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2013 Kawasaki ZX-6R Gets 636cc Engine and Revised Chassis

Kawasaki has also introduced the 2013 ZX-6R today in New York.  The rumored bump in displacement to 636cc is a reality, and will likely give the Kawasaki a very distinct performance advantage at lower rpm levels on the street.  This is because the larger displacement is achieved by a longer stroke, and, together with numerous engine changes described below, the compression ratio is a whopping 12.9 to 1.

Unusual for the supersport class, the new ZX-6R features both adjustable power settings and adjustable traction control, also described in greater detail below.  These features will make the bike much safer to ride in low traction situations.

Together with the Ninja 300, Kawasaki is exploiting a simple, but effective, means of trumping the competition in the power department for 2013.  By adding stroke, and displacement, to both of its new sportbikes, Kawasaki adds torque and horsepower at real world rpm levels.  The larger displacement, obviously, could give Kawasaki an advantage on the salesroom floor, as well, so long as pricing is comparable with the competition.   The U.S. MSRP of the 2013 ZX-6R is $11,699 for the non-ABS, and $12,699 for the ABS model.

Here is an exhaustive listing from Kawasaki of the features and benefits of the 2013 ZX-6R, followed by its specifications:

Features and Benefits

Key Features

  • Genuine Supersport performance and styling with an added dose of street potency
  • New 636cc inline-four is supremely powerful on the racetrack and extremely flexible on the street
  • New selectable engine power modes
  • New three-mode KTRC traction control
  • New Showa Big Piston – Separate Function Fork (BP-SFF) offers light weight, easy adjustability and fantastic wheel control
  • New supersport KIBS ABS provides maximum stopping performance, with added peace of mind (ZX-6R ABS only)
  • New one-piece “monobloc” radial-mount Nissin front brake calipers and radial-pump front brake master cylinder offer superb braking power and control
  • New F.C.C. clutch with assist and slipper functions offers light clutch pull, strong clamping force and helps minimize wheel chatter caused by aggressive downshifting
  • New sharp and aggressive bodywork and styling details clearly shout: “Performance Counts!”
  • Lightweight aluminum chassis places the engine in the ideal location for excellent handling and rider feedback

NEW 636cc Engine

  • New 636cc displacement uses a longer-stroke to boost engine performance throughout the rev range.  Low-mid range torque is especially enhanced, making roll-on and real world performance more usable
  • Digital Fuel Injection (DFI®) system features four 38mm Keihin throttle bodies with oval sub-throttles
  • Revised intake and exhaust ports suit the engine’s larger displacement. The intake ports are wider near the throttle bodies and the passages to the valves split earlier.  The exhaust ports are wider near the exhaust valves
  • New intake cam lobes feature longer duration, intake and exhaust lobes have increased lift for additional power
  • Chrome-moly steel camshafts are light, strong and durable
  • New pistons feature a revised crown to enhance strength and accommodate the increased valve lift
  • Revised 12.9:1 compression ratio suits longer-stroke and increased displacement
  • Molybdenum coating on piston skirts reduces friction and facilitates engine break-in
  • New straight piston pins have increased rigidity to help maintain high-rpm performance and reliability
  • New connecting rods are shorter and stronger to suit the increased power. They also feature thicker stems and larger-radius small ends for additional strength
  • Modified passages connecting cylinders were revised so the longer stroke would not cause the pistons to obstruct them and increase pumping losses
  • New larger airbox contributes to increased peak power and smooth power delivery
  • New longer, single-bore intake funnels improve low-mid range torque.  Two different funnel shapes (outer are the same, inner are the same) help deliver optimized throttle response
  • Ultra-fine atomizing injectors help ensure complete air-fuel mixing and maximum combustion efficiency.  More precise tuning contributes to reduced emissions.  The injectors can also flow a greater volume of fuel, to help match the new larger-displacement engine
  • New exhaust features balance tubes on all four header pipes to maximize low-end torque
  • Exhaust pre-chamber makes efficient use of space, reduces exhaust noise and allows a smaller muffler to be used
  • New muffler features a triangular cross-section to provide sufficient internal volume while still offering good ground clearance and maximum lean angle, as well as a compact appearance
  • New lighter generator with revised coils produces less heat and reduces mechanical loss
  • New zero-cross control voltage regulator significantly reduces the amount of electronic noise produced when it interrupts the generator’s output
  • Cassette-type transmission helps simplify ratio-swaps and reduce set-up time at the track
  • New shorter first gear, stronger alloys and revised gear thicknesses improve durability and help cope with the extra torque produced by the 636cc engine
  • Lightweight x-ring drive chain uses lightening holes on the inner link plates to reduce weight.

