The 600cc supersport class has been decimated by the one-two-three punch of consumer tastes, tightening consumer budgets, and tougher emissions restrictions. While the cost to produce offerings in this class have gone up, customers have either opted for options that are cheaper to purchase and insure, or chosen to upgrade to tech-laden literbike offerings. The effect has been cataclysmic in the class, with most models receiving minimal updates. Besides Kawasaki, that is.
For 2019, the Ninja ZX-6R adds technology, revised styling, and features to attract buyers who still believe in the balance between power and handling that sportbikes provide. All while meeting new emissions requirements.
At its heart, the ZX-6R retains its 636cc inline four-cylinder engine. To meet Euro 4 emissions requirements, Kawasaki utilized ultra-fine atomizing injectors. These injectors inject fuel at a droplet size of less than 60 microns. The minimal size of this droplet ensures a more efficient air-fuel mixing. A corresponding engine tune features more “precise settings” to contribute to a reduction in engine emissions. And the best news is, Kawasaki claims no power has been lost with with the reduction in emissions.
To complement the new engine modifications, Kawasaki made a change to the gearing on the ZX-6R. For 2019, there is a one-tooth-smaller countershaft sprocket for a shorter final gear ratio (15/43) which is sure to emphasize the low-end grunt of the bike. In addition, Kawasaki has added its KQS quickshifter to the ZX-6R as standard. This contactless-type quickshifter allows for quick, full-power upshifts. KQS detects shift lever actuation, and sends a signal to the ECU to cut ignition so the next gear can be selected—all without the clutch.
And to make sure you know the bike is new, there is significantly revised styling as well for the 2019 model. There are a new front cowling and windscreen, LED headlamps, tail cowl, LED taillight, heel guard, as well as a new finishing process for the muffler. All of the aforementioned parts feature revised styling and finishing to not only move the 6R to a more upmarket position in terms of appearance, but bring the Ninja ZX-6R in line with the aesthetics of the rest of Kawasaki’s sport lineup.
Bridgestone’s latest sports tire, the Battlax Hypersport S22, is claimed to offer a lighter handling feel with increased grip.
Chassis, Showa suspension, and brakes are unchanged for 2019. Also unchanged for 2019 is the optional electronics suite with KIBS (Kawasaki Intelligent antilock Brake System) ABS, Kawasaki Traction Control (KTRC), and additional power mode selections. It should be noted that in a class that hasn’t kept pace with its literbike brethren, the ZX-6R is a technological showcase for supersport fans.
The class may not be as popular as it once was, but with prices starting at $9,999 and topping out at $11,299 for the full-monty KRT edition that includes all options and a lime green paint scheme, the Ninja ZX-6R offers an amount of tech and performance that is unheard of at this price point.
|PRICE||$9,999 / $10,999 (ABS) / $11,299 (KRT)|
|ENGINE||636cc, liquid-cooled, DOHC inline-four|
|CLAIMED TORQUE||52.1 lb.-ft. @ 11,500 rpm|
|FRAME||Pressed aluminum perimeter|
|FRONT SUSPENSION||41mm inverted cartridge-type Showa Big-Piston SFF fork; adjustable preload, rebound, and compression (stepless)|
|REAR SUSPENSION||Uni-Trak; adjustable preload, rebound, high/low-speed compression (stepless), and ride height|
|FRONT BRAKE||Dual opposed four-piston radial mount calipers, 310mm petal discs w/ optional KIBS|
|REAR BRAKE||Single-piston caliper, 210mm petal disc|
|SEAT HEIGHT||32.7 in.|
|FUEL CAPACITY||4.5 gal.|
|CLAIMED CURB WEIGHT||428 lb. / 430 lb. (ABS/KRT)|