Kawasaki ZX 6R (2003-2004): Solid Kawa sport sensationEngine: The four-cylinder liquid-cooled engine of 636 cc fed by injection, delivers 125 bhp / 130000 rpm and 67 Nm/11000 rpm torque, nominal values.
Actually at the bottom area of the power band, power provided is rather weak. ItĘs the 4000 rpm point that the first kick off is noticed. Performance feels like steady up to 7000 rpm rpm, thatĘs where the second kick off occurs. Above the 7000 rpm figure, output performance is very linear up to 14000 rpm. Rev limiter intervenes at 14500 rpm.
At the top end of the power band, power produced is rather low compared with the latest models of the 600 cc category. Top speed at 260 km/ h. The gearbox is slightly firmer than ideal.
Riding position: The seat height is considerable. Average height riders will not be satisfied. On the contrary, the clip ons are quite low. This defines a race riding position, a considerable amount of weight is transferred to the wrists. Finally, rider is placed clearly over the bike.
The ZX feels relatively light, 161 pounds empty. Centre of gravity is relatively low. The dimensions of the bike are average for the standards of the category, that is relatively small. The fairing slightly increases the overall width of the ZX.
On the road: The suspension which is fully adjustable front and rear, its hard. It should be expected from this Japanese company, that has manufactured several uni-dimensional bikes. Kawa fans will be pleased as they often dislike dilemmas. They are often extreme riders, not average. The ZX is equipped with an upside-down fork.
City rides are stiff. Street imperfections will be slightly absorbed, rider will notice the majority of those. Steering lock is just adequate. It will be a disadvantage if the bike has to be manoeuvred in city traffic. Just out of the blue, filtering will be a pleasant surprise. Actually the bike under test was not equipped with mirrors.
It is generally believed that no rider will buy this bike especially for traffic filtering. However this is performed as easy as possible, a top class filtering is provided to the rider. This is due to the height of the clip ons which are lower than car mirrors. As there is considerable weight transferred to the wrists of the rider, city rides will be exhausting after a while.
On B roads, there are two words that could describe the feeling produced: Compact agility. Specifically, the relatively small dimensions, combined with the hard suspension describe a small, very firm bike. The sharp steering geometry of the bike is evident, providing great agility.
These two words describe an absolute motorcycle, which will not really satisfy on slow pace ride. Even the weight of the rider being applied to the wrists, will ask for some adequate speed to be counteracted by air resistance. The suspension is hard, this will not really satisfy the rider. Feedback to the rider is little, comfort is modest.
Things will be totally different at the fast pace. Rider will get detailed feedback. He will get great confidence to charge, also. The ZX is not a bike for the faint hearted on the road, handling limits are hard to be discovered, as this bike is very neutral handling under pressure.
Feedback and confidence provided to the rider are really satisfying, at this point the ZX6R may be compared with the current bikes of the class. Consequently, with the rider charging on the road, the bike feels right at home.
On the highway, air resistance takes away some of the weight of the rider being exercised at his wrists. Rider will be able to undertake short trips.
The radial brakes are powerful, providing relatively good feedback by the two front disc brakes, featuring four-piston calipers. Initial bite is good by the front brakes. Feedback provided is slightly worse from the rear disc brake.
Reliability: There is not any reliability problem reported. The finish could slightly be better.
In 2005 a new model was introduced that brought the muffler under the seat and a slipper clutch. In 2007 an all new model was introduced, engine capacity was 599 c.c. It was replaced in 2009 by the new model which is available today.
Comments: The image of an extreme bike has just been described. It is obvious that this ZX is not a bike for everyone.
The lap timer which is there for the rider, makes quite sense. Led lights are used for the taillight. The rpm indication is not readable at a glance.
Conclusively, it was few years after the manufacture of this bike that Kawasaki has been manufacturing more user friendly bikes in every bike category .
+ Absolute bike feeling
+ Price used
+ Sporty riding
Thanks to the motorcycle shop Baxevanis - Honda, tel.+302109237000, Kalirois 12, Athens, Greece, http://www.baxevanismoto.com/ for the test ride.