NEW Selectable Power Modes

  • New power mode selector on the left clip-on gives ZX-6R riders the option to choose between two different engine power delivery modes to suit their needs
  • Output at low- rpm is the same in both modes, but “Low” mode limits engine output to approximately 80% and gives a milder throttle response.  “Hi” mode allows the full performance potential of the engine to be unleashed

NEW Three-Mode Kawasaki Traction Control (KTRC)

  • New three-mode KTRC traction control combines the best elements of the Ninja ZX-10R S-KTRC and ZX-14R/Concours14 KTRC systems.
  • Three different modes are tuned to cover a wide-range of situations from advanced racetrack use, to normal street riding, to mixed/slippery conditions, for enhanced rider confidence
  • Mode 1 is tuned to maximize acceleration, like the ZX-10R S-KTRC system
  • Mode 2 is tuned to help provide a balance of performance with minimal wheel slip
  • Mode 3 prioritizes slip elimination, similar to the Concours14 ABS sport touring KTRC system, for enhanced rider confidence in mixed or slippery conditions
  • The KTRC system may also be turned-off completely, at the rider’s discretion
  • Handy mode selector on the left clip-on makes it easy for the rider to change KTRC settings
  • Using complex programming algorithms, the KTRC system is able to predict impending wheelspin and act before slippage exceeds the optimum range, allowing reductions in power to be minimized for ultra-smooth operation
  • In modes 1 and 2, conditions are analyzed 200 times per second and any necessary adjustments are made through ignition timing alone, for extremely quick response from the engine and KTRC system
  • In Mode 3, the system functions like mode 2 under most conditions, but when excessive rear wheel spin is detected, Mode 3 switches to complete three-way control of  ignition timing, fuel delivery and intake airflow to regulate engine output to a level that allows the rear wheel to regain grip.  By controlling the sub-throttles in the intake tract for precise torque management, a smooth and natural feeling can be attained: Mode 3 intervention and on/off transitions are very smooth to help maintain stability during extended operation
  • The system uses minimal hardware supplemented by advanced software.  In addition to the engine’s ECU, the system only requires front and rear wheel speed sensors, meaning minimal additional weight is required for traction control on the standard model and no additional weight is required on ABS models which already have wheel speed sensors

NEW F.C.C. Clutch with Assist and Slipper Functions

  • New F.C.C. clutch with assist & slipper functions uses two types of cams, an assist cam and a slipper cam that were developed based on racetrack testing and rider feedback
  • The F.C.C. clutch’s “assist” cam acts like a self-servo mechanism, pulling the clutch hub and operating plate together to compress the clutch plates under load.  This allows the total clutch spring count and pressure to be reduced, resulting in a 20% reduction in effort at the clutch lever
  • The assist cam also increases the  torque capacity of the clutch so it can cope with the extra torque produced by the new 636cc engine, without gaining any weight
  • The F.C.C. clutch’s “slipper” cam reduces the clamping force on the clutch hub and operating plate when back-torque conditions are present and helps prevent rear wheel hop on trailing-throttle and when down-shifting
  • New spring plate assembly provides smoother engagement and helps minimize clutch judder
  • New aluminum clutch hub is 600-grams lighter than the previous steel unit

