Back between 2003 to 2006, Kawasaki produced a 636cc ZX-6R that, while not legal for AMA 600 Supersport roadracing competition, proved very popular among street riders due to its robust low-end and midrange power. Now, that same concept is back with a vengeance in the form of the 2013 ZX-6R. While this middleweight sportbike has grown in size, there’s much more to it than just the 37cc bump in displacement brought about by a longer stroke.
Topping the technology list is a three-mode traction-control system similar to that found on Kawasaki’s flagship Ninja ZX-14R. But this latest version of KTRC is said to be even more advanced than the S-KTRC system used on the current ZX-10R. Also like on the 14R, “Full” and “Low” engine power modes can be selected via a switch on the left handlebar. Full delivers maximum engine performance, and Low matches the low-rpm output of Full but reduces power by 20 percent as revs rise into the midrange. Low also tempers throttle response. That, along with the three KTRC modes, provides plenty of flexibility to suit a range of rider skills and road conditions.
A new clutch with “assist” and slipper functions uses lighter, more rider-friendly spring tension and reduces rear-wheel hop caused by engine back-torque.
Adjustments for the Showa Big Piston Separate Function Fork (BP-SFF) are located in the fork caps—no more crawling around on your hands and knees to make changes to the front suspension. Likewise new: one-piece, radial-mount Nissin front brake calipers and 310mm petal-type rotors; an ABS version of the ZX-6R will also be offered.
Restyled, more-aggressive-looking bodywork puts the wrap on the new goods while retaining that unmistakable Ninja family DNA.
Given Kawasaki’s long-standing performance lineage, we’re anxious to experience the newest family member first-hand. Stay tuned.