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2019 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R: MD Ride Review

Sport bikes have fallen out of favor recently. It wasn’t that long ago, however, that sport bikes were the best selling models in most manufacturers’ lineups. They represented the pinnacle of technology in a street legal machine.

Now, of course, you can get all the power, suspension and brakes you want in a standard-style motorcycle … or even an adventure bike. Do sport bikes still have a place?

Among sport bikes, the 600cc supersport class has, perhaps, suffered the biggest drop in sales. If you want a sport bike, it seems, you want an open class superbike, not a 600.

All of this may it seem a bit odd when Kawasaki decided to update it’s 636cc ZX-6R for 2019. The changes are not dramatic – more about that below – but they come with a price decrease, as opposed to a price increase!

Kawasaki is sticking with the 636cc displacement this year, which provides a noticeable increase in mid-range performance versus the 599cc competition. This particularly benefits street riding. Supersports have a well-deserved reputation for lacking mid-range thrust at street rpm levels. Kawasaki‘s ZX-6R, however, provides good power from 6,000 rpm, or so, before a screaming top-end begins in the 9,000 rpm range – carrying all the way to 15,000 rpm.

The changes for 2019 are relatively few. First of all, there is a quick-shifter (upshift only), LED headlights and tail lights, shorter final drive ratio for better acceleration, and redesigned bodywork.

This bike was already well-equipped, however, with traction control (adjustable for three levels), ABS (on our model), together with high-grade suspension and brakes. That suspension includes a fully adjustable Showa SFF-BP fork (among the best), and adjustable shock. Brakes include four-piston, radial-mount Nissin front calipers acting on big 310mm rotors, and a single piston caliper in back.

The ergonomics of the ZX-6R are very much committed. In other words, this is a serious sport bike/race replica machine. The stretched-out rider position includes low bars and high pegs, as you can see from the photos. Nevertheless, the riding position works – it is perfect for aggressive street riding and track days, and the rider triangle feels balanced.

One other change for 2019 that we didn’t mention is the upgrade in rubber. The ZX-6R is one of the first bikes to get Bridgestone’s new Battlax S22 sport rubber, that we discussed recently in a separate article. In short, these tires provide outstanding grip, they warm up quickly and provide excellent feedback from their contact patches.

The 636cc inline four-cylinder motor is a gem. Years of evolutionary development have resulted in a broad (for a supersport) relatively smooth power-band. As stated earlier, there is decent thrust at street rpm levels that builds to a shrieking top-end worthy of any supersport race bike. The slightly bigger motor outpowers other stock supersports – producing over 110 hp at the rear wheel.

The ZX-6R has outstanding throttle response – excellent fuel mapping allows the rider to open the throttle exiting corners without upsetting the chassis. Trust us, you can’t take this sort of thing for granted these days.

The brakes on the ZX-6R are superb. Outstanding power and very good feedback allow the rider to control braking in extreme circumstances, whether at the racetrack or avoiding calamity on the street.

The ZX-6R comes with a quick shifter that works only on up-shifts. It works very well, but we sure miss a rev-matching downshift function.

The 2019 Kawasaki ZX-6R offers good value with pricing that starts at $9,999 for the non-ABS version, $10,999 with ABS and $11,299 for our KRT edition test unit. If you are looking for a versatile sport bike for both street and track, we can’t think of a better value. Take a look at Kawasaki’s web site for additional details and specifications.

See more of MD’s great photography: Instagram


  1. sherm says:

    I’m a very senior citizen. For some reason reason sport bikes have always been my favorites (not a fast rider either). My current bike is an 09 CBR600RR ABS, and its the best bike I’ve ever owned. The Kawasaki looks like it would be a perfect replacement, if I was young enough to be looking for one.

  2. RCV says:

    2019 GSX-R 750 more power,and lighter weight ..$ 12,499.00.. No brainer..

    • Dave says:

      Can’t argue that the GSXR isn’t a good bike, because it is, but it’s in its last production year. No traction control, no quick shifter, no ABS option. $2,499 higher entry cost. Unfortunately, the GSXR 750 is going to go out with a whimper.

  3. Tank says:

    The lights and the blinkers are just so you can ride it to the race track.

