New 2024 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R Revealed in EPA Data

Dennis Chung
by Dennis Chung

Next-gen 636 may be eligible for World Supersport

As its competitors in the 600-ish sportbike class stagnate and slowly die off, the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R has remained a constant. With its "cheater" 636cc displacement, the ZX-6R has outlasted the Yamaha R6, and received multiple updates since Suzuki refreshed the GSX-R600. Of the Big Four Japanese brands, only Honda's CBR600RR has been updated in recent years, and even then, only for a select few markets. While new Parallel-Twin competitors have redefined the Supersport class, the ZX-6R continues to fight the good fight for Inline-Four supersports. The Ninja will fight on for the foreseeable future, as can confirm a new ZX-6R is coming for 2024.

The confirmation comes to us via the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which has just updated its spreadsheet of vehicle test data. The update adds data for a number of new and returning models, with a new Ninja ZX-6R being the most intriguing addition. We've included an excerpt below of the updated spreadsheet, highlighting the 2024 ZX-6R entry and hiding some data columns for better visibility on this page. We've also filtered out data for other bikes to show only data for ZX-6R models dating back to 2013 when it first adopted its 636cc displacement.

From the excerpt, we can identify some key details. The highlighted row shows a 2024 model with certificate number RKAXC.636AAF-002, engine family RKAXC.636AAF, and the model codes ZX636JR and ZX636KR. The current ZX-6R was last updated for the 2019 model year, and we can see that the certificate numbers for that version ends in 636AAE. The generation before that has certificate numbers ending with 636AAD. Another tell is the use of model codes for 2024 instead of the commercial name Ninja ZX-6R in the right column; in recent years, Kawasaki has submitted only model codes for any new or updated models, and that pattern continues here. We expect one of the model codes to be equipped with ABS, and the other without.

Elsewhere in the spreadsheet, we can confirm a few more details. The engine remains at its current 636cc displacement, and from the engine code, the Inline-Four appears to be mostly identical to the existing model. There must be some change, however, as the EPA-rated maximum power for the 2024 model is 91 kW (122.0 hp) at 13,000 rpm, down from the current generation's rating of 95 kW (127.4 hp) at 13,500 rpm. The reduced output is likely to help the ZX-6R meet emissions targets, not necessarily for the U.S. but for Europe, where the Ninja has been discontinued since 2021.

The 2019 ZX-6R added new bodywork, a quickshifter, a smaller front sprocket and updated instrumentation but was mostly similar to the prior version.

Beyond the engines and emissions data, we don't really know what else has changed with the ZX-6R. The last update in 2019 added some quality of life updates like a quickshifter and a smaller front sprocket, but it was otherwise very similar to the previous version released in 2013. A decade later, we can expect some more significant updates, such as a TFT display and improved electronics. A six-axis IMU might also be in store, opening up more electronic options to keep up with new competitors such as the Aprilia RS660.

It still remains to be seen what will differentiate the two model codes ZX636JR and ZX636KR. In the past, Kawasaki would assign different codes for models with or without ABS, but more recently, Kawasaki has also been producing single-R and double-R versions of its Ninjas. A new ZX-6RR would fit right in between the ZX-4RR and the ZX-10RR.

On that note, the ZX-10RR is also inline for a slight update; Kawasaki's World Superbike team is running a ZX-10RR with a variable air intake system. Already available in Europe, the updated ZX-10RR goes by the model code ZX1002T, and the new model code is also listed in the updated EPA spreadsheet for 2024.

Kawasaki currently runs 599cc versions of the ZX-6R in World Supersport, opting not to homologate the 636cc model which is technically possible under the class' Next Generation rules.

Speaking of racing, a new 2024 Ninja ZX-6R may explain why the outdated 599cc version is still homologated for World Supersport racing, despite the 636cc model being eligible under the new rules. Kawasaki was obviously waiting for the 2024 model to launch before submitting the Ninja to the racing homologation process.

We don't know when Kawasaki will formally launch the 2024 Ninja ZX-6R (or a possible ZX-6RR), but we suspect it will happen in the fall with most major new model announcements.

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Dennis Chung
Dennis Chung

Dennis has been a part of the team since 2008, and through his tenure, has developed a firm grasp of industry trends, and a solid sense of what's to come. A bloodhound when it comes to tracking information on new motorcycles, if there's a new model on the horizon, you'll probably hear about it from him first.

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2 of 5 comments
  • David K David K on May 11, 2023

    Great bike if you are a road warrior and like to take risks. I wouldn't want to commute on one not because of the heavy lean at the handlebars, but because of the powerband and mpg. The Ninja 650R is the near ideal commuter bike.

  • Sam Sam on Jun 02, 2023

    In Malaysia, this is a dream bike for us hooligans. Hope they will maintain the 127hp and 136hp (with RAM air) for Asian region else they might loose their market grip in Asia.