One of the worst-kept secrets in motorcycling is now a secret no more: Kawasaki has announced the Ninja ZX-4RR KRT will be coming to the US in 2023, (hopefully) ushering in a revival of 400cc four-cylinder sportbikes that were all the rage in the 1990s. But unlike the current parallel-twin Ninja 400, which is essentially a budget bike dressed in sportbike clothes, this newest model is worthy of the ZX prefix, as it boasts proper suspension, twin radial brakes, a full electronics suite, and chassis geometry inspired by its ZX-6R and ZX-10R siblings – oh, and let’s not forget – a compact four-banger that will rev to over 15,000 rpm! But more on all those things in a minute.
It’s all relative. How good or bad a thing is all depends on the competition, doesn’t it – a thing that’s kept us employed and entertained for more than a few years now. Competition is good for business; MO comparison tests usually always draw in more eyeballs than single-bike reviews. In a perfect world, we’d gather up all five or six contenders in a given class for a week-long flog over hill and dale and racetrack. But in the real world of today, well shoot – it looks like our Top Five most-read comparisons of 2020 are only two bikes each.
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.
Did you hear it? That sound was the U.S. motorcycle industry show season clicking into first gear. Today, in Las Vegas, the season starts off with the with the AIMExpo in its debut visit to Sin City. While mostly an industry show, motorcyclists in the Vegas area will have the opportunity to take a look at what the show has to offer on Saturday and Sunday. Today and tomorrow, however, are industry days where manufacturers of all stripes try to catch the eye of the individual dealerships. So, in the same venue as many of the major motor manufacturers, you’ll also find the booths for people with a good idea (and a shoestring budget) who are just waiting for their big break.
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.
Despite what you may have heard, the supersport class is not completely dead, as Motorcycle.com can confirm that an updated Kawasaki ZX-6R is coming for 2019. We can also confirm the new 2019 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R will be announced (at least, for the U.S.) on Oct. 11, which happens to be the first media day at the 2018 AIMExpo show.
This weekend at Jerez, Kenan Sofuoglu not only won a World Supersport race, but he also notched his fifth World Supersport title, firmly etching his name in the history books and making himself a hero in his home country of Turkey. The Kawasaki Puccetti Racing team rider, aboard his ZX-6R, didn’t have it easy this year, as his teammate Randy Krummenacher was also challenging for the title. However, Krummenacher crashed on the fifth lap of the race, meaning all Sofuoglu had to do was finish to clinch the title. Of course, in typical Sofuoglu style, the Turk fought for the win.
The history of motorcycle engines powering other vehicles goes back a long way. Look at the original Morgan 3 Wheeler, for example. Almost a century ago, J.A.P. bike engines were plunked onto the front of a strange piece of machinery with two wheels in front and one in the back. It proved to be popular and a rather high-performing vehicle in its time. For this Top 10 list we take a look at other applications for motorcycle engines. As you can imagine with a list like this, there are a wide variety of vehicles. Some are production cars, while others are one-offs or boutique items. And yes, even though this is Motorcycle.com, I want to get behind the wheel of every single one of these! So, if you’re a rep from one of the below companies (or are simply a kind soul who owns one), give me a jingle and let’s make it happen!