  4. jon says:

    The best thing for me in this review is the comment about the smooth throttle response. My 2005 zx6r was excellent in that regard and I still pine after that bike to this day.
    In more recent years it seems that only the Euro manufacturers have been paying attention to this issue – great to hear at least one Japanese manufacturer has got back on top of it too.

  5. Pacer says:

    Kawasaki should go the direction of the Tuono. It could hang with the mid size class.

  6. Rhinestone Kawboy says:

    While I agree that aging demographics, high price for the usual younger buyer, and narrow focus with not the best comfort would be detriments to these genre of bikes selling well now a days, I see no one mentioned the cost of insurance is out of sight for many of these. Who wants to pay $12-$15,000 or more for these and still have to pay $2000 or more a year for insurance. Not many are willing or can afford that.

    • todd says:

      Again, maybe if you are the type with a number of points, a DUI and accidents on your record this isn’t the bike for you. When i had checked on insurance for a brand new GSXR750, they only wanted $65 a month or something like that. I’m in the SF area so rates are typically higher here…

      • Selecter says:

        What todd said. I’m 40, no accidents, homeowner. Adding this exact bike with full coverage($500 deductibles) would add a not-unreasonable $453 for a 12-month policy. $2000 a year for a 19-year-old, maybe, but not for all riders at large. Not by a longshot. $38 a month…

        This, though, does play towards the reality that it had typically been young people buying these in the past. Middle-agers like me, by and large, did not. They seemed to have moved on to the liter bikes, or ADV bikes, or others. Hell, I have, but I’m not a one-bike type, so there’s always room for more. My current 600 is old, and might need a stablemate in the future!

  7. Artem says:

    Know noething but Robert Kubica

  8. Anonymous says:

    I’d guess that manufacturers don’t really know what to make because so many of us don’t really understand what we actually need. Not WANT, need. There’s a big difference in those two with the latter being driven by each person’s ego.

    Call it bench racing or spec spouting, it’s been going on forever and not just among sport bike riders. Touring folks are ridiculous with their one-upmanship. Adventure riders (just slightly lighter touring rigs is all their bikes are) do the same thing. So-called “cruiser” riders are pretty smug and don’t even get me started on my fellow HD owners, LOL!

    It infects and affects across genres. Talk about a measuring contest, just pull out enough spec sheet to win.

    It’s a truth that most of us are happy with what we have until we “know better”.

  9. Tom R says:

    This has got to be the most irrelevant class of motorcycle available today.

  10. PatrickD says:

    That 600s evolved to the point that they were obsolete is a curiosity.
    We should remember that the campaign to have the bike that won the annual 600cc shootout almost entirely neglected the all-rounder element that made these bikes a more easily justifiable purchase all those years ago.
    My 2001 zx-6r (jeez, 18 years ago!!!) was physically larger than the competition and was all but ignored because of it. Peak power and lap times were what grabbed the headlines. Kawasaki entered the same race then and the usability of the model was lost forever (touring, commuting, trackdays, occasional pillion use etc).
    We have lots of choice today, of course, but these bikes really increased the pulse. We could see them going hell for leather in WSS600 racing at the weekends, and then saddle up for work on Monday morning. Shame.

    • Tom Swift says:

      I have an even older ZX6E, the precursor to the ZZR, which is fast, quick, good-handling, and comfortable on longer rides. The mfgs wanted to win races, and the magazines wanted to do track days, and young riders were basically told that just having a fun, fast bike wasn’t good enough.

      Standards/nakeds/UJM’s are making a comeback, but with different styling. Eventually, seats well become usable for passengers again. Then they will discover that some wind protection and soft luggage is nice for day trips, and we will have come full circle back to the ZZR-style of sport bikes.

      Actually, the Z900RS is currently real close. IMHO, a ZZR636 or a Z636RS would be a terrific bike, but I don’t know if they would sell in sufficient numbers.

      • MacSpoone says:

        Make it a 650.

        Then tune it for street/torque, and stuff it into a Z900RS style chassis.

        That’s when you get my money.

