Kawasaki ZX-6R


Make Model

Kawasaki ZX-6R  (ZX 636)




Four stroke, transverse four cylinder, DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder


636 cc / 38.8 cub in
Bore x Stroke 68.9 x 43.8 mm
Compression Ratio 13.9:1
Cooling System Liquid cooled


4x 38 mm Keihin, twin injection
Lubrication Wet sump


TCBI with Digital advance


Spark Plug NGK, CR 9 E
Motor Oil Synthetic, 10-60

Max Power

96 kW / 130.5 hp @ 14000 rpm

Max Torque

70.5 Nm / 7.2 kgf-m / 52 ft. lbs @ 11,500 rpm

Clutch Wet, multiple discs, cable operated


6 Speed 
Final Drive X-ring chain
Frame Perimeter, pressed-aluminium

Front Suspension

41 mm inverted cartridge fork with top-out springs, stepless rebound damping, stepless compression damping, fully-adjustable spring preload
Front Wheel Travel 120 mm / 4.5 in

Rear Suspension

Bottom-Link Uni-Trak® with gas-charged shock, top-out spring and pillow ball upper mount, dual-range (high/low-speed) stepless compression damping, 25-way Adjustable rebound damping, fully-adjustable spring preload
Rear Wheel Travel 133 mm / 5.2 in

Front Brakes

2 x 300mm discs, 4 piston calipers

Rear Brakes

Single 210mm disc, 1 piston caliper

Front Tyre

120/65 ZR17

Rear Tyre

180/55 ZR17
Rake 25°
Trail 109 mm / 4.3 in

Length 2105 mm / 2.8 in

Width     715 mm / 28.1 in

Height  1110 mm / 43.7 in

Wheelbase 1405 mm  / 55.3 in.
Seat Height  820 mm / 32.3 in.


164 kg / 361.5 lbs
Wet-Weight 185 kg / 407.8 lbs

Fuel Capacity 

17 Litres / 4.5 gal

Standing ¼ Mile  

11.0. sec

Top Speed

263.8 km/h / 163.9 mph

While the world’s top motorcycle magazine editors are still shaking their heads in amazement at the staggering performance of the NINJA® ZX-10R sport motorcycle, Kawasaki is unveiling a new middle-weight sportbike that will again leave them breathless.
The 2005 NINJA ZX-6R exemplifies Kawasaki’s commitment to developing the world’s leading-edge sportbikes, strongly reaffirming Kawasaki as the brand of choice for hardcore sportbike enthusiasts.

Like the ZX-10R, the NINJA ZX-6R is oriented toward serious sport riding and track performance. It features ultra-aerodynamic bodywork with Ram Air, GP-style swingarm, under-seat exhaust system, six-spoke wheels, petal-style disc brakes, inverted forks and a powerful engine that will leave riders itching to find their local twisty highways.

Leading-Edge Style

Along with its racing-homologated sibling, the ZX-6RR, the new NINJA ZX -6R is the most aerodynamically efficient sportbike Kawasaki has ever created – even more streamlined than the leading-edge ZX-10R. Specifically, the new fairing helps to divide the air stream farther ahead of the bike; by moving the “bubble” of still air farther forward in the cockpit, the rider experiences less buffeting around the head and shoulders.

The point of convergence – where the divided air streams comes together behind the rider – is critical to aerodynamic efficiency, so Kawasaki engineers designed the tail section to smoothly blend the air together while minimizing turbulence. The result is quicker roll-on acceleration and higher top speeds at the race track, as well as enhanced rider comfort and control.

The new body work also includes a ZX-10R-style central Ram Air duct and a flush-surface LED tail light, which makes the ZX-6R more visible to drivers of other vehicles. It also features an aerodynamic ZX-10R-style front fender for a strong NINJA family resemblance.

From the cockpit, the NINJA ZX-6R rider will notice several more leading-edge features that put this bike at the forefront of design and performance. Foremost is the new split-seam fuel tank/airbox cover. The rear half is the actual fuel tank, designed to fit neatly between the frame spars and down behind the engine’s fuel injection system, while the front half covers a new, quick-access air box. By centralizing the fuel mass near the center of the bike, chassis responsiveness is enhanced – weight transfers from turn to turn are lighter, and the chassis is exceptionally stable under acceleration and braking.

The advanced split-seam design also enabled engineers to make the airbox larger, thus enhancing engine performance. It also makes filter access quick and easy. Plus, a depression in the top of the fuel tank enables the rider to tuck in for improved aerodynamics.

The final tribute to aerodynamic efficiency is the new under-seat muffler, which gives the NINJA ZX-6R a slim, racy look.

