Twice a Daytona 200 winner, this middleweight Kawasaki Ninja clearly has mad skills. But the current street-going ZX-6R has something else going for it: At 636cc, it displaces about 6 percent more than the typical 600cc supersport bike. The result is actually meaningful for the kind of street riding most people do, as the flatter, meatier torque curve means better engine response at lower rpm, which translates to fewer shifts. Helping to manage the DOHC inline-four’s formidable power, which still peaks at a sky-high 13,500 rpm, is a selectable three-mode traction-control system.
Showing its racetrack roots, the ZX-6R has incredibly sharp geometry baked into its aluminum perimeter frame, in particular, a compact 54.9-inch wheelbase and an ultra-quick 23.5-degree steering-head angle. As well, the suspension is highly adjustable, including spring preload and stepless compression and rebound tuning for the Showa Separate Function Big Piston fork (SFF-BP) and similar adjustability for the shock. Such performance comes at a price though; with optional ABS, the ZX-6R costs $500 more than the Ninja 1000 ABS. Flashing Kawasaki racing livery, the KRT Edition adds $300.
Likes: Silky-smooth engine, laser-accurate handling, scorching performance
Dislikes: Price tag is up there in literbike territory
Verdict: Premium supersport, premium price