      • Joe Winters says:

        This is why I keep my 1999 YZF600R. I don’t care about going 1 second faster in a quarter mile, and the ergos on my bike are far superior for everyday use. About the only thing that I am truly missing out on is fuel injection, but for the savings on taxes and insurance more than make up for that.
        When I do upgrade, I would consider a ZZR styled bike. Something a man of real proportions can enjoy sans chiropractor.

  11. Artem says:

    Honda CBR600F is a leader? Or I lost something

  12. todd says:

    I don’t know how new bikes can compete against $3,000, 10-15 year old 636s or R6s. There is pretty much nothing on this new bike that would give you a head up on one of those.

    • Uffe says:

      Exactly! Unless you follow the market religiously and have MotoGP rider skills, you’d be hard pressed to distinguish a brand new bike from a 10-year old bike. Especially when talking Japanese bikes. Both in terms of looks and riding dynamics. Probably because most R&D funds have been spent on electronics packages in recent years.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      They have much better newness than used bikes, IMO.

      • TimC says:

        LOL. I’m one of those guys that would rather pay the penalty willingly to own things from new. Done both, like new better.

        • mickey says:

          especially when it comes to sport bikes, which get thrashed regularly by guys who sometimes don’t have the most experience. Buying a used Tourer, Adventure bike or Cruiser is a lot safer bet than buying a used sport bike.

          That said, I usually buy new as well.

        • Jeremy says:

          Yeah, me too. Paying an extra $6K – 7K for a new bike over a 15-yo machine wouldn’t give me a second’s pause. Especially, as Mickey pointed out, for this type of bike.

          I’ve bought used bikes before… Some have been fine, some not. I have the knowledge and tools to fix probably anything that might be/go wrong with them. But I don’t really have the time or desire any more. New bike smell for the win as far as I’m concerned.

    • Stuki Moi says:

      The most glaring weakness of the 2013+ model, was headlights than didn’t light anything… This one has leds. Also, my 2013 has been spewing unburned hydrocarbons and NOx’ at idle since it was new. Stings my eyes and smells “racy” if starting it in the garage. I’m assuming this one runs cleaner. Hopefully not at the cost of engine driveability. The cleaner burn may help with the problem of a pretty prodigious fuel burn, as well.

  13. matt says:

    Kaw had a proper looking ‘ZZR’ like bike, the Z750(s) – I had the earlier ZR7s which was the 8v air/oil cooled while the Z750 was a sleeved down Z900/1000 motor. Bring back the Z750 as the Z636R and just toss that silly twin. Could recycle the almost all of this bike, just change the angle of the subframe, drop the pegs a solid 30mm and have ‘wrap over’ clipons and toss half the plastic. Heck, Kaw could make it a simple matter of a factory accessory kit for not even $1000 retail.

    • Superlight says:

      It surprises me that manufacturers haven’t attempted to change the ergonomics on the 600 sportbikes to something more comfortable for normal street riding. Or at least offer a “kit” with above-triple-tree clip-ons and lower footpegs as an option.

      • Dave says:

        Right? Track riders/racers usually change out the rear-sets/pegs/clip-ons regardless of what the stock bike had on it.

        • Superlight says:

          I’m not talking about racing, though most 600 supersport bikes are still focused on that aspect. All it takes is a slight revision to the upper fairing design, higher clip-ons and slightly lower footpegs to create more comfortable 600 supersports that might sell to actual street riders. It seems strange to me that no manufacturer has tried that approach.

          • Jeremy says:

            I think a large part of what sold 600s (and 1000s and probably most bikes for that matter) was fantasy… This idea that one could be a racer with such a tool.

            We see this with most genres of bikes, no? For the cruiser crowd, it’s the outlaw image. Adventure bikes, 3rd-world globetrotters, retro bikes, hipsters and throwbackers. Super standards, hooligans. KLRs, well I don’t really know what to say about those guys.

            Sure there are plenty of people riding the kind of bike that is right for them regardless of the fantasy that the marketing types try to package with the bike. But do you sell more bikes by selling practicality? Or dreams? I don’t know.

          • Dave says:

            I agree with you. My supporting point is, if the bikes were more comfortable (in the ways you outline), virtually all street riders would appreciate it. The track guys were going to change it no matter how it was delivered, so they wouldn’t care either way.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      And why would they bring back the Z750? I don’t know the sales figures, but I’d wager that the “silly twin” handily outsold the Z750 in all markets by a wide margin.

