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2013 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R First Look

Thursday, September 13, 2012
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.
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Sledrider   September 18, 2012 06:33 AM
This should turn out to be an awesome performer but one problem I see is the body panels. Where I live a big rig can pull 75 legally and with all those voids I know well that bike will start dancing at 200ft on approach to the rig's dirty air. One day these engineers will understand we ride on the hiways not the track and as such are forced to deal with adverse dirty air. Come up on that rig at 100mph and things get interesting for the run through it's wake of trashed out air.
Superlight   September 15, 2012 10:03 PM
Probably another capable performer, but with typical Japanese styling - way overdone with panel breakups and colors. I'll take my MV F3 anytime, everytime.
HPjunkie   September 15, 2012 09:17 PM
So many negative wannabe business analyst! Good looking bike. I want one.
Piglet2010   September 15, 2012 12:11 PM
@ koko46 - The 2012 Honda CBR600RR has a "wet" weight of 410 pounds. Not sure I get this bike - if Kawasaki is going to make it too large to be a super-sport, why not bump up the displacement to 749cc to compete with the Suzuki GSX-R750?
Rucuss54   September 15, 2012 09:32 AM
Traction control should be useful on damp,wet,sand/gravel, broken pavement etc. Don't know why people think it wouldn't be valuable on a two wheeled machine, wish I had it on my bike.
AnthonyD   September 14, 2012 12:47 PM
Is this bike really coming with a 190/55 stock?
AnthonyD   September 14, 2012 12:46 PM
@Gary22, I read that they are making a 600cc bike for the Japanese market. I don't know how that will help anyone racing here in the states but it will be on the grid in WSS.
Gray22   September 14, 2012 08:34 AM
Will this bike be able to compete in the 600 cc racing class?
koko46   September 14, 2012 12:18 AM
Well I am glad that this bike is out as i finally think kawasaki has made a good looking bike. My new favorite supersport although i don't think the traction control is necessary for a 600 although you can make the argument that it can be turned off. Just a quick question at a curb weight of 423lbs does this make it lighter than the cbr600rr which is the current lightest supersport?