 Exhilarating Power and Performance

No sportbike can garner mass approval on good looks alone, and here again, the NINJA ZX-6R sets new standards of performance for the middle-weight class. For that, the engine includes a new cylinder, new cylinder head, and 38mm oval-shaped sub-throttle valves fed by twin injectors and redesigned Ram Air.

The NINJA ZX-6R utilizes oval-shaped sub-throttle technology. Combined with the improved Ram Air design, the oval-shaped throttle bodies increase airflow without making the fuel delivery assembly wider – intake efficiency is improved nearly 20 percent while helping to maintain a slim chassis profile.

Larger intake and exhaust valves, revised cam profiles and an exhaust valve integrated with the muffler improves low and mid-range response of the 636cc engine.

Also, the engine control unit has more memory for controlling the exhaust valve and second set of fuel injectors. Plus, the radiator is 40mm taller and features more-tightly packed cores for increased cooling capacity.

The NINJA ZX-6R features a more durable, smoother-shifting six-speed transmission, and includes a taller third gear ratio. It also utilizes a multi-disc wet clutch with a back-torque limiter. Designed to maximize on-track performance, the back-torque limiter helps to reduce rear-wheel hop that may occur when downshifting a high-rpm.

Chassis Features

The matte-black aluminium frame features a shortened the wheelbase and the swingarm pivot point has been moved forward. Combined with a longer, braced aluminium swingarm, the new chassis gives the NINJA ZX-6R improved cornering performance and high-speed stability.

The fully adjustable Showa fork delivers improved ride quality and outstanding cornering performance. At the rear, new UNI-TRAK® linkage ratios provide more linear action, and new shock settings improve ride quality and track performance.

Radial-mounted, four-piston front brake calipers deliver exceptional feel and performance; four independent brake pads are used – one for each piston – for more even wear and improved heat resistance. The 300mm petal-style front discs are 5.5mm thick for high heat capacity and the front brake master cylinder uses direct action for better rider feedback. Also, the caliper for the 220mm rear disc brake mounts directly to the swingarm, negating the need for an independent brake tie-rod.

The NINJA ZX-6R rides on light, six-spoke wheels shod with 120/65ZR17 front and 180/55ZR17 rear tires for exceptional cornering performance.

The Cockpit

The riding position is also based on the NINJA ZX-10R. By pulling back the steering head assembly, the distance between the handlebars and footpegs is reduced, which provides the rider with an idealized position for performance riding. Combined with the new frame, seat and fuel tank, the rider sits “in” the bike, rather than “on” it.

The NINJA ZX-6R’s racing-style instrument panel features a bar-type LCD tachometer, digital LCD speedometer, stopwatch-style lap timer and adjustable shift indicator lamp, which includes Off, Low and Bright settings. A digital temperature gauge, clock and tripmeter are also included.

Features and Benefits

- Designed for #1 performance on the circuit and winding roads
- Power boosting features include bigger intake and exhaust valves, new cams, and larger-area oval-shaped sub-throttles fed by dual injectors

- Exhaust valve integral with the under-seat muffler improves low- and mid-range engine performance

- Improved aerodynamics give this middle-weight SuperSport the best CdA of any NINJA to date

- Back torque limiter is standard

- New frame and swingarm with revised chassis dimensions improve cornering performance

- 300mm petal-style front disc brakes with radial-mount calipers and direct-action brake master cylinder provide excellent performance and feel

- Revised riding position based on the ZX-10R lets the rider take advantage of the awesome performance

Engine Details

- New cylinder head design locates each pair of intake/exhaust valves farther apart for improved breathing and higher combustion efficiency

- Complementing the new head are new pistons with reshaped crowns and improved, low-friction skirt profiles

- Larger diameter intake and exhaust valves, together with new cam profiles, contribute to the new engine’s enhanced performance

- Dual-injector fuel injection system uses fine atomizing injectors for the main injectors and features a set of secondary injectors located in the airbox for improved cylinder filling, crisper throttle response and higher power output

- Extremely narrow included valve angle of 25 degree allows the fitting of large valves in a compact, highly efficient combustion chamber

- Breathing passageways, one located between each pair of cylinders, contributes to effective crankcase breathing, which reduces pumping loss

- Thicker castings used for the engine cases improve engine rigidity and reduce vibration and feature improved lubrication

- The new lower case has separate mounting bosses for the oil filter and oil cooler

- New aluminum oil cooler improves cooling efficiency.

