Kawasaki ZX6R – One Quick Kwak

I have got to say that my old friend Simon’s 2000 Kawasaki ZX6R may not be the most sparkling example you will ever see. However the battle scars detract not one one jot from how well this fantastic bike rides.

Not Exactly Pristine, but…

Thunder in the Mountains

All About the Engine

As with so many big Kawasaki bikes that I have ridden the engine totally dominates the riding experience.  The four pot mill defines the character of the whole bike:  Aggressive, snarling the 600cc mill feels more like a 750. My own Yamaha YZF600R Thundercat has similar power and performance, but the ZX6R feels more urgent somehow. I rode the bike in the Pyrenees and the engine really was superb.  The bike was virtually grabbed by the scruff of its’ neck and chucked at a corner. Coming out of hairpins you needed to keep the corner speed and revs up to get the slingshot right. Coming straight off the Yamaha FZ1S I riding that day, I struggled with this a little in places. However, it is all down to technique and getting used to the old girl. Simon can certainly punt the old crate along very briskly!

Good in the Bends Too.

The handling of the ZX6R really backs up that stonking engine well: The Kawasaki always feeling very planted in quicker bends. In one section of flowing bends that I tackled the old girl could be hurled about with some abandon: Superb!

There is a fly in the ointment however and in this case, as with a number of older, big Kwacks I have ridden, it is the brakes. Whilst they are very effective the lever travel is huge. This can be a little un nerving at times! I also had a little trouble balancing braking and throttle blipping too.

Patina with Pace!

Overall though this is a fast, fun machine. The bumps and bruises around the bike just add a patina that tells a story of a bike that has been used and hugely enjoyed…you can’t say fairer than that!

Words and Pictures: Tony Donnelly

Thanks to Simon for letting me have a go!

Update: As of July 2024 Simon still has the ZX6R. It is still going strong, but is largely confined to commuting duties these days.