The 2009 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R was unveiled at the Kawasaki Dealer Show in Texas this weekend. Team Green’s supersport contender comes with a long list of improvements including a 22-lb weight reduction, improved bottom-end to mid-range power and racy ZX-10R-inspired bodywork to a paddock near you.
Use of lighter materials like magnesium case covers, lighter camshafts, lighter starter and a few minor weight saving treatments combine to pare away a few pounds. More importantly is that Kawasaki says they have made significant improvements to both bottom end and midrange power while smoothing out the delivery by implementing a couple tuner tricks to improve ‘combustion efficiency’.
The application of the ‘double bore velocity stacks’ is supposed to specifically help with midrange power as well. By incorporating a stack within a stack it should provide the benefits of multiple length stacks without employing variable length technology or some variation thereof. It will still utilize a slipper clutch and cassette-style 6-speed transmission. If these changes provide the significant boost that Kawi claims then it will address one of the issues we had with the 2007-2008 Ninja ZX-6R.
The previous ZX-6 was the heaviest of the current crop of Japanese super sports so we expect it to tip the scales at the 380-lb range, without fuel if the numbers pan out as advertised. A low-slung exhaust system, which locates the pre-chamber underneath the bike, will keep weight low and centralized.
Showa’s new Big Piston Front (BPF) 41mm fork features a large-diameter internal piston, which is supposed to reducing the effects of damping pressure and eliminating the heavier internals found in cartridge-style forks.
Changes to the chassis include a 2-piece aluminum subframe that is narrow and light, a revised ram-air intake casting that doubles as the support for gauges and mirrors in an effort to further reduce weight. Showa’s new Big Piston Front (BPF) 41mm fork features a large-diameter internal piston, which is supposed to reduce the effects of damping pressure and eliminate the heavier internals found in cartridge-style forks. Kawasaki says this will improve front-end feel and decrease turn-in effort.
In addition to the new fork, steering geometry is altered significantly. This year the ZX features 24-degree rake and 4 inches of trail compared to 25-degree and 4.3 inches on the 07-08 model. Quicker steering, lighter weight and more power could put the 6R back in the hunt in the middleweight class comparisons. The same Ohlins steering stabilizer from the ZX-10 has found a home on the ZX-6R.
Kawasaki made it very important that the company’s commitment to racing is an important part of the plan so expectations are high for the 2009 Ninja ZX-6R. It will be available in Lime Green, Metallic Black, Candy Blue, Flat Black and in Monster graphics with an MSRP of $9,799.
2009 Kawasaki ZX-6R Specs
Engine: Four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, four valves per cylinder, inline-four
A new exhaust layout with a short side muffler lowers the weight previously located under the seat and an exhaust pre-chamber further contributes to the new ZX-6R’s mass centralization.
Bore x stroke: 67.0 x 42.5mm
Compression ratio: 13.3:1
Fuel injection: DFI with four 38mm Keihin throttle bodies, oval sub-throttles, two injectors per throttle body
Ignition: TCBI with digital advance
Final drive: X-ring chain
Rake / trail: 24 deg / 4.0 in.
Frame type: Aluminum perimeter
Front tire: 120/70 ZR17
Rear tire: 180/55 ZR17
Wheelbase: 55.1 in.
Front suspension/wheel travel: 41 mm inverted Showa Big Piston Front fork with top-out springs, stepless compression and rebound damping, fully-adjustable spring preload / 4.7 in.
Rear suspension/wheel travel: Bottom-Link Uni-Trak® with gas-charged shock, top-out spring and pillow ball upper mount, dual-range (high/low-speed) stepless compression damping, 25-way adjustable rebound damping, fully-adjustable spring preload / 5.2 in.
Front brakes: Dual 300mm petal rotors with dual radial-mounted, four-piston, four-pad calipers
Rear brake: Single 220mm petal rotor with single-piston caliper
Overall length: 82.3 in.
Overall width: 27.8 in.
Overall height: 43.9 in.
Fuel capacity: 4.5 gal.
Seat height: 32.3 in.
Curb weight: 421.2 lbs.
Color choices: Lime Green, Metallic Diablo Black/Flat Super Black, Candy Surf Blue/Flat Super Black
Warranty: 12 Months
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