- Further performance gains were achieved by increasing the width of the oil pump while changing its drive ratio to reduce its rpm

- Deeper oil sump lowers the oil level for reduced windage losses

- The crankshaft has been strengthened to reduce flexing and now features larger diameter main journals (from 30mm to 31mm), and the crank has been re-balanced for smoother running

- Catalytic converter located at the collector helps keep emissions friendly

- New auto-fast-idle system improves starting


There has been a lot of excitement and buzz about the 600cc class this year, with all the major players rolling out new or improved machinery. Suzuki kicked it off with their latest GSX-R in 2004 and since then Yamaha, Honda and Triumph have unveiled their respective weapons. Now Kawasaki has joined in on the act so the only wait remaining is for the new CBR600RR that is expected in a few months.

Kawasaki chose the challenging Almeria racetrack, and surrounding mountainous countryside of southern Spain, to introduce their latest weapon to the world’s media.

Over the course of two days, we got to sample the ZX-6R in a variety of riding situations, as well as attend the usual technical briefing to learn about the bike and some Q and A with Kawasaki’s engineers.

For ’05, Kawasaki has stuck with their successful formula of offering the R model for the street with a larger 636cc engine, while their identical looking RR handles race duties with its race legal 599cc power plant. The RR also features a few minor chassis changes, a close ratio transmission, and other changes to better suit it for racing, but we weren’t in Spain to test the race version so more about that at a later date.

My time on the original 636 had been limited to a few track sessions, but I came away with good memories of a solid handling machine with good useable mid-range grunt and superb brakes. Talking with my fellow scribes at the launch, apparently harsh suspension was the bike’s Achilles heel, but I didn’t ride it off the smooth track so can’t comment in that area.  What I can say is, the new ’05 6R might just be the most perfect mid-range sport bike on the market.

With no real 750cc class, Suzuki GSX-R750 excluded, the next choice is one of the litre bikes. And, while the four cylinder bikes on offer in this category are absolutely phenomenal, they are all total overkill on the street and need some serious commitment for fast track work. The V-twin offerings are a little easier to handle but come with a significantly higher price tag.

A 600cc on the other hand, while still ballistic missile fast, is a little more user friendly for the street, and a lot less intimidating for track days. Sure they typically suffer from modest low and mid-range power, but the rush of adrenaline to be found approaching red line while cog swapping as fast as possible goes a long way to overcoming this.

Not so anymore.

The extra 36cc to be found in the Kawasaki 6R motor gives the rider some serious mid-range and low speed drive ability from as early as 3000rpm if needed. There is no pronounced step in the power, or holes in the power band, and the engine pulls strongly all the way till the shift light tells you its time to change up around 15,000rpm.

This year’s bike makes ten more horsepower than last year’s model for a quoted 136hp at 14,000rpm with ram air assistance. This has been achieved with some significant work to the top end of the engine. Starting in the cylinder head, the ports are treated for extra smoothness, and larger valves are placed further apart to get fuel in and out faster.  The previous higher lift race kit cams open and close the valves while new pistons are claimed to reduce friction and realise an increased compression ratio.

Larger 38mm throttle bodies help to boost the power and they are now oval shaped to save width.  Firing fuel into the bigger, more efficient throttle bodies is a dual injector system; utilizing extra-fine atomizers in the throttle bodies which are now joined by a secondary set of injectors in the airbox.

A new centrally located, more efficient ram air system is now used to help the extra fuel do its job in the combustion chamber. The result of these changes is absolutely perfect throttle response anywhere in the rev range in any gear.

Our first couple of sessions on the track were ridden in damp, cool conditions, and there is never a more important time to have smooth throttle response. The system is so perfect, I was able to run low gears and high rpm to better control my corner exits, the small throttle openings needed to make forward progress giving instant, smooth trouble free power on demand.

Rolling off and back on the throttle again where needed the smooth response inspired confidence and allowed me to circulate the damp track with at a reasonable clip.  If there were any problems to be found in the system, those first sessions would have most certainly showed them up.

No prizes for noticing the new exhaust. With its fashion following under tail routing, it gives the bike a very clean and sleek look. What you can’t see is the internal exhaust valve. A first for a Supersports bike, an ECU reads engine revs and throttle position to determine when to open or close the valve. This helps the ZX-6R make better low and mid-range power, and only gets praise from this corner, especially on the rain soaked mountain roads around the Circuit Almeria during our street ride. The exhaust system also gets a catalytic converter in some markets for cleaner running.

Before moving on, there are a couple more things to note with the drivetrain. Firstly, a slipper clutch is now employed to help with premature down shifts. While I never used the feature it was a comforting feeling when peeling down from around 150mph on the back straight going down through the box to second gear for the next right-hander. 

The engine cases have been beefed up to handle the extra power, and a deeper sump is used to lower the amount of oil circulating around the moving parts in the upper end of the engine.

