When you say “Ninja” you think about power, style and performance. When you say “Kawasaki Ninja” you think of one of the most beautiful and powerful motorcycles in the world, and also one of the best selling in the Kawasaki line-up. Oriented toward serious sport riding and track performance, the ZX-6R is the most aerodynamic Ninja ever. About its performance there was rarely a magazine comparison test completed among middle-weight sportbikes that doesn’t sing the praises of Ninja ZX-6R.
The ZX 6R is a model so well attuned to its ultimate purchaser – the serious sport rider who sometimes finds themself on a local track – that one can only assume what the company’s engineers and designers do with their weekends.
Kawasaki first unveil the Ninja ZX 6R in 1995 as the first middleweight sport bike with an aluminum frame.
Kawasaki first unveil the Ninja ZX 6R in 1995 as the first middleweight sport bike with an aluminum frame.
The 1995 model year made the 0 to 60 mph sprint in only 3.6 seconds, not bad at all, but with competitors like Honda CBR600RR, Suzuki GSX-R600, and Yamaha YZF-R6, Kawasaki decided they need to make the ZX 6R more powerful. And they did in 2002, when the engine capacity was increased to 636 cc (from the 600 cc). The modifications continued in 2003, when the engine was fuel injected and its speed was increased with 500 rpm. 2005 was another year for engine modifications: speed increased again by 1,000 rpm resulting in 105 hp at 12,250 rpm. The exhaust was now centrically under the seat.
The 2006 ZX-6R defined the cutting edge of the mid-weight supersports class. Its distinctive cowling and purposeful underseat exhaust contribute to the lowest ever Ninja drag coefficient - so much so that it effectively adds the equivalent of 10ps at the extreme of performance.
Features only previously seen on the race track appear as standard on the ZX-6R all contributing to an exciting and controllable ride. The back torque limiter slipper clutch aids down changes and avoids rear wheel hopping. The radial brakes have individual pads for each piston for ultimate feedback and braking response.
Match this to a completely new aluminium beam frame and sturdy yet light Moto GP inspired swinging arm and ZX-10R style wheels and you have a performance and handling package set to dominate the class.
- Instruments/Immobiliserenlarge imageGood to go. Lightweight instrument package with bar-type LCD tacho and digital LCD speedo includes adjustable shift indicator lamp and lap timer. Immobiliser prevents jealous creeps from playing with your pride and joy.
- Front Cowlenlarge imageDon’t mess with me! Aggressive new look, improved aerodynamics, flush-surface signals and a more efficient Ram Air intake give the new 6R the meanest face in town.
- Suspensionenlarge imageTrack or street. Complementing the sturdy 41 mm fork is a race-developed, bottom-link rear suspension system with new linkage ratios and settings. Of course, both are fully adjustable.
- Under-seat Exhaust enlarge imageTrack bred. Racing-style, all-stainless under-seat exhaust system improves the bike’s aerodynamics, increases cornering clearance and looks very, very cool.
- Chassisenlarge imageEven the frame is new for ’05. Short-wheelbase, aluminium perimeter frame makes the 6R the bike to beat when the tarmac starts to twist and turn.
- Front Brakeenlarge imageSpinning between the legs of the fully adjustable inverted fork are 300 mm petal front disc brakes gripped by radial-mount calipers operated by a radial-mount brake master cylinder. Powerful stuff.
- Swingarmenlarge imageNew, 10R-style braced, aluminium swingarm is lightweight and super stiff - one more reason for the 6R’s brilliant handling performance.
- Dual Injectionenlarge imageFor high power and hard-hitting torque across the rev range, the 6R engine employs extra-fine fuel atomisers in the 38 mm throttle bodies plus a set of secondary injectors located in the airbox.
- Oval Sub-Throttlesenlarge imageEngines need air to breathe. The 6R is the first production motorcycle to feature a set of trick, large-area oval sub-throttles. The oval-shaped design allows intake efficiency to be increased without compromising the slim engine design.
- Exhaust Deviceenlarge imageDelivering smooth throttle response in the low- and mid-range, and huge power at top end, the new 6R’s under-seat muffler is equipped with an electronically controlled exhaust valve which automatically tunes the exhaust for maximum performance at all rpm.
- Back-Torque Limiterenlarge imageAlso new for ’05 is a racing-style backtorque limiter, for smooth downshifting from high rpm. Specially designed for Kawasaki’s World Supersport racing machines, this technology is now standard equipment on the new 6R
The ZX 6R features ultra-aerodynamic bodywork with Ram Air, GP-style swingarm, underseat exhaust system, six-spoke wheels, petal-style disc brakes, inverted forks, and a powerful engine that accomplishes what it sets out to do.
For the 2006 model year Kawasaki has also added a ZX-6R “Special Edition” model to this mid-size family. To differentiate its look the “Special Edition” features Titanium Silver paint highlighted by Tribal pattern graphics and an attractive high-tech wheel finish.
The streamlined look of the ZX-6R is shared with its racing-homologated sibling, the ZX-6RR. Its fairing helps to divide the air stream farther ahead of the motorcycle; by moving the “bubble” of still air farther forward in the cockpit, so 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 body work 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 leading-edge features that put this bike at the forefront of design and performance. Foremost is the 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 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 under-seat muffler, which gives the Ninja ZX-6R a slim, racy look.
Power and Performance
The 2006 Ninja ZX 6R is powered by a 636 cc 4-stroke, liquid-cooled In-line Four engine with an output of 130 hp at 14.000 rpm and a peak torque of 51 lbs-ft at 11.550 rpm. The engine is matted with a 6-speed transmission.
