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Kawasaki ZX-6R (2024) - Technical Review

Has written for dozens of magazines and websites, including most of the world’s biggest bike titles, as well as dabbling in car and technology journalism.

Posted:

06.06.2023

2024 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R Review Details Price Spec_01
2024 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R Review Details Price Spec_02

 

Price: £10,599 | Power: 122bhp (91kW) | Weight: 198kg | Overall BikeSocial Rating: TBA

 

January 2021 was a tumultuous time for biking as the chaos of Covid combined with the implantation of strict Euro5 emissions limits that proved to be a death sentence for several legendary bikes. Those regulations essentially wiped out the once-dominant 600cc supersports class in Europe: the CBR600RR, GSX-R600, YZF-R6 and ZX-6R all fell afoul of them and disappeared from sale.

Now the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R is back, revamped and reengineered to achieve Euro5 certification, allowing it to stand alone as the only option for riders who want slice of 600cc (well 636cc to be precise) four-cylinder action.

 

pros
  • If you want a brand new, road-legal, four-cylinder supersport bike, this is your only option.

  • Tech upgrades mean there’s a genuine excuse to buy the new ZX-6R over an older, secondhand one.

  • New styling is a clear step forward over its predecessor.

cons
  • Under the skin, the 2024 ZX-6R still shares a lot with the old model.

  • Euro5 compliant engine is less revvy, less powerful than the previous generation.

  • Still lacks the IMU needed to implement the latest rider-assist tech

 

Review – In Detail

Price & PCP
For and against
Engine & Performance
Handling & Suspension (inc. weight & brakes)
Comfort & Economy
Equipment
Rivals

Specification

 

2024 KAWASAKI ZX-6R price

Those of us old enough to remember the days when 600cc fours ruled the sales charts will wince at the idea of a five-figure price tag, nobody needs to be reminded that inflation is a real thing – and actually the £10,599 rrp that the new ZX-6R carries could be seen as something of a bargain.

For comparison, the old model cost £9699 way back in 2019, and a scan of the classifieds shows dealers are asking close to £10k for low-mileage used examples. There’s no other road-legal, four-cylinder, Japanese supersport-class bike on the market, but track-targeted Yamaha R6 Race costs £12,900 and the more focussed R6 GYTR is £17,800.

You’ll have to wait a little while before getting a ZX-6R, though, as the bikes won’t be reaching UK dealers until October this year.

 

 

2024 KAWASAKI ZX-6R cc Engine & Performance

Meeting the new emissions laws means a sacrifice in peak power for the ZX-6R, with a maximum of 122hp (91kW), although the firm says that rises to 127.7hp (95.2kW) at speed with the aid of ram-air.

The previous model was good for 95.4kW (128bhp) without ram-air assistance, and even that was a slight decline on the 96.4kW (129.3bhp) that the 2013-2018 version of the ZX-6R managed. It’s all down to emissions limits, of course – current Euro regs are particularly tough on high-revving, small capacity engines.

The power drop is reflected by a decrease in peak revs, with the 2024 peak arriving at 13,000rpm while previous ZX-6R’s span to 13,500rpm for their maximums. For 2024, there’s a new exhaust header, collector and silencer, plus revised cam profiles and reworked inlet funnels, all pursuing improved emissions performance and boosting mid-range grunt at the expense of top end power.

As before, there’s a choice of power modes, a quickshifter and a traction control system, but there’s no IMU so the ZX-6R doesn’t feature the latest in cornering traction control. A new dash, with a 4.3in colour TFT screen, controls those riding modes and gives smartphone connectivity to the 2024 model.

 

 

2024 KAWASAKI ZX-6R Handling, weight and suspension

Like the last generation, the 2024 sits on 41mm Showa SFF-BP forks and a Uni-Trak rear end with a gas-charged monoshock. Both ends are fully adjustable for rebound, compression and preload, and the wheels are carry-overs from before, with 120/70 front and 180/55 rear tyres on 17-inch rims. For 2024, those tyres are Pirelli Diablo Rosso IVs.

Weight rises a fraction for the new bike. The old ABS-equipped model clocked in at 194kg, while the new 2024 version – with ABS as standard, required by law – comes in at 198kg ready to ride.

 

 

2024 KAWASAKI ZX-6R Comfort & Economy

A new fairing is a key change for the 2024 ZX-6R, incorporating useful upgrades including full LED lighting and what Kawasaki calls ‘hybrid projector/reflector headlights.’

