2013 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R First Look

September 13, 2012
Adam Waheed
By Adam Waheed
Road Test Editor|Articles|Articles RSS|Blog|Blog Posts|Blog RSS

His insatiable thirst for life is only surpassed by his monthly fuel bill. Whether rocketing on land, flying through the air, or jumping the seas, our Road Test Editor does it all and has the scars to prove it.

Kawasaki is bringing back a cult classic with its 636-powered 2013 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R ($11,699). The middleweight sportbike features a slightly larger displacement engine for added mid-range punch which provide a more enjoyable ride on the street and racetrack.

2013 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R Specs
Engine: Liquid-cooled 636cc Inline-Four, 16-valves
Bore and Stroke: 67.0 x 45.1mm
Compression Ratio: 12.9.0:1
Fuel Delivery: Fuel-injection
Clutch: Wet multi-plate slipper clutch; Cable actuation Transmission: Six-speed
Frame: Twin-spar aluminum
Front Suspension: 43mm inverted Showa BPF; 3-way adjustable for spring preload, compression and rebound damping; 4.7 in. travel
Rear Suspension: Showa gas-charged shock; 4-way adjustable for spring preload, high/low-speed compression and rebound damping; 5.3 in. travel
Front Brakes: 310mm petal discs with radial-mount Nissin four-piston calipers
Rear Brake: 220mm disc with single-piston caliper
Tires: Bridgestone BT-016; 120/70R17, 190/55R17
Curb Weight: 423 lbs.
Wheelbase: 56.1 in.
Seat Height: 32.7 in.
Fuel Capacity: 4.5 gallon
MSRP: $11,699
Colors: Pearl Flat Stardust White / Flat Ebony, Metallic Spark Black / Flat Ebony, Lime Green / Metallic Spark Black
Warranty: 12-month, unlimted mileage

Based off the existing ’12 ZX-6R Inline Four engine, the 2013 configuration makes use of the same bore (67mm) but a 2.6mm-longer stroke (45.1mm). A number of other enhancements were also made including updated cylinder head porting and camshafts. Refinements were also made to the intake and exhaust systems to work with the new engine spec. The design of the wet-style slipper clutch is new as well.

The chassis received some love highlighted by the use of a new Showa big piston fork that features separate function technology similar to what Team Green employs on its 2011-plus KX250F motocrosser. For the sportbike application however, it uses springs in each fork leg but preload adjustment is made on the left leg while compression and rebound damping is handled on the right side. The ZX-6R also gets new monobloc-style (machined from a solid piece of aluminum for added rigidity) radial-mount braking calipers sourced from Nissin.

The ’13 ZX-6R is the first Japanese middleweight to offer traction control. Derived from the systems used on the Ninja ZX-10R and ZX-14R/Concours, the electronics offer three levels of adjustment based on road conditions or rider preference. Two different engine power modes (Low/Hi) are offered. The shape of the body panels has also been revised for more efficient aerodynamics. The improvements come at a substantial cost with the 2013 ZX-6R costing $1400 more than this year’s model.