How lengthy have we dreamed of this one then? The power to stroll right into a showroom and legally get your palms on a correct, faired and racy Japanese 600cc supersport? Within the latest years, we’ve been handled to the whole lot – from the world’s finest litre-class superbikes, to reasonably priced avenue nakeds, to an enormous number of retro and journey bikes of all sizes and costs. However except for the now-defunct Triumph Daytona 675 and the a lot greater and dearer, Panigale 959, the supersport section has been a irritating vacuum thus far. Properly, no extra, as immediately, you possibly can stroll right into a Kawasaki showroom and get in your palms on a authorized 600cc supersport.
The again story
Properly, nearly. And that’s as a result of in the event you’re a stickler for a spec sheet, the Ninja ZX-6R isn’t precisely a 600cc machine. To beat these bikes’ tendency for an explosive prime finish, sitting on prime of a dud of a low and mid vary, Kawasaki cheekily raised the capability of their 600 to 636cc just a few years in the past, and that development continues with the 2019 mannequin. However a lot has modified too, because the bike acquired a giant visible makeover and picked up just a few options for 2019, along with assembly Euro-IV emissions norms.
In its new avatar, the 6R wears a hanging and aggressive design, typical of a Kawasaki, and there are some cool touches like the massive ram air consumption between the headlamps and the layered fairing design. However I’m disillusioned by simply how related it appears to the Ninja 400; a bit extra individuality would have performed it wonders. Nonetheless, high quality ranges are nice and there’s no hiding the sensation that you simply’re sitting on a giant and costly machine. There’s additionally no hiding that you simply’re on a particularly sporty one too. The using place is pure racetrack and whereas the foot pegs aren’t as extraordinarily excessive as on a 10R, the clip-ons are critically low – to the purpose that the wrists are decrease than the bottom. Core power is vital right here, and in the event you don’t have sufficient, just a few weeks of using this bike will change that.
On the street
So nothing new then, you have to be pondering. Right here’s one other hot-shot superbike with foolish ergonomics which might be made infinitely harder to reside with by our bumpy, staccato using setting. However maintain your horses, as a result of the 6R has a trick up its sleeve, one which meant that after two lengthy days of using this bike, I wasn’t as bitterly disillusioned and pissed off as I usually get after using one among this stuff on our roads. In truth, I’m already hankering for one more hit and the rationale I’m not penning this from a chiropractor’s ready room is that the 6R’s suspension is surprisingly good. Scratch that, the 6R’s suspension is extremely good, contemplating the form of bike that is.
Showa makes some excellent suspension, and absolutely adjustable models by the Japanese manufacturers are fairly generally discovered at each ends of sports activities bikes nowadays, the 6R included. What isn’t anticipated is how forgiving the damping on this bike is on the inventory settings. I rapidly discovered myself casually using via roughly patched tarmac, and generally even gravelly, ‘beneath development’ roads with out a care. Small potholes are handled fairly properly and also you solely want warning over the deeper ones, primarily to guard the edges, and naturally, your decrease again.
Underneath the brightly colored pores and skin (the flashy KRT racing scheme is the one possibility obtainable for now) resides a fats aluminium perimeter body that hooks as much as the rear wheel through an appropriately muscular aluminium swingarm. To say we examined the bike’s dynamics to the restrict could be a lie – you would wish a racetrack to even attempt, and the rundown state of the street to Lavasa metropolis doesn’t come anyplace shut. It’s, nonetheless, a very good place to have some enjoyable within the corners and the Ninja is a unbelievable ally. Nudge the bars and the velocity with which the bike drops right into a nook immediately tells you that this machine is constructed to shred the racetrack. There’s no steering damper right here, however the one time I felt like I wanted one was when accelerating aggressively over a bumpy stretch, and chassis composure is in any other case encouragingly excessive.
With out pushing the envelope too far, the softer setup works properly since you don’t have to hold loopy speeds to get the suspension to begin working (Panigale V4, I’m you). Nevertheless, brake a little bit too exhausting, or push via a bumpy set of corners and it’s clear that the inventory setting is a little bit too under-damped for what you’re making an attempt to attain. On the racetrack, I’m positive you’d must tweak the adjustment screws to dial some extra firmness, however spend a while to discover a good setup, and the 6R will likely be a severe weapon. It’s an analogous story with the twin-disc Nissin four-pot brakes on the entrance. Road efficiency is terrific, however I think brake fade will set in after just a few laps of exhausting using because of the odd selection of going with rubber brake hoses.
The true get together piece
As spectacular as this bike’s dynamics are, what’s going to blow you instantly is the engine. The Kawasaki’s engine actually is a particular factor, a lot in order that not a lot has modified within the 2019 replace. The motor really misplaced a tiny quantity of energy within the conversion to Euro-IV norms, but it surely nonetheless makes a stable 130hp. Like with most supersports, that energy lives excessive within the rev vary and the 6R is kind of a docile factor at low rpms. Issues get attention-grabbing at 6,000rpm, critically quick by eight,000rpm after which an all out, headbanging screamfest upwards of 10,000rpm. Peak energy is a potent 130hp that arrives at an exciting 13,500rpm. However wait, there’s extra! Hold it nailed in first and the bike will slam into the limiter at about 120kph, with the subsequent 5 gears arriving in fast succession. High velocity is alleged to be someplace within the area of 260kph.
By nature of its extraordinarily brief gearing (the 2019 improve acquired a smaller entrance sprocket on the ultimate drive, by one tooth, which made issues shorter nonetheless), the 6R packs essentially the most versatile motor I’ve seen. A lot so, I discovered myself climbing over tall velocity breakers in sixth gear at 20kph with none fuss from the engine. That form of flexibility vastly improves the bike’s street-ability.
For 2019, there’s additionally a brand new quickshifter, which is impeccably easy. In truth, it’s so good that I instantly began to overlook having an auto-blipper for fast and straightforward downshifts to match. The electronics are in any other case unchanged and the bike continues to supply three levels of traction management, ABS and two energy modes. Nevertheless, what’s value allowing for is the conspicuous sticker on the gas tank that reminds you of this bike’s want for 95 octane.
The ZX-6R isn’t essentially the most cutting-edge factor on the market, however I discover the massive analogue tachometer and cable-operated throttle endearing in a quickly digitising world. That’s to not say the bike is weak on package both, as you get a set of spectacular Bridgestone Battlax S22s, a pair of full-LED headlamps, adjustable levers and a correct slipper clutch.
The sweetest of updates the ZX-6R acquired for 2019 was a sizeable drop in value, and India reaps the advantages of this too. At Rs 10.49 lakh (ex-showroom, India), the 6R is kind of properly priced, given what you get. It even slots under the superb Triumph Road Triple RS. Then once more, you possibly can get the extra highly effective Ninja 1000 sport tourer for barely much less cash. So whether or not this bike is sensible is dependent upon the expertise you’re after.
However to sum up, it is a thrilling bike to journey, and when you might be higher off with one thing extra sensible for the road (the marginally dearer Road Triple RS involves thoughts) that is actually one of many nicest absolutely faired ‘superbikes’ to journey, and sure, even get pleasure from on our roads.