NEW Radial-mount Monobloc Brakes

  • New highly rigid, radial-mount “monobloc” Nissin brake calipers offer superb control and a firmer feel at the front brake lever. They are a total of 90-grams lighter and offer increased heat dissipation compared to the previous model
  • New larger-diameter semi-floating 310mm stainless-steel petal-type front rotors contribute to stronger braking performance
  • Radial-pump master cylinder gives excellent lever feel and helps offer superb brake modulation
  • Front brake hose routing features a three-way joint at the lower triple clamp that facilitates effective brake line bleeding to help maintain a firm feel at the front brake lever
  • New lighter rear brake caliper helps offer good anti-fade rear brake performance and squeezes a 220mm petal-type rotor
  • Rear brake pedal is mounted coaxially with the footpeg for good braking efficiency mid-stroke and excellent response to lever inputs
  • Rear brake master cylinder reservoir is mounted forward of the swingarm pivot, to maximize space around the footpeg

NEW Supersport-grade KIBS ABS (ZX-6R ABS only)

  • KIBS is a multi-sensing system, using input from numerous sources.  In addition to front and rear wheel speed sensors (standard for any ABS system), KIBS also monitors front caliper hydraulic pressure and data from the engine’s ECU (throttle position, engine speed, clutch actuation and gear position)
  • Compact, lightweight BOSCH ABS unit was designed specifically for sportbike use and made its first mass-production appearance on the 2011 Ninja ZX-10R
  • Highly-precise brake pressure control enables the system to avoid a reduction in brake performance due to excessive pressure drops, and allows good brake lever feel to be maintained during KIBS intervention by providing smaller and lighter ABS pulses than comparable systems
  • Supersport models frequently encounter higher braking forces than less sporting models, so there is a greater likelihood of rear tire lift under extreme deceleration.  By monitoring hydraulic pressure at the front calipers, KIBS is able to regulate pressure increases and help reduce the tendency of the rear tire to lift.
  • By accounting for back-torque, KIBS is able to offer increased rear brake control during downshifts.  KIBS parameters include throttle position, clutch actuation and gear position, allowing the system to predict back-torque caused by trailing-throttle at high-rpm, or down-shifting.  Rear wheel slip due to engine braking often triggers ABS action on standard systems, but by preventing unnecessary ABS intervention in these situations, KIBS helps enhance rear brake control
  • Thanks to the compact size and light weight of the ABS unit, the system adds only 4.4 pounds compared to non-ABS models

NEW Big Piston – Separate Function Fork: (BP-SFF)

  • New BP-SFF fork combines the features of Showa’s big piston and separate function forks, featuring springs on both sides, with dedicated preload adjustability in the left tube and dedicated damping pistons and adjustability in the right tube
  • New .3mm thinner fork tube walls provide a 220-gram weight reduction
  • Big Piston design provides smooth action during the initial part of the stroke and contributes to excellent feel during heavy braking.  The large-diameter damper piston is much bigger than those used in traditional “cartridge” forks
  • Big Piston design allows the fork oil to act on a much larger surface area, so the damping pressure can be reduced without compromising effectiveness.  Reducing the damping pressure allows the slider to react more smoothly, which is especially noticeable during the initial part of the stroke.  The result is greater control as the fork begins to compress and very calm response during braking-induced weight-transfer, for greater chassis stability on corner entry
  • Fork settings were tuned for maximum effectiveness on twisty roads, allowing a high level of performance for the racetrack, with a much better ride in the city and on the highway
  • BP-SFF design offers much easier adjustability, by locating all adjusters in the caps at the top of the two fork tubes: preload on the left; compression and rebound damping on the right.

