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2010 Kawasaki ZX-6R Ninja
The Middleweight Sportbike That Won Just About Every Magazine Comparo!
When it comes to performance, no class is more competitive than middleweight sportbikes. To stand out in this crowd, a motorcycle needs to do everything better than well — it needs to kick serious tail in every department. Hats off to the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R then, winner of 600cc comparison tests in just about every publication and website of note on the planet. With an engine the critics agree feels bigger than 599cc, and a chassis that out handles all others, the ZX-6R returns as the bike to beat in 2010.
With a fine-tuned chassis including a class-exclusive Big Piston Fork and fully adjustable shock out back, razor-sharp handling sets the ZX-6R apart. To optimize front-rear rigidity balance, frame stiffness around the swingarm pivot and the rear engine mounts is carefully tuned, with the compact engine rotated forward around the output shaft for a steep cylinder bank angle and optimal center of gravity. An exhaust layout with a short side muffler keeps the weight low, and an exhaust pre-chamber further contributes to the ZX-6R’s mass centralization.
The Ninja ZX-6R’s lean physique is fundamental to its light handling, with every component on the bike carefully scrutinized for minimal weight. The intake resonator box and supports for the instrument panel and mirrors are unitized with the enlarged —to optimize intake volume — Ram Air duct, contributing to weight savings and improving rigidity. Camshafts are made of lightweight chrome-moly steel, and light, magnesium engine covers all add up to big weight savings, along with transmission, oil pump and starter gears carefully engineered for maximum strength and minimal weight.
Along with its light weight and compact design, the ZX-6R engine is packed with details to give it precise throttle control and amazing performance, particularly in the mid-range. Smooth power delivery is achieved through outstanding combustion efficiency. Cylindrical guides in the top of the airbox guide the fuel charge into the intake funnels to reduce buffeting and improve cylinder filling, along with advanced cylinder porting techniques. High-current secondaries in the ignition coils provide hot, consistent sparks at all rpm.
In addition to its more than healthy bottom-end torque and smooth throttle response, the engine’s mid-range performance benefits from a similar number of refinements, including double-bore velocity stacks with inlets at two different heights, special-profile pistons with low piston-ring tension for reduced friction, and advanced cam chain guides for excellent cam-chain stabilization.
That strong mid-range provides great drive out of corners and is harmonized with the engine’s silky smooth high-rpm performance. This linear throttle torque delivery results in unparalleled controllability and offers the rider precise throttle control at all rpm. This predictability pays dividends when making mid-corner power adjustments. When combined with the reduced need to downshift provided by its healthy mid-range performance, the predictable throttle response makes it easier for riders to maintain their rhythm when stringing corners together.
In keeping with its racing heritage, the ZX-6R employs a cassette-type transmission that simplifies gearing changes at the track, reducing set-up time and allowing more time for riding. A slipper clutch allows quick downshifts without upsetting the rest of the chassis when reducing speed on corner entry.
Corner-entry controllability is yet another ZX-6R strong suit, thanks to the use of Showa’s revolutionary BPF (Big Piston Front fork). The BPF utilizes a large-diameter internal piston, which permits a reduction in damping pressure, for smoother action and better front end feedback — especially under braking and initial corner turn-in. Additionally, the BPF eliminates many of the internal components used in a cartridge-type fork, simplifying construction and resulting in a lighter overall fork weight.
Having already designed a lighter and more rigid swingarm for the Ninja ZX-10R sportbike, the Kawasaki engineers utilized many of the same design components for the ZX-6R’s swingarm. Shared swingarm parts include both left and right inner plates, the left outer plate, rear stand bosses, brake caliper stopper, chain guard and swingarm pivot shaft.
The response from Kawasaki’s acclaimed triple petal disc brake package with radial calipers is as refined and powerful as ever. Radial-mounted four-piston calipers and 300mm petal rotors up front provide awesome power and excellent feel. The 220mm rear petal disc features a pedal coaxially mounted with the footpeg for increased mid-stroke braking efficiency and optimum feel. Its master cylinder reservoir mounts forward of the swingarm — freeing up space around the footpeg, reducing parts and contributing to weight savings. It all adds up to unflappable composure under braking, and helps provide the precise control and feel that allows Supersport racers to enter corners harder.
To better capitalize on this lighter machine and its precise control response, the rider interface is appropriately fine-tuned to enhance feedback from bike to rider and vice versa. The relationship of the seat-to-pegs-to-bar “rider triangle” places the handlebars close to the rider and angled for a highly intuitive riding position. The fuel tank cover is flared just so around its top edge, providing a large contact patch and contributing to excellent rider feedback — similar to the ZX-10R. A narrow rear sub-frame and seat leading edge provide a slim, highly flexible riding position for moving around the bike, as well as a shorter reach to the pavement.
A highly refined fairing and one-piece front fender provide excellent aerodynamics and airflow to the radiator, along with great wind protection and minimal crosswind buffeting. An inner rear fender above the swingarm also reduces turbulence and helps keep the tail clean. The ZX-6R’s instrument panel provides information at-a-glance, and a race-quality adjustable twin-tube Öhlins steering damper with relief valve completes the track-ready package.
Highly confidence inspiring, the engine and chassis control precision offered by the Ninja ZX-6R enables riders to push harder and maximize the excitement that comes from actively controlling such a high-performance track-focused machine.
