Ad closing in seconds....

KAWASAKI ZX-6R (2019-on) Review

Published: 27 December 2018

Updated: 10 September 2019

We salute Kawasaki for helping to keep the 600 class alive

The 2019-on Kawasaki ZX-6R in action

We salute Kawasaki for helping to keep the 600 class alive

Overall Rating 3 out of 5

We salute Kawasaki for helping to keep the 600 class alive with its new ZX-6R, but apart from styling, detail touches and gearing, it's not too different to the old model.

That's no bad thing because few machines let you dance through corners so easily, or rev with such unbridled ferocity. Add in its top-notch chassis parts, electronics and a classy finish and it seems impossibly good value.

A supersport bike like this is brilliant on the right day when you're feeling it, but it's too cramped, revvy and uncompromising when you're not, which, unfortunately, will still drive most sportsbike fans elsewhere.

Cornering on the Kawasaki ZX-6R

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

As you’d expect the 2019 ZX-6R isn't a whole lot different to the previous model to ride, but the shorter gearing makes all the difference, taking the peakiness out of the power delivery.

A 600 with instant power may sound perfect, but for normal riding this new gearing isn't exactly relaxing. In top it does around 10mph for every 1000rpm, so 70mph on a motorway it’s yelling its head off at 7000rpm, like an insomniac baby.

It's a shame Kawasaki hasn't tried to lure us back to joys of a 600 with their new race replica. The perception has always been that supersports bikes are cramped, frantic little things, which is why, as we've got older and creakier, we've left them behind.

'A screen so low even Pedrosa would struggle to tuck in behind' - MCN Chief Road Tester Michael Neeves

But the new ZX-6R is still a cramped, frantic, tiny little thing with a screen so low even Pedrosa would struggle to tuck in behind.

Gearing aside, the engine itself is actually smooth, as is its throttle response. Mirrors are clear, the new clocks easy to read and despite its diminutive dimensions, once you're locked in the Kawasaki isn't particularly unkind on your backside or legs.

Keeping the 636cc motor spinning to the 16,000rpm red line will test of your mechanical sympathy, but it's addictive. The new quickshifter makes for virtually seamless gearchanges on the way up, but it highlights a lack of autoblipper for the way back down again.

An over the shoulder view of the Kawasaki ZX-6R

Light, accurate steering

The Kawasaki is full of drama and gives a satisfying impression of speed, but for those coming from a 1000 it will feel flat at the top, but 600s are all about maintaining momentum and it does that beautifully with such a superb mix of friendly power and talkative chassis. 

Steering is light, accurate, but never nervous and new Showa Separate Function Big Piston Forks offer a compliant ride in all conditions, with a hint of firmness for the times you're able to bury the front on the brakes and whip into corners.

It wouldn't need too much tweaking for the track, the same goes for the rear, but at the US launch Kawasaki added an 8.5mm spacer to the shock mount to speed up the steering for the track. Strangely there was no European launch, which says a lot about how many Kawasaki expect to sell over here.

Furthermore, we’ve also ridden the Kawasaki ZX-6R on Bridgestone S22 tyres.

Engine 4 out of 5

Powered by the same 636cc motor as the previous 2013 model, the 2019 machine has been tweaked to meet Euro 4 regs (and lost 1bhp), including a new exhaust, mapping tweaks and shorter gearing. The front sprocket is one tooth smaller (15/43 overall).

The exhaust on the 2019-on Kawasaki ZX-6R

Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5

Kawasaki's engines are bombproof, whether they've been used on the road or track. There are no major issues with the previous model, so don’t expect any dramas here.

Insurance, running costs & value 4 out of 5

At the time of release the 2019 Kawasaki ZX-6R cost less than ten grand, which is a lot of supersport bike for the money and a massive £2000 less than the Yamaha R6.

Equipment 4 out of 5

The ZX-6R gets a new quickshifter for 2019 (but no autoblipper), full LED lighting, revised bodywork and a lower screen, new fully adjustable Showa suspension, an adjustable span clutch lever, new clocks featuring a fuel gauge and reserve countdown and Bridgestone S22 sports tyres.