Rear suspension

  • Bottom-link Uni-Trak® rear suspension offers 5.3 inches of travel and features a gas-charged shock with top-out spring and a pillow ball upper shock mount
  • New rear spring is 25mm longer and features a softer rate than the previous model to enhance ride comfort and compliance when the road isn’t racetrack-smooth
  • New rear suspension linkage has a higher leverage ratio for improved rear ride comfort
  • Full adjustability includes: stepless compression damping, 25-way adjustable rebound damping, and fully adjustable spring preload

Lightweight Chassis

  • Revised lightweight twin-spar aluminum frame places the engine in the optimum position for superb handling and rider feedback
  • New steeper 23.5 rake angle helps provide quick steering response and enhances communication from the front tire
  • Intake resonator box and supports for the instrument panel and mirrors are unitized with the ram air duct, contributing to weight savings and increased rigidity
  • Forward-tilted engine layout gives a steep intake angle and excellent CG
  • The sub-frame is a lightweight two-piece aluminum die-casting and is very narrow for a compact and slim rear profile

NEW Bodywork

  • Front fairing features a sharp design that communicates a new, more-aggressive image
  • New larger fairing openings provide increased airflow and enhanced heat dissipation
  • New lower fairing, rear cowl, and assorted blacked-out panels contribute to the bike’s compact and lightweight appearance
  • One-piece front fender offers excellent aerodynamics
  • New projector beam headlights feature sharp looking housings with integrated position lamps
  • New front turn signals are built into the new bodywork and compact rear turn signals complement the minimalist tail section
  • New compact LED taillight is lightweight, very bright and offers modern high-tech appearance
  • Inner fender above the swingarm helps to reduce turbulence and helps keep the undertail clean


  • Instrument panel gives at-a-glance information to the rider.  An analog-style tachometer is complemented by a multi-function LCD screen
  • New LCD functions include KTRC, Power Mode, ABS and Economical Riding (ECO) indicators
  • Additional LCD functions include a digital speedometer, odometer, dual trip meter, clock, instant and average fuel consumption, coolant temperature, and shift indicator, traction control activity and low-fuel warning lamps
  • Large gear position indicator gives instant numerical gear confirmation
  • New mirror design offers increased rearward visibility without increasing overall vehicle width
  • Ergonomic seat-peg-bar layout places the handlebars close to the rider and at an angle that promotes a highly  intuitive and comfortable riding position
  • Fuel tank is flared around its top, similar to the ZX-10R, providing a large contact patch for excellent rider feedback
  • Slim-waisted fuel tank makes it easy for the rider to grip the tank with their knees, or to hang off in turns
  • Front of seat is narrow and low for a slim riding position and a short reach to the pavement

Genuine Kawasaki Accessories

  • An adjustable Öhlins twin-tube steering damper is available as an accessory, to help ensure stable damping performance and superb kickback absorption, even under race conditions.
  • A taller, “bubble” windscreen is available to provide enhanced aerodynamic protection
  • Frame sliders/engine guards are available to help protect the engine and chassis
  • Axle sliders help protect the fork legs
  • A stylish color-matched seat cowl is available and mounts in place of the rear seat to enhance the visual aggression of the new Ninja ZX-6R

2013 Kawasaki Ninja® ZX-6R & ZX-6R ABS Specifications*

Engine: Four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, four valves per cylinder, inline-four
Displacement: 636cc
Bore x stroke: 67.0 x 45.1mm
Compression ratio: 12.9:1
Fuel injection: DFI® with four 38mm Keihin throttle bodies and oval sub-throttles
Ignition: TCBI with digital advance
Transmission: Six-speed
Final drive: 520 series X-ring chain
Rake / trail: 23.5 degrees / 4.0 in.
Frame type: Aluminum perimeter
Front tire: 120/70 ZR17
Rear tire: 180/55 ZR17
Wheelbase: 54.9 in.
Front suspension / wheel travel: 41mm inverted Showa BP-SFF fork with top-out springs, stepless compression and rebound damping, adjustable spring preload / 4.7 in.
Rear suspension / wheel travel: Bottom-link Uni-Trak® with gas-charged shock, top-out spring and pillow ball upper mount, stepless compression damping, 25-way adjustable rebound damping, fully adjustable spring preload / 5.3 in.
Front brakes: Dual 310mm petal rotors with dual radial-mount, Nissin four-piston, monobloc calipers and available KIBS ABS
Rear brake: Single 220mm petal rotor with single-piston caliper and KIBS ABS
Overall length: 82.1 in.
Overall width: 27.8 in.
Overall height: 43.9 in.
Fuel capacity: 4.5 gal.
Seat height: 32.7 in.
Curb weight:  standard/ABS 423.4 lbs. / 427.8 lbs.
Color choices: Pearl Flat Stardust White / Flat Ebony

