very smooth and never feels strained when revved. Naturally the fueling required adjustment with the race system and race air filter fitted but now the set up is near perfect.
The bike has been 100% reliable. The bike was run-in for the first 1000km is a steady, sensible and progressive manner with an oil & filter change at 500km then again at 1000km but with fully synthetic oil. The bike is used solely as a track bike and the oil & filter are changed after each track day. The bike has 1750km on it now and feels very strong. Paint has not rubbed or chipped off on either the frame or swingarm even after a couple of minor spills on the track - R&G crash protection fitted. Gear change is very crisp and smooth. Never missed a gear. Clutch action OK too. Electrics seem well insulated and well protected.
I use putoline fully synthetic oil, kawasaki oil filter and a K&N race only air filter. With an Akrapovic full system and race air filter the bike is mapped to suit. I typically run Super Corsa SC1 (front) and SC2 (rear) which, with the suspension dialled in, wear evenly and progressively. There seem to suit the bike well. As expected it does not chew tyres.
Other than the poor standard suspension the overall level of equipment for a bike of this class is very good - ABS, power modes and traction control modes.
Buying experience: Bought new from Kawasaki dealer and so far very pleased with service. Second bike I have bought from them.
Annual servicing cost: £450
The motorcycle is amazing. Amazing engine and tires out of the showroom floor and have gotten a LOT of compliments. The only thing I will want to change is to add a steering damper as factory and Brembo Brakes.
More of a Super Sport position to be uncomfortable so sometimes wishes it has a cruise control option. But that's just nit picking.
Very fun after 6k RPM. The sound is amazing!
Very solid bike. Plastic fairings can be broken easily though so be careful while doing self-maintenance.
NEEDS a Steering Damper BADLY and I can sometimes use cruise control. Also wish it comes with the flashier and more usable Brembos but the Nissin ones are no means bad.
After riding Honda's for the last 8 years I was nervous to swap manufacturers, but with an approaching mid life crisis to help steer my thought process and a recent trackday behind me, I decided to purchase something a bit more unknown and potentially risky. I have had the bike for 2 months and put some serious miles on it as a direct result of how much fun it is to ride. My current commute is around 1.5hrs and I'm yet to experience any type of wrist / back pain...(apart from sore behind) My only slight concern is the front end does sometimes bottom out over pot holes, but I have yet to try and address this myself using the fork adjustments. Unlike my previous VFR which feels like an arm chair in comparison the 636 has instantly got me back into wholesale riding (pleasure and commuting). I'm an average rider and use to tamer bikes, nonetheless feel totally safe on the bike and stable at all times even when pushing it to get home quickly in the evenings.
Version: 636 Performance
This bike is totally fantastic! Such a relief at £9000. I was very reluctant to part with my Honda Hornet I'd owned for 4 years. A comfortable, sit up, sporty naked, I loved it and thought it couldn't be beaten. How wrong I was! The Kawasaki is so much fun, totally rewarding, and blisteringly fast. Initially I found it very different from the Honda, my wrists ached and the seat was a little harder. The riding position was alien to me. This feeling was short lived, about 3 ride outs. You get used it very quickly and then you're free to really enjoy what the bike can deliver. Honestly that is so much more than the Honda.
Great brakes. Wavey discs as standard. As for the ride experience, just awesome. The geometry of the bike encourages the rider to be more dynamic, this isn't a bike where you just sit there, you're encouraged to proactively take charge. The rewards are fantastic. Cornering is so much fun. Big smiles all round.
Powerful, smooth delivery and great throttle response. If you want to go fast, hold on to your hat, slowing for the villages at 30MPH, it's completely docile.
No issues. I used to be Honda through and through. You wont be disappointed with Kawasaki.
Fuel £11 per 100 miles of twisties. This bike comes with quality Bridgestone hyper sport tyres. These are not cheap but together with the Big Piston Forks etc, must surely be responsible for the bikes planted feel and precise cornering.
2 Power modes and KTC, the default is full power and traction control 2. That's how I ride it. Akrapovic exhaust on the performance model. sounds great!
Version: 636 Non ABS
Annual servicing cost: £140
Punchy and lively bike all through the rev range. Feels notably quicker than a 599cc equiv. Massive amount of fun, it'll make you smile from ear to ear. Anyone who says it's just another 600 is mistaken. It out performs other 599's in my riding group.
Nissin brakes and the standard wavey disks are amazing on these things. This is my 2nd Kawasaki Ninja and the braking is something that gives you massive amounts of confidence. Late braking is no problem and the bike stills feels well settled. Ride for a good 3 hours without a break. It's ride position is somewhere in between a track and road bike. I ride for 2 hours per day without issues.
Strong engine. Massive amounts of grunt in every rev range. The fun starts around 4000 RPM+++ and keeps going. There's no real 'surge' of power though at any rev range. It's consistant throughout the rev range and performs like an animal.
So far so good. No issues, everything working as it should and no signs of wear despite the 3k miles I've put on it so far. Although I am a bit of a stickler for post ride washing and lubing.....
Cheap enough - not over the top. However, you can have Kawasaki perform the annual service with a service in between yourself if you are handy with a spanner. I prefer to service the bike every 1500 miles.
Kawasaki Traction Control - awesome for added confidence. Oddly there are no hazzard lights which I found a bit strange for a 2013 bike..... I haven't used the power modes as I think these might only be useful in the wet whilst riding on barley legal road tyres such as Pirelli SuperCorsa SP's. I'm still on the OEM hoops which are performing well so no desire to spend £300 on new rubber yet.
Buying experience: Bought private - managed to swing a good deal.
I just traded in my lovely GSXR 600 for a 63 reg zx636 performance edition. Loved the little Gixxer, and after a few hundred miles on this I am very impressed. Build quality slightly better, sounds almost as good as the Gixer (had a Yoshi can) with the Leo Vince can (baffle out), almost as comfortable and a bit stronger in the mid range. lovely light handling-partly down to not having a steering damper + the safety blanket of traction control.Also the valves don't need checking until 26500 miles. I think the extras on the Perf Edition are what you really need to finish the bike off...great little bike