      I think Kawasaki considers the Ninja 1000 and Ninja 650s their ZZRs, now, for better or worse.

  14. downgoesfraser says:

    Typical Kawasaki move, keep selling the same product for 20 years, development and tooling costs have been paid, nice that they dropped the price, wonder if it is built in Thailand. Interesting they dropped the KLR, must have a bunch of leftovers, hopefully the replacement will be as advanced as the Concours was.

    • Stuki Moi says:

      In this case, they literally don’t make sporty bikes this good anymore. There isn’t enough money in it. Now all we get is noodly steeltube frames with polenta steering heads. And tractor engines. Held together with electronic nannies, steering dampers, and a barrage of marketing nonsense about how those atrocities against riding enjoyment is somehow “better.” This bike will remain the pinnacle sporty street bikes, until someone again decides to get serious. 20 years of the most intense refinement of any bike class ever, resulted in bikes that really were that good. No amount of TFT displays, riding modes and gopro mounts will ever come close.

  15. mickey says:

    Kawasaki is doing a good job for it’s target audience with the 400 and this 636.

  16. austin zzr 1200 says:

    where are all of the obligatory “I’m 75 y/o, 6’5″,350 lbs and this bike is not for me” comments? C’mon gang, don’t disappoint me!

    • Reginald Van Blunt says:

      OK. Needs a flat seat, and pegs by the crank !
      So There. 72 x 6’2″ x 220 So double There.

    • Mick says:

      How about:

      I’m 57 I think that this bike needs more cowbell.

      Whatever the gas tack size is, it’s too small. Can’t you read the T-shirt?

      What? No shaft drive?

      Where’s the tour pack, trailer hitch and flower boxes?

      Do you think that it would make my 400# girlfriend look fat?

      Does it have voice to text? And where’s the cup holders?

      • Dino says:

        Good job, going the extra mile!!

        I can only add… Where’s the Cruise control?
        The headlights are drooping so low, looks like a beak!
        And I’m sure there are tank seams underneath all that plastic!!!

      • austin zzr 1200 says:

        love it!!

    • CrazyJoe says:

      I’ll try. This is what could be called a pinnacle bike. Best in it’s class as far as 600’s go. There’s liter bikes, 1200 adventure bikes and 2000cc cruisers and the attitude is if you don’t have the best you won’t have fun . I think this attitude has been killing sales. That and the fact a Vulcan cost 8000 and this cost 10000.

    • Hot Dog says:

      I’ll bite— 66 x 6’2″ x 200. This is a really nice bike, bet Kawi sells a bunch of them but the end result will always be the same for me. It seems whenever we take off on a week(s) trip, the first few days the bike feels like a suppository and I need help pulling it out of my arse when I dismount. By the middle of the week, when I walk around camp, I’m so sore the only way I can get comfortable again is by getting back on the bike. By the end of the week, eh things are pretty comfy even though I haven’t shaved, showered or changed undies for what seems like a fortnight. I bet this bike would be pretty damned nice to live with on a long term relationship, although I would need to have a throttle lock to check if my billfold is where it’s supposed to be.

  17. Neal says:

    IMO everyone should own a proper 600 sportbike at some time in their riding career. My GSXR600 was a phenomenal machine that felt very much like the result of decades of relentless refinement.

    • A P says:

      Agree Neal, my 2006 CBR600RR was amazing at tracksdays, had potential well beyond my abilities and risk profile. Also great fun on the street, just be judicious with the gas. I stopped doing trackdays and replaced the 600RR with an F6B Wing in part due to my age, but also because the local variety of trackdays has incrementally become a racing farm system. Casual trackriders need not apply. But that’s another rant that was beaten to death in other article comments.

      If there is one bike that is the result of relentless refinement, it is the Gold Wing series. No one will ever confuse a Wing (even the F6B) with a sportbike, but the Wings have long handled very well for an 800+lb lump.