Although the side-on profile and riding position are largely unchanged from the old model – the seat, tank and tail are carry-over parts, as is the main chassis and suspension – the redesigned nose features cut-outs in the windscreen, claimed to reduce buffeting.

At the moment, there’s no claim for the ZX-6R’s fuel economy, but we’ll update when the figures become available.

 

 

2024 KAWASAKI ZX-6R brakes

The four-pot Nissin calipers are carry-overs from the previous generation, so braking performance isn’t likely to have changed, but the old model’s petal-style discs are replaced with more conventional, round 310mm units for 2024, reflecting similar updates to the larger ZX-10R. ABS is standard in the UK, of course, although some markets, like the USA, will be offered a non-ABS version that’s 2kg lighter and a fraction cheaper.

 

 

2024 KAWASAKI ZX-6R Rivals

The decimation of the supersports 600 class over the last few years means direct competition for the 2024 ZX-6R is thin on the ground. While Honda has launched a new CBR600RR elsewhere, it’s not offered for sale in Europe, and the old Suzuki and Yamaha rivals are also unavailable here under Euro 5 rules.

 

MV Agusta F3 Rosso (RR shown) | Price: £14,840

With 798cc and nearly 150hp the cheapest version of the MV F3 is a class above the ZX-6R and priced accordingly.

Power/Torque: 147bhp/65lb-ft | Weight: 173kg (dry)

 

Ducati Supersport 950 | Price: £14,095

Another pricy option, the Supersport is more of an all-rounder than the ZX-6R, but with less performance on tap.

Power/Torque: 110bhp/68.6lb-ft | Weight: 184kg (dry)

 

Honda CBR650R | Price: £8,499

At the other end of the pricing scale, the CBR650R is one of the few four-cylinder Japanese bikes left in this capacity class, but it’s much less powerful and focussed than the ZX-6R

Power/Torque: 93bhp/46.5lb-ft | Weight: 208kg (wet)

 

 

2024 KAWASAKI ZX-6R Technical Specification

New price

From £10,599

Capacity

636cc

Bore x Stroke

67mm x 45.1mm

Engine layout

Inline four

Engine details

4-valve, liquid-cooled, DOHC, fuel-injected

Power

122bhp (91KW) @ 13,000rpm (128hp with ram-air)

Torque

50.9 lb-ft (69Nm) @ 10,800rpm

Transmission

6-speed, chain final drive, quickshifter

Average fuel consumption

TBA

Tank size

17 litres

Max range to empty

TBA

Rider aids

Riding modes, traction control, ABS, quickshifter

Frame

Aluminium twin-spar

Front suspension

Showa 41mm SFF-BP forks

Front suspension adjustment

Compression, rebound and preload

Rear suspension

Monoshock

Rear suspension adjustment

Compression, rebound and preload

Front brake

2x 310mm discs, four-piston Nissin radial calipers, ABS

Rear brake

220mm disc, single-piston sliding caliper

Front wheel / tyre

120/70-17 Pirelli Diablo Rosso IV

Rear wheel / tyre

180/55-17 Pirelli Diablo Rosso IV

Dimensions (LxWxH)

2025mm x 710mm x 1105mm

Wheelbase

1400mm

Seat height

830mm

Weight

198kg (kerb)

Warranty

TBA

Servicing

TBA

MCIA Secured Rating

Not yet rated

Website

www.kawasaki.co.uk

 

Looking for motorcycle insurance? Get a quote for this motorbike with Bennetts bike insurance

 

 

What is MCIA Secured?

MCIA Secured gives bike buyers the chance to see just how much work a manufacturer has put into making their new investment as resistant to theft as possible.

As we all know, the more security you use, the less chance there is of your bike being stolen. In fact, based on research by Bennetts, using a disc lock makes your machine three times less likely to be stolen, while heavy duty kit can make it less likely to be stolen than a car. For reviews of the best security products, click here.

MCIA Secured gives motorcycles a rating out of five stars (three stars for bikes of 125cc or less), based on the following being fitted to a new bike as standard:

  • A steering lock that meets the UNECE 62 standard

  • An ignition immobiliser system

  • A vehicle marking system

  • An alarm system

  • A vehicle tracking system with subscription

The higher the star rating, the better the security, so always ask your dealer what rating your bike has and compare it to other machines on your shortlist.