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Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R vs 636 on the Dyno

Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Kawasaki touted its new and improved 2013 636cc-powered Ninja ZX-6R as offering better real world engine performance for both street and track riders alike. And while the motor certainly felt punchier during our initial test ride at Thunderhill Raceway Park last fall (see the 2013 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R First Ride) we were surprised by how much of a difference those 37 extra cc’s equal after strapping it onto our dyno.


In terms of measured engine torque the 636 shows an advantage from just over 6000 revs. The torque curve broadens, surpassing the conventional 599cc engine’s peak at 9800 rpm, and continues to generate power through 11,400 rpm. Although the 636’s peak output is only 3.75 lb-ft more, the graph shows the mid-range advantage right where a rider needs it the most.


The previous iterations of Kawasaki’s 599cc Inline-Four always impressed on the dyno but the new mill reaches even loftier heights. The 2013 Ninja is the most powerful ZX-6R we’ve ever tested generating just north of 114 horsepower at 13,500 rpm. Compared to the short-stroke version it’s over seven peak ponies stronger, arriving 500 rpm earlier in the rpm range. Looking at the horsepower curve demonstrates the engine’s added brawn with it surpassing its prior output from as low as 6000 rpm.

Although priced atop the 600cc class, if you're a performance maven it’s hard to argue against the added muscle without having to purchase engine hop-up parts or exhaust systems, thereby saving you some cash in the long run.

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Piglet2010   June 1, 2013 10:52 AM
Of course, any time race sanctioning bodies introduce equivalency formulas, it opens the can of worms as to what really is equivalent, as well as lobbying by those financial/political muscle, i.e. the Buell 1125R being allow to run a 1125cc Rotax V-twin against 600cc Japanese I-4 bikes in AMA Daytona SportBike. If the 636 wins in Daytona SportBike, will Suzuki or Yamaha respond with a 650cc I-4 and behind the scenes lobbying to have it weigh only a little more than the 636? Where does "displacement inflation" end?
x2468   May 31, 2013 06:05 PM
Just for shits and giggles, i'd like to see a shootout between the 06 636 (with euro ecu) and the new 636.
MCUSA Bart   May 30, 2013 12:24 PM
Supersport Shootout testing still in the works. Bikes are tested. Still compiling the scorecards and sifting the data from track and street. Building videos... Expect seperate Street and Track shootouts this June! They're on the way, we promise.
nosferatux   May 30, 2013 12:13 PM
Hey Adam, are we going to have a supersport shootout this year? I love to read them.

CS23   May 30, 2013 11:32 AM
cggunnersmate: as far as I know it's a weight penalty.. I think of 20 pounds or something like that, though I'm not 100% sure so don't hold me to that. I believe I may have read that on this site, that they will carry a weight penalty but the same mods are allowed
cggunnersmate   May 30, 2013 05:13 AM
Yeah they're running it in DSB but I'm sure it's either allowed fewer mods or has a weight penalty compared to the 599cc I4's from the other manufacturers.

I think they have to run last years 599cc bike in World Supersport, not that it's hurting them. The R6 hasn't been updated in a few years (though Lowes is leading the championship on an R6) and the CBR only received minor updates, mostly suspension and bodywork. So the 2012 ZX-6R is still competitive. 2 out of the top 5 in WSS are on ZX's.
motousa_adam   May 29, 2013 10:18 PM
@Piglet2010: Kawasaki isn't selling a 599cc version like it did in the past. For now it is the 636 only. The bike is legal in many racing clubs including WERA and in the Daytona Sportbike class. I agree with you. I would like to see a ZX-7R return to the line-up... Adam
Piglet2010   May 29, 2013 08:18 PM
Will Kawasaki still be selling a 599cc version for people who want to race in a supersport class? Maybe I am missing the point, but if the bike is no longer supersport legal, why not go to 750cc and take away some Gixxer sales?
marc99   May 29, 2013 03:32 PM
Cool! That's a mighty big difference btwn the 600 and 636. I usually got 3-4 on the earlier year average 600 vs. average 636 - In my testing, I did get a range of hp numbers for each bike - depending on the individual bikes. The "best" 600 was about the same peak as the "least best" 636. All of them were strong. One of the interesting 600s was a RRW project bike, with a stock engine that made about 107 True hp and 114.7 djhp on Lee's Cycle's dynojet. All stock engine, just a pipe, some Superflare stacks, retuned KRT ecu, and still a stock air filter. Marc Salvisberg www.factorypro.com
MCUSA Bart   May 29, 2013 01:59 PM
GAJ unless otherwise noted in the text, we use our in-house Dynojet 200i dynanometer - which we used here.
GAJ   May 29, 2013 01:15 PM
What kind of dyno do you guys use?