      Once we start collecting pensions, most riders tend to choose a less aggressive performance/comfort balance. My F6B Wing has upgraded fork internals (disabling the anti-dive crap, functional fork brace) to keep the best of the “rolling armchair with handlebars” comfort while allowing me to ride the street twisties only a little slower than I did on the 600RR.

      Sorry, no cup-holder on the F6B, and even though it came with cruise it seldom gets used… 12,000 km/year, 95% on local rural 2-lane curvy roads. Considering up here in the Great White North we only get 6 months decent riding weather, that’s a lot of seat-time, almost double what I used to do on the 600RR.

      Both bikes are platforms for great fun, just different fun.

      • Neal says:

        I wrecked my Z800 last week (I’m fine, just some rash and sprains), and it has me thinking it might be prudent to pick up to something that doesn’t encourage or reward enthusiasm quite so much. I gotta say, the F6B has tempted me for a while. I think they look great and that motor… I don’t think my riding consists of enough distance work to justify a rig like that though, I mostly run around Atlanta and take a long road trip once or twice a year. I might end up on a CB500X or NC750X, I hear nothing but praise for them.

        • austin zzr 1200 says:

          nah, it just means you need a new z900

          • Neal says:

            Traction control would have prevented my crash, I don’t want a bike that doesn’t have traction control anymore.

        • karl says:

          I have a CB500X that the little woman rides occasionally. It is not a replacement for an 800cc inline four lol. it is great for a beginning rider or a short rider once lowered. This is the best compromise bike I have found for her- a bike I will enjoy riding once in a while and she can easily use as well. I am a solid foot taller than she is, so it has been difficult to find an in between bike. the Honda 500X is it. Good little cheap bike, but High performance it is not

        • austin zzr 1200 says:

          ok, get the z900 RS, it has TC

        • A P says:

          Glad to hear you weren’t hurt badly… crashing sucks.

          Choosing a new bike is such a mind-bender, especially if there is no major criteria to be considered.

          I was limited by my wife deciding that sometimes she would like to just passenger, rather than riding her own bike. The original F6B has a very comfortable back seat, but without the passenger feeling hemmed in by the usual touring bike “embrace”. After making the rounds at the bike shows, she nixed all the touring rear seats except the F6B… choice made. Fortunately, it was the bike I wanted all along. 🙂

          Good hunting!

  18. skortch says:

    This bike with the ergos from the 98-02 model would be awesome and appeal to a wider audience.

    It’s a shame to see a gem of an engine like this go to waste. If I were Kawi I’d create a modern-day (non-retro) GPz550, with the top 1/2 fairing from this bike and ergos splitting the difference between Versys and ZX-R. Oh, and a tail section that isn’t sky high. Keep the weight around 420 wet, drop the gearing a bit, and leave everything else the same as the above test bike… a guy can dream, right?

    • Selecter says:

      As much as I hate to say it, platform engineering seems like the way into the future for motorcycles in the “big bike” market. R&D is expensive. Making several minor variants of an already-good bike is not. I’m pretty sure that even with my meager (nonexistent) engineering and design skills, I could mock up a pretty competent Z636 for Kawasaki. The expensive stuff (chassis R&D, powertrain R&D, emissions and safety certifications) is already done. Leverage it.

      I guess the downside to making a bike like that, though, is it’d probably compete for sales with the Z900 within their own company.

      I had a 2011 ZX-6R which I definitely should not have sold. I’ve a mind to get back into one – the ’19 feels like a nicer road bike (at a standstill, at least), and is pretty inexpensive. Biggest competition to that plan, ironically, are the $8000 ’17/’18 ZX-6Rs lying about. A new, $10,000 makes the other 600s look like a bad buy. An $8000 ’18 model makes ALMOST ANY other new motorcycles look like a bad buy.

    • Stuki Moi says:

      With 92-02 ergos, the geometry would have to be slackened. You _need_ all the weight the 636 gives you over the front, as well as the low aero profile, when you have this much power, this short a wheelbase and this steep angles. Otherwise, even Kawasaki would have to, at a minimum, commit the ultimate sin against any and all hope of a fun-to-ride sporty streetbike: Fitting one of those soul crushing dullification devices known as a steering damper.

  19. Neil says:

    I’ll take the CBR650 myself. Less power I know but better ergos.

