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Discussion Starter #1


TESTED: Jan '05

VERDICT:
Slick styling, a strong motor and chassis tweaks put the ZX-6R right back up there. Big bore motor may be cheating, but who cares when it's this much fun?


You can see the influences from both the ZX-10R and MotoGP ZX-RR machines. The new 6R has a low screen and flowing contours all the way back to the tail unit, then up close the smooth curves of the nose, lights and front mudguard go some way to justifying Kawasaki’s claim that this is the most aerodynamic Ninja to date. With everything pulled in, rear turbulence has been greatly reduced behind the rider, adding to comfort and top speed. The speedo reading rose from 156mph to 165mph in a few seconds just by tucking in properly, which suggested the slippery shape was working well.

Other nice touches are the nicely engineered pillion peg mounts, integrated indicators and lighter ZX-10R-style wheels. The underseat muffler is less tidy and protrudes more than the CBR 600RR’s, but looks good never the less.

On to the fun part. After hopping aboard I found the riding position for me was a tad cramped. The pegs didn’t give me enough legroom, being a touch too high and forward, plus the brake and clutch levers were set too high. The clutch lever will move down but the brake line connections make it difficult to adjust the right hand lever. I admit after riding for a while I got used to these niggles, but were I to own this bike I would make minor alterations to make riding more comfortable.

Its best feature though is the free-revving, 130bhp motor (claimed, and 136 with ram air effect), which starts with a wail around 8000rpm then develops into a full banshee scream en route to the 15,500rpm rev limit. There is no definite powerband but also no boring linear feel either; just a great engine that will never fail to set your pulse racing.
The extra engine performance comes from a combination of new, 38mm oval throttle bodies (keeping the frame slim), bigger intake and exhaust valves, new camshaft profiles and an integral exhaust valve.

Cornering on a partial throttle is silky smooth, and I found I could use a higher gear than I would on a regular 600 having these extra cubes and torque to hand.The gearbox was positive – though not as slick as the CBR’s – but I never came close to missing a gear and I could always shift quickly and with ease.

Third gear is now taller to provide more evenly spaced ratios, although the slight downside is that third gear wheelies are now more of a challenge. That’s probably not a bad thing to be fair, as the phrase ‘custodial sentence’ always springs to mind on those occasions.

Riding fast in a straight line could be done with no hands (although I don’t recommend you try this yourself) as the stiff chassis and special ‘J’ model BT014 Bridgestones work in perfect harmony, but coming down from a fast wheelie or accelerating over an undulating or bumpy surface got my sphincter’s attention on a few occasions. Unlike the last 636 there is no violent headshake, instead more of a slow-motion buckling feeling. I’m sure this could be improved by stiffening the rear suspension but the only safe fix would be a steering damper. There should be no shame in manufacturers fitting these as standard because, as any racer knows, there is always a stability trade-off to get a quick steering bike. They seem to view it as an admission of failure...

Otherwise the new Showa suspension was brilliant and I particularly liked how the new 41mm upside down forks coped on the brakes, giving a nice and progressive weight transfer. The powerful 300mm radially mounted four-piston/four pad calipers also provided a consistent feel throughout the day, with the new petal discs front and rear complementing the fresh new look.

Being a minimalist, I like the single clock dash, but reading the rpm at a glance is impossible. You can use the adjustable shift light for gear changes but now and again I would like to know what is going on with engine speed. Split seconds count for safety more than anything else, and it just takes too long to read the rev counter. The other info is fine with the warning lights, speed and temperature all easy to read.

Personally I think the new shade of Kawasaki green stands out best with the contrasting black sidepanels, frame and bellypan with the candy blue coming a close second. The ‘raw titanium’ option is my least favourite.

I thoroughly enjoyed my short spell with the new Kawasaki. It has a stonking motor, a great personality, is fun to be with and stands out from the crowd. I wouldn’t describe it as perfect, but then perfect
can be a little bit boring. Just look at Michael Schumacher.

The proof for me of how good a bike is whether or not I really want to ride it again. Well, I’m gagging for more of this one, so roll on Spring and a nice dry track.

Source: TWO Online
 

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Discussion Starter #2
TWO Magazine's Review: 2005 ZX-6RR



VERDICT:
In standard form it’s a slower and more expensive version of the R, with the race kit it gets more interesting and with a load of investment in the engine could become an utter tool. A 600 for serious racers with deep pockets only


Before any new bike can line up on a world Supersport grid, homologation rules stipulate at least 1,000 road legal units of the same basic bike must be made available to the public – Supersport is after all a roadbike-based championship. So it’s no surprise to see Kawasaki making just 1,000 of these ZX-6RRs for public consumption.

Homologation specials are nothing new but Kawasaki’s tack with the RR is somewhat different. See, with most bikes like this you’ll find them wearing more exclusive chassis components and more radical geometry than their standard roadgoing companions but this isn’t the case with the RR. It has the same frame, forks, wheels, suspension, clocks, exhaust and bodywork as the standard R version. Up close the two bikes look identical and it’s only the discreet ‘RR’ logo on the sidepanels that finally gives the game away.

The only differences you’ll find on the RR are the adjustable swingarm pivot and the smaller regulation friendly 599cc motor inside the frame with its close-ratio gearbox and slipper clutch.

So you pay a grand more and you get a slower bike, albeit one with a tricker motor. But there’s still no substitute for cubes and riding the two back to back the R murders its RR cousin across the rev range, so much so I was at least one and a half seconds a lap slower on the RR no matter what I tried.

So why should anyone buy an RR? The simple answer is that they shouldn’t. No point. Sorry. As they come the R’s the better road bike and the better track bike of the pair.

The only reason to buy an RR is to go supersport racing because at 636ccs the R is nothing less than a very unsubtle bit of cheating that’ll see you slung out of any 600cc race you care to take a crack at.
And for racing the RR suddenly begins to make sense because throw in the factory race kit (once you’ve shelled out the extra grand for it that is) and suddenly you’ve got a pretty sorted piece of racing tackle on your hands.

I say ‘pretty sorted’ because the race kit is far from comprehensive. As it stands you get a full selection of gaskets, air filters, valve springs, sprockets and camshafts, a programmable ECU (adjusts fuel mixture, ignition timing and rev limiter) with relevant connectors, a race tacho, fork spacers and springs, and a smaller generator with matching cover. Not bad value for a grand, but you’ll still want spare wheels, a steering damper and a race system at the bare minimum before taking to the track.

Properly set up with said exhaust Kawasaki claim you’ll see some 120bhp and compression up to 14.5: 1 (the R runs 12.8:1). From here the sky’s the limit depending on what level you’re competing at, how much you can bend the rules and how deep your pockets are.

In short, the ZX-6RR is a very sound building block for a serious racebike. The sublime handling and braking of the roadbike are there from the beginning and what you do with them is your business. Just don’t buy a standard RR to impress your mates at a trackday – you’ll get your ass whupped.

Source: TWO Online
 
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