Kawasaki ZX-6RR test
Intro: A RACING BRUTE
Regardless of what the end of the year has in store- the Super sport models will have brought the house down in 2003. After Yamaha and the new R6- Honda and its CBR 600- Kawasaki didn-t lose time in following suit with yet another incredible 600 model.
The Kawa catalogue stands out by proposing 2 machines with similar cubic inch displacement- the ZX-6RR and its 600ccs- right here- and the 6-36 for 36ccs more. In theory- the RR is meant for the track- complete with racing kit. But we wanted to see if this machine could hold its own in its original version- and on the road. -by Gilles Della Posta-
Esthetique: AS AGGRESSIVE AS YOU WISH
Your struck by the crazy look of the ZX-6RR. Obviously- Kawasaki has decided to be a bit more aggressive and original. The front lights and blinkers give you the impression they-re going to literally eat the road.
The rear reminds you of the Z 1000. – which is understandable; it-s exactly the same.
Both the details and the bike as a whole will not disappoint you. It-s pure sport. The famous "seat-handle bars-foot stand" triangle has been totally slanted towards the front and the control board isn-t faking it either. It-s even one of the best parts of the machine.
Here we are in digital heaven- with the possibility to time yourself up to 99 laps- The only bummer- the liquid crystal rev meter isn-t all that legible.
Motorization: BELLOWING WITH PLEASURE
With power at 113ch at 161kg empty- you-ll understand that this beautiful Kawa runs well indeed- Torque is discreet and may just be the engine-s Achilles heel. A motor that-s been re-hauled- it-s lighter- more compact with forged and not cast pistons and a clutch specifically designed to avoid dribble coming out of turns. that-s some nice work provided by the Japanese specialists.
The character of this 600cc 4-cylinder injection engine really shines through between 7 and 800 revs. That-s when she-s really screaming. And it-ll jump into the red zone real fast- becoming borderline breakdown- The gears shift real easy thanks to a supple gearbox- precise and spaced out nicely- even if it-s not as relaxed on the road. In other words- to get the most out of it- you have to make it scream- but that-s all part of the fun-
On the road: MONSTER LIKE EFFECIENCY
From the start you quickly realize that you must stay away from the city- The weight is almost all on the bars and this will provoke cramps and some genuine pain quickly. The engine also reminds you that it-s not meant for city streets- mainly due to a lack of torque. As for its turning radius- one wonders if you-ll be able to do a U-turn even if you had all of Trafalgar Square to do it in- The ZX-6RR likes wide-open spaces and will become simply claustrophobic if you try to fence it in.
To uncover its talent- the Kawa needs some good old asphalt and a few- tight turn. That-s where she shines
Engine performance- albeit appreciated- is not necessarily the showstopper here. The engine-s precision is what really gets you. Although no Formula 1 star- you feel like you can do just about anything on this beauty.
To help the aluminium perimeter chassis- a 41mm reversed fork supports the front axel assembly.
Everything controlling suspension is adjustable. You can even play with trim- Its efficiency is all the more appreciated thanks to its friendly- easy manner. In fact- Kawa has taken the same direction in development that Yamaha chose- if you look at the geometries of the front axel assembly.
The bike is still precise and sprightly- but now she-s easy to steer- which really boosts enjoyment.
And you-ll love it even more for its quality brakes. The dual front 220mm disk with its radial brake callipers is the best there is- but even more- it allows you to really feel what-s going on between the rubber and the turf- which is so important on the track. And- uh- it-s pretty nifty on the road- too.
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