  20. gpokluda says:

    I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for the 600cc sport bike class. Great job, Kawasaki for providing a great bike at great price. Love that Kawi green too!

  21. Michael says:

    I’ve got bike fever and have a spot in the garage right now for something, I was really aiming at some sort of sporty ADV bike but, if I could grab one of these new for around $9,700 (non abs) with no fees, that’s almost too good to pass up. I used to be a hardcore sportbike guy, raced a few yrs and still want to do trackdays, all my friends my age are still doing them and are pretty fast now, this might be “the bike” to have. Maybe I’ll provide photos later of my fat, stiff, old ass crawling off this bike after a measly 20 minute session on the track, but I will be smiling.

    • paul says:

      two thumbs up.

    • Stuki Moi says:

      It is THE bike to have. Not strictly for trackdays, especially if you and your friends are _really_ fast. But it’s almost VFR comfy without giving up much in the way of handling at all, until you put stickier than S2x tires on it. for trackdays even at a high S2x appropriate pace, it’s plenty. (I have a 2013. Been trying to replace it (I’m supposed to be too old for something this squiddly…) ever since. But nothing else comes close, as far as having an absolute blast everywhere goes.)

  22. Frank says:

    Great bike…

  23. Mike says:

    Where’s the big surprise with the cost of sportbikes getting up to $15,000 ?
    Too much for kids to afford and the older gents who can afford them don’t have the wrists or flexibility or desire to own one… Not with the awesome standard bikes available nowadays.

  24. Chris says:

    Great looking sport bike. Great features and bang for the buck. My only problem with the small displacement bikes is they shriek like banshees. I know that’s the appeal to some, but riding something that sounds like a chain saw on steroids is not pleasurable to me. My ZX-14 loafs along a bit above 3000 rip-ems at 70. That’s easy on this old man’s tinnitus.

    • Stuki Moi says:

      It’s a Pavarotti thing…. To some, he brought something to song, that Leonard Cohen did not. Not that the latter wasn’t also great.

  25. Harry says:

    A Versys 636 with this motor would thrill the tourer and confound the competition

    • MGNorge says:

      I can’t imagine.

      • Dave says:

        I think the smarter play would be to build that on the Z900 platform and do away with the Versys 1000. That bike sells for $8,799 w/ABS as it sits now and would wind up being lighter.

    • TimC says:

      Yeah basically displacement-class wise, it would compete with the FJ-07. Performance, wise, the FJ-09.

    • Stuki Moi says:

      The engine drinks, a lot, of fuel; and only really gets all that charming above 8000 and when on the throttle. For steady state touring, or even just commuting without playing around a bit like an a-hat; more frugal, less quick revving engines make more objective sense.

  26. Pacer says:

    It wouldn’t hurt my feelings if they just made abs standard. Easily disabled for track/off road situations.

  27. Pacer says:

    For some reason I am unable respond to people. Oh, well.

    To Matt wanting a ZZR. Seems easy and sensible. May out sell the ZX.

  28. Matt says:

    Please make a sport tourer with engine, ZZR-636.

    • Rob says:

      Yes, please! I love my 2008 ZZR600, but would love an updated ZZR with fuel injection and other goodies.

    • charger_john says:

      Agreed Matt. I love this bike but my 2005 ZZR-600 is excellent and probably going to last forever.

  29. Stuki Moi says:

    I have a 2013, and it’s still the sporty street bike to beat. I’ve been trying to replace it since before I even got it, but nothing else even comes close, as far as a visceral riding experience on the street goes. It’s just so darned alive, while still remaining unflappable on S21/22 class rubber (On Supercorsas and up, the Daytona starts making more sense.)

    It’s also crazy comfortable (aside from the riding position, which is a bit on the committed side. But still a couch compared to a Daytona or R6). The front suspension is plusher over botts dots than any adventure bike shy of the AT which has 21s… Pretty incredible for a bike putting half your weight on your wrists.

    It’s pretty much the crowning glory of what was, for two whole decades spanning the peak of motorcycling’s popularity, the most competitive class of bikes that ever existed. Nowadays, there simply isn’t any bike class around, where competition so simglemindedly sharpens every single little detail to perfection, the way they did back when the 600s ruled the roost. And when you ride this thing, that shows. It’s almost completely analog and mechanical, yet is refined to a degree that the latest “tolerance tolerant” slopshows, held together with electronic nannies camouflaging their mechanical sloppiness, can never even come close to.