Metallic Spark Black / Flat Ebony

Lime Green / Metallic Spark Black

MSRP: standard / ABS $TBD / TBD
Warranty: 12 Months
Wholesale distributor: Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A.
9950 Jeronimo Road
Irvine, California 92618

*Specifications are subject to change. Media are encouraged to visit for most current specifications.


  1. Jeremy in TX says:

    I am not really into sport bikes, but I have to disagree with some of the posts implying that the bike is expensive. Fully adjustable suspension, adjustable power settings, traction control, ABS, what amounts to a miniature (and reliable) Formula One engine, and less than 430lbs ready-to-ride for less than $13K? Sounds like a pretty good deal to me.

    I even have a darn good job to buy if I wanted. Whodathunk?

  2. Norm G. says:

    the drooping british airways “concord nose” looks way better on the 600.

  3. afw says:

    This bike blows away other 600cc class bikes, traction control and an extra 37cc for the same price as the competition.

  4. Nocklhiem Verstadt says:

    Why not make it a 750? That would really be a nice jump in cc’s and direct competition for Suzuki’s 750. I don’t think an extra 36 cc’s is world shaking, even if they got it though increased stroke. There are a lot of great bikes out there that you can buy for $12,000 and for me, the 636 isn’t one of one.

    • Chris says:

      I agree. I’d like to see Kawi, Yama, and Honda follow Suzuki’s lead–make a 750 cc engine that fits in the 600cc chassis. Add some bracing for stiffness and to handle the extra torque/power of the bigger engine. Should be able to do it relatively cheap too.

      A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… An older version of the 636 actually won races against the 750cc Suzuki… Not “world shaking”, but still viable. ??

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “Why not make it a 750?”

      why…? because the 750 sport segment is DEAD. 600cc is the entry-level category where most consumer money is/was pumped into. beating the sole 750 in existence won’t sell nearly as many bikes as being seen in all the magazine tests beating the offerings from 3, 4, and 5 other manufacturers.

  5. mike says:

    Wow! Have I ever been asleep. We are talking 12 LARGE for a 600cc sportbike!!! I thought that the target had to he sub $10k…Silly. It must be the exchange rate?!?!
    Bring on the Triumph triples.

    • Chris says:

      You must have been a sleep for a few years then… As 11k+ for a 600ish sportbike is not new.

      • todd says:

        I remember when 8 seemed like waaayyy too much.


      • pablo says:

        $12K is Cheap!!! A heavily discounted CBR600RR in Australia starts at $14,000! The actual retail price is over $16,000 ride away including all taxes etc. And to rub salt into the wound the Ausie $$$ is higher than the US dollar. Sure you guys in the US might not have jobs or free healthcare but at least you have cheap motorcycles!

        • Norm G. says:

          re: “A heavily discounted CBR600RR in Australia starts at $14,000! The actual retail price is over $16,000 ride away including all taxes etc. And to rub salt into the wound the Ausie $$$ is higher than the US dollar.”

          NO MAN IS AN ISLAND…!!! unless of course that man lives on the “island” of australia where nearly all goods are “imported”. 🙁

        • reg says:

          Yours is very cheap as well, in brazil these are the prices:
          2012 zx-6: R$ 45.000,00, or USS 22.360,00
          2012 zx-10: USS 28.300,00

        • Gary says:

          “Cheap” motorcycles won’t do us US riders any good if you don’t have a decent or a job at all to pay for it.

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