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 Motorcycle.com can confirm a new ZX-6R is coming for 2024.
Don’t you ever get tired of reading track comparisons from guys that are riding at international race-winning levels? From guys who have been racing their entire lives and who drag elbow like it’s their job (literally)? Me neither, but the guys here at MO and I thought there might be someone out there who could appreciate insight from what a novice track rider might experience when comparing some of the latest 600-class supersports. The two most recently updated of which happen to be the Yamaha R6 and Kawasaki ZX-6R.
For the past decade we’ve all been witness to the steady decline of the 600 supersport category. It’s amazing to think about, especially considering that, before the economic recession, the four Japanese players in this very same class were pumping out brand new contenders every other year! Since then, however, 600s have become more than stagnant – the class has been teetering on life support. Suzuki and Honda have soldiered on with the same GSX-R600 and CBR600RR for years – the latter even halting sales in Europe due to increasing emissions standards and declining sales. Meanwhile, Yamaha introduced an “update” to its venerable YZF-R6 which amounted to new bodywork, electronics, and a series of relatively minor improvements. Compound that with rising costs rivaling prices for liter-class machines and many questioned the reason to buy a 600.
Unveiled today at the AIMExpo in Las Vegas, Nevada, Kawasaki has taken the wraps off the new 2019 Ninja ZX-6R. While the 600 supersport category may be far from the glory days of the past, we’re thankful companies like Kawasaki have kept it in their lineups – even if the updates are less than ground-up redesigns.