    • Dave says:

      The irony. The competitiveness of the class is exactly what focused it into expensive, one-trick pony bikes and killed it off.

      • Stuki Moi says:

        Aging rider demographics had at least as much to do with it. Development at that level required lots and lots of potential buyers to be justifiable. As riders got older, fewer and fewer could tolerate the ergonomics.

        A very fundamental issue, was that development had reached the point where the bikes could be made faster by becoming ever smaller. To the point where only Marquez et all could fit at all on an optimized 600. So there would have to be a split: Between bikes sized to fit ever growing Westerners and Japanese, and bikes made as fast and responsive as they could be. And once you split buyers, there’s not enough of them to justify the ferocious development the 600s saw prior….

        By now, liter bikes is almost there as well, size wise. The latest CBR1K is about the size of the 636. So now we’re getting 1100s, 1200s……. All kitted out with electronics limiting them to the pace of 600s almost everywhere they ever get ridden. But boring, clumsy, dull and remote versions of the glorious 600s of a decade ago.

        • Dave says:

          The reason 600ss bikes have dwindled was because in a few short years they were the perfect mix of performance, economy and versatilty, to $10k+ bikes that are only good for riding in a way that only a tiny portion of the riding population ever does.

          The glory days for 600’s were more than a decade ago, unfortunately.

          Asking $1k for the abs upgrade is shooting themselves in the foot. $9999 with abs standard is where they need to be.

          • Stuki Moi says:

            This 636 is just as versatile as ever. It’s a very different bike than the much more track focused Daytona and R6. Kawasaki specifically went out of their way to develop it as a street bike.

            With modern track specific tires, it needs a more track worthy suspension, a raised rear, and even a steering damper, in order to be an optimal track bike.

            But as it sits, it’s _the_ sporty street bike extraordinaire. It’s no Goldwing, nor Adv bike, but it’s about as comfortable as you can make a bike without compromising sporty handling and excitement in any meaningful way. You can throw softbags on it, including 90Liter tailbpacks, and handing is still sportbike tight. And the suspension is almost magical, in how it combines plushness with control (again, within the confines of streetsport tires, not rack ones.) And, unlike anything else, other than other 600s, it sings high Cs like Pavarotti.

          • Dave says:

            We’ll see. It doesn’t sound quite like an R6 or Daytona, but there’s a few ZZR (one of the last great all-around sport bikes) owners up above in the comments wishing it were more like their bikes.

            I’m glad Kawasaki saw fit to make it more street. I hope they’re rewarded for it.

  30. CLB says:

    Wish I had more time track days for sure. Modern bikes are good. No major suspension upgrades even needed for track days.

  31. Jeremy in TX says:

    It’s worth saying again… That’s a lot of bike for the money.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Kudos to Kawasaki for updating a model they could have easily dropped from their lineup. The $9999 base price is unbelievable. I purchased a ZX6R in 1995, the first year it was introduced, paying full list price of $7999, with 25 less horsepower, and 30 pounds more weight vs this 2019 model. At this price, I’m tempted. Who says you can’t relive your youth a quarter of a century later, even stronger and lighter this time!

  33. Reginald Van Blunt says:

    Whitness the advantage of evolutionary improvements. Do wonder what it looks like without all the camouflage graphics like a WW2 Q ship. What would happen to sales if a plain paint job was an available order option ?

    • Randy S. says:

      You have to pay an EXTRA $300 for the graphics that you hate shown in the pictures in this article.

      If you don’t pay the extra $300, the ZX6R comes in black. (Not even a green or red or blue version is available.)

      • Reginald Van Blunt says:

        Really ? People pay more for stick ons to look like a racer with sponsors ? The shape of the machine should be more of interest than the image. Might be pleasant looking. Black ? Hope it is a nice gloss, with a delicate gold pin stripe, and not flat.

    • HM says:

      At the Kawasaki site the plain black one looks a lot better imo than the decaled piece fwiw.