Kawasaki’s 2002 ZX-6R will have a capacity of 636cc. They aren’t the first to create a bigger-bore version of the 6R. So we thought we’d try a tuner’s version to see how the new stock bike might ride.
This particular 640cc machine was built a couple of years ago and since then has had its Remus can replaced with a standard can by the dealer the bike is now sat at. When it was originally built the bike had a 640cc big bore kit with Wiseco pistons, a gas-flowed head and a Remus end-can and was re-jetted to suit. Other than that the bike’s standard apart from gold-sprayed wheels and it’s for sale at TT Motorcycles in Bristol (0117-908-9976) for £3899.
Okay so it’s a 1999 R-reg bike but in standard form the engine is basically the same as the 2001 bike you can buy now. So it should give some kind of impression of what we can expect from the big-bore engine in next years bike. Got that? Good.
What’s immediately obvious is that although this bike’s done 23,000 miles, plenty of them with a big bore kit in place, it still feels well put together.
It’s been sat for a while in the showroom and you can tell there’s a slight hesistance to start, which could be because of the bigger pistons or partly because of the fact the battery has been sat for a while.
When it’s started there’s nothing that would really suggest the bike’s anything over than a standard ZX-6R. Out of TT Motorcycles in the pursuit of a famed back road that runs near the old and new Severn Bridge, the bike’s as nice as pie to ride across town.
Even though the bike’s now back with its standard exhaust can it carburates perfectly and feels like, well, like a ZX-6R really. Which is great news because if a bike built by an engine tuners that’s already a couple of years old can feel this rideable then Kawasaki’s bike should be a minter.
At the bottom end the bike’s strong but as you start to wind it up a bit you can feel there’s more than standard to come as the revs hit 5000rpm.
Although there’s no dyno figures for the bike it’s fair to say that the torque and power are both up by about 10bhp. As the bike gets there you can feel there’s a lot more punch and between 5000rpm and 9000rpm there’s a big hike in power and torque. Which is great because although you get the full effect of a 600 by caning it round to 14,000rpm, in reality most British roads don’t have a lot of room to let you do that. So inevitably you end up riding it in the mid-range, which is where the real merits of this engine tune show themselves.
There’s a noticeable but subtle kick at 5000rpm and you can feel it pulling much harder than standard up to 9000rpm and after that it’s the same raucous ZX-6R intake noise that fools you in to thinking the bike has actually got a race can on it.
If this bike is any indication of what Kawasaki has done to the new model it’s likely to be right back on the pace with the already strong mid-range of the GSX-R600 and R6.