As before it also has two riding modes, traction control, ABS, assist and slipper clutch, Nissin radial calipers and petal discs.

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2019
Year discontinued -
New price £9,499
Used price £8,200 to £9,700
Warranty term -
Running costs
Insurance group -
Annual road tax £91
Annual service cost £140
Performance
Max power 128 bhp
Max torque 52 ft-lb
Top speed 160 mph
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption 50 mpg
Tank range 187 miles
Specification
Engine size 636cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled, 16v inline four
Frame type Ali twin spar
Fuel capacity 17 litres
Seat height 830mm
Bike weight 196kg
Front suspension 43mm Showa forks, fully adjustable
Rear suspension Showa shock, fully adjustable
Front brake 2 x 310mm wave discs with four-piston radial Nissin calipers. ABS
Rear brake 220mm rear disc with single-piston caliper. ABS
Front tyre size 120/70x17
Rear tyre size 180/55x17

History & Versions

Model 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.

Other versions

There are no other versions of this model.

Owners' Reviews

2 owners have reviewed their KAWASAKI ZX-6R (2019-on) 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 (2019-on)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 4.5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3.5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Mr

19 August 2019 by NEIL HACKER

Brilliant value for money bike with a really involving ride and big bike feel

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
The brakes are exceptional especially considering it runs rubber hoses. The engine is very eager and the handling is very instinctive.
Engine
5 out of 5
It feels more powerful than 636cc. More like a GSXR 750 L2
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
A good quality feeling bike, nice finishing touches usually absent on Japanese sports bikes.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
I have been told my bike requires and annual service. I don't think this is correct.
Equipment
4 out of 5
Dash is not that exciting, although rather be looking ahead anyway.
Buying experience

I got a really good deal, however, i do expect the price to fall even lower at the end of the year. All in all a great value bike.

4 out of 5

Mr

03 August 2019 by NEIL HACKER

It is quite a 'raw' feeling bike, seems to be more focused that my Daytona 675. I have just had the first service done so will be exploring the performance a little more now. I am not a huge fan of the new gearing so far, although this might change as i start to use the motorcycles full potential.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
It turns and handles really well. The brakes are very strong too, especially when you take into account they are running rubber hoses. They are much stronger than the brakes on my Daytona which was running braided hoses. There is more feel too.
Engine
4 out of 5
Still yet to tap into its full potential.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
Still early days (and miles), i cannot see to much going wrong with it!
Value & Running Costs
3 out of 5
The first service was a little steep, i was told i need an annual service or 3500 miles, not sure if this is correct.
Equipment
4 out of 5
The OE S22 tyres are really confidence inspiring and with the handling it is a very competitive package.
Buying experience

I got a really good deal from LLoyd Cooper in Watford. i did not do a huge amount of looking around although i expect the buying price to drop by the end of the year.

Photo Gallery

  • The 2019-on Kawasaki ZX-6R in action
  • The suspension wouldn't take much tweaking on track
  • Cornering on the Kawasaki ZX-6R
  • The bike is full of neat styling features
  • The dash set-up on the Kawasaki ZX-6R
  • The Kawasaki ZX-6R can be great fun on the road
  • An over the shoulder view of the Kawasaki ZX-6R
  • Filling up the Kawasaki ZX-6R
  • Kawasaki ZX-6R exhaust
  • The petrol tank on the Kawasaki ZX-6R
All related reviews
All KAWASAKI ZX-6R for sale
Bauer Media

Bauer Media Group consists of: Bauer Consumer Media Ltd, Company number: 01176085, Bauer Radio Ltd, Company Number: 1394141
Registered Office: Media House, Peterborough Business Park, Lynch Wood, Peterborough, PE2 6EA H Bauer Publishing,
Company Number: LP003328 Registered Office: Academic House, 24-28 Oval Road, London, NW1 7DT.
All registered in England and Wales. VAT no 918 5617 01
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd are authorised and regulated by the FCA(Ref No. 710067)