The engine was specially designed to reduce internal friction. That’s because low-friction engines tend to be more responsive, making it easier for the rider to modify cornering lines with minor throttle adjustments. The new engine components were also made stronger, stiffer and more compact, resulting in an engine which is about 40mm smaller in both width and length than its predecessors. This compact engine allowed the chassis designers to create a slim and compact chassis. Other racing technology includes a close-ratio cassette transmission that makes it easy to keep the Ninja ZX-6R screaming at its horsepower peak and a slipper clutch which allows quicker downshifts without upsetting the rest of the chassis.
In designing the Ninja ZX 6R’s chassis, the development team concentrated on creating a motorcycle that would make fast entry and mid-corner speeds feel easy. A compact, lightweight design allows it to maintain more cornering speed throughout the turn while entry speeds are enhanced by the slipper clutch and powerful radial-mounted front brake calipers. Complementing this track-biased package are fully-adjustable front and rear suspension units. The entire package of frame, suspension, engine and bodywork was designed to enhance the ZX 6R’s fun-to-ride factor by offering a more exciting ride. The results are faster cornering speeds, quicker lap times and even more worried looks on the competition’s faces.
The frame and swingarm were developed with an optimized balance of rigidity, so the Ninja ZX 6R responds instantly and precisely to the rider’s every command. Mass centralization, engine mount locations and a variety of other factors were optimized to help ensure instant turn-in characteristics. Once in the turn, the Ninja ZX 6R holds a line with precision and tracks through the apex as if it were on rails.
All these features mean chassis feedback is very precise, with the ZX 6R communicating every move directly to the rider. The machine responds more precisely and predictably to control inputs and shifts in body weight. The result is a motorcycle that makes the rider feel like a part of the machine.
The new Ninja ZX 6R offers the power of a high-performance 600 Supersport racer mated with the nimble handling characteristics of a small-displacement GP machine. Let the competition compromise performance for rider-friendliness; the new ZX 6R was designed to take home trophies and set the quickest lap times, while being more exciting to ride than anything else in the middleweight sportbike category. The Ninja ZX 6R is a pure expression of Kawasaki’s racing philosophy.
About an almost perfect bike you can’t say much. With sexy bodywork, the 6R was born for the track and that is the place it feels the best. With a bike designed for speed there’’s nothing else you can do than speed.
Designed to place its rider on the top step of the podium, the new Ninja® ZX™-6R sportbike elevates 600-class power and handling to the next level. Considering the stellar capabilities of last year’s ZX-6R, Kawasaki’s designers knew it would take a special combination of middleweight power and nimble handling characteristics if they were to make the next leap in middleweight performance.
To hone the incredible new machine into an exciting racetrack weapon, Kawasaki appointed a former 125cc Grand Prix racer as the ZX-6R’s chief development rider. The result is an all-new 600 capable of cornering speeds previously unknown to the middleweight class while retaining the wide spread of power that is pure Ninja.
Honda CBR 600 RR
The Honda CBR 600 RR is powered by a 599 cc liquid cooled, four stroke, transverse four cylinder, DOHC, 4 valve per cylinder engine with an output of 117 hp at 13000 rpm and a peak torque of 49 lbs-ft at 11.000 rpm. It has a top speed of 159 mph. It is priced at $9.500.
Priced at $8.800, the GSX R600 is powered by a 5 99cc,4-stroke,four-cylinder, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 16-valve engine with an output of 110 hp at 16.000 rpm. The R600 weights 354 lbs and has a top speed of 170 mph.
The R6 is powered by an extremely over-square engine, with a bore of 67mm and a stroke of 42.5mm. The compression ratio is high for a street-legal machine at 12.8 to 1. This 599cc DOHC 16-valve engine transfers power to the rear wheel through a six-speed transmission aided by a slipper clutch. Yamaha incorporated many of the lessons learned from the winning MotoGP riders into the YZF-R6. So this supersport bike is packed with race tech and 130 horsepower at 14,500 rpm. It is priced at $9.300.
- Engine type : 4-stroke, liquid-cooled In-line Four
- Displacement : 636 cm3
- Bore x stroke : 68.0 X 43.8 m
- Compression ratio : 12.9:1
- Valve/Introduction system : DOCH,16 valves
- Maximum power : 95.5 kW 130 PS/14,000 rpm
- Maximum power with RAM air : 100 kW 136 PS/ 14,000 rpm
- Maximum torque : 70.5 N-m 7.2 kgf-m/11,500 rpm
- Fuel supply/Carburettor : ø 38 mm x 4 (Keihin), twin injection
- Ignition : Digital
- Starting : Electric
- Transmission : 6-speed, return
- Frame type : Perimeter, pressed aluminium
- Rake/Trail : 25°/106 mm
- Suspension, front : 41 mm inverted cartridge fork with rebound and compression damping, spring preload adjustability and top-out springs.
- Suspension, rear : Bottom-Link Uni-Trak with gas-charged shock, spring preload adjustability and top-out spring, stepless compression damping, stepless rebound damping.
- Wheel travel, front: 120 mm
- Wheel travel, rear : 135 mm
- Tyre, front : 120/65ZR17M/C (56W)
- Tyre, rear: 180/55ZR17M/C (73W)
- Brakes, front : Dual semi-floating 300 mm discs, dual radial-mount, opposed 4-piston, 4 pad calipers.
- Brakes, rear : 220 mm disc with single Single-bore pin-slide
- Steering anle, left/right : 27° / 27°
- Dimensions ( L x W x H ) :2,065 x 715 x 1,110 mm
- Wheelbase : 1,390 mm
- Seat height : 820 mm
- Fuel capacity : 17 Litres
- Dry weight : 164 Kg/ 361lb
Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R