Kawasaki unveiled their re-skinned 636 cc Ninja ZX-6R on October 11 at the AIMExpo motorcycle trade show in Las Vegas. Minutes after the convention center opened, the green booth was jammed with journalists, dealers, and industry insiders who stood in a respectful semicircle around three shrouded bikes, waiting for the appointed hour of 10 a.m.
Kawasaki execs whetted our appetites by rolling out their latest 450 motocrosser (ridden by some guy named Jeremy McGrath) and then bringing out a carbon-clad H2. Finally, it was the new ZX-6R’s turn. There were some polite oohs and ahhs and hmms as Kawasaki execs outlined the bike’s new features — which I’ll get to in a bit. But when Kawasaki’s Bill Jenkins announced the $9,999 base price to the assembled crowd, there was an audible gasp followed by a long burst of spontaneous applause. I can’t remember the last time a new model got such a reaction from jaded industry types. Even with ABS, it lists for only $10,999.
Every contemporary sport bike is a technological marvel, but the most stunning feature of the 2019 ZX-6R was developed in Kawasaki’s accounting department, because the most important feature is the price.
The most obvious difference is that the bodywork has been completely restyled, making this model resemble its big brother, the ZX-10R. The dash is new, but thankfully they stuck with a clear, old-school analog tach. All the lighting is now LED.
Ergonomics have also been tweaked. Although the rider triangle is unchanged, the fuel tank is now slightly more wasp-waisted, and the firm seat is slightly narrower at the front. This creates the impression that the seat’s lower, although the nominal height is unchanged. The clutch lever is now adjustable for reach.
2019 KAWASAKI NINJA ZX-6R
Price (MSRP) Non-ABS: $9,999
ABS KRT: $11,299
Engine Type Liquid-cooled, inline four, four valves per cylinder
Displacement 636 cc
Bore x stroke 67 mm x 45.1 mm
Compression ratio 12.9:1
Torque 52.1 foot/pounds @ 11,500 rpm
Transmission six gears, quickshifter for upshifts
Front Suspension 41 mm inverted Showa SFF-BP fork; adjustable preload, stepless rebound and compression damping
Rear Suspension Stepless compression damping adjustment, 25-way adjustable rebound damping, fully adjustable spring preload
Front Brake Twin 310 mm discs, Brembo four-piston radially mounted monoblock calipers
Rear Brake Single 210 mm disc, single-piston caliper
Tires front/rear 120/70ZR17; 180/55ZR17
Steering head angle/trail 24.5 degrees/4.0 inches
Wheelbase 55.1 inches
Seat height 32.7 inches
Tank capacity 4.5 gallons
Wet weight 430 pounds