There are some slight changes in the transmission also with a new bearing on the shift drum locator arm for better shifting, a taller third gear, and needle bearings at the end of the transmission shafts for greater strength. I didn’t have any problems with the previous model’s gearbox and certainly didn’t experience any with the ’05. It shifts with silky smooth precision and no missed gears made it into my notebook over the two days.

Wrapping around the screaming 15,000rpm power plant is a new frame. Reduced in length by 13mm, it allows the use of a longer swing arm, while also shortening the wheelbase 7mm. The rake is also tightened up half a degree, but the changes in no way bestow any twitchy handling traits on the 6R.

Suspension duties are taken care of by Showa this year in an attempt to find more compliance. Tough looking 41mm upside-down forks score a trick new surface coating to reduce stiction while the race inspired ZX-6RR also scores this coating on the internal surfaces of the fork sliders. 

They are of course fully adjustable as is the gas charged shock out back, the ride quality is second to none. (Ed's note: This sounds like a big turnaround as the previous 636 was far from happy on rough Aussie backroads)

The new suspension package allows the bike to literally float across the many surface irregularities to be found on the Spanish coastal roads, while not sacrificing any stability or cornering precision, I was very impressed with the set up.

For the track, the suspension settings were firmed to deal with the higher speeds, and there were no disappointments to be found here either. The bike was extremely compliant, with no extra dive under hard braking or squat under equally hard acceleration, staying committed to my chosen line with the lightest push on the bars.

Attaching to the excellent forks are some of the best stock stoppers in the business. Radial mount four-piston calipers bite down on 300m stainless steel petal rotors and simply inspire confidence.

There are some seriously heavy braking points at Almeria and the brakes allowed me to make lots of ground chasing down a fellow hack.  The front master cylinder has also been improved which will be a great relief to racers loyal to the Kawasaki brand.

The front-end just stays planted, and the bike tracks solid in a straight line as the digital speedometer numbers drop almost as fast as they rise under acceleration. Aiding and abetting the process, a five way adjustable radial piston master cylinder pumps the necessary fluid to the pistons with little more than a light two-finger squeeze.

There is a back brake also, but I can’t say I used it much, although I did try it to make sure it didn’t lock up too quick in the rain in case I needed it, and it has a useful amount of travel before that happens. Taking a look at the lightweight under slung caliper, which also grabs a petal rotor, gives a good opportunity to check out the sexy looking satin black swing arm.

It would be easy to think that all of this super slick hardware and increased engine performance would have pushed the ZX-6R toward a more radical ride position and ergonomics, but in actual fact the opposite is true.

The seat now angles back and the bars are closer to the rider due to a more pulled back steering head. This allows you sit more “in” the bike, and it is actually extremely roomy for a 600cc machine, even bordering on comfortable out on the road.

I was actually thinking a set of bar risers and some soft luggage could easily extend the 6R’s abilities to sport touring duties if needed.

The riding position also worked extremely well on the track, making the fast left/right transition through the hairpin a breeze. It also allowed me to tuck well down for the long back straight, and to circulate the track with a good degree of comfort. There is also an indentation in the gas tank to further allow the rider to get lower behind the screen on those mornings when you are late for work.

Visually, the bike is little short of stunning from any angle, and all new bodywork, fuel tank and wheels help to compliment the under tail exhaust, are responsible. And, as well as being a looker, the new ZX-6R is also more aerodynamic for improved top speed and acceleration. Designed to allow the air to pass over the rider in a smoother path, the top speed gains are said to be the equivalent of adding ten horsepower.

For the test the standard fitment Bridgestone BT014 radials were wrapped around the new wheels, with super sticky race compound BT002’s going on in the afternoon. The damp conditions in the morning didn’t allow us to push the stock tyres, but on a dry track the 02’s allowed me to push as hard as I wanted without any drama. For track days, a set of these is a must.  The 04 model had three-spoke wheels but the new machine arrives with six-spoke rims shod with a 120/65ZR17 at the front and 180/55ZR17 at the rear.

At the end of my ride, I noticed an ’04 in one of garages and it was interesting to note how different the two bikes are. The '05 is softer, sleeker and with more flowing lines it is also faster (the local track expert went 1.5 seconds quicker) along with better handling and a more comfortable riding position.

Is this the best 600cc bike on the market? Well, with the bigger motor giving so much extra mid range, the superb ergonomics, and a chassis and suspension package that is at least on a par with anything out there, I have a strong feeling the Kawasaki ZX-6R could go to the top of the class this year. 

The Honda is the only Supersport bike still to arrive and we will have to wait and see if the upgrades are enough to overcome the 2005 Kawasaki.

Source MCNews.COM