Details & Features
- Lean physique, low-mass, awesome power delivery and precise control
- Camshafts are made of chrome-moly steel
- Lightweight magnesium engine covers are standard
- Lightweight top injector mounting plate
- Lightweight transmission gears and gear dogs
- Lightweight oil pump and starter gears
- Inlet pressure pulse monitor does away with cam angle sensor, further contributing to lightness
- Cassette-type transmission makes it easy to quickly swap gear ratios, reducing set-up time at the track
Massive Mid-Range Performance
- Double bore velocity stacks feature inlets at two different heights, for increased performance in both the mid
- and high-rpm ranges
- Cam and tappets nitriding enables high-load cam profiles, for maximum performance
- Crown-finished pistons
- Molybdenum-coated piston skirts for reduced friction and engine break-in
- Low-tension piston rings reduce mechanical loss
- Advanced cam chain guides stabilize chain motion and further reduce mechanical loss
- Exhaust collector layout contributes to superb low and mid-range performance while maintaining high-rpm performance
More Precise Throttle Control
- Cylindrical guides in the top of the air cleaner box ensure accurately sprayed fuel mist from the secondary injectors into the intake funnels, improving combustion efficiency
- Long throttle bodies between oval sub-throttles and round main throttles yield a smooth intake transition, for reduced inlet turbulence and increased efficiency
- Advanced cylinder porting delivers excellent cylinder-filling and scavenging
- High-current secondary coil circuitry for optimum combustion efficiency
- The sub-frame is a 2-piece aluminum die-casting consisting of a front and rear section
- The lightweight sub-frame is very narrow, for a compact and slim rear end
- 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
Tuned Chassis Balance and Mass Centralization
- Frame stiffness around the swingarm pivot and the rear engine mounts optimizes front-rear rigidity balance
- Engine is rotated forward around the output shaft for steeper intake angle and excellent CG
- Exhaust layout with a short side muffler keeps the weight low
- Exhaust pre-chamber further contributes to mass centralization
Ergonomics and Chassis Feedback
- Seat-pegs-bar relationship places handlebars close to the rider and turned in slightly for a highly intuitive riding position
- Fuel tank profile 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 his knees or to hang off in turns
- Sculpted seat allows the rider to shift his body far back on the rear seat step, helping to reduce rider fatigue
- Steep rake angle for quick steering response and enhanced communication from the front tire
- Rear brake master cylinder reservoir forward of the swingarm mount frees up space around the footpeg, for simplicity and weight savings
Low Seat Height
- Narrow rear sub-frame makes it easy to reach the ground
- Front of seat is narrow and low, for a slim riding position and a short reach to the pavement
- ZX-6R features Showa's Big Piston Front fork (BPF) design, for fantastic braking and initial corner turn-in
- The BPF eliminates many of the internal components used in a cartridge-type fork, simplifying construction and resulting in lighter overall fork weight
- The large-diameter of the BPF's internal piston allows a reduction in damping pressure, for better feedback and smoother action
- The ZX-6R swingarm uses many of the same parts as the ZX-10R; both left and right inner plates, the left outer plate, rear stand bosses, brake caliper stopper, chain guard and swingarm pivot shaft
- 220mm rear petal disc
- Rear brake lever is mounted coaxially with the footpeg for excellent mid-stroke braking efficiency and optimum feel
Race-Quality Steering Damper
- A race-quality adjustable Ohlins steering damper with relief valve and twin-tube design is fitted as standard equipment
- Highly evolved fairing for great wind protection, minimal cross-wind effects
- Position lamps are integral with the projector beam headlights; the Ninja ZX-6R features dual position lamps like the ZX-10R
- One-piece fender offers excellent aerodynamics
- Inner fender above the swingarm helps to reduce turbulence and keeps the undertail clean
- Front brake hose routing with a three-way joint at the lower triple-clamp facilitates bleeding air from the brake lines
- Similar in design to that of the ZX-10R, the instrument panel gives at-a-glance information to the rider
- Engine: Four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, four valves per cylinder, inline-four
- Displacement: 599cc
- Bore x stroke: 67.0 x 42.5mm
- Compression ratio: 13.3:1
- Fuel injection: DFI® with four 38mm Keihin throttle bodies, oval sub-throttles, two injectors per throttle body
- Ignition: TCBI with digital advance
- Transmission: Six speed
- Final drive: X-ring chain
- Rake / trail: 24 deg / 4.1 in.
- Frame type: Aluminum perimeter
- Front tire: 120/70 ZR17
- Rear tire: 180/55 ZR17
- Wheelbase: 55.1 in.
- Front suspension / wheel travel: 41 mm inverted Showa Big Piston Front fork with top-out springs, stepless compression and rebound damping, fully-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, dual-range (high/low-speed) stepless compression damping, 25-way adjustable rebound damping, fully-adjustable spring preload / 5.3 in.
- Front brakes: Dual 300mm petal rotors with dual radial-mounted, four-piston, four-pad calipers
- Rear brake: Single 220mm petal rotor with single-piston caliper
- Overall length: 82.3 in.
- Overall width: 28.0 in.
- Overall height: 43.9 in.
- Fuel capacity: 4.5 gal.
- Seat height: 32.1 in.
- Curb weight: 421.2 lbs.
- Color choices: Passion Red, Metallic Spark Black, Lime Green/Metallic Spark